How Do Yoga and Buddhism Help Us Make A Stronger Connection with Others
Growing up in Brooklyn, New York was not a bad environment to grow up in at all.
But what made it difficult was the feeling of being mentally and physically isolated from others. Apparently this was a feeling that many inhabitants of
this great city had.
It is also a feeling that people in cities all over the world seem to have. I have sensed it among the inhabitants of Bangkok where I have lived for the last
17 years as I have in other cities that I have visited such as Seoul, Tokyo, Istanbul, London, Brisbane, Sydney, Phnom Phen, Singapore, Jakarta and Lahore,
Perhaps feelings of loneliness are common to all big cities and anywhere in the world, but to feel that one is mentally and physically isolated from others is
dangerous as such a feeling can lead to alienation, anxiety and depression.
If we are at a state of ease in how we relate to others in any environment be it a small village or big city, we will be healthier and happier people and
better able, open and willing to make meaningful connections with others.
So how can the teachings and disciplines of Yoga assist us in making a stronger connection with others?
Having practiced and taught these disciplines for a number of years and in a number of different environments, this writer has found two specific
practices to be most helpful.
In Yoga it has been the practice of Yoga postures. The practice of postures brings about a release of tension in the body. When we release this tension, we make our
physical and mental energy purer and more relaxed. We start to see, perceive and experience things with greater energy and clarity. In feeling our own energy
better we naturally see, feel and respect and love the energy of others better.
In Buddhism it has been the teaching known as right understanding. Right understanding teaches us that there is suffering in life. It is something that we
all experience and how we experience is remarkably similar among human beings. In being exposed to this understanding and strengthening this understanding
through our practice and reflection on it, we are making a stronger connection with others based on compassion and clearer comprehension of the ways
things are in life.
If we understand others, how can we feel isolated from them or anxious to them?
Of course there is a degree of shyness whenever we are around new people or people that we have not met before, but we are not talking about shyness here, we
are talking about making a stronger connection with others.
This is a connection based on seeing and experiencing things clearly.
It is also a connection that we can all work to and one that is both important and worthwhile to work to.
It makes us compassionate instead of anxious.
It makes us practice loving kindness instead of being selfish.
It makes us think, speak and act with wisdom instead of being ignorant and having a desire or obsession that needs to be filled by any means possible.
2007 John C. Kimbrough