The Enlightening Mat: Emotional Freedom Beyond Empathy

emotional freedom

One aspect of Bikram yoga that I find incredibly healing is that it creates a extremely lucid state of emotional awareness for me, and often an unsolicited thought or question pops into my head that feels almost like a spiritual message. Many times I'll take these messages home and write them down in my journal. 

This was a question that came to me the other day during my Bikram yoga practice:

When will I ever receive enough empathy?

This notion grew out of a recent awareness that my need for empathy from others feels like it could be never ending.

By no means am I advocating that we eradicate the need for giving or receiving empathy. However, personally I acknowledged for myself that I feel as if I've been given quite enough already and what actually might help me more than telling my stories of woe to elicit empathy from others, is to realize that my craving for empathy is like trying to fill a gaping hole of hunger with a tiny morsel. It's so enormous, what do I hope to gain by continually using this miniscule strategy?

In response to my journal question, I answered back using my non-dominant hand and wrote:

When you finally see that empathy from others is a futile attempt to fill a black hole of emotional hunger with a speck of dust, and you choose to replace your need for empathy with the knowing that your soul has always been safe, then you will feel pure wholeness.

Again, I'm not saying to stop practicing empathy for yourself and others. This is a beautiful way that we as humans connect, understand universal suffering, and stretch our hearts. However, maybe once and awhile I'm going to delay myself from running to family and friends to tell my latest sadness as a way to fill a craving for empathy and choose instead to feel the freedom, safety, peace, love, and wholeness that has always been and always will be within me.

The Enlightening Mat is a blog series exploring moments of awareness that come to Beth Hemmila while practicing Bikram Yoga.

To shop for yoga charms that celebrate the different poses click here to view this blog post Sterling Silver Charms for Bikram Yoga Postures.  

1 comment:

  1. powerful - and there is a balance to be struck (as always)... there are times when we genuinely need the support and understanding of others... when life feels too challenging or catches us completely off guard... then there are times when you need to just shake yesterday off and start with a clean slate... that can feel like breathing cold air and make you feel more awake as you focus upon what is right now and the opportunity that lies ahead... sounds silly, but there is a song by matisyahu called 'live like a warrior' - i am so tempted to put it on my blog... in this song i found a connection in ideas with how i feel about my spearheads...
    empathy is beautiful as long as it isn't the only way we communicate with others - your reference to the gaping hole is accurate - but so is the one to the wholeness that is already present right now...


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