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Community with Self


by Jill Callahan - tree poseOne of the definitions for community refers to “a feeling of fellowship as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.” Psychology tells us that before we can fully experience and contribute to community, we must also develop a sense of “community with self” or “self-acceptance” or “self-compassion.” In past classes we have referred to this quote from the Dhammapada:

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought: we are formed and molded by our thoughts.  Those whose minds are shaped by selfish thoughts cause misery when they speak or act.  Sorrows roll over them as wheels of a cart roll over the tracts of the bullock that draws it.” ~ Siddhartha Gautama,  “Dhammapada” as translated by Easwaran 

To me, this Buddhist idea leads perfectly into the yogic emphasis on the importance of developing the internal Witness — that “non-judgmental self-awareness” practiced in yoga. Of course, some days will be better than others.  And so the Buddha also advised:

“Be vigilant; guard your mind against negative thoughts. Pull yourself out of bad ways as an elephant raises itself out of the mud.”  ~Siddhartha Gautama“Dhammapada” as translated by Easwaran 

As you explore what community means in your own life, I invite you to dedicate your practice to self-awareness, self-acceptance, self-development by choosing a positive affirmation to guide your Witness throughout the practice. Here are a few options:  I am compassionately self-aware. I am in fellowship with my true self.  I practice non-judgmental self-awareness

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