B*tch, You Can't Kill My Vibe

Acceptance is always the first step when trying to correct an unwanted behavior.

It’s human nature to react emotionally when in a stressful situation. We typically allow emotions to largely dictate behavior and or decision making. So understanding how we process emotions is essential for transcending our inherent state of being. How do we integrate ancient philosophy and modern day concepts as a means for remaining calm in a sea of external negativity?

In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali describes how yogic philosophy helps individuals identify the difference between their true self and their thoughts and feelings. Additionally, the Yoga Sutras provide an outline for overcoming obstacles that hinder or prevent self-development. Simple everyday interactions can lead to mental and or physical pain, frustration, unsteadiness and irregular breath.[1]

A substantial amount of our thoughts and emotions stem from interactions and relationships with others.

Surrounding ourselves with like-minded people that enliven and elevate your consciousness will most likely lead to a better life. Cultivating relationships with the “wrong” type of people affects identity and thus, greatly obscures the true-self. If you remain focused, you diminish the chance of being affected by an external source. Patanjali defines the four categories of humans and then provides a guideline for dealing with each type of individual. He believes people are either happy, unhappy, virtuous or wicked.[2]

If a person is happy, rather than envy them, befriend them. If a person is unhappy, do not delight in their suffering, have compassion for them. If a person is virtuous, do not be bitter, appreciate that they have realized their greatness within, and try to cultivate that for yourself. If a person is wicked, do not advise them and do not let them anger you, minimize your interactions with them.“By cultivating attitudes of friendliness toward the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous and by disregarding the wicked, the mind retains its undisturbed calmness.”[3]

It’s important to recognize that every single person you interact with affects you differently on an emotional level.

Take notice of how you feel around the people in your life. What type of emotions do each of them elicit? Nobel Prize winner, Daniel Kahneman, expanded upon William James’ dual processing theory. Kahneman defined the two types of thinking as System 1 and System 2. System 1, the limbic region of the brain, is intuitive, fast and emotion driven. System 2, the prefrontal cortex, is responsible for critical thinking and reason. Emotions can change from second to second, oftentimes when we act from a place of emotion, we lack rationality and reduce our overall effectiveness as thinkers. When we allow others to have power over our emotions, we surrender control. Understand that you cannot control others and that others cannot control you. People cannot make you feel a certain way – you are the arbiter of your feelings.

So how does meditation impact your ability to regulate instinctive emotional responses?

Academic research now indicates that meditation changes the structure of our brains. A Harvard study found that daily meditation alters brain cell volume in the amygdala, where emotion originates.[4] Meditation heightens your awareness, which in turn, improves your ability to appropriately respond to every situation.

We live in a society filled with different types of people that we depend upon for success and survival. However, armed with the knowledge that no one can control the way you feel serves as a powerful tool for cultivating peace of mind. Remember that a serene mind is your ultimate goal. Not being right. Not seeking revenge. Not achieving superiority.

Do not give other people, or anything external, the power to lower your vibration. Remember how Patanjali categorizes the four types of people and how to shape your interactions. Through consistent meditation you will develop a deeper self-awareness along with greater mental and emotional control.

Shine True,

Heather


 

[1] Patañjali. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali: The Book of the Spiritual Man (1.31). An Interpretation. London: Watkins, 1975.

[2] Ibid (1.33)

[3] Ibid (1.34)

[4] Desbordes, Gaëlle, et al. Effects of Mindful-Attention and Compassion Meditation Training on Amygdala Response to Emotional Stimuli in an Ordinary, Non-Meditative State. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. 6 (2012).