It’s a sunny day in Southwest Florida and the temperature is at a high of 82 degrees. I’ll be spending most of my day inside because it seems too hot. One of my students comments “How beautiful the weather is!’ She is headed back North this week and is dreading the lower temps. Each of us, in exactly the same place at the same moment, perceiving a completely different reality.
Perception colors our world everyday. It has the power to determine our mood, what clothes we wear, who we spend time with, our attitude about life and how we view ourselves. You’ve probably experienced a friend telling you about a situation they are having and found yourself coming to a completely different conclusion from theirs. Have you ever thought why?
In yoga, we call what influences our perception, samaskaras. Samaskaras are like that app you have open on your phone that is still tracking your location even when it’s not in use. They’re subconscious programs that our thoughts run through when triggered.
Imagine you’re out to dinner and all of a sudden you smell a cologne that reminds you of your ex-boyfriend that broke your heart and still hasn’t been resolved. All of a sudden, you feel like you’ve lost your appetite and you’re ready to leave the restaurant. This is a samaskara because the smell triggered a memory and retriggered a not so happy memory of the pain you felt.
Not all samasakaras are negative. I had a friend tell me today that blue birds remind her of a passed family member. When she sees a blue bird, it causes her to feel happiness and reminds her that her loved one is watching over her.
Through meditation, yoga and other mindfulness practices we can become more aware of our samaskaras and how they are influences our perception. That way we can choose to turn off the “always on” option in our mind. We can take a few deep breaths when we become aware of when our samaskara app is running and decide if we’d like to keep it running or download an update.
Awareness is the first step to moving beyond our samaskaras and supports a shift from feeling like a victim to our circumstances. It allows us to choose a perception that colors our world with empowerment, wholeness, abundance, bliss and love.
It is part of the plan of your life to move beyond the samaskaras. As you become aware of your samaskaras, remember to ALWAYS have compassion and love for yourself. NEVER force yourself If you’re not ready to let them go or shift them. Practice self love and Spiritual bypassing aka denial is not this. Be kind to yourself. It’s a process. Give yourself a break. These samaskaras have been a part of you your entire life and possibly lifetimes before. The first step to releasing your samaskaras is knowing what they are.
To become more aware of your samasakras, try this meditation to create a neutral mind.