About ten days ago my landlords told me that they will not renew my lease. It ends on June 3rd. As soon as I move out they said they will raise the rent by several hundreds of dollars. Sensing my shock, they said that I am welcome to reapply to stay in the house. I reapplied and they chose someone else.
My mind quickly turned to judgement and labels. They are so greedy. They know I have a three year old daughter and they are basically kicking us out, etc, etc…Negativity and darkness easily came through my heart and mind. I started looking for other rentals and quickly realized how hard it is to find a place with such short notice. Portland is a popular city. Fear, anxiety, stress paid their visits to me. Finally, I did what I always do at the toughest times. I called one of my teachers.
I could barely tell him the story because as soon as I heard his voice, tears came and they would not stop. Somehow between the sobs, I told him what was happening. Without a pause, he said, “Reema, your landlords are helping you. You will find an even better place for you and Mila to live.”
My teachers always amaze me. Wow, I thought, his mind is so strong. Negativity doesn’t stand a chance in his being. This is what I call a strong yogi!
Anger is such a powerful emotion that the antidote for anger in the yoga tradition is the “Unshakeable Wisdom of the Realm of All Things.” One of the main aspects of this wisdom is a continuous awareness that all beings are angels, helping you, teaching you. Even if they are being difficult, annoying, harsh, there is a reason and the reason is always the soul’s evolution.
Life can take such challenging turns that our ability to hold this wisdom that all beings, including ourselves, are angels, must be unshakeable to have the power to battle anger.
While on the phone with my teacher, my mind relaxed, my heart softened. I could breathe again with a little more smoothness and calm.
He continued on the phone, “Instead of placing your energy on your landlords, start to create the vision of your new home. Write it down. Exactly what you want. Get as detailed as possible. Use your energy to find your new place.”
That night I came home and after Mila slept, I wrote it down. I drew the home, the neighborhood and surroundings. I felt so good and free and aligned.
If I let my mind spiral into darkness, the only person I would hurt is myself. My landlords do not care what I think or say. Anger only hurts the one who is experiencing it.
I love Yoga because the teachings are not at all about suppressing emotions. We are meant to experience fully and completely the truth of each moment regardless if the emotion or sensation is pleasant or unpleasant, loving or harsh. What these teachings do is offer a way out. For me, it felt good to turn my energy to my new home instead of diving further into negativity. I did look into the law to understand whether what they were doing is legal or not. I had spent time talking to other landlords to understand if I was facing injustice. I came to a place of satisfaction with my research and was ready to move on.
“Every obstacle you face as you find your new home, see it as a purification,” my teacher continued. “Be receptive to the intuition that comes with each purification. Furthermore, dedicate all your good actions in the coming days to making the vision of your next home a reality.”
Teachers have a power. When I spoke to him on the phone – seated 3,000 miles away from him – I was a different person by the end of the conversation. It was like a miracle. For the first time in days, my body relaxed. I could breathe without feeling heavy rocks in my heart. I felt hopeful, grateful and radiantly alive.
Teachers have a power when we give them a power. Our own humility is the base of our teachers power. I could have hidden in shame the anger I was feeling towards my landlords. I could have isolated myself in my room letting my mind spiral deeper into dark places. It was just one moment of humility that saved me and inspired me to make a phone call.
Though I thanked him profusely, I wonder if my teacher realizes how profoundly he helped me. I wonder if we all realize how profoundly we can help one another.
We are all teachers and healers, if we let ourselves be…
Home practice, Mother’s Day 2015