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A World of Yoga
Exercises for Fulfillment
Most likely, the companionship of parents, other relatives, teachers, and old friends have significantly shaped your thoughts and feelings. Also, the examples and inputs of these key people are probably motivating your way of dealing with life — your drive toward success or failure.
You can benefit from the positive help of your key people and leave the bad behind now. Take five or ten quiet, pleasant minutes regularly and get to know the influences inside you. Simply, review the nature of all the key people in your life — slowly, one at a time.
Let us now proceed to the Four Exercises for Fulfillment. Start with the first Exercise — Understanding Your Mother or Father.
Exercise One — Understanding Your Mother or Father
Start with your mother or father, and enjoy clarifying in your mind what good influences you received. For example, appreciate your mother with your whole heart and reflectively consider:
Each Key Person
Proceed in this manner while thinking of each key person. Calmly and appreciatively conduct an interview with your past. Add your own questions and vivid examples. Remember to pause for more than a minute after each question to deeply sense the influences inside you regarding that key person.
If recalling a particular key person is too painful for you, don't do it. Go on; conduct the exercise while thinking of another key person. Likely, in time, you will be calm enough to recall the negative influences in your life without fear or bitterness.
Sometimes, too, you may wish to directly ask your heartfelt questions to your mother, father, and other key persons — if they are alive and willing. If you do conduct a real interview you may be amazed with the fresh insights your key people will spark as they share their points of view. Renewed understanding and compassion occur. Often a child misjudges his parents because he doesn't comprehend what his key people are "going through." However, even if you are unable to talk directly with a key person from your past, Exercise One will immeasurably improve your recognition of many dominant themes in your inner and outer world.
Not only does regular practice of recall reveal your influences, it enables you to choose new and better directions for your life.
Exercise Two — Today's Companions
Who are your companions? It's very important to take half an hour, every month or so, and ponder your companions. The days pass and your key people are influencing you constantly. It's essential to take time and understand what's happening to you as a result of your relationships. This exercise will not only tend to free you of harmful influences, but you will, assuredly, become a more thoughtful and appreciative friend.
Sit comfortably and recall your companions, including work associates, one at a time. Feel you are calmly, and with good will, facing a companion. Mentally ask each of these questions and pause after each one to think deeply:
Find Companions Whom You Admire
Do you find yourself in accord with what your companions and associates are doing with their thoughts, feelings, and actions? Remember, everyone has problems. Love and appreciate your companions but you must become aware of the impacts — positive or negative — which they are significantly contributing to your thoughts, feelings, actions, and view of the world.
If your companions are destructive, they are also destroying you. You may not be doing them much good either. Work to change your destructive relationships into finer ones through your development of higher consciousness. If you find in a short time that you're not making headway toward more constructive companionships, try again! If you continue to meet great resistance, seek other companions and start a new, exciting life. But be sure your new relationships are genuine — avoid a cult of shared fantasies. Find companions whom you admire and appreciate, and who are truly constructive in the give-and-take of daily life.
Exercise Three — Your Mate
If you are married, hopefully your mate is the most important influence in your life. Hopefully, your beloved is a true companion and friend to you. Likely, he or she is deeply happy in your times of happiness and deeply touched when you are. Your mate sorrows with you in the sad times and struggles beside you wholeheartedly in times of challenge and difficulty.
Chances are you know much of the time what your companion is thinking and feeling, what would make your mate happier, what your mate is concerned about. Even in a silent moment, you and your partner are communicating. You can tell by a look, or just sensing the atmosphere, what is on your beloved's mind.
You and your mate have truly joined together. You are wedded and blended into one another through the love of your hearts, the sharing of your thoughts, and the weaving of your individual days into a lifetime together. So deeply are you joined that your partner can be the most freeing influence in your life, welcoming you from old thoughts, influences, and habits of conduct, into a new shared heaven. In your partner is a chance for renewal, a chance for self-discovery in the presence of a dear friend.
Your Fellow Traveler
Your partner is your fellow traveler in your personal life journey. If you two are well met and well married, then you share with one another a truly great life, a life that makes the rest of the world envious, a life that people around you, near and far, would love to experience themselves. From your life and your love will come a happy home. From your love and your sharing will come a sense of security and nurture that makes countries strong.
In your love for one another you will, certainly, sense not only your own souls, but you will see in the deep beauty of your partner's eyes the love of your partner for you, an eternal, unconditional loving that too few mortals have ever known.
On the other hand, perhaps your marriage is not fully happy or, possibly, your marriage is downright unhappy, a wedding of your individual problems compounded by those which have been created by the two of you together. Perhaps you live in held-back tears, crushed dreams. And the world seems empty because of your crushed dreams.
With your heart's great love eclipsed and your mind in shadows, the world and society are deprived of your contribution. All the good that you feel, all the kindnesses you wish to share with others, are probably blocked — held back, in your pain — and the hard lessons of your life are burdensome.
In your sorrows and in your longing, you are very likely not seeing the world, with all its possibilities, as well as you could be seeing it. Likely, you are not fully alive to the opportunities that may be coming your way. Possibly, also, the chances for deeper understanding and reconciliation with your partner are being missed as well in your mutual or personal agonies.
Unless you recognize these negative influences, they will rob you of your life. You will spend your years in a shrouded world and never know how bright and personal the light of love and higher consciousness can be. You will never know your true potential or express it freely and productively.
Whether your marriage is going well or badly, you and your mate continually influence one another. Your companionship is extraordinarily deep. You know and affect one another on all levels. Being wedded, you have, in many ways, not only joined your physical beings but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually you are fused and diffused in one another. You are profound influences on one another.
Here is an exercise that you might wish to try alone, and together, in order to enrich your companionship, or in order to renew and reestablish it.
How To Do It
If you practice this exercise alone, simply feel that you are sitting with your beloved partner, perhaps holding both of your partner's hands in yours and speaking directly to your partner, pausing after each sentence to reflect on each important point — sending your love and insight.
And, of course, at the end of the exercise, feel free to continue with questions and thoughts which are very important for you to consider and find answers for.
If, on the other hand, you and your partner wish to do this practice together, sit facing one another, feel love for one another, and then join hands. When you have joined hands, determine which of you will ask the questions. Remember to let the one who asks the questions continue through the whole set.
Pause after each declaration or question to give the answering partner lots of time for a full response. Allow pauses; wait until you both agree it's time to go on to the next question. Don't rush. This is quality time, this is some of the most important time in your life. Remember, companionship is more powerful than most all the other influences in your life.
Say To Your Beloved
As best you can, appreciating your partner with your whole being, begin:
Exercise Four — Your Spiritual Companion
Wonderful is the life of a man and woman who not only love one another but also recognize and adore the spiritual nature in their companion! Companionship being stronger than willpower, generally, mates who are conscious of spirit (the essence of life) find tremendous inspiration and comfort from one another. When one partner is weak or blue, spiritual strength flows to him or her from a spirit-filled mate. And, when both are spiritually in touch with the Lord of their heart — and with each other — a synergy beyond comprehension makes their love stronger and ever-new. People who come into the presence of such companions can feel the love and are changed by it.
If your relationship is suffering from psychological problems, don't pretend a spiritual gloss and sweet words will improve your companionship. Just as delicious gravy can't cover the taste of rotten food, so high-sounding words of devotion or the vocabulary of life-essence cannot overcome an unsound relationship. If you and your partner are not having a satisfying time with one another, do yourselves a favor, eliminate much heartache, and select a counselor whom you both trust.
But, if you have a satisfying relationship and sense the life-essence — the spirit — shining in one another, here is an enriching practice. In doing this exercise now, and several times each year, you can profoundly encourage your love to flourish. In making these declarations, you clear the way for new levels of love and wonder.
Prepare for Your Spiritual Companion
Put an hour aside. Sit facing one another. Get comfortable. Decide who will make the declarations first. You may wish to give your good companion a flower or a symbolic gift before making your declarations.
When you are the listener of these declarations, actively receive the love and intent of your mate. Accept and treasure your friend's declarations. Few people in the world will ever hear such beautiful thoughts spoken with such love.
Whether you are making these declarations or receiving them, strive to speak or listen from your soul — your innermost being. Look into one another's eyes as you do each declaration. Pause in love as long as you like between each one. Perhaps both of you will prefer to close your eyes in brief meditations. Or, after several practices of this exercise, the receiver may wish to make helpful, non-critical responses at times. (Of course you will need to talk about your problems on other occasions; but the purpose of these declarations is greater and greater spiritual companionship.)
You may wish to join hands. The declarer strives to make these statements with his or her whole heart — as an already experienced actuality, or as a deeply felt ideal.
Completing the Declarations
You may wish to add other declarations which are revealed to your mind and
heart in this solemn and especially sweet communion. When you have concluded
your declarations, say:
Then the receiver of these declarations begins his or her turn and, feeling deep love radiating from the innermost self, extends a flower or symbolic gift and begins the above declarations. The one who made the declarations first must make a point of switching thoughts and feelings into a deeply appreciative and receptive mode in order to be deeply conscious of the declarations which are now being made.
Remember to pause whenever you like and strive to more fully understand and commit yourselves to these profound ideals — these spirit-empowering attunements.
When these declarations, along with additional ones, are shared, embrace.
As you grow toward higher consciousness, and especially as you develop in Exercises One through Four, you will find yourself free! Free to become the person you yearn to be. You will conquer the old, destructive tendencies. In your life, companionship — negative companionship — will not be stronger than your will power.