We can likely agree upon the need for tolerance at this time in our world with discord, political polarities and broken alliances. According to en.oxforddictionaries.com, a consequence is defined as “the result or effect of an action or condition”. While it may be simple semantics, it is a good starting point.
When we moved into our present yoga “home”, one of my priorities was to place the Bhagavad Gita quote back where we could all see it. Again. Why? Well – I am particularly fond of the conversations this quote has initiated. Many people have told me that it had some kind of an impact on them or created a reaction for them. One of my favorite yogis actually asked me why it wasn’t “accept the consequences of being myself”, rather than “tolerate the consequences of being myself”?? Good question! Accepting sounds more yogic than tolerating, right? It was a lively discussion indeed.
I also have this quote on a magnet attached to my refrigerator, so I see it daily. For me, this quote immediately struck a chord. I thought it beautifully explained why yoga has been an essential part of my life for nearly 20 years. Tolerating (and accepting) said consequences keep me curious and engaged with the continuous battle between the ears. Much like Arjuna’s battle that is the REAL story in the Bhagavad Gita, I am regularly hit with:
• How is “this” happening again? Haven’t I already learned this lesson?
• Ah… it’s another part of myself that I must acknowledge
• Hmmm… am I really that judgmental?
• Am I a true pack rat? Why do I hold on to so much stuff?
• Why am I running late again? I thought I was working on being more punctual!
And so on… you get the idea.
Full disclosure… I have a growing list of what else am I tolerating these days. I have too many glass jars, boxes of tea and books (need to practice Aparigraha); I hold on to a wide range of stuff; even little scraps of paper with quotes I saw on a subway 28 years ago still fill spaces between book pages and random boxes. I am a collector and gatherer. If you have ever given me a card, I probably still have it… your kind words tucked away in a shoebox in one of my closets. I start projects without finishing them, take on too many responsibilities, and hate asking for help. I am not the best housekeeper. I am forever seeking the balance between social time and solitary time (I thrive on both). I have boatloads of self-doubt, anxiety, and an affinity for red wine. And so on… you get the idea once more.
What gives me pause and the confidence to write about these “consequences of being myself”, is a relatively new discovery. There is tolerance. I am actually beginning to soften the hard line I tow with myself. I laugh more at my own seriousness and ridiculousness; I feel emotions I’ve spent a lifetime avoiding or burying; I apologize more and care less about being right. Coupled with the aging process, YOGA IS THE PRACTICE that helps me find peace within myself; OF TOLERATING life as it is. The more tolerance I find for the reflection in the mirror, the easier it is to have tolerance for others.
And for you? How do THE CONSEQUENCES OF BEING YOURSELF show up on and off your yoga mat? Consider making your own list.
Without exaggerating, I have 5 different translations of the Bhagavad Gita on my bookshelves (all of which are open on my dining room table as I write this). This quote that I have held dear for so many years was not found in any of my translations as such. What??? So then, I succumbed to a Google search. As it turns out, this beloved quote came from former CEO of Kripalu – Dinabhandu Surley’s interpretation of the Bhagavad Gita (see the juicy article links below). What??? Now what am I supposed to believe?
At the end of the day, I have met and studied with Dinabhandu and this translation works for me (no wonder I couldn’t find these exact words in any of my 5 versions). I suppose it’s a classic example of tolerance.
May your yoga practice deepen your personal inquiry; may you forever tolerate the consequences of being yourself.
Love & peace to all,
For more reading on other opinions on the topic, check out these links: http://www.itsallyogababy.com/your-favourite-bhagavad-gita-quote-probably-isnt-from-the-bhagavad-gita/
My favorite take on The Bhagavad Gita is Stephen Cope’s book The Great Work of Your Life. Thanks for this and your candidness. Seems you and I are tolerating many of the same issues with ourselves.
This quote was in the Union Leader last week:
“The highest result of education is tolerance”
― Helen Keller
Thanks for reminding me to tolerate and accept who I am.