Looking at Conflict Resolution through a Yogic Lens
By Sarah Willis (Recycled from May 2014, Edition 6)
Photographed by Karen Pearson
They say the Universe holds up a mirror for us to learn through example. In other words, we will project certain qualities outwardly, and then we will attract and be more apt to recognize those qualities radiating back from other sources. If we feel healthy, positive, profitable, effective, then we will see these traits being reflected back in a way that can almost seem magnetic. When a situation presents itself that engenders negativity in us, the most sage advice—be it from yoga or another school of thought—tells us to gaze internally to resolve the negative things going on in our own lives, as like attracts like.
What does it mean from a yogic perspective to gaze internally? There is a practice in the teachings of Ashtanga yoga called Svadyaya, or self-analysis. The self-analysis of Svadyaya can in some ways be comparable to the Freudian sense in that we definitely want to examine our past and our dreams to shed light on the subconscious mind. Where the Freudian approach breaks down for me is that it somehow seeks to place blame. Freud wrote about how base, instinctive behavior is a function of the pesky id, or the inner animalistic nature, and how many neuroses stem from having sexualized our parents when we were young. In my view, our past and our sexuality, like all other movements of the mind and longings of the body, only make up a sliver of our entire psychological experience.
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