Breaking The Barrier
Breaking The Barrier
Today I want to talk about Stigma. Its a noun, and back in the Christian era, there was a thing known as Stigmata, stigma in its plural form, are marks that had been impressed by the Divine onto the bodies of St. Francis of Assisi and some others, these marks resembled those left on Jesus’ body by the Crucifixion. Nowadays there are not many reported cases of Stigmata, however Stigma is still very much a real thing. It is considered to be a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person. Such as “the stigma of mental disorder”. A synonym to liken stigma would be shame. As a verb, shame is generally associated with the passing of judgement by others onto someone or something, causing a painful feeling of humiliation or distress. This in turn causes the shamed or disgraced person to believe that they feel this way because of their consciousness of wrong or foolish behaviour. Now there are a couple of different meanings to the term Stigma and what I think is very interesting is that one of the other meanings is a noun for a flower part, the top of the central female part of a flower, where pollen is received. This I believe may or may not be the subconscious action of universal intelligence at work. I think it may be a subliminal message, pointing our attention towards our Sattvic state of being. Our sattvic state of
Now there are a couple of different meanings to the term Stigma and what I think is very interesting is that one of the other meanings is a noun for a flower part, the top of the central female part of a flower, where pollen is received. This I believe may or may not be the subconscious action of universal intelligence at work. I think it may be a subliminal message, pointing our attention towards our Sattvic state of being. Our sattvic state of being suggests that our inherent nature is to be pure, balanced, intelligent, blissful, wise and joyful. Like the flower, there is potential for us to bloom.We can either take information and pollenate our minds with positivity or negativity. There is light and there is dark, there cannot be one without the other. As humans we have this tendency to allow our feelings to direct the course of our actions. We act indifferent and avoid and ignore or express hatred towards the people, places or things that make us feel uncomfortable or cause us pain, suffering or unhappiness. On the other hand, we act kindly and lovingly and careful towards the people, places or things that bring us joy and comfort. So what begins to happen when we examine our feelings and come to understand the reasons why we feel the way we do? What happens when we begin to look closely into the darkness and examine our fears?
So what begins to happen when we examine our feelings and come to understand the reasons why we feel the way we do? What happens when we begin to look closely into the darkness and examine our fears? Its easy to avoid and ignore that which we fear or do not understand, and it takes a lot of work to understand that which we do not know. But if we could just do the work to shift our perspectives, from fearing and judging, to knowing and understanding perhaps we would begin to see less people suffering, less violence, less countries as war, less harm being done to our environment, perhaps we would begin to see the world at peace. Which brings me back to feelings, as humans I believe that our core desires are generally the same, we all want to be happy and free and to feel joy, to be healthy and comfortable, to love and be loved. Stigma is also known as a strong feeling of disapproval that most people in a society have about something, especially when this is unfair. When we look at the course of time we can begin to see the shift in the mental attitudes of people and different societies as a whole. For example, there is much less of a stigma to being divorced today than there was say 50 years ago. The social stigma to being a single mother is also not what it used to be. So why is it that stigma’s change? Why is it that one day people can consider things one way and feel so differently the next? When we begin to shift our awareness back towards what it is we truly desire and how we want to feel then we can begin to understand that although someone else’s circumstance may be different than our own, we do not need to act out of fear, instead we can think and act from a place of compassion. In the practice of yoga we bend the body so that it does not break. In the art of
When we begin to shift our awareness back towards what it is we truly desire and how we want to feel then we can begin to understand that although someone else’s circumstance may be different than our own, we do not need to act out of fear, instead we can think and act from a place of compassion. In the practice of yoga we bend the body so that it does not break. In the art of mindfulness, Thich Naht Hanh speaks about fear and anger and how we must not water the seeds of negativity and suffering in one another.
“Your mind is like a piece of land planted with many different kinds of seeds: seeds of joy, peace, mindfulness, understanding, and love; seeds of craving, anger, fear, hate, and forgetfulness. These wholesome and unwholesome seeds are always there, sleeping in the soil of your mind. The quality of your life depends on the seeds you water. If you plant tomato seeds in your gardens, tomatoes will grow. Just so, if you water a seed of peace in your mind, peace will grow. When the seeds of happiness in you are watered, you will become happy. When the seed of anger in you is watered, you will become angry. The seeds that are watered frequently are those that will grow strong.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
There is a ripple effect, each action has a cause and each cause an effect, so everything I do and say will have an effect on the people in my life and my surrounding environment and these words, thoughts and actions will have an effect on me as an individual throughout the course of time.
“Your beliefs become your thoughts, Your thoughts become your words, Your words become your actions, Your actions become your habits, Your habits become your values, Your values become your destiny.” – Mahatma Gandhi
We talk about decreasing our individual footprints our on environment by making eco friendly consumer choices and we go to festivals with ticket prices that include the guaranty of leaving no trace. But what are we doing to ensure we aren’t leaving an emotional dent in the lives of others? In the practice of yoga we come to know that the action of creating flexibility in the body then causes flexibility in the mind. When the mind has elasticity, we do not become fixated on fear and stuck in ignorance. If we can reform and reshape negative holding patterns of the body then we can also reshape and reform the patterns of the mind. With time and practice we begin to notice the dissolution of our fears and or that which is holding us back from our purest potential. With that being said we can begin to examine the mind space, the evolution of ourselves and of time with clarity.
Once upon a time a medical phenomena was believed to be and described by religious wayfarers as divine discernment of moral turpitude. Now the degree of Stigma has certainly changed but the effect it has on those who suffer from it is just as emotionally real and painful as crucifixion. I don’t believe this is necessary. I believe that humans have the ability to adapt and evolve and change for the better. I believe that the purpose of yoga and meditation is to heal and transform the body and mind and that eventually yoga will emerge as a mighty world culture and help to change the course of mankind. I believe that if we do the work and educate people on what Stigma truly is, a fear based emotion stemming from false evidence appearing to be real, then we can begin to water the seeds of positivity in each other and begin to use this age of information to cultivate compassion and reduce the suffering of those who are already suffering enough. I truly believe that through the practice of yoga we can dissolve the stigma surrounding mental health and around many other issues and help those who suffer to
“cure what need not be endured and endure that which cannot be cured” – Sri K Pattabi Jois