Home   |  What is Yoga   |   Yoga in Practice   |   Yoga for Life   |   Be a Yoga Teacher   |  Resources   |  Directory   |  Sitemap    

Turning Arguments into Treasure

by Paul Jerard

Ever wish you could take harsh words back? Do you wonder how you could have prevented an impending conflict? How could an argument turn out to be a hidden treasure?

We cannot always use the following principles, we are only human, but you will see they work. You will also notice that you can learn from arguments and even diffuse them into mild disagreements.

Firstly, let's look at the structure of an argument. An argument is a difference of opinion, and nothing more. It is actually healthy to listen to outside opinions and learn from them. Personally, I get tired of hearing my own thoughts and want to hear fresh ideas. Sometimes you can put a �new spin� on a fresh idea and come up with a compromise.

Successful marriages, businesses, and governments are all built on an exchange of new ideas. If someone takes the time to display a difference of opinion, they actually care for you to some degree. For example: If you did not care, why would you bother to open a line of communication? When you do not care for someone, you look at communication, with him or her, as a waste of time.

Some of us look at conversation with a �win or lose� frame of mind. If we lose, we must �save face,� and if we win we must savor every minute of victory. This is a big mistake to put your ego in the �driver's seat.� The ego will never be guided by wisdom, it is too busy protecting, posturing, and thinking about the next victory. Think about your words and how powerful they are to those who care about you.

So, what does this have to do with Yoga? It specifically has to do with Karma Yoga, the path of selfless action and is based upon the universal principles of many religions. Written teachings on this subject can be found within the Bhagavad Gita.

Living for the ego will contribute to your self-destruction. Living for more victories and material, will always leave us feeling a want for more. Look at the incredibly wealthy: Are they happy or wanting for more? Many of them seem very thirsty for true love and heart felt gratification.

However, helping your family friends, and associates will leave you feeling gratified, right now. A Karma Yoga practitioner lives for the higher self and the supreme being. Sound familiar? It should, since it is a universal principle which we have all been taught.

We cannot always practice understanding, loving kindness, and forgiveness, but we should try each and every moment of our lives.

Projecting Happiness

We are all human, living life with its many �ups and downs,� but how can we keep our spirits up in difficult times? There are many types of Yoga, and not all are physical styles, like the many popular Hatha Yoga sub-styles. To name one that is not Hatha, and classified as one of the nine main Indian Yoga styles, there is Bhakti Yoga - the union of love, devotion, and worship.

The principle of Bhakti Yoga is universal to all people of all religions. A person who sings, prays, worships, and helps another person is practicing this form of Yoga - whether they have heard of Bhakti Yoga or not. It does not matter what religion you are because singing, praying, worshiping, forgiving, and helping are morally right.

To quote one of the most enlightened men of the 20th century, �The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.� - Mahatma Gandhi

Therefore, life is a daily Yoga practice, even if you do not attend a Yoga class. When you help others, you are practicing Yoga. It could be argued that you are practicing other forms of Yoga, but that is not the purpose of this article. It is more important to understand that you can help others in many ways, and it does not have to cost you a fortune.

Projecting happiness is free and does not require a lot of money. Here are some ideas that will help you to be happier, and hopefully, more worry free. Whether you are a beginner, Yoga practitioner, Yoga teacher, or Master teacher of Yoga, you should spread happiness to everyone you meet.

Listen to everyone, regardless of his, or her, social status. Let go of judgment; it makes fools of all of us. Pre-judgment is prejudice, and this is the one thing that prevents world peace. To some degree, we all have felt it, but you must discard it, suppress it, and never teach it.

You cannot listen if you are talking at the same time. The wisest and most educated person has learned that the purpose of listening is to understand; understanding is knowledge, and knowledge is power. There are times, when you cannot listen. This could be due to time restraints, the fact that you may have heard it all before, or possibly you do not consider this person's opinion to be important.

My grandfather had a saying, �Even the court jester can teach you something about life.� Sometimes, we take the help, or opinions of others, for granted. How many times do we seek more information in order to make the best decision? The final decisions you make, in any given situation are entirely up to you, but when you can sit back and listen, that is time for learning.

Try to avoid arguments and stay the course of peaceful co-existence. You may not always be able to do this, but you should try to improve. You could keep a log of daily situations that end peacefully and those that did not.

This is not meant to make you feel guilty, but it is a course in self-improvement.

You will then see your daily shortcomings and your success. Learn to develop your power of influence for the common good.

It does not matter who is right, especially, if your intention is to proliferate happiness. Related to this, I share one more quote by Mahatma Gandhi.

�What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?� - Mahatma Gandhi

Think about these words, and how you can make the world around you a happier place. This concept is contagious, but it has to come from within and spread worldwide.

Paul Jerard is a co-owner and the director of Yoga teacher training at: Aura Wellness Center, in North Providence, RI. He has been a certified Master Yoga teacher since 1995. He is a master instructor of martial arts, with multiple Black Belts, four martial arts teaching credentials, and was recently inducted into the USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame. He teaches Yoga, martial arts, and fitness to children, adults, and seniors in the greater Providence area. Recently he wrote: Is Running a Yoga Business Right for You? For Yoga students, who may be considering a new career as a Yoga teacher.