October 17, 2012

Showdown at the Local Starbucks: Yoga Teacher vs. Therapist.

I got into a fight at Starbucks the other day.

Just as the words formed in my brain and left my mouth in a Matrix-like slow motion, I realized my offense. Yet, like a gunshot, you cannot take the bullet back after it has been released. My opponent seemed to hesitate before sputtering his response, as if he too were in this slowed down reality.

But then, we immediately realized the effects of our actions.

And immediately regretted them, as well.

After taking a huge breath, I apologized. My adversary received my apology warmly and acknowledged his part, stating that he was being purely “reactive.” The use of that term sparked familiarity inside of me.

Could it be he spoke the same mindfulness language we yogis use and try to implement every day?

He admitted to being a therapist and embarrassed by his actions. I admitted, a little less loudly, that I was a yoga teacher. Without having to put a name on it, we both laughed at the irony: here were two people whose jobs are to help others slow down and act consciously, acting in the exact opposite manner.

As we waited for our lattes to be prepared, we reflected on the interaction. No, we did not act optimally, but we immediately recognized the implications of our behaviors. Further to that, we were able to set ego aside and apologize to one another. This is acting mindfully.

My father always says, “You are not the Buddha.”

One can meditate and asana all the hours of the day, but until you are a realized being, there will still be moments when you behave emotionally. However, as long as you are aware that you are behaving as such and able to set ego aside to repair whatever damage may have been incurred, you are being mindful.

Our drinks were called almost simultaneously and my new friend and I walked out together. To my surprise, he thanked me for apologizing, and I thanked him for receiving it.


Editor: Brianna Bemel


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