I recently read an article by a dance teacher that gives us surprisingly helpful advice about how to deal with life’s challenges. The instructor, Jan Erkert, wrote: “As a dancer, I study physical states of energy. In one exercise I often conduct with my students, one dancer must remain still while others throw their full weight into them, like football without any protection. Most fall into a heap on the floor with one or two hits. But one woman I once taught could do it. She was 4’9″ and weighed less than ninety pounds, yet as the dancers hurled themselves into her, they bounced right off. She knew something they didn’t. Calm is deceptive. From the outside, it looks still. But within the body, it is anything but. Every time she was hit, she recalibrated and adjusted her weight. It was subtle and easy to miss the astounding skill [involved]. Calm isn’t the lack of energy, but rather fluid energy arrested.”
I found her description fascinating and, as I said, extremely helpful in dealing with karmic body blows. The chain of cause and effect that we ourselves set in motion usually takes some time to return to us. Thus, we will be faced with situations that have the potential to affect us, but haven’t yet become fully manifest. And then there are those tests that are already upon us, and demand our immediate response.
To deal with potential blows, let’s remember the example of the dancer and practice the art of inner micro-adjusting. Look at common traps that you fall into, and be prepared to recalibrate your reactions: to adjust your attitudes, thoughts, or words before you get caught.
Do you often react to certain challenges with anger, or judgment? with blaming others, or self-justification? When you feel a recurring karmic situation moving towards you, make the necessary mental or behavioral adjustments while you are still free to do so. The more you can self-adjust early in the process, the less power karma will have over you. Catch yourself before you blow up, or condemn others. Control your energy and return to a state of balance. Over time you will find yourself freer from that particular karma.
When you find yourself already in the midst of a big test, you can still apply the same principle. In the Bible, Jesus Christ states: “I say unto you, that you resist not evil; but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” His words are generally taken as advice to be passive and contrite in the face of aggression. But Yoganandaji gives a very different interpretation: Christ is talking about the law of karma. If a blow is coming to you, don’t tense up and resist it, but think, “Bring it on!” Welcome it and respond like the centered dancer who saw her assailants bounce off of her. It all comes down to staying centered in the calm eye of any karmic storm.
In Whispers from Eternity, Yoganandaji wrote: “Throughout all trials, of whatever nature, we can retain our equilibrium and sail through the most harrowing experiences with our inner peace and joy unaffected, if we remain inwardly calm. Learn to look upon whatever happens to you with the certainty that nothing can touch you in your true, inner Self: your soul.”
To paraphrase the dance teacher, Calm isn’t the lack of energy: It is learning to control your reactions and the flow of inner energy. When bad karma comes, as it inevitably will until we are free souls, don’t let it slam you to the ground.
Through a regular practice of meditation, we become more absorbed in the calmness of our soul nature. Learn to live in that calmness, and keep your balance in all circumstances. Then you will find yourself dancing gracefully through life hand in hand with your unseen partner, God.
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