"Between Stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom." -- Viktor E. Frankl
Truly a great human being, the Holocaust survivor, neurologist and psychiatrist Viktor E. Frankl had demonstrated how the outside forces can affect our circumstances without diminishing our core power to choose. As I shared his quote during my weekend classes a violence incited by the supporters of the extreme idealism, which put millions of people including mr. Frankl through the unimaginable horror, was happening. Yet through the horrific circumstance Dr. Frankl found the freedom within the limitation of his life events and grew to live up to his creative power. When we aren't in touch with the inspiration deep within our soul we become tools for the outside sources to manipulate our lack of inner aspiration. Without the inner light we blindly follow the torch of organized groups and institutions while believing we are being different and making a difference. I condemn groupthink and the people who lead it. I feel for the emotionally vulnerable young men who are the soldiers of their extreme idealism. And I'm inspired to carry on my life mission of teaching the yoga of intention--the power to choose our response as a balancing force to the extremism in all forms. I often tell people that teaching yoga is healing to me. That is how a life mission is accomplished. It gives you energy whereas an unconscious or repressed expression depletes you. If you love what you do you are fed and fulfilled by it. If you hate what you feel you put a lid on it. The opposite of life isn't death. It is the rejection of feelings.
What you feel deeply is what your soul values. When you do what you value from deep within you don't need an outside source to energize you. You naturally desire to do the work of your life mission. Conscious of them or not we are always driven by our deep feelings. If one cannot tolerate others it is because he cannot tolerate his feelings. One can change his life circumstances by rearranging himself among things and people. But nothing and nobody can change his feelings for him. He has no choice but to feel what his body and heart feel. Failure to feel is repression. If he needs repression then he must have an oppressor. Instead of electing a qualified public servant to cultivate more ease of living for everybody he picks a charismatic figure who promises perfection in order to experience oppression. The space between stimulus and response is intention--inward attention. You are the only one who has the power to find the freedom to grow within the tension you feel inside your heart and body. When there is no capacity to feel deeply there is no intention or the power to choose the right response. To choose consciously is to embrace the limitation. Your physical limitation is the limited range of motion in your joints. Your mental limitation is the limited exposure to life experience. Your emotional limitation is the rejection of your physical and mental limitations. To embrace means to work with and not against your limitations or you end up with broken limbs and or extremist perceptions. Limitation is the path toward growth and freedom. Refuse it and you reject your own capacity to expand and evolve.
Presently my dad is critically ill. I just booked a flight to Bangkok and will be traveling next week from 8/22 - 9/1. There is nothing more traumatic than the thought of losing a loved one. As my sister tends to the physical needs of my dad, I tend to her emotional and physical wellbeing. My life mission has never been more clear. All of my practices culminate to this moment. Parents become children when they can no longer care for themselves physically. But it would be a mistake to believe they have no power to choose for themselves just as it is a misperception that children don't know what's right for them hence, their feelings cannot be honored. As long as my dad is breathing and conscious I refuse to see him as powerless. Every choice I make that affects him I honor his soul values. When you value what others value emotionally you see them in the light of their own perfection. If you follow that light you reach the feelings which drive their thoughts and actions or the lack thereof. If you connect to their feelings you have the power to tap into their soul values and inspire them to their highest aspirations, just as you can release the tension in your mind and body and transcend your own limitations. As long as you live there are limitations to constantly help you find the freedom to grow. It's your choice to either live your life mission by working with the limitations within and in others in order to expand the range of energy in motion, or repress emotions to further tighten your mind while limiting upward mobility of others. The British anthropologist Jane Goodall stated succinctly: "You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do make a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make."