In the next few posts we will be exploring how the wisdom of Scorpio offers us the gift of facing fear and finding freedom. Currently there is an epidemic of fear due to the pandemic. Naturally, we all feel a heightened sense of alertness as we negotiate the risks of doing everyday activities in the face of the dangers posed by the virus. Regardless of your own Sun sign, Scorpio will help you to cultivate the resilience you need to approach your fear and move through it.
Scorpio teaches us the wisdom of facing fear and finding freedom. This is also the approach that mindfulness uses too. From personal experience I know how debilitating anxiety can be. I also know that practising yoga and mindfulness gives us a toolbox to manage overwhelming feelings. Anxiety is all-consuming, it narrows our focus, and shrinks our world view. Whereas our mindfulness practice delivers us from the small confines of our fearfulness and allows us to see the bigger picture.
Turning towards your fear and allowing yourself to experience it is warrior work! You put your fear under the microscope of your awareness, and allow yourself to feel it both emotionally, and where it resides in your body, whilst at the same time holding in your mind the bigger picture. Then with practise you realise that yes, your fear is there, but you also notice that you are breathing in, and you are breathing out. Mindfulness gives you an anchor, such as the breath, that prevents you from being overwhelmed by the waves of emotion that accompany fear and anxiety. In turn you also learn to carry this mindful awareness into your daily life, noticing what you can see, smell, hear, and feel. You are aware of suffering, and you are also aware of the beauty in the world around you.
The Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, reminds us that suffering is not enough. He teaches that one part of our meditation practice is to be aware of suffering in the world; whereas the other part is to appreciate all of the beauty in the world. This practice of turning towards suffering and simultaneously noticing the joyful and the beautiful, allows us to experience the totality of life as it is, without getting overwhelmed by it.
"Life is filled with suffering, but it is also filled with many wonders, like the blue sky, the sunshine, the eyes of a baby. To suffer is not enough. We must also be in touch with the wonders of life. They are within us and all around us, everywhere, any time.
Meditation is to be aware of what is going on- in our bodies, in our feelings, in our minds, and in the world. Each day 40,000 children die of hunger. The superpowers now have more than 50,000 nuclear warheads, enough to destroy our planet many times. Yet the sunrise is beautiful, and the rose that bloomed this morning along the wall is a miracle. Life is both dreadful and wonderful. To practice meditation is to be in touch with both aspects. Please do not think we need to be solemn in order to meditate. In fact, to meditate well, we have to smile a lot"
Thich Nhat Hanh, Being Peace
Hello, I am Jilly Shipway, the author of Yoga Through the Year, and my forthcoming book Yoga by the Stars. In this Yoga by the Stars blog I will share with you zodiac-inspired yoga insights and inspiration. I also have another blog on my Yoga Through the Year website.