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Happiness vs. Ease


I wanted to share something that I have been pondering and I hope it awakens something in you as well – a reflection from the actual meaning of the mantra lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu. Most often people will translate this as ‘may all beings be happy and free.’ You’ve probably heard a yoga teacher, or many, say that. While that’s sweet, the closer translation of the mantra is: may all beings know the feeling of balance (sama) and ease (sukha). There is a powerful distinction between happiness and ease.


Most of us have been programmed to think we need to chase this ideal of feeling ‘happy’ as often as possible. However the reality is that a feeling of happiness is fleeting and in pursuing that alone we can create the exact opposite effect, we’re getting stressed out trying to find and hold onto it – what a paradox! I’m beginning to see through the illusion and have focused instead on building a life filled with more balance and ease.


Since leaving my corporate 9-5, I’m slowly and very purposefully dropping into a simplified lifestyle, by design and choice. Believe me, it’s probably not for everyone, but I’m looking for absolute ease in my days. I don’t pack my schedule with plans and I don’t need to busy myself to feel of worth. I truly believe ‘happiness’ is an inevitable byproduct of ease. Consider this, in a moment when you’ve felt content and relaxed, was there not an inherent sense of joy and well-being that could arise?


To be clear, choosing ease does not mean I’m avoiding life’s challenging moments, or pretending that they’re not there, certainly not! I’m no fool – as long as I’m still here in this body, challenges and obstacles in many forms will show up. However, I am cultivating a sense of ease so that when the challenges and stressful moments arrive, I’m ready to move through them with more balance and grace to see how I can grow and learn from the experience. Less resistance, more ease and life seems to flow.


We’re a nation hooked on adrenaline and all the other stress hormones that keep us chasing after something and busying our lives to a point of total imbalance – constantly comparing ourselves to our neighbors. All too often we’re depleting our nervous system in a quest to acquire whatever type of happiness someone is trying to sell us next. I’m not so sure this is sustainable ‘happiness.’ What would your life feel like if you no longer chased after whatever was supposed to bring you happiness, and instead started creating more ease in your life? Would it feel different to you?


The practice of yoga is such a blessing. It has gifted us with many tools and techniques to help find AND maintain equanimity. Every pose and every breath is an opportunity to return back to that equanimous and peaceful state where pure joy can reveal itself. The deeper meaning in lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu has reminded me to slow things down, not over-complicate life and be ok with the simple moments. This is where my practice is focused and it feels right to me. I’m leaning into it very intentionally and hoping I can share it with you.


May you all know balance and ease,


Nat

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©2019 by Nat Kendall Yoga || Yoga Teacher San Francisco CA