One For You. Three For Me.

This past weekend I visited the Art of Living Retreat Center for a Happiness Retreat in Boone, NC. And yes, you do need to go to one. It was everything I needed and didn’t know I needed reminding of – highly recommend! It was filled with intention, breathwork, meditation and to top it off, a guru! The center’s founder, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (Gurudev for short), spoke to us on three occasions, elaborating on his five sutras of a happy life. They are:

  1. Opposite Values are complimentary.

  2. Don’t see intention behind others’ mistakes/ignorance.

  3. Don’t be the football of others’ opinions.

  4. Accept people and situations as they are.

  5. The present moment is inevitable.

While I reflected on these and the practices taught, the second sutra stood out as deeply profound and eyeopening to me. In fact I had been wanting to post on something similar earlier, but was lacking the context and grit to make it come together. Gurudev’s explanation of it change that for me.

Don’t see intention behind others’ mistakes/ignorance.

Given there are fiver fingers in a hand, this is the second of the five sutras so if counting you would be at the index finger now. Your pointer finger. The finger you use to bring attention to something or someone else. The finger you point at when calling something out you either don’t like, are amazed by or even don’t know what to make of. The part that made this full circle this weekend is realizing that for every one finger you point at something or someone, there are three pointed back at you! One for you. Three for me. Let’s dig into this more.

The idea of what you are focused on in life starts popping up more and more is real. It’s because you are now aware of something, thinking about something, and ready to spot it when before it would just blend into the background. This is called attention bias. It shows up as noticing a certain car you are thinking about buying. You start seeing bangs everywhere if you’re thinking about getting them yourself. You can’t help but find more grouchy people if you already think the world is filled with them.

So when you point your finger with a preconceived notion that someone was out to get you, there are three more fingers pointed at you telling more about yourself than the person that was more than likely ignorant to their actions or had simply just messed up. The one finger at them says very little about them and more about how you interpreted the encounter!

And this can apply to both negative and positive examples!

An example on the negative example ,which I saw unfold just yesterday on Instagram, is one we all know too well. Political views are highly charged right now. Liberals and conservatives are feeling very strongly about their perspectives on both sides. And given these polarizing viewpoints, people are extra sensitive to anything that looks, smells, feels like a threat to their base. So when one person posts a quote about equality, protection and taking action against the things viewed as unfair, another may sees it as a direct attack on the messaging they are working against, whatever it may be! A person points a finger stating you are pushing your liberal agenda on us, when in reality there are three fingers pointed back at them stating they cannot tolerate another viewpoint being expressed!

Now go back to childhood. Did you ever point your finger at someone and call them something less desirable? Whatever name you were calling the other person said far more about you than it ever did about them! When you bully, shame or call out others, it comes from a place of uncertainty, bruised egos, and shaky characters from the people doing the name calling.

For the positive side, this same theory applies. I made a new friend this weekend and noticed she had on a necklace with seven different colored beads for each chakra. I immediately thought, “she’s into the chakra system. I love learning about the chakras! I love the book I’m reading about the chakras. I bet she would love that book too!” I literally pointed my finger at her and said, “you would love the book I’m reading!” Ha, she might. But more truthfully, I love the book I’m reading and wanted her to like it as well, which would justify that I am smart and reading interesting content.

Also think about when you’ve been in a space of love, appreciation and compassion. Did you find yourself starting to see more of those qualities in the people around you? I know I did and do, every time.

So try this out on yourself. Think about a time you used a “You are _______” statement. Now replace the “you are/will” with an “I do/am” instead. How does that change the message? What does it say about you? How do you feel about that? Now just sit with this and yourself.

My head exploded a little when I really thought about this. What we are focused on in thought, literally starts to appear in our reality – simply because we are so hyper-aware of it! And when we start projecting those viewpoints, opinions, messaging onto others it always says more about the person pointing the finger. For every one finger pointed, there are three more pointing in the opposite direction.

So before you start shaking fingers and placing hands on hips, perhaps take a breath, pause, look inward and listen. What are you really saying? What are you really proclaiming? What are you representing through your actions?

Know this life is yours. And it is a beautiful one, but only if you know how to point it out.

Have an idea for a future BREATH TO BREATH interview? Email me! Perrin Live with intention. Move with gratitude. Breathe with purpose.

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