Last week, or sometime in the not too distant
past, I was with a friend enjoying the warmth of the hot springs where we were camping. She had an upsetting experience where someone gave her a series of unsolicited comments about the way that she walked. The person told her that she moved from her hips and not her spine or some such thing. He said that she needed to have rolfing or some type of adjustment. The comments left her in tears as she had been experiencing back pain and so it was a point of vulnerability that he touched on. He said it in such a way as to say, hey, you have a physical defect. My friend is an athlete and so her body awareness is far greater than most of us. As we talked through the incident a few things came to light.
One was to center and know that her body was perfect and she was in charge of any healing that she needed. She had just completed a half ironman event so evidently, her body worked quite well. Two was to know that this stranger had crossed a line by throwing out unsolicited personal comments. He somehow wanted to connect with her and chose that means. Third was recognizing how the comments had hit a place of vulnerability and therefore triggered her own concerns. Fourth was to realize that she had allowed his comments to go right in and collapse her field. Fifth was the ability to gain a higher perspective and learn from this encounter.
My friend went from tears to laughter as she recalled a saying that her yoga teacher had taught during her teacher training. One of the key points in yoga is to hold your mula bandha ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mula_Bandha) engaged during the postures. It is: A posture where the body from the anus to the navel is contracted and lifted up and towards the spine. this is the grounding posture that holds the prana or life force in your body. Her teacher told them that you carry a field around yourself at all times. That field can be collapsed by others or yourself. He taught them to hold their field intact at all times. To let others’ words wash over them without affecting their field. His mantra for this was:
Mula bandha, mula bandha, thank you!
He suggested that when someone said something hurtful or unkind or simply unconscious, to say this mantra internally or out loud to the person while pulling in their mula bandha which is a way to reset and affirm your field. Literally pulling into your core, strengthening your essence. And then thanking the person for the reminder to feel and fortify your own field as well as reminding yourself that nothing can harm your field unless you allow it.
Mula bandha, mula bandha, thank you! We practiced saying that over and over and laughing after we said it. How funny that someone would throw out random personal comments! Ha, how silly of them. It is nothing to me. We started saying ridiculous things to one another and practiced our response: “Your nose it too big.” Mula bandha, mula bandha, thank you! and then a laugh.
It was fun to take that breath in, pull our cores in and feel the strengthening of that. To see that no one’s words need have power over us. They are simply someone’s idea of something. Ha! We have a choice to accept them or reject them or simply laugh at them. We can brush them away like a pesky fly.
These two figures that I saw at the art museum reminded me of the old way we had to armor ourselves and hold our stance in readiness of attack. In the new way, we know that we do not need to arm ourselves outwardly. We can inwardly set our energy field and go about our days knowing who we are. We do not have to allow anyone to define us by their words. Words do have power and can do great harm. How often have we allowed some comment made by another to replay its poison in our head over and over. Why would we choose pain by allowing those words to hurt us? So this was also a reminder to speak with love and kindness and to make our words ones that ennoble rather than tear down. We are our brothers’ keepers and we can use our words to add to the love and gentleness of our world.
And if you someone who does not understand this happens to cross your path today, remember to say and act on the mantra:
Mula bandha, mula bandha, thank you!
Smile, laugh and walk away.