People need people.
We are social animals. We surround ourselves with every type of human interaction. But along with this need and joy in communion also comes friction, disharmony, and hurt. Navigating those interactions with peace is where the practice comes in.
For me that practice is yoga and within that philosophy that practice is the four locks and four keys.
- The four locks are people who are: happy, unhappy, virtuous, and wicked. There are four keys to open those locks and retain a peaceful interaction.
- The four keys are: being friendly toward the happy (happy for their happiness), having compassion for the unhappy, joy for the virtuous (celebrating someone’s achievement), and equanimity toward the wicked (disregard, disengagement from those being hurtful).
Being a parent means those keys can get rusty. Having the energy and patience to be our best self is sometimes impossible. But remembering the practice is there and trying to follow it when possible is a step on the long path back to a more peaceful life.
I have wonderful spontaneous conversations with total strangers all the time in NYC. Recently while trying to get my 3-year-old to a class, after a grumpy morning from waking up at 5:45am, he fell asleep in the stroller on the way and would not be woken. This meant I had to carry him down and up 6 flights of subway stairs. Luckily a woman offered to help and we commiserated over the “tyrannical threes” or our “threenagers” (I just heard that term for the first time). And I didn’t feel so alone all of a sudden. We could laugh at the frustrations and smile in understanding. A helping hand and kind word went a long way.
And letting my son sleep was not only needed for him, but for myself as well – a quiet moment absent of whining, screaming, “its not fair”, and incessant demands and questions coupled with tackling me, jumping on me, pushing me, sitting on my head (his favorite), climbing on me, and stepping on me.
He’s loving the word “why” right now:
“You can’t go outside without shoes.”
“Because your feet will get dirty.”
“Because the ground is made of earth.”
“Because we live on Earth.”
“Because it is the perfect distance from the sun to be inhabitable by humans.”
Patience is the lifeline to sanity.
What is patience? Detaching from the outcome of something. Removing expectations. Allowing what is, to be what is. Letting life unfold without attempting to control the timing or timeline. Listening. Waiting. Breathing.
Patience is having faith things will eventually be better.