Understanding and Overcoming our Wounds
We sometimes meet people who are at a stage in their
lives where their experiences and the changes that
they have experienced are leaving them in a state of
It is sometimes interesting to see that people who do
have freedom, who do have wealth, who do have
opportunities, can become so lost and wounded mentally
and emotionally, and engage in actions and behaviors
that further hurt themselves and may hurt their loved
We seem to need or look for at times someone who will
fulfill our needs, who will say, �yes, I understand�,
�yes, I love you�, �yes, I can see how and why you
feel that way�.
Unfortunately, those people are seldom around or
available to us, and even those that we are closest
to, our husband or wife, or our parents, may not have
the capability or interest to say these things to us.
They may be so out of touch with themselves or lost in
their own confusion, that they can not see us and our
struggles or needs.
They may even ridicule us for having these struggles
or needs or make things more difficult and worse for
us in their words and actions.
There is something about the experience of life, with
our hopes, our dreams, and our needs that can easily
lead to further confusion and a mental and emotional
deterioration when we are not getting the feedback and
input that we may need, look for or hope for from
This writer remembers a woman that he knew some years
back in Thailand, a Thai � Chinese woman who was a
schoolteacher and a single mother of a confused boy.
One time I complimented her on one of her tendencies,
I believe it was the effort that she was making she do
the best she could at being a good teacher, and she
replied to me that no one had ever complimented her
before in her life.
Maybe in all countries, cultures and societies there
is a tendency to ridicule or insult others, or put
pressure on others telling them how they have to be or
should be instead of making them mindful of how they
Our use of language and words and how and what we say
Bhikkhu Bodhi, the president of the Buddhist
Publication Society in Kandy, Sri Lanka reminds us
that �speech can break lives, create enemies and start
wars, or it can give wisdom, heal divisions and create
When we speak with wisdom, with love, with compassion
and with understanding, we can light a spark in
another that one can grow and build on.
Some of the people who seek guidance from the study
and practice of Yoga and Buddhism do come to it in a
severely wounded state.
What can Yoga and Buddhism give them?
They can give them a new understanding of their past
and present life experience.
They can take the confusion and pain, the wound that
they are experiencing and feeling and help heal it,
and turn it into a fountain for wisdom, so one can
They can give them a physical and mental state of
relaxation, mindfulness and focus.
There are many things in life that are difficult to
There are many things in life that are difficult to
understand and know about.
When we are young, we require guidance so we will have
an understanding of what life�s challenges are.
If we do not receive that we can grow in ways that are
not focused and out of balance.
In fact, we may not grow at all, or grow into
something or someone that is confused, damaged and
hurtful to others.
Sometimes our problems are small and solvable, just
requiring some understanding on our part, or are as a
result of some unskillful or unhealthy action, habit
and behavior on our part.
Sometimes these problems may be deeper and more
complex, regarding our own sexuality, our ability to
stay focused, and our ability to accept.
In sharing our knowledge and experiences about Yoga
and Buddhism with others, we frequently do meet
individuals who are wounded.
How can we assist them in dealing with their wounds.
One is by talking with them.
In this situation, the teacher is taking on the role
of compassionate friend, listening and sharing, giving
the individual an opportunity to talk about their
As we all know, this can have tremendous therapeutic
It can awaken one to things within themselves and help
them better understand those feelings and assist in
letting go of those feelings that may be overwhelming
Feedback from the teacher in situations such as these
should be gentle and compassionate.
Quick or harsh answers may not be helpful at all.
Questions are very helpful, as they can redirect the
practitioner�s mindfulness to other aspects of their
thoughts and feelings that would be beneficial to look
at, explore and learn from.
The skillful individual will question with patience
instead of admonish with impatience.
This is more of a personal thing also, built on the
teacher�s understanding of the teachings and how well
they have been implemented into his or her own life,
plus their own personality.
If they have cultivated loving kindness and compassion
into their own lives, they will be more able to react
to another�s sincere searching with understanding and
compassion and this will manifest in how and what they
say and speak.
Many individuals who are new to Yoga or Buddhism and
coming from a debilitated mental and emotional state
need to experience this kind of personal and human
warmth and touch.
Initially, it can be quite important in their practice
of the path.
In a gentle manner, their attention needs to be
directed to what the teachings are offering them.
This will take more effort on their part, because as
individuals we sometimes think that we are above the
teachings, or that we do not need the teachings, or
that we just need things to go our way and everything
will be all right.
Individuals and practitioners may feel all right for a
while, and then fall back into what we might term, a
state of chronic funk.
With an understanding of what the teachings give us,
we can avoid the return to this state of funk, or at
least not make it so intense, or frequent or long
Teachings do not solve all of our problems.
They give us a foundation for a better understanding
of the internal and external forces that create
confusion and problems in our mind.
They also give us a set of mental and physical actions
that assist in weakening those unwholesome states of
Usually when individuals are drawn to Yoga or
Buddhism, it is the physical aspect of the teachings
and practice that seem to hold the most interest for
them and they find initially to be the most
The increased feeling of relaxation leads to an
increased feeling of aliveness, so our problems are
less overwhelming, and seem easier to accept and deal
Of course, a problem can develop when individuals
start to escape through their Yoga and Buddhist
practice, thinking that if they study, study, study,
and practice, practice, practice, those things that
are causing them problems will go away or suddenly
This is not true.
If one pursues this path of escaping through Yoga
instead of growing through Yoga, one will still face
problems and challenges that overwhelm and confuse
The teachings and practices that make them up give us
a foundation for understanding. But there has to be
action based on that understanding.
There has to be a new approach in and to our thinking.
There has to be a new approach to what we say.
There has to be a new approach to what we do.
The teachings gives us guidelines to build this new
The practices give us the focus, insight and
understanding to see the wisdom of these new
(1) Bhikkhu Bodhi. The Noble Eight Fold path: Way to
the End of Suffering (Kandy, Sri Lanka: Buddhist
Publication Society. 1999) page 45
�2003 John C. Kimbrough
(John lives and teaches in Bangkok, Thailand, He can
be reached at johnckimbrough@...
Yours in Yoga,
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