Every year around this time, as people’s attention shift to the Thanksgiving table, I hear the excitement in peoples voices about the upcoming holidays. Usually, they are looking forward to seeing their family of origin or family of choice.

But in a vast majority of people, I also hear a deep down dread. For some, it is seeing a particular sibling or relative that they have difficulty with. For others, I hear despair over not having a family or friends nearby to spend the holidays with. And then there’s the dread, for some people, of the socializing aspect of the Holidays with parties and get-togethers.

As someone, like yourself,  interested in Yoga, to meet these uncomfortable situations without questioning them and going deeper is missing a great opportunity.

When doing contemplation and inquiry on thoughts that arise, it is helpful to question them first. The mind is a great thinking machine – it’s job is to think, sort, file, figure out – often, after inquiry, I find that many of my stressful thoughts aren’t true at all – they are just thoughts my mind thought up. Very liberating.

So, the first thing on the list to do, when practising inquiry, is questioning your thoughts. The work of Byron Katie is excellent for this: http://www.thework.com

Byron Katie is a great teacher, I became aware of ‘the work’ maybe 5 or 6 years ago with her book called ‘Loving what is’ by Bryon Katie and Stephen Mitchell (Three Rivers Press / Random House 2002). She teaches 4 questions and a turn-around that can change how you think. It really took me by the heart and changed a lot of my inner world. I can’t recommend her work highly enough.

After you have your stressful thought in your mind or preferably on paper, Byron Katies’ 4 questions are:

1. Is it true? 2. Can you absolutely know it’s really true? 3. How do you react when you think that thought? 4. What would you be without this thought?  and Turn it around.

So get your stressful thoughts on paper and do the questions – if you need help with this, there is guidance on Katie’s website or you can get her books from the library to aid you.

So, after you have done your inquiry, then to deal energetically with the issues at hand, I use the power of Sanskrit Mantra.

For discord between family members I pull out the great Ganesha Mantra:

OM VAKRA TUNDAYA HUM

Salutations to Him with twisted trunk who eliminates negativity with the mantra HUM

This is such a powerful Mantra, that can break through the densest negativity.

For those of us who have moved to a new place or don’t have many friends and feel isolated:

OM MITRAYA NAMAHA

Salutations to Him who dispenses the energy of universal friendship

And lastly, for those of us who feel shy and dislike the social aspect of the holidays, here’s a great Mantra for feeling more outgoing. You can visualize your self becoming more and more Divine Love as you repeat the Mantra 108 times in the morning and night, and see yourself spreading that Love at every function you go to:

AHAM PREMA

I am Divine Love

So as we are contemplating our blessings this year on Thursday – maybe we can give some thought to the obstacles that we find on our path. These uncomfortable situations, reactions we have to certain people, the loneliness and despair sometimes we find within ourselves during the holidays, as blessings as well. For they show us were we need inquiry and energetic attention in the form of Sanskrit Mantra. Be grateful to them, as they surely give us our fodder on the spiritual path.

The Divine is showing us what we need to work on.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

With love,

Aly M. Dunne