Getting Over Our Preferences and Discovering True Peace & Happiness

If peace and happiness are our natural state, what would prevent us from experiencing ourselves as anything other?

Buddha said "the root of all suffering is desire." As soon as a desire is born, a preference takes shape. Therefore, the root of all suffering is our preferences–our likes and our dislikes. But where do our likes and dislikes originate from? What makes us value or want one thing over another?

In the yogic texts, the origination of preferences comes from our samskaras. Samskaras, or "scar," are the individual imprints or impressions made on our consciousness from our life experiences. Together, these individual imprints make up our human conditioning.

When a samskara makes a negatively oriented imprint on our consciousness, it creates psychosomatic tension that usually remains unmet, unless the individual has the tools and awareness to relax and release the tension immediately, during and after the impression is being made.

If the tension is not met fully, relaxed and released, then it can manifest in other ways, including fear, physical pain, illness, unbalanced perception, a biased or skewed view on reality, depression, self-protection, anxiety, anger and frustration. When the tension is fully met and allowed, the experiences of life can filter through all the energy systems without any blockages or stagnation. After the tension is met, it can then be released. When there is no tension in the mind and in the body, peace and happiness is what remains. 

In yoga, we aim to bring this unmet tension in the body and mind to the light of awareness. One of the main tenants of a therapeutic approach to yoga is to make the nervous system feel safe in the midst of uncovering and exploring bodily tension. Safety first. 

When a safe space is created the body feels supported, the mind can relax, allowing tension to dissipate and dissolve. When the mind becomes free of thought, preferences, agendas and defenses, and the recognition of our natural state of peace and happiness deepens, and eventually it is all that remains.

Ayla Sarnoff