The focus of the month at Jivamukti has something to do with “Shelter.” Giving shelter, making sure others are sheltered, finding yourself always sheltered…
I’ve been a bit spacey in class since my birthday, and need to pay more attention. But I’m sure it has to do with the idea of “Shelter.” It happens to be perfect timing since my roommate and I are currently meeting potential third roommates to live in our soon-to-be vacant room. Who will receive our shelter offer?
During headstand, I counted 17! I’ve lived with 17 people whether it was in the same room, or under the same roof. That doesn’t include my family, or summers at camp. I went to team basketball camp, Jesus camp, and Jewish camp. Basketball camp is self-explanatory. Jesus camp included bible talk, Christian pop, and lies to get out of mandatory 7 AM swim. Jewish camp had nothing to do with religion, but I was the only Catholic, and I was surrounded by Jews.
To sum it up, I’ve lived with people across the spectrum, whether it was in an apartment, a dorm room, a bunk, or a room upon the MV Explorer during Semester at Sea. I’ve shared tiny spaces with various religions, an army girl, a Steelers fan, a cousin, a high school friend who had the tendency to make strange sleeping sounds, a Jeopardy contestant who read the Encyclopedia, and I even shared a bathroom with 4 other girls at one point. I chose to live with guys after the filled to capacity bathroom situation. That was an adventure in itself. I could go on, but I won’t.
Where am I going with this? Well, the yoga teacher mentioned how some of the oldest yogis were forest dwellers. Hence “tree pose,” and other forest and animal sounding poses. I don’t know where she’s getting her facts, but I’ll buy it. “They observed their surroundings and tried to feel how their surroundings felt. They took on the shapes surrounding them, trying to find their similarities. They focused on what makes them the same. They didn’t focus on their differences.” I can see how “tree pose” came out of an observation of nature and the idea of oneness and interconnectivity.
Take this idea and apply it to living situations and roommates. We’ve all had the unbearable roommate, the annoying roommate, etc. Hell, I’m sure I’ve been both to some (below is a picture of one of my past roommates trying to put lipstick on our sleeping male roommate). Even in relationships sometimes the other seems just that: OTHER. Instead of focusing on differences, try and see similarities and find the connection. What makes us the same?
The fact that I’ve lived with so many people and been surrounded by countless nuances and idiosyncrasies, has without a doubt, made me a highly patient and tolerant individual. We all just want to be happy. If you can see that in others, it makes them seem less different than yourself. If someone happens to take on the shape of a tree, don’t judge. Try it on, feel it out, and learn a bit about yourself and the other. You might be pleasantly surprised, or terrified, to find you’re one and the same.
Some of my closest friends have surprisingly come out of just that!