Coping with life

Back to the joy of work?

Last month, a survey conducted by ArboNed reported that just 20% of people in employment are 'bevlogen' (motivated) in their work. 80% lack some or all motivation in their job, which is reckoned to cost an average of 1-2 hours in lost productivity – per person per day. Total cost to the Dutch economy: some 5 billion euros a year.

This comes as no surprise to me. Many people visiting my shiatsu practice, as well as those who attend the weekly classes, speak of frustrations, difficulties, feelings of despair and eventually depression in relation to their work and/or relationships with colleagues and superiors. People often feel trapped, not able to speak with anybody about how they feel, and powerless to change their situation other than by terminating their employment. More often than not this leads to physical problems, typically with digestion, breathing and sleep, as well as tensions in the neck, shoulders and lower back. Concentration and memory can also be reduced.

Yoga offers powerful and practical solutions for these ‘challenges’, as anyone who has followed my Holistic Yoga classes regularly will be able to confirm.

The recent World Cup – what was all that about?

At school I was always one of the last to be picked for the team. That’s probably because I could never remember which goal the ball should be shot into, let alone who were the members of ‘my’ team. But while football – and indeed the whole idea of one human being competing against the other – has always felt alien to me, I was intrigued by the effect it seemed to have on many of my fellow human beings earlier this summer.

I observed the frenzy – sometimes bordering on mass hysteria – as if visiting earth from another planet. Hmmm, if only I could get people to be as motivated to attend the classes…!

What struck me was that people basically wanted to feel part of the group, and enjoyed feeling more confident, more powerful than usual. Many experienced a sensation of oneness with others, willingness to communicate with complete strangers and the courage to be eccentric. It seemed that people wanted to show the other inhabitants of the world how good they were as a team.

All well and good – except that it was all accompanied by an often intense and obsessive attachment to winning. Continued happiness depended totally upon the end result according with the collective hopes and dreams…

For all those looking for a happiness that doesn’t depend on balls going into the right goals, read on!

Discover how to win the game of life – with Manipura chakra

Manipura chakra, situated in the spinal column opposite the navel, is your storehouse of energy. It is the centre of your dynamism: your fire (agni), willpower, self-esteem – and your ego.

In Buddhism, Manipura chakra is acknowledged as the place where Kundalini energy begins its ascent to the brain. It controls the spleen, pancreas, liver, gall bladder and digestive function – and is also related to the eyes and to the feet!

In my December 2009 article, I explained how the three attributes, or gunas, that exist in nature – tamas (inertia), rajas (dynamism) and sattwa (harmony) – influence us all the time.

Characteristics of an overactive (rajasic) Manipura chakra include: feeling courageous and powerful and seeking opportunities to gain more power (also over other people); being competitive in all situations and willing to fight one’s way up the ladder of success; being obsessed by winning – and not able to easily accept defeat.

Very often this picture is dulled or distorted by inertia (tamas). Then a person may begin something but never finish it. They may have a feeling of submissiveness and low energy, which prevents them taking action. Unable to understand how hopes and dreams can be fulfilled, they are always seeking others to tell them how to do it. Yet there is difficulty in relating to others, especially as motivation may be low. The intellect is dull, the digestive system malfunctions, the immune system is weak and there is little courage and energy…

What is needed is more creative intelligence (sattwa)! When Sattwa influences Manipura, one’s action is no longer ego-centered, but directed towards the good of all. There is no longer attachment to the result of our actions and more ability to accept things as they come without mental or emotional disturbance. At the same time, one is now able to achieve everything one attempts to do – the impossible becomes possible! And relationships become easier and based on mutual cooperation and respect for the needs of others.