For the record, sometimes I spend the first 20 minutes before I write a blog post like this…
Well, apparently, I am. Friends, I am a gossip. I grew up in a big family in a small town, so while I perhaps come by it honestly, truthfully it isn’t something I always love about myself. Interestingly though, while researching this post, I learned (much to my relief and chagrin) that we are all are gossips, all of us. In fact, according to Psychology Today gossip is necessary, it is how we connect, learn to behave, and maintain social order. Apparently gossip reinforces our moral code so much so, that without it, we would fall apart as a society. In fact, one evolutionary psychologist claims that gossip is perhaps the reason humans developed verbal language in the first place.
So, if this is true, why does no one (myself included) love to admit that we do it? Probably because, while perhaps it is necessary to the proper functioning of society, there are times where not only is it unnecessary, it is unkind. I thought about this the other day, when in a stupid moment, I said something that I instantly regretted. It wasn’t cruel, but it wasn’t necessary, and it wasn’t kind. And quiet honestly, if I could have shoved the words back down my throat the moment they escaped, I would have.
So, how do we decide? What is the good, community building, morality maintaining gossip and what is just, well, gossip? Over the years, particularly the last twenty or so, yoga has become more and more about the physical practice, the asanas. But originally it was truly about having a moral and ethical practice, the asanas were simply a tool on your journey. Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra is sort of a guide book on how to live morally, yogically. It outlines eight components or limbs we are to follow to find the path of pure bliss. In the first limb the Yamas, the first Yama is Ahimsa, the practice of non-violence. A very very rough translation of this Yama states to practice Ahimsa, we are to practice compassion toward all living beings.
So yogically, that is the answer…if you are going to gossip, which apparently we all are, do so with compassion. A good rule of thumb really for most things, if you can’t do something with compassion, just don’t do it. For the record, I am still very aware that that was not what I was doing that day in the office, however, luckily by practicing Ahimsa we are also meant to have compassion for ourselves. I made a mistake, as I often do, and I will forgive myself, and I plan to one day…but that my friends, is a whole other blog topic.
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