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Obstacles and Opportunities

When life feels out of alignment, heavy, scattered or overwhelming from obstacles that are too many or too large, a new perspective can be just the reset we need. This can be literal in the sense of stepping away from a situation to gain a broader perspective or a shift in mindset such as looking for opportunities rather than obstacles. Like skiing through the moguls or running downhill on a rocky trail, when we consciously choose to see opportunities rather than obstacles clarity emerges and, with it, stress and tension lessen and we feel more present, connected to and in harmony with our Self and our environment.

This can also be applied to our meditation practice. As obstacles arise – unpleasant sensations, emotions or thoughts – rather than pushing them away or wishing them away, we can see them as messengers delivering information to help us choose right action. A pain in our spine may be a signal to adjust our posture; a fear of uncertainty may be a reminder that this too shall pass and the only thing you can control in life is your response; a thought may just be passing through and simply need to be let go.

In the yoga teachings Ganesh, the great elephant-headed deity, represents this quality of clarity, simplicity and rhythm with life. He is known as the remover, or revealer, of obstacles. As Alanna Kaivalya writes in Sacred Sound: Discovering the Myth and Meaning of Mantra and Kirtan, “Ganesh’s outlook on life is essentially that there are no problems. He is basically awesomely okay with everything, including himself. He radiates a calm gaze and sharp focus. Problems do not bother him because he does not resist them or try to avoid them or out-muscle them. Rather, he accepts them and adjusts his attitude and perspective to meet them, and so he reveals the intrinsic power ‘problems’ hold for us.”

The chant, or mantra, you can use to enhance these qualities and characteristics in you is: