An Airbag in the 8 Limbs: Gratitude Towards Living

Just the other week I was at an annual family reunion in the Carolinas for Thanksgiving. I mean it's quite the reunion -- there are around 80 of us on a small year, and up to 150 in the years where everyone's schedules can coordinate. It's that one time of year where four generations can get together to relax, celebrate, and catch up. This year, after the Thanksgiving meal had been enjoyed, we got the fire pit going which became the gathering point outside for conversations lasting well into the evening.

At one point, a cousin came outside to let us know that three of our family members were hit by a drunk driver on their way home that afternoon. A hit and run. They were on their way to the hospital, but we didn't know many details. Finally we were given the news that thankfully all three were okay but were staying for more tests and should be home soon.

I remember the next morning standing around the breakfast table with my grandmother (who's two sisters were in the wreck) discussing the most recent updates on everyone's status. Then the conversation went something like this:

Aunt: So it looks like great-aunt ___ will be ok, except for a bruised ribcage and trauma to her trachea. They have to keep a watch on her chest and lungs for a bit longer with some tests. 

Grandmother: Oh, it seems like those airbags just do more harm than good! 

Uncle: No they don't -- it probably saved her life! A bruised ribcage is better than a broken skull. 

As soon as I heard this exchange I thought how important it is for us to live like we were saved by an airbag! Even with all of our bumps, bruises, and life's tough spots and challenges -- at least we are here. Alive. Living and breathing.

It's a simple concept, but one that very much plays into the yogic philosophy of "Samtosa" (contentment). This quality is part of the "Niyama" limb of Patanjali's 8-Limbs of Ashtanga Yoga. Contentment with life. Gratitude towards living...

...even with all of the bruises and occasional broken pieces.

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