To get to this spot, we first walked through the sharp rocks along the water. After some time, we both decided to try a different route, by land through the mountain. We found ourselves lost, without a walking trail, bitten by mosquitos, having to slide under a barbed wire, and doing our best not to slide down the muddy parts. When the whole ordeal was over, my friend commented that I did quite well, rolling my eyes only twice the whole time. We snorkeled as we intended, and decided that to go back, we will go via water to skip the mountain altogether. Hard as we swam, we weren’t gaining a lot of speed as we were swimming against the current. My friend said he was tired so I suggested we go to the rocks. As the waves became stronger, my body was crashing against the sharp edges of the rocks and I got a few minor cuts. Now seeing the danger of the waves, we decided that the safest route would be via foot walking through the sharp rocks. Having only one pair of slippers between the two of us, there came a point we were throwing the slippers back and forth between us, just to make the walk a little bit more comfortable. One slipper fell on water, but luckily I fished it out eventually. And so after about 4 hours of this adventure, we got back to where we started. All was well again.
That night, I decided I will just chalk the entire day to experience, and lie down by the beach and look at the stars. That I did, and a few seconds after I lay down my phone beside me, a wave bigger than I expected crashed through the shore. As though in slow motion, I saw my phone being swept away by the water. And it was then, at that moment, not when I could have slipped in the mountain and died, not when I could have hit the rocks and badly injured myself, not when we were under the sun with no choice but to keep going forward, but then when I saw my phone being swept away, that I turned to my friend and said: This is it! I officially hate this place!
That was my tipping point. That was the peak of my frustration when I felt I couldn’t take it anymore. And we all have these “breaking points” in various situations throughout our lives. As yogis, our practice is to see the opportunity in transforming this tipping point into a turning point. When we get there, can we instead observe instead of reacting? When we get there, can we use that as a means to invert our thoughts? Instead of letting negativity consume us, we can create space to turn this negativity around, to allow us to learn more about our reactivity, our impatience, our expectations, our understanding of impermanence.
Next time that negativity arises, and the tipping point comes up, use it to observe your reactions. And there will be times when we fail to observe, when we fail to create that space. When that happens, let that be a practice of compassion towards yourself too. As it is stated in Patanjali’s yoga sutras, in chapter 2 verse 33, vitarka badhane prati paksha bhavanam. When disturbed by disturbing thoughts, think of the opposite.