In the 1970’s there were two television programs, like the "he" and "she" version of the same theme. The Bionic Woman starred LIndsay Wagner and the hero of The Six Million Dollar Man was Lee Majors. Both shows revolved around the adventures of two ex-agents who were still taking on secret jobs. And due to their former careers, both had specialized replacement parts...like an electronic eye, specialized hearing, and both had robotic legs...which allowed Lindsay Wagner to leap and jump, and Lee Majors could run faster than the eye could see. Whenever they needed to use their Bionic parts to catch a thief or the like, an echoing sound-effect would start to play, indicating to the audience that we had a front row seat for the action to come, as the frames of the scene became choppy in a sort of slow-motion sequence so that we could be right there with them whenever Lindsay leaped through the air, or Lee dashed a mile, both at “bionic” speed.
This show is a great example for keeping reality in check n the West. Modern times in the developed world sets us in a bit of "one or the other" thinking, we're either "here or there", if we're here we want to be there and if we're there we want to be here....our mind isn't content to rest in the gap of in-between, and this is where the Bionic Woman and the Six Million Dollar Man excel in that choppy-framed sequence. Being "in-between" or "in transition" isn't a state that we usually define or identify, so it becomes a bit of a hazy phase. We know we feel a level of discomfort, uncertainty, sometimes agitation, but we don't bring enough of our awareness to it to clearly define that we're in limbo. If something's wrong we fix it, something ends we begin something new, we fill the void that Transition feels to be. But Transition is an evolution, it isn't a void, and there's a lot going on in there. It's a very real, very valid and integral aspect of our lives; and we spend a lot of time being in transition...we wouldn't be creating if we weren't in transition.
If we use Yoga Asana as an example, the approach most people take is to envision themselves in (or more commonly, wait for) the next pose; leaving them mostly unaware of the pose they're currently in, and totally unaware of how they're going to get to the next one. Sole desire for the aim blinds us to the transition. Getting to the next pose requires as much involvement and awareness within the transition as the "final form"...transition is as much the pose as is the final form, the poses only act as two bookends for the transition.
Transition is what informs the aim...it informs the health of fulfilling the aim, it informs us of our current capabilities and where we might need to review before we proceed...the transition from one pose to another is hugely significant to our practiice and is what brings the practice to life; the transition is where we breathe. Reaching the pose is actually an end point, birthing the beginning (through breath) of a new transition. The actual transition is the active breath. Observing what we're being informed by while in the transition is what helps us know how close to mastering our aim we are.
We can do so much harm not only to our self but others too, when we try to reach our aim prematurely. Because we're not ready to be at the aim yet. We haven't gathered the information and maturity from the transition. And often, our vision of the aim when it's not yet reached, is being envisioned in advance of the aim actually happening, so our sight sits short of what the real outcome will be because the transition hasn't developed us yet. So when we're pushing toward our aim, let's slow ourselves for a moment and look around at what we might be missing, it could be of value to the aim, and we don't want to have to come back and get it.
Written by Vanessa Webb of Letters In Yoga
Photo by Frank Holleman on Unsplash