Always remember your humanity…for good or for bad…you will fall, you will blunder, you will do things splendidly, and you will rock the boat…but to love and be kind is the best we can do with it all. Our best is really all that things ever come back to…and our best is better on some days than it is on others. But our intent behind what we do is what makes it all count. From our intent we bring our heart, and from our heart we acknowledge our humanity.
It’s from our humanity that we draw our courage. To thrive in today’s world takes courage…not to survive as a daily existence, but to really thrive as a daily experience. Showing up to anything we do is the most important part of it all….because showing up with good intent to do our best, the best we can with what we have, can do no harm. It is in this aspect of our humanity that we bring our most valuable tools, skills, and attributes, because we haven’t succumbed to our self-doubt or undermining our capabilities.
Once we begin to doubt ourselves, and insecurity sets in, automatically we drop into making choices that are not true to our nature, they become choices which are more culturally acceptable, whether they are good or not, whether they are innate to our own heart or not. From here we begin to chip away at our humanity. We mold ourselves into something we’re not. This shuts down a piece of us and it shuts down a connection to that piece…we’re no longer a fully integrated human being. And when we’re not fully integrated, we’re not functioning optimally. This is when we begin to get depressed, lethargic, angry, any number of imbalances arise. To this we search for a “remedy” which we know won’t fix anything, but we no longer know what will fix it. And we begin to make outward mistakes which really aren’t so great.
Mistakes made from the best self are not the same as mistakes made from a self which has become more narrowly focused. From our best self we’ve opened up our perspective which brings forth our compassion. But we need to move away from equating our “best” with “success”, as defined by modern day cultural perceptions. To equate our “best” with the material “success” of the system of society, is to define our self by a measure of nothing. Society is made up of humans and humans are fickle…and all of us are fumbling along figuring it out as we go. We’re a humanity which, for the most part, has proven it will turn its face toward whatever new and easy and gleaming trend is next. There is no loyalty in that, no stability, nothing long lasting…so why base our belief about our success, and the evolution of our own dream, on humanity's measure of it. This measure is nothing at all…nothing could be more defeating. Considering the real success in life is not valued culturally. This lack of popularity engages us in acts of success which leave us feeling empty, and yearning to fill that emptiness. Our purchasing, eating, sex lives…so easily turn into unbalanced, unhealthy acts of grasping, as we attempt to use them for gain. We don’t experience them as expressions of fulfillment, of an inner harmony of being well on the inside. These leave a trail on our heart that constantly remind us that our internal best and outward success don’t necessarily dance together in glitzy glam fashion. Gauging our wellness instead, by knowing we show up and we offer our best in any situation…our “best” is our “success”.
Traditional value systems of any culture which are quickly losing popularity, are life’s guide to success…rely on these as you measure your steps…they’ve been brought forward through millennia for a reason. Anything that stands the test of time has integrity, and when aligned with this, our best is infused with love and kindness, and this is the true form of success (whether we like to admit it culturally). Dreams are meant to endure…so don’t base its unfoldment or its fruition on what others think. What humans think is whimsical, and is about whatever suits our fancy in the moment. Instead, define your dream by whether it has value to life…measure your success in that way, and show up as your best for that purpose. Define and form your dream to what is successful in the eyes of life, of enduring values which are life’s mathematical precision of success. Live the dream which serves life and fosters life, this is your best.--with love, Letters In Yoga www.lettersinyoga.com
Upon seeing a yoga class from a view at the door, my eyes wide, my mouth gaping, a foreign world of thought tumbled forward:
Look at all those people! How do all those people fit in one room arms in the air, front knee bent? What is that teacher offering them that they want to crowd into a room like that? How does this happen? What is the teacher thinking when he sees all of this…does he feel inspired by the turnout? Can he see everyone who he’s talking to? Is it just a business for him? How did all these people find out about the class? What made ALL of them feel it was a good idea to go to THIS class? Do they know why they went and what they’re there for? Is the teacher part of the industry…or is the teacher really that authentic? And teaching to that many students, who’ve all come crowding in, wouldn’t our world be a little better than it is? Or maybe it’s not the teacher, but what these students are willing and ready to receive from the teacher? Are they ready to receive authentic teaching, or did they crowd into this room because everyone else did? Do they know this answer? Are they connected to their heart, or are they only going through the motions? Are they aware of their capacity to grow? Are they aware of this concept, or are they just taking in the instruction from the teacher (physically, philosophically)…so that they have more to say…more yoga to talk about?
So many questions, and are they valid? I rarely have a positive experience in these rooms full of people. I usually feel like running out of them, I can’t roll up my mat soon enough. But I do know when I’m in a space which is welcoming and inclusive, even if we’re still practicing and growing our comfort zones. I do know this. Inclusive spaces can be crowded too, but somehow, in a different way. I don’t know about these other crowded spaces, they feel foreign to me. What do these people do with themselves when they’re not crowded into this space? Do they consider their practice further, or was it an hour they got done in their day, and have now moved on to something else? Like, what are they doing now that they’re not in that crowded room listening to the teacher’s instructions? What are they interested in when they’re not in this room? With so many millions of people “practicing yoga”, wouldn’t our world be heading in a better direction than it seems to be?
The truthfulness of our practice is Satya…and I wonder about this a lot, especially when we do things because of popularity. Truthfulness is not only about not lying, it is the ability to self-reflect. We define our perceptions by what we say and do, so understanding why and how we do what we do, is critical to Satya. Following through with being accountable for what we say and do is a marked sign of our development. Are we willing to mature in our practice of Satya? To become more knowledgeable about truthfulness, and wise with it, creates an intimacy with our practice. Being intimate with our practice is both uncomfortable and liberating, because it’s honest. This is why Satya is so scary for many people…we don’t want its discomfort, we don’t want its inconvenience, and we don’t know how to do it. When we do, we become removed from the crowd. But can we just do it anyway? Being accountable means we’ve thought through what we’ll say before we say it, or take action after having thought about the possible consequences, and whether these consequences stand up to what we talk about. Are we willing to clear up misunderstandings and consider others? Our society today fosters no accountability, nor do most crowded yoga studios, so we’re not required to develop this skill nor our practice. I’m not saying this about all crowded classes…I just wonder about the chronically crowded classes.--with love, Letters In Yoga www.lettersinyoga.com