The Right Questions Are Half The Battle In Life
Sometimes we perceive the object of frustration, happiness, sadness, fear, love as a fixed reality. We identify the emotion to one specific thing and the more we close in on that identification the more suffering we create. If on the contrary we can step away and see that we have the freedom to change that notion, that the object and the emotion are not one, we can end suffering. If in that space we can identify the object for what it is then we can transcend the emotion and see the object in a new light. Boxing and labeling things is a human habit. We do it to feel safe and in control, but in the long run this need to know it all, control it all, have it all in some sort of order, ends up tying us and suffocating us. All that once had life will eventually begin to change or die, just like the moment we are born is the moment we begin to die. It is entirely up to each one of us to maintain that life, and experience it in a profound, aware manner. By recognizing that it's in our power to change perspective we have access to freedom and to making whatever the object of frustration a fountain of even bigger and greater freedom. Give yourself a chance.
I'm going to give a personal example to this. I've had quiet an eventful year with my body, looking back I've injured every part of it in the past 20 months. Not majorly but enough to have to adjust and step back. I felt very stuck in a rut. It's been very frustrating, especially with teaching through it. I felt let down by my body and by the practice which up to now I had used to heal. I blamed it - the practice - as the object of my suffering and frustration. I thought perhaps after all it wasn't for me. Dreams shattered, goals collapsed. I felt doomed. I realized how I had created this whole identity around my practice. Ultimately injury after injury was exactly what needed to happen in order for me to see what practice really is. Practice is not about jumping back and trough, the order, the intensity, the amounts of asanas, the perfection of it all. Well it is until it isn't and then it is again. I had to go away and allow myself to not do the practice as I knew it. I went back to practice hatha yoga, I built a wonderful little practice holding postures for 3 to 5 minutes, meditation, practiced pranayama, but most importantly I sat and looked at nature, I allowed myself to be taken by the breathlessness of its beauty, it's appearing stillness and foreverness and yet it's ever changing subtle nature behind the obvious to the eye. I had to be in silence and in love and be taken by life. It was scary to let go of all I knew, and to not listen to the voices created by the mind about failure and unworthiness. I had to let go of the identity of I as an 'Ashtangi'-whatever that unfortunate label happens to be- as the box I had created for myself as the 'Ashtangi' I had planned for myself to be 6 years ago. I had to put in it's place a I surrender, a 'I have no idea what is next' and I had to let the practice teach me. And it showed me it's not about the form, it's about the intention, it's about showing up, it's about stopping when you need to and going when your ready. It's about faith in life as an ever changing and evolving wonderful thing. It's about trust and impermanence. It's about love and acceptance, it's a soft discipline that stems out of love. It evolves to be that, it's not born that way but when the seed is planted right it evolves to be something you could have never imagined it to be.
So my invitation to you is let yourself be taken by life, by not knowing, by doubting, by exploring and going where you need to go in order to find out. As the upanishads suggest: The right questions are half the battle in life.