One of the hardest aspects to grapple with within yoga philosophy and spirituality in general is the idea of the Authentic Self and the false self. It was a relationship with a student that finally demystified my intellectual understanding and brought it to life.
You and I are human beings. As long as we live and breathe, we are going to experience reactions. We are not practicing yoga to eliminate reactions. We are practicing to weaken or (maybe … one day …) even eliminate the power our reactions have to dictate our responses to life.
If you, like me, are a recovering control freak, this one's for you. Here are three ways to practice letting go of your need to control. When we step back and redirect all that energy toward ourselves – controlling our desire to be in control instead of trying to control the world around us – we feel 1,000 times better.
Admit it. As funny as the line is, you too have said or wanted to say, "Oh. I wish I could, but I don't want to." We humans just don't always want to do the right thing. This is one of the real-life stumbling blocks that yoga philosophy can help us navigate.
Did you know that “Be not afraid.” is in the Bible 365 times? There are enough “Be not afraids” that we could read a different one every day of the year. That is how important this message is to anyone seeking a full, spiritually deepened life experience. Interestingly, while yoga philosophy doesn’t phrase it quite the same way, “Be not afraid” is a central message to yoga seekers on and off the mat.
Many of us get stuck "fixin' to" do something. "Fixin' to" does not create results. Results come from practicing and doing. Preparing is a good thing unless you get stuck there. A yoga practice is a powerful way to train yourself to slide gracefully and courageously from the "fixin' to" stage into rich, illuminating, growth-filled action.
Your chosen spiritual practice(s) are like a GPS for life. Whatever your practice, you have chosen a tool that helps you get where you’re going. But you do have to allow it to lead the way. When you stick to the “route” suggested by your practice, you will get where you’re going with fewer wrong turns and detours.
The giants of science teach us that the most mind-bending breakthroughs often come from a simple, but radical change in perspective. Poking at what we know, seeing where our certainties pinch or confine us, having the courage to close our eyes and set these certainties aside for something completely new – this is the kind of thinking that changes lives. No matter what you do, you can practice setting aside what you already know to free yourself for to grasp new possibilities.
When we tack "yet" to any statement beginning with "I can't," we are embracing our potential. When we say “yet,” what we are saying is that we believe that we are always, from the moment of our birth to the moment we take our last breath, becoming the person we were created to be. It makes me smile that such a tiny word indicates our immeasurable power to change and grow. This is a state of mind or perspective that makes us almost unstoppable.