One of the mainstays of yogic thinking, or understanding of the world, is that everything is about what’s inside of us. Not about what’s outside of us.
What we think about external events or people reveals more about us, than it does them.
It shows us our biases, our thought patterns, our behaviour patterns, the places where we don’t yet accept and love ourselves, the places we’re afraid to go, the respect we don’t yet have for ourselves.
Other people, and the circumstances of our life, trigger what’s already inside of us.
They provide us with an opportunity to truly see ourselves, to understand ourselves, and to make ourselves whole.
When we commit to embracing this transformation and evolution we shift our understanding of the way the world works.
Suddenly, everything is an opportunity for growth. The darkest of nights can contain the brightest of lights.
This is the pivotal choice we make in life. Everything else just flows on from that.
It is the choice between Power and Empowerment. Between Fear and Love. Between Resistance and Acceptance. Between Good/Bad and All That Is.
This choice… this is yoga.
Am I going to take full responsibility for my life?
Am I going to have the courage to face whatever arises, knowing it’s an aspect of me?
This choice means no excuses.
It means no blaming other people for our experiences.
It means no blaming the world for our experiences.
It means accepting what is, in this moment, and then working with it, as creatively as we possibly can, and using every tool at our disposal… like the divine beings we are.
This is the way I’m learning to live my life. It’s the way I’ve been sharing with you for nearly four years now, in Musings from the Mat.
At times, it’s been messy, I haven’t been able to see clearly, I’ve made mistakes, I’ve repeated patterns over and over and over again… but taking full responsibility for my life, my feelings and my thoughts has completely transformed me, and therefore my life.
I could never have done it without yoga.
The practice of yoga taught me to inquire, moment by moment, into my experience.
It taught me to witness what was arising in the moment, without reacting to it.
It taught me that I’m not my thoughts, and neither am I my feelings. I am that which lies beyond, seeing all.
It taught me that I don’t have to believe my thoughts, and I don’t have to react to my feelings. I can just see them, and feel them.
Yoga has taught me that I have a choice, in every single moment, as to what I say and what I do.
Yoga has strengthened that part of me which makes that choice – the hard choice, to not say that, do that, think that.
To reach our full potential as human beings – to get to that place where we are in charge of ourselves, where we are masters of ourselves – we need yoga.
We need to practice standing in the gap – between thought and action, feeling and words.
So I’m going to give you another chance to practice yoga. Not on the mat, but off that mat, here, with me.
Every week or so, I’m going to publish an article which explores an intimate inquiry, and I’m going to encourage you to do the same process on yourself. If you write a blog or website, you can write an article or post sharing your experience of the intimate inquiry. Submit your article in the form down below and I’ll link to your article at the bottom of this one. You can also comment below, or on my Facebook page.
Together, we can explore our internal worlds in a way that throws light onto what it means to be a human being in today’s world.
My question this week is:
What does it look like when you take responsibility for your life?
In my life, I remember the moment when I started taking responsibility for myself, and my life.
I was in my mid-twenties and living with chronic back pain. To varying degrees, I’d been experiencing issues with my back for nearly a decade. It was just something I’d always accepted as “part of who I was”. In fact, at times, I’d even used my back issues as a way to get out of things I didn’t want to do. It was a handy tool for manipulation of people and circumstances around me – although I didn’t see that’s what I was doing at the time.
Finally, the pain was so intense I went to get x-rays to see what was going on.
The prognosis wasn’t good. The spinal fusion I’d had at 16 was placing extra stress on the disc above, and it looked like I was heading for more operations.
I’ll never know what it was inside me… but something just snapped. I knew I couldn’t just accept my back the way it was anymore. I wasn’t going to accept another back operation either. I knew that it was time for me to take responsibility for my back and heal myself.
So I did. That decision, that knowing within me, completely changed my relationship to my body and to my health. From that moment on, I started to read and explore and question and inquire and practice and learn… doing whatever it took to understand my body, and the steps required to bring me back to wholeness.
Taking responsibility for that one aspect of my life – my back – and seeing the power it gave me to change my own experience of reality has forever changed my life.
Taking responsibility for my health and my back meant that I stopped getting angry at doctors for knowing nothing and instead starting looking for the answers myself. It meant that I stopped ignoring my body and started listening to what it was trying to tell me, and responded to those messages.
How about you? What does it look like when you take responsibility for your life?
- Embracing the Process, by Rachel C.
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