“An incorrigible slacker who’ll never make the grade”, thats what one of my old report cards from school said about me. I’ve spent the best part of my life trying to better myself. I tried to make up for my weakness and failings - to be; cleverer, stronger, earn more, faster, a better worker, more flexible, a better fighter, a better parent and so on. It was all driven by a sense of lack and a belief that if I made efforts in these areas I'll be thought more of and be happier someday . It didn't work, most of the efforts didn't really pay off and any that did, didn't make me happier. Always wanting my life to be more than it was, ahh... so f***ing tiring, striving can be good but it didn't have to rule my life.
We're conditioned to strive, do well and better ourselves, this mindset is pervasive to the point of being unhelpful. We often strive to change by using will power like a big hammer to beat our lives into shape.
Even when we come up against yoga, this mystical art practised for 1000s years to raise consciousness and loving presence, we, (western society) turned yoga into strength and flexibility training - appearance driven, achievement oriented and egoistic (with some new age fluff on the side). If you don't believe me check out instagram or facebook.
Can the old, original practise of yoga teach us anything helpful today?, yoga means 'to unify', its purpose was to reach higher states of consciousness - it only recently became a mat practice, but it was and still can be a more concious way of living and of loving...
What if; you accepted WHATEVER you are feeling now as being OK and good enough?
What if, you stopped trying to be better and instead, started accepting what you can feel, now.
In sensing whatever's there without judging, you'll notice things always dissolve and arise; discomforts, tingling, heat, cold, pleasures, worries, pains, even a feeling of lack…accept whatever feeling is in you and be in it; wait for it to go, it will, like an empty Doritos packet blowing away in the wind. All feelings are valid and ok, it's a sort of "Art of Letting Go"
Why let go?
Because when you let go, you feel more - beyond thinking to experience deep sensory landscapes inside you. You connect to your wild nature - ever changing sensations and feel the utter mystery of what it is to be alive. Deep affinity to this inner, sensory world is the connection to mystery and divinity - just like the yogis of old....
Let go of what?
The compulsive thinking mind - thoughts dominate our sense of presence and rule us. Let go of the noise of thought and you calm and enter clearer awareness.
Tightness - we cant feel tight muscles well, with attention, you can sense and let go of these - and instantly learn to move and feel better
Judgements - judgement always compares, excludes and separates. Let go of it and you will see things in a more compassionate and celebratory way.
I invite you to ask yourself, does my lifestyle and my yoga practice nourish me ?
Michealangelo was often asked how he sculpted such beautiful angels figures from the marble blocks, he would say that he just uncovered the angel that was already in there.
The point is, yoga equates to presence and can be used let go of what isn't helpful. When you let go, awareness deepens, to uncover what's already in there - the quiet spaciousness inside where things are well and unity can be felt. This is the source of healing and the essence of eastern yoga as it used to be practised. Others already on this path already can guide you, but it’s your exploration and direct experience that matter.
I'm still a slacker and there are lots of things I'm not good at. These days just I rest in the feelings the self judgements produce, they go ... and I drop into the peace and the innate wellness inside again - that's yoga.
Maybe you could relax into your body, right now, and without trying to be better, just feel whats happening - and experiment with the art of letting go.