“You wouldn’t believe the shit week I’ve had”
“Oh, what happened?” I asked.
“My husband’s been in a bad mood because his job might be at stake, the kids seem to have made it their mission to piss me off, and my thoughts just won’t stop racing. It’s like this big dark cloud that’s following me.”
Knowing her background as an accomplished Yoga teacher with happy students from both private 1 on 1’s and group settings settings, I was a little surprised to hear of her suffering.
Knowing her background as a human though, it wasn’t surprising at all.
“What about your Yoga and morning routines? Do they help?” I asked
“They do” she responded. “But only while I’m actually doing it.”
Why Yoga Fails to Heal
This isn’t an uncommon scenario. Everyday we’re presented with new experiences in our life, and since eating chocolate pretty much always beats racing a deadline–we have certain preferences.
The largest part of what we call “personality” is determined by how we’ve opted to defend ourselves against anxiety and sadness.Alain de Botton
Those preferences are rooted in how we relate to certain thoughts around an experience.
Let’s look at an example.
For some people, cleaning is the worst of chores. Doing the dishes is like being asked to walk on hot coal, and then taking a break midway…
For others, cleaning is their gateway drug to experiencing freedom.
“Finally something I can control! Once the outside gets tidy, my insides will follow suit.”
The outside experience may be identical but the inside experience might be two opposite worlds.
Here’s the key takeaway:
We live our lives from the inside out, not outside in.
The cleaning chore itself isn’t the problem. The problem is that you have certain thoughts around that chore that you identify with.
“Aha, so If I change my thoughts I change my experience?”
Well yes, but given the rough estimate that you have approximately 60,000 thoughts in a day–it doesn’t take long to realize that you aren’t the one producing all of these thoughts.
I mean geez, there’s barely enough time in a day for a workout, you think anyone’s got time for 60,000 thoughts?
It’s not about what you think, it’s that you think.
When you realize that you are not your thoughts, and that relating to these thoughts as something personal, in fact is a slightly odd thing to do–all the thoughts of why you hate cleaning loses its meaning, and that creates a new experience.
Let’s bring it back to the Yoga.
Yoga fails to heal because there’s nothing to heal.
Dissecting the Narrator
“Of course there are tons of things to heal! Let me tell you about…”
If you stop in your tracks for just a second.
That voice that’s right now dissecting this article and explaining everything wrong with the previous statements. That narrating voice that you don’t control and that blabbers on endlessly like a radio without an off-button…
That’s the voice that you mistakenly identify with.
That’s the voice you think in fact is you, and that tells things as they are–the truth. At least to the best of “your” knowledge.
This is what created the problems to begin with.
By believing that the thoughts are real, problems begin to solidify.
But when we can see thoughts for the creative fluffy nothingness that they are–problems don’t feel so solid anymore.
It’s always easy to hear about someone else’s problems, but always a bummer to have them yourself.
Here’s the great joke though:
You’ve always been hearing someone else’s problems.
Thoughts aren’t personal.
They aren’t you.
This is by no means a knock on Yoga.
Yoga is a fantastic tool to have many amazing experiences.
The body tends to really like it too.
Yoga fails to heal you because it’s not designed to have you see through the core of your issues: the self-identification with endless thoughts. At least not the way we do Yoga in the west.
Also check out Why I stopped Meditation After 10 Years Practice.
The sailor doesn’t control the sea, he chooses the direction to go–not the waves to come.
Just don’t go thinking that you are the waves.