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Humanity has a problem with balance.
Our cognitive abilities are the key to our humanity, but it is also our cognitive abilities, and all that comes with these abilities, that destroys our innate understanding of balance.
As thinking humans, we understand the concept of more
and we want it.
That want, that desire, is something to be let go of, but this hunger, born of more is strong enough to shatter the planet left unchecked.
What we lose in our cognition and rabid desire is the understanding of balance.
Balance is the idea of enough. Balance is the understanding that one person has no need for a million dollars. that one helping of food at your meal is enough, that my yoga pose may not look as good as yours.
Balance is the acceptance of contentment in this moment.
When we throw things out of balance with more, our instinct is to try and exert control over the situation, environment, pose or place we are in.
But if we step back and look, we will see that balance is something that naturally cultivates itself.
Look at the ecosystems of our planet. These are balances that have developed intuitively over the millenia of earth’s existence. They are systems that balance themselves naturally, without intervention. They are systems that embody the spectrum of existence, birth and death, joy and fear, sickness and health, dominance and surrender, violence and tenderness.
These systems intuit and maintain balance naturally because all elements exist within the system. They are present within the system and they are present in the moment. Within that presence, they inuit the understanding of enough, and through that intuition they exist in a harmony.
Our hubris as humans on the other hand takes us out of the ecosystem. By moving outside of these systems we fail to see how they work.
When we move outside of these systems, we are able to see the parts. We can see causes and effects. We can build models and understandings of these systems, but what we do not do is immerse ourselves within the system.
Yes, there is partial, objective immersion for the purpose of discovery. This is different because we maintain our awareness outside of the system. It is because of the shifting of our awarenss that our greatest asset, which is our ability to see things objectively from the outside, also becomes our graetest failing. It becomes our failing because it prevents us from being inside the system with awareness, intent and harmony.
And when we are not fully immersed within a system, present, aware and intent, the ramifications of our actions become lost to us.
Practicing Yoga is an example of this.
When we practice yoga, we seek to lose ourselves within the poses. We seek balance, the point in the pose where our unique body meets the pose and they join together.
This is not necessarily a perfect rending of the pose, rather is is the palce where the body conforms to the pose, but more importantly, the pose conforms to the body.
Yet when we practice yoga, it is easy to get caught in the perfection of the pose, and in seeking perfection, in seeking more, we upset the balance. We begin to look outside of the system, we remove ourselves to try and see from the outside what to do to make things perfect on the inside.
This is where we look in the mirror, wondering if we can straighten the spine a little more, or tighten the core a little more, or push deeper into the stretch.
This is where we find ourselves looking at others in the class, or watching the video, dissecting their poses in an effort to push past the balance between body and pose into the realm of perfection and mastery.
But notice that when our intent and awareness wanders from the mat, we fall. When we remove ourselves from this system and look at it from the outside, we lose the intuitive awareness of the system, which causes us to lose our balance, to waver, and to fall out of the pose.
This is why consciousness and awareness of the world around us is so important. With consciousness and awareness of the world around us, we can feel the balance, and then we can grow ourselves in that balance. We can flourish intuitively and we can better understand the actions we take in the present moment and the changes that those actions will create.
To cultivate balance:
Pull Your Awareness In
Not so far in that you are pulling into a silo of the self, just pull it inside of the system. Pull it in and try to feel the parts of the system moving around you. Feel your connection to the parts, the people, the environment, everything. Removing your cognition from the equation will let your awareness reign, and this will allow you to feel it.
I have only participated in one yoga class, I practice almost entirely at home, but in this class, I could feel it.
I could feel the other practicioners in the class with me, I was aware of them moving through the poses as I moved with them. There was a unity of awareness and intent that built itself and created a synchronicity between us.
This was not synchronized yoga, we did not move in perfect unision through the poses, but we all had an awareness of ourselves moving independently through the poses, combined with an awareness of where we were in the class.
Once you pull your awareness in you can observe from the inside. Observing from the inside is different from observing from the outside. Observing from within is seeing the world, and your place in it. We are often told to observe, to go to the mall and see all the unhappy people, go to work and see the misery of the corporate grind, go to school and see the brainwashing of our youth.
This is terribly easy. It is easy to sit and observe that which is moving around you, but seeing your place in it, as part of it, is much more difficult and important.
In that yoga class, I was able to observe the class and my place in it. This was not an outside observation. As I moved through the synchronicity of the class I was aware of my relationship to the pose, to the other practicioners in the class, to the instructor and to the environment.
Watch the Ripples
The easiest way to begin seeing your place in a system is to see the changes your actions create. The ripples of your actions are the extension of your intent, and awareness of what those ripples do will do more to increase your understanding than years of objective observation.
Again in this class, we were practicing, and I saw the ripples of my own actions. We were in tree pose, a pose I normally have no problem with when practicing at home.
In that moment, I lost myself into tree pose, and then I moved outside, looking at the others and at myself, and I tried to push further into tree by bringing my leg up, my chest further out and my arms higher up.
I took these actions, and I fell. I lost the pose, I lost the balance and I temporarily lost my place in that environment.
I moved back in, pulled my awareness back and re-opened it to that synchronicity and took tree where I found the balance, and felt the harmony of myself in the system.
Begin to cultivate your own balance. Pull your awareness in, try to feel yourself as part of the environment you are in, and then watch the ripples of your intent moving outward as you share this via the tweet and like buttons below.