Cut Loose: no return
Nearly everyone who knows me remarks that there’s something different about me, because I do yoga. Most of them say they would like to have what I have. And yet, only a tiny percentage actually make it to a programme. I often wonder what it is that’s holding people from back from reaching out for something they recognise as valuable, that’s accessible to all. Today I had an insight.
Today I finally gave in to pressure to update my mobile phone. My old one had served me very well. It had done everything I needed it to, which, honestly wasn’t very much. But nowadays, there are people for whom email, land line, mobile, Skype, Facebook and Twitter are not enough. Unless you have WhatsApp, they won’t speak to you! And my bank now won’t allow me to make transfers from home unless I have a Smart Phone. I’d also recognised that certain apps could save me a lot of time and energy. So, I went into the phone shop, SIM card in hand, and asked them to cut it. It needed trimming to fit the new phone.
As they cut it, I had a moment of trepidation. That was the moment of no return. You can’t have 2 SIM cards for the same phone number. Once my SIM was cut, I couldn’t back out and reinsert it into my old phone. What if I couldn’t learn how to use it in time for my 5am alarm call? What if I needed to contact someone urgently, before I’d had the chance to learn my way round? [This did happen!] Would I have to relearn everything that had been automatic, and would it be worth it?
There are actually many analogies with starting yoga. Yoga is a science, a profound technology, which allows us to access things that can seem like sci-fi when you don’t understand them. It opens up a whole new world, which is wide open. Boundless, full of infinite possibilities. But what if you like the safety of the handrail, and don’t feel ready to step into the unknown?
When you start proper yoga, it reshapes you in a subtle way, so that you simply don’t fit into your old habits – or they don’t fit you. You become able to release yourself from so many things that bind you – likes and dislikes, limitations and fossilized behaviours. This is liberating. It allows space for something new and wonderful to take shape, to blossom within you.
But it can also be a little daunting. And I think people sense that. It’s that that stops them taking the step they know they desire.
The thing is that at every stage of our growth, we have to leave behind what we perceive as security if we want to find freedom. How else would a baby stop crawling on the ground and walk upright? I remember the time my nephew first learnt to jump! Even a small jump from a single step took a lot of bravery.
When we’re children, we have our parents to encourage us, and to promote our development. But once we become adults, there are so few people around us who have taken the next step that it seems “normal” just to stop growing. Once we have sufficient know-how to deal with the fundamentals of survival – getting enough resources to eat, sleep in shelter and clothe ourselves, we stop looking for more demanding needs, like finding fulfilment. Instead, we settle for fleeting pleasure, entertainment and distractions.
Even though we know that those things will not bring happiness, they do not need as much courage as questioning who we are and what this life is really all about. There are people close to me who would rather continue doing what has not worked for their entire life rather than invest a few minutes a day in trying something new.
I grew up hearing the expression, “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t,” a prime example of how our culture – and language – uses fear to extol stagnation rather than liberation. Unless you explore, you can never know what the “other” actually is.
It’s such a shame that society isn’t investing as much into promoting internal technology as it is into external technology. There might be a period of being unsettled, of adjustment, and unfamiliarity, of unlearning and relearning. Let’s be honest, we face these with so many situations in the outside world anyway.
People say: “It’s not the right time. I have to take care of my children” without realising that they will take much better care of their children if they invest some time in their own wellbeing. They will be much better parents if they are more balanced, loving and joyful!
Others say: “I have too much work. I’ll do it when the pressure’s off.” When the pressure’s on is exactly when you need tools to stay calm despite all the crazy nonsense that’s going on around you! Improving your ability to think clearly under any kind of pressure, to have insight and to be decisive are naturally going to enhance your capabilities at work.
But until someone forces you, will you do it?
Some people buy new gadgets for fun. Many others update our technology only when external situations force us to, when it is no longer possible, or practical, to function with the old technology.
It’s a mistake to think that growth should stop at adulthood. In fact, after we have reached our physical peak (as we reach adulthood), that’s really the time to see how we can keep our body from deteriorating rapidly, as the ageing process is inevitable.
If we invest in our inner wellbeing, then even when the body starts to decline, our energy, perception and capability in many ways can keep increasing.
You can wait until your system, your inner technology, becomes obsolete and crashes. Or you can access ways to keep regenerating, keep updating, and obtain a free wireless connection to an infinite source of energy.
“Whatever mechanics and dimensions of this existence, if you just provide me the needed atmosphere, I can take you to any one of them and fix any one of them. I am not a god, I am not a Guru – I am a mechanic. I can take you to the mechanics of this existence, whatever dimension it is. Whatever needs to be done, I can fix it. That is the 100% potential.” - Sadhguru