One of my intentions has been to slow down (not necessarily do less, but slow down) and be where I am. My journey up to now has taught me that the greatest tool for hearing my truth is to listen with awareness, and for me this means I have to be present. This might sound simple, however in my life it takes continuous dedication and practice.
In doing this I have found I can practice living with greater focus on my responses to people, circumstances and things. It is so easy to react out of habit or pattern. In yoga we call these patterns or habits samskaras (impressions). We can fall victim to them and in the process diminish out light, power and usefulness. Unless of course we are aware of them - then they can become our greatest teachers
The philosophy informing the yoga I study and teach believes that every experience in life can be a gateway or path to greater awareness. The belief is that this awareness is what gives us freedom, because when we are aware we are alive to our responses, and we can choose to respond from the highest intention. I am forever grateful for this teaching because it has shifted my life in the most positive ways.
In this teaching, the emphasis is of course on "can"- because as we know sometimes we act out of habit (samskara) and the experience only creates a greater impression of our old patterns. This is the active component of our co-participation in life. We can't always choose the circumstances that come our way, but we can choose our "response". When we are in the cycle of unconscious "reactions" we might experience suffering, maybe even a sense of hopelessness. I know I have.
But like everything in nature we don't stay stuck. Christopher "Hareesh" Wallis says, "our soul will eventually say I am done with this phase of contraction and turn toward its own expansion." So our nature it seems is to expand. When we slow down and stay present we can hear our heart asking us to.
Christopher Wallis also says "Spiritual tension is our desire to transform, and equally our desire to honor and love ourselves exactly as we are in this very moment." So it's both. We are going to have moments when we "react" instead of "respond" and that's okay. We honor our journey, we honor right where we are. Yoga meets us here and that is where we begin our transformation...one breath at a time.
I am forever grateful for yoga, my teachers and my patterns!