There are people in our lives who cannot yet see us for who we really are. Whether it’s due to ignorance, apathy, stubbornness, or just not taking the time to do so; they lack to ability to see our truth. This leaves us with the huge task of not closing off to them because they are for the moment blind, or shutting down because they made us question whether that truth really exists, but holding the space inside ourselves for that truth to live regardless of what’s happening around us. Have you ever seen a bloodhound hot on the trail of a fox following the other dogs to see where they’re going instead of using his nose to follow the scent? Of course not! Using our own nose is how we become equanimous in our nature, this is how we become truly happy.
When we shift our mind from wishing things were different or wishing they would stay the same, to being equanimous regardless of our circumstances, our emotions step out of the way allowing us to act from our hearts instead of REacting from our dis-ease. Let’s face it, our civilization is based on creating comfort. We are in fact obsessed with being comfortable at all costs. With pills and gadgets and businesses, we have created an art out of comfort. But the dirty truth is that by not allowing ourselves the opportunity to feel our discomfort, we will never be able to be truly happy. We will always desire things to be different or to have more or to feel less. The real art is in becoming equanimous regardless of what is happening.
Life will always be dirty, and ripe and smelly, and beautiful. It’s not about becoming a zombie who doesn’t feel anything, it’s about learning how to smooth out the peaks and valleys of our emotions. From this middle ground we can then raise the whole bar. Everything becomes better, brighter. There is no such thing as perfect. This is the human condition. This is how our lives become illuminated. Imagine if every story we heard was our idea of perfection. The Wizard of Oz would become Dorothy landing in Munchkinland as someone shouts “Follow the Yellow Brick Road”, five minutes later she’s at The Emerald City going home. Who would pay attention to that story? No lesson learned, no triumph, no growth or fortitude. Heroic stories inspire us because the hero perseveres through their struggle. And not by kicking and screaming and complaining but by learning and growing. Similarly, no one would read a story of a Knight on his way to the castle who gets stuck in the swamp and gives up. Just because you get stuck in the mud doesn’t mean you have to lie down with the pigs.
Yoga teaches us to recognize our discomfort and our resistance and then stay. The only way our bodies and minds open to more space is by discovering where our boundaries lie. We begin to hold more of ourselves, and along with it more compassion and more loving kindness. We are the ones to embrace this journey to true happiness and must be the ones to teach our families, our friends, our communities, and especially those who we perceive as against us or unable to see the truth.