The only thing constant is change.
The other day as I was driving my son home from school, he shared that 2 of his teachers would not be back next year as they were moving. And while he was sharing, I detected sadness in his voice. I knew he liked both of these teachers a lot.
And so we started talking about how things change; that life is always changing.
We all know this, but when change is unexpected or something we do not like, we resist it.
This seems to be part of being human, wanting to keep what we like the same.
In yoga we talk about the Kleshas (mental afflictions), that are the root causes of suffering. Two of the five kleshas are Raga and Dvesha – attachment and aversion. We have strong attachments to things we desire and aversion to things we dislike. So we are caught in this constant cycle of pushing and pulling to satisfy what makes us comfortable; often leading to further suffering.
Life is certainly easier when we are comfortable and happy with the way everything is. But life is always changing and our growth occurs the most through change. We grow through challenges and the times when we are the most uncomfortable.
It is during these times that we can evolve as a being.
I remember when I decided to start practicing yoga at home, I wasn’t always sure how long to hold a pose. Postures that I found easy I could hold longer, while postures that challenged me or I disliked, I would resist holding for more than one breath. I always struggled with the poses that made me uncomfortable. So naturally I always did more of the poses that I liked and far, far less of the poses I disliked.
Then one day I was in a class with a teacher and I heard, “Hold the pose long enough until you become uncomfortable enough to figure out what you can change.”
First, I realized I needed to be fully present in my discomfort to discern what I could shift that would bring more ease. Sometimes I found that it was my thoughts about the pose. Instead of having aversion towards the pose, I learned to find more acceptance and worked on becoming friendlier with the pose. That freed up space in my mind to begin to notice subtle changes I could make in the physical work of the pose to find greater ease. This relationship with ourselves, with the practice, and with the world is on-going.
Life will constantly pull us in one direction or another. Life will constantly change.
But with effort and continued practice, we learn to find more steadiness.
We learn to find balance.
We learn how to lessen our own suffering.
With love and light,
Laura McKinnon (& Sierra Sage)