It’s Who You Are, Not What You Can Get

Last week Chris and I watched the movie “On Yoga – The Architecture of Peace” (2017), which is available on Netflix. The film follows a photographer’s journey through yoga over the period of a decade, and draws together interviews with influential teachers from India, North America, and around the world. At times, my full attention was held by the beautiful but extreme yoga postures performed by some very talented physical practitioners. It was hard to hear the somewhat conflicting messages about how yoga is really more than a physical experience. But there were a few empowering messages that shone through, and one in particular that I would like to share here. Before I do, there’s a risk of underestimating the struggles that we move through personally and collectively, of reducing the ingredients into a simple solution. But sometimes a careful perspective shift can be helpful too, and I think that’s what this message offered me.

Dr. Dean Ornish is interviewed halfway through the film. In preparing to quote Swami Satchidananda, he warns that what he’s about to say may sound like a new age cliche, but continues:  “Nothing can bring you lasting happiness.” Then continues to conclude the Satchidananda quote “…because you have it already.” He continues, now in his own words:

“The real thesis of yoga is that it’s not that you get your health, your well-being, your inner peace from outside yourself, which is what our culture often teaches us,  but rather that we have it already. Then the question becomes  ‘What am I doing that is disturbing that?’ as opposed to ‘how to I get something that I don’t already have?’.It may sounds like semantics but it’s all the difference in the world because if your happiness and your well-being are what you have to get…  then everyone has power over you. But if the question becomes “what am I doing to disturb my own inherent health and well-being”, that’s very empowering because, that, I can do something about.”

This struck a chord in me because it is so easy to forget our ground. When I feel dissatisfied, “if things could only be more like…“, I forget that it is aspects of me that are feeding into this “disturbance”. I do this all the time. Yet I am a firm believer in the tools of yoga to help clarify my perspective and settle the heart and the mind. It’s not everything, but it helps.

Our desire is to offer a space to help you connect to the natural elements of yourself that know peace and long lasting happiness. We appreciate your individual journey.

Karen and Chris