Welcome to our new weekly blog series! Each month we will feature one of our amazing Bread and Yoga teachers sharing their thoughts or teachings from their class with you and our community! Today’s post below comes from Joseph Glaser. Check back every Saturday for a new post.
Often people attempt to live their lives backwards: they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want so that they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you really are, then do what you really need to do in order to have what you want. -Margaret Young
What does Margaret Young mean when she says, “… we live our lives backwards?” We talked a little about this in last week’s blog. We tell ourselves once I _____________ (master all the Yoga asana, have a great apartment, am in a loving relationship, am popular and famous) then I will have what I want. The problem we run into when making our fulfillment dependent on external circumstances is that everything outside of us is temporary. Lovers part, children grow up, and the stock market climbs and falls. Even when we do get what we want we continue to feel incomplete. I have a tendency to believe that my fulfillment is dependent upon how many errands I cross off my to-do list each day. Even when I finish my mind continues to look for more ways to be productive. It is never satiated.
So if the world outside of us can’t bring us fulfillment than what can? According to Margaret Young, we need to be who we really are and do what we really need to do. In Yoga we call this our Dharma.
The barrier to being who we really are is that it requires bravery and vulnerability. When we put ourselves out there some people will accept us and some won’t and that can be very unpleasant and painful. Often in an attempt to avoid pain and vulnerability we decide it is just easier to fit in. We do what’s popular even if we don’t like it. This can start from a young age with peer pressure and stay with us into adulthood. However, what builds up inside of us when we aren’t able to express ourselves is even more damaging than the pain we may experience. Anger, tension, resentment, anxiety, and judgement begin to take over if we don’t let ourselves out.
The good news is that we are all in this together.
Doing what you need to do is similar. Sometimes it means looking someone in the eye and telling them the truth even though it may disappoint them. Sometimes it means quitting your job and becoming a yoga teacher even though that makes no logical or financial sense. Sometimes what we need to do is logical and sometimes it isn’t, but it always feels right. The practice of doing what we need to do is based on faith and intuition rather than logic, and that also means a risk of pain and vulnerability. What happens if I make the wrong decision? What if everyone thinks I’m a fool? For awhile it may seem the ground has been taken out from underneath us, but we will find it again.
The good news is that we are all in this together. We can help each other because all know what it is like. This is part of the human spiritual evolution. So next time you have to take a risk know that you are not alone and that will help you be a little braver. It will help you lean into the uncertainty and vulnerability rather than run away from it.
The whole practice is learning that we are enough exactly as we are and that nothing needs to change to prove our worth. We are enough! When we know this and act from this knowledge not only will we make the world a better place, but then we will have everything that we want.