As human beings we tend to avoid being still. Our minds are designed to create thought and they do it very well. We create identities, ideas of who we are and what we want. Then we create problems for those identities and solutions to those problems, repeating this cycle countless number of times each day. These turnings of our mind are so powerful that we then take physical action to solve the problems our minds have created. We actually create the structure of our day to act out and support what our mind tells us is important! However our senses have created our desires, our desires have created our thoughts and our thoughts have in turn created our action!
This may seem obvious and perfectly acceptable, except that what our mind is telling us is reality may or may not be real. Regardless, the mind is so powerful that we have accepted the reality it has created as absolute reality. We become so used to the movement of our minds that stillness feels foreign. We fear that if we are still, we will miss opportunities, not be enough, or not show up for our responsibilities. This is scary, so naturally we avoid it. We perceive comfort in the familiar.
Even though we know our minds are spinning, we let our thoughts take the reins of our life.
In the path toward stillness, we begin to realize and understand that the mind is designed to create thought.
In yoga these thoughts are called vritis. Some of our thoughts are based in reality, but some are not. When we act upon any thoughts, whether they are true or not, they get reinforced. Over time we can build an entire thought empire based upon a single thought that we had ages ago. This is how we can wake up one day to realize that our lives are not at all what we intended them to be. Worse yet, we may never realize why this happened in the first place.
It is only in stillness that we can start to sort though the constructions of the mind to realize the fluctuating nature of our reality and our relationship to it.
Without stillness, our mind continues to cycle from one thought to the next. We are just passengers on the train of our mind. When reality appears to be outside of us, it is very difficult to grasp the concept that it is constantly being created in our mind. In actuality, we are in control of our perception of reality. On the path of yoga, this realization is the goal.
Scott & Ida are Yoga Acharyas (Masters of Yoga). They are the head teachers of Ghosh Yoga. This blog is about their experience with yoga practice, study and teaching.
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