Yoga is like travel; it’s a continuous journey with no finish line. Many people in Western Civilization have the notion that they must race to get to “the top”, chasing the life that society expects of us.
This may hold different meanings to each individual, but is mostly in regards to careers, financial goals, relationship goals, physical goals, etc.
This is not to say that you shouldn’t set goals for yourself, but there’s a fine line between goal-setting, and only being able to live in the future, constantly looking ahead at what can be better.
People all over the world tend to live this way, but it seems that Americans particularly seem to be the ones who are living less in the present moment, and focus more on what could be better. Needless to say, this is not a very healthy way of life. Having goals and achieving them is one thing, but to be constantly “looking out” for what could be better or newer is just no way to live. This dilemma stems from being discontent and unaware.
It sounds cliché, but being materialistic (fat wallets, nice clothes, a new car…) is not going to keep you happy when you’re alone with yourself and your thoughts, and therein lies the problem.
Many people DON’T spend time alone, and therefore do not even have time to recognize their discontentedness. In our culture we are so absorbed in today’s technology, our busy schedules, social media communication – on TOP of real life socialization, that we don’t have enough time for ourselves.
We are generally unaware of our potential unhappiness and are therefore unable to change the pattern.
Yes, life does have an expiration date… but we do not have to “climb to the top” to lead a fulfilling and happy life. It takes a lot of effort and time to constantly be seeking out something better.
Instead, we need to learn to slow down, and spend more time alone reflecting on what it is that we actually want out of life. Life is short, and I believe that more and more generationals today are discovering that their career does not = life.
We are blessed with the idea that we don’t have to have a career and settle down after college. When you have the knowledge and ability to sit down and reflect on what it is that you want, manifesting and achieving goals suddenly becomes a lot more accessible.
It’s not the constant struggle of attaining new things or money, but coming to the realization of what changes you can make to attain peace and happiness within yourself.
This is where yoga comes into play. This is a practice that you will never be able to complete. It is simply a way of life. There is no finish line. There is no certificate. “Masters” of the ancient practice spend their entire lives meditating and practicing yoga with nothing to show externally.
Cultures that teach and implement this practice into the lives of children at a young age seem to live at a much more thoughtful, slower pace. The practice of mindfulness is something that is thought to be just as important as social and economic skills. Travel and exploration is encouraged, not feared.
Yoga and meditation are a part of many people’s routines, if not their foundation. It helps to remind many people that you don’t have to be the best at something to achieve satisfaction, because it’s actually an extremely humbling practice.
Some days you feel like you have super powers, and other days you’re so unbalanced that you can barely stand on one leg.
This is the whole point of the practice – to listen to your mind and body and to do what’s best for you at the moment. The same goes for making life decisions. You will reap nothing out of life if you’re constantly looking ahead and ignoring your inner thoughts – distracting yourself with mindless matter and comparing yourself to others’ successes.
You must put in work and time to get to know yourself so that you can live a more peaceful, thoughtful way of life that you enjoy and don’t want to constantly change.
I found an extremely inspirational quote from the great Anthony Bourdain. I followed his travels for years, and was constantly amazed at his child-like curiosity of the world.
“Maybe that’s enlightenment enough: to know that there is no final resting place of the mind; no moment of smug clarity. Perhaps wisdom… is realizing how small I am, and unwise, and how far I have yet to go.”
This is the mindset that we need to step into. We don’t need to be constantly striving for the next best thing when all that does is distract from our potentially wonderful present moments.
The Traveling Yogi