Many people enjoy a drink (or something more) to relax. Sober, we can be too rigid with others and ourselves.
But some mornings we wake up regretting the decisions of the previous night. Intoxicated, we can lose those genuinely sensible boundaries.
Yoga teaches that right now is the best combination of all forces, without any modifications. No tough fronting, no destructive laxity, no optimism, no pessimism. But wait…no optimism??!?
We’ve really got little control over events. Think of days you have loads planned, are busy all day, but tick nothing off the list. Setting an agenda – trying to force events in a particular direction to feel good or bad about – is like writing a script and then performing for oneself. It’s not full engagement with what’s actually happening. Some (often self-critical) part of us is sub texting events and that’s energy not devoted to the situation in hand. Ironically, even optimism is a distraction, a loss of focus, and an as such invitation to failure.
This doesn’t mean abdicating responsibility and not bothering to try hard and do well. And it’s not all about work. It’s just a recognition that any and all situations run better when we’re not distracted worrying about whether we’re getting it right or not.
“Doing the right thing” isn’t a moral choice. It’s the absolutely practical next step, obvious in the moment. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable, and sometimes it’s hilarious. Yoga practice leads us to a state where all our life goals – family, social, work, etc – are literally always in progress. We’ll lament the bad times and celebrate the good, but we’re not de-focused by either.
Patanjali wrote of 8 aspects to Yoga practice. These include: dharana – the ability to focus and concentrate without distraction, dhyana – concentration so deep that we forget we’re even concentrating and it just happens, and Samadhi – we engage so deeply with events that we forget ourselves completely. Through Samadhi, we really are part of the very fabric of what’s going on.
The wonderful outcome of such a practice – the characteristic of Samadhi I guess – is that we know we always were part of the very fabric of what was happening. It was just a distraction that we felt separate from events. We’re right back here and now, confident that right now really is the best combination of forces currently at play. These forces can be uncomfortable, or outright joyous, of course.