rising above it all with yoga’s tools for self inquiry

September 2, 2021 |

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Tools for Self Inquiry in Uncertain Times

There’s a lot going on in the world, and in the yoga world at the moment. In relation to that, I’ve been thinking about the importance of conversation. Particularly the nature of how conversation unfolds, and how we can use tools for self inquiry to remain empowered and more firmly rooted in truth.

Despite our best intentions, we can find ourselves feeling insecure amongst all the noise. Exposure to so many divergent, very passionately expressed opinions can feel destabilising sometimes because it highlights for us how much we rely on other people’s opinions to form our own. So, when opinions around us are as polarised as they are right now, we either become paralysed by doubt, or we ourselves become so polarised that we communicate our position defensively rather than seeking to find pockets of shared understanding

What I’ve noticed is this: in moments of high stress we tend to over-focus on whatever external thing we think sparked our reaction instead of getting curious about the reaction itself. And actually, it can end up being a missed opportunity if we let it pass us by without pausing for a moment of self inquiry. It reminds me of that really great definition – ‘reaction is the reactivation of an old pattern‘.

So in these high stress moments (that we often aren’t registering as ‘high stress’ at the time), it feels kind of pertinent to ask some extra questions, like why do I react? Where does this reaction of mine come from? What part of me worries that it’s not okay?

If somebody does something that we’re not aligned with, if they express an opinion that challenges our own, if the environment that we’re in doesn’t reflect our worldview or our values – why do we react? What’s the part of us that believes that the World or other people around us should exist as a reflection of our personal preferences?

These powerful moments of self inquiry are what sit at the heart of Yoga.

 

With all the division, judgement and lack of self-trust going on in the world, how can Yoga be your guide?

 

Yoga is here to teach us how to be less at the mercy of our external circumstances, how to become more firmly rooted in truth, how to participate in the play of life and not the drama.

How to sweep the corners of our own mind and look deeply enough into our shadows. That we become forgiving in the face of our own messy imperfections and kind in the face of others. Our mat practice doesn’t mean so much if we don’t also cultivate a worldview that motivates us to step up in the spirit of integrity and act in response to our values rather than our triggers. That’s what yoga in action is.

Where in our lives do we make space for things that aren’t actually aligned with our values? Where do we complain or judge, instead of taking the reins and responsibility for change? Where are we actually acting out of alignment with our values?

 

How self-inquiry can help us rise above it all

 

These wild times are a reminder to challenge ourselves. To rise above the noise, and to stay grounded with self inquiry. To ask ourselves, what are the simple steps we can take to tidy up our own side of the street? So we’re less preoccupied with what’s happening on the other side.

Ultimately, the story of how the situation around us needs to change is disempowering in the end. It places responsibility for our experience on something external. This means the only way our situation can change is if things around us change. And then, we’ve given our power away and we’ve placed it in the hands of something that’s outside of our control.

Stepping up to take responsibility for our situation is empowering. It means we have the ability to change our circumstances and that change can be immediate. It doesn’t mean we can control everything in our environment. This doesn’t mean we have to agree with everything happening around us. Very often, we don’t, it does mean we can always choose the meaning that we give to it. And I feel like that changes the quality of the conversation.

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