GOOD MORNING YOGIS
How can we put material things in proper perspective in what we call reality – a world of school fees, dental bills and football workshops? Or like me, how do you decide whether to buy a dishwasher, oven, or neither. I am in the “lucky” position that because of my yoga training in particular, my sense of worth is not tied to the money I may have, my job, or my status (or a new dishwasher). In the world we live in there is a tendency to define people by what they produce, or what they have. To become Biblical, Adam and Eve made the decision amongst plenty, to provide for themselves. They mistrusted the Goodness of The Universe (God), believing that something was being held back from them. Independence comes at a high price, especially when it is a rejection of the idea that everything is perfect as it is, and when we trust, everything will be provided to us.
Simplicity means a return to a position of dependence. I can have a dishwasher, or an oven or anything else as long as it is just that. As long as it fills a necessity and I am not confused about my acquisition. It won’t make me a better person, it will just give me more time, the question is “do I need more time or should I learn to use my time better?” To give it a position higher than a timesaver, is to make an idol of it. Greed and the need for more should not dictate our position. We must recognise that material goods are not for the benefit of just me, but for the benefit of everyone. I can rationalise the benefit of a dishwasher. I can say that it will benefit everyone and I can give you reasons, but really, I am just sick of doing the dishes. To grow, I have to learn how to do the dishes in a way that will make the task not just useful, but meaningful in a yoga way. When these things are no longer an issue a change will occur.
Aparigraha, the fifth of the Yamas asks us to be happy with what we have and not take more than we need. In the Bible the promise of material blessings was a conditional promise. It was not a blank cheque. “If you are willing and obedient you shall eat the good of the land” (Isa.1:19). We can see that there was a strong emphasis on the inward nature of simplicity (which some might call obedience) and that conditioned all the promised provision. There is always a connection between obedience and blessing. Like Karma – “Do the right thing and you will be rewarded” – “What goes around comes around”. There are many ways to say it.
Simplicity, compassion and gratitude are at the heart of yoga. Not down-dog, up-dog and handstands etc! The asanas prepare the body for the bigger learnings, they put our body and our mind in the right place to be ready to consider the larger issues and to develop wisdom and skilful living. Beautiful asanas are not the goal of yoga.
To discover HOW AND WHY YOGA WORKS (Pt.1), please go to www.myyogabooks.etsy.com