Clarity can be hard to come by in our inner lives. It's one of the reasons we come to a practice like yoga - to get to know ourselves better, open the lines of communication between the seemingly disparate components of our being, and start to live our lives with clarity of intention, intelligence, and action. That's hard enough. But then we get to relating with other people in life, and clarity becomes as tangible as that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. An endless number of factors sully our understanding with others, from our own vastly colored perceptions to theirs, our life circumstances in the past and present, our future worries, our personal health and theirs, and on and on. It's a wonder that any of us ever understand each other, really. Yet, that's also another benefit of this yoga we practice. As we clear up own "issues" and polish the lens of our being, we start to see not only ourselves with more clarity, but others in turn. When we've studied and identified the depths of our own tendencies, habits, fears, and desires, we can't help but notice them in others. And when we've taken the time to apply compassion to ourselves and consciously move ourselves forward into a more integrated and effective state of being, we can approach others with more compassion and maybe even help them see a way forward, too.
Clarity arises from observation, understanding, and definition. It's a matter of studying the game being played in order to grasp the rules so that we might participate intelligently and make forward progress. If you've already jumped on our summer reading train, you may have had a chance to dive in to BKS Iyengar's "Light on Life." He describes this process of striving for understanding through yoga in his usual straightforward yet elegant way.
Even hundreds of years before Patanjali wrote the Yoga Sutras, Indian yogis were trying to see some pattern in the seemingly chaotic fluctuations of Nature. The infinite variety of natural phenomena gives an appearance of chaos, but, they asked, is it possible that the laws that govern the unending turbulence of nature are orderly and comprehensible? And if we can grasp how they work, would it not be possible for us to emerge from chaos into order? All games are meaningless if you do not know the rules. When you do, they become good fun. You still take a few knocks and lose a few games, but at least your are participating; you are playing the game. Yoga says you are playing the game with the body and self. By playing you can learn the rules, and if you observe them, you have a far better chance of success in life as well as of gaining illumination and freedom.
And so it goes that we strive for clarity within ourselves and the game of life through yoga so that we may be better players, and ultimately lift our whole team of humanity up in the rankings with each match played.
Yet, the fact remains that relating with our fellow players is hard. No matter how much we work on polishing our own lens, we still can't control how others think, what they say, and how they react towards us. Yet, what we can do is keep working on ourselves so that we're capable of choosing how we want to relate to others. We can even work to bring others to our playing field and define the rules of the game we'll play together. We can make a good faith effort at every turn to clearly define what we expect of ourselves and of others in our interactions together and make clear our responsibilities to each other. In doing so, we create the conditions to give us the optimum chance to have healthy and happy relationships with ourselves and with everyone else we choose to have in our lives.
So, I challenge you this week to compose clarity in your life in just one teensy little aspect. It could be as simple as clearly defining responsibility for household chores, or a yoga practice plan for yourself for the week ahead. If you're feeling really brave, it might mean sitting down with someone with whom you have a whole load of confusion, and taking the reins to guide the two of you through a simple, relaxed conversation so that you can start to identify with each other or find common ground. Or perhaps you have a business relationship that could benefit from a clearer definition of the rules of the game to be played. Whatever you choose to clear up in your life this week, be sure to get your own yoga in before you charge ahead. We always have to take responsibility for composing clarity in ourselves before we can find it with others.
Clarity in our minds starts with clarity in our bodies. So, to help you with clarifying your physical practice, the free video of the week is a tutorial on Adho Mukha Svanasana, or Downward Facing Dog Pose. As always, if you like what you see here, join us in the MOJO Member Space for unlimited MOJO all up in your face.