(Looking for the January 2017 rebroadcast of this episode and blog? Check here.)
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This week we’re taking a look at simple ways to put things in proper perspective, as it’s just so darn easy to get caught up in the toils of life, make mountains of molehills, or even start to think of ourselves as grand masters of the universe. Living can be exhausting like that, right? That’s why you and I do this work with yoga, meditation, and personal development. It always draws us back to a place of equanimity, balance, and the inner peace that comes from freeing ourselves of the grip of emotional and circumstantial extremes. This week’s blog and podcast shed more light on this critical aspect of our practices.
And, to support our work on the subject this week I’m offering up a chance for you all to work with our newest Visioning Meditation, first featured in the Find Your MOJO Challenge. This meditation helps us keep our focus on the bigger picture of our lives, and put our present moment in proper perspective. Practice this meditation with us here on the blog for free this week, and ever after, join us in the MOJO Member Space for unlimited access.
On to the blog…
"What's true is that we are only the temporary custodians of the particles which we are made of. They will go on to lead a future existence in the enormous universe which made them." - Stephen Hawking
There's an awful lot to be worried about these days. At least, that's what it seems like when I get to reading the "news" or get caught up in the minutiae of my daily life. The economy sucks, everyone is broke, and conflict abounds in all its large and small forms. The struggle is always real.
Now, I consider myself to be a staunch optimist: very much on the glass-is-half-full side of things. And I absolutely love the form my existence has taken. My life is pretty darn good, all things considered. But even that doesn't keep me from getting bogged down in the drudgery of the human condition from time to time. Things don't go as I hoped, planned, envisioned, or *gasp* expected. Then a few of those turns of events pile up on each other, and next thing you know, I'm left feeling disappointed, mopey, pissed off, or even downright hurt.
It's just part of this being human that, no matter how great things are, we're always wanting for something more, something different than what is: the "grass is always greener" syndrome, if you will. And this isn't to trivialize the worries of myself and my fellow human being, for there are indeed many things we encounter in this existence that are very much cut of the cloth of suffering.
Rather, it is to say that when we cast the shadows of our sorrows on the backdrop of something like, say, the infinite space and time of the universe, our individual worries can tend to look a little less all-consuming. I was reminded of this in the last week as I watched accounts of Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko's recently completed year in space (check out the video below for more on that). Every time we hear from a human who's ventured outside the Earth's atmosphere, we hear about the automatic shift in perspective that space travel creates in our minds. When we remember, or even see, that our entire planet is just a fragile, miraculous ball floating in the expanding vastness of space, we can't help but be humbled, awed, and somehow soothed that our problems aren't so big after all.
Our yoga can do this for us, too. Yoga, in its essence, is the quieting, the mastery of these fluctuations of the mind, so that we, the seers, can rest in our own true nature of pure consciousness. In case you’re interested, that’s Patanjali's Yoga Sutras 1.2: yogas chitta vritti nirodaha, and 1.3: tada drashtuh svarupe avastanam. (Thanks to swamij.com, for ever insightful translations!)
The practice of yoga, as it seeps deeper into the crevices of my life, helps me keep things in perspective, to recognize when my monkey brain is just bouncing around out of control. To paraphrase Mr. Iyengar, Yoga gives me tools to gain mastery over parts of the human condition that simply needn't be endured, and tools to help me feel alright about those things I just have to go through as a being in human flesh.
I'm sharing with you below one of my favorite documentary features from Stephen Hawking that helps illustrate so much about our place in space. In particular, he paints a picture for us to see what the universe looks like when we are released from time on a human scale - where stars and galaxies are swirling, colliding, and morphing in an infinite cosmic dance. Well, at those moments when I start to feel overwhelmed with the concerns of this life, however small or large they might be, that’s precisely where I like to imagine myself: little 'ole me, floating around somewhere in the middle of all that grandiosity. And that’s because ultimately that's where I hope my efforts, toils, and yoga will eventually take me, or my particles, to reside forever: to that place where I’m no more than a speck in space.
If you didn't listen to The MOJO Show above, be sure to press play now. In a first for the podcast, I guide you through a meditation that'll take you out of this world and help you keep the perspective of a speck in space. Try it for yourself this week, and let me know what you think. Happy space travels, MOJO Mob!
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Also Mentioned In The Show:
The Simpson's Expanding Universe Intro