“Do you have the patience to wait
Till your mud settles and the water is clear?
Can you remain unmoving
Till the right action arises by itself?”
― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching(1)
In work and play it may often seem the only way success, victory and even happiness is gained is by having won advantages over adversaries and colleagues alike. The individual self(ego), in opposition to some “other entity”, is always working hard to protect itself from loss, defeat, and most significantly, it’s own demise. So often the tools of this trade are the over reliance on struggle, resistance, aggression which results in the ongoing stress that are at the core of the human condition.
There are times when it seems this stress is the only constant in our lives. Our deeply ingrained habits and normal self-oriented perspective permits us to see only limited options and outcomes. The stronger our identification with our present state of being is, the more intense our fears of loss becomes and the more limited our experience of life. Our consciousness narrows and options for living seem limited, unsatisfying and ultimately, painful.
Yogis and sages have recognized these realities and see them as stemming from a mistaken notion that the smaller, personal self is all there is. From this begins the search for the solution that Yoga, meditation and our self-care practice can provide. Indeed, it can be that the most important and profound fruits of an effective Yoga, meditation and self-care practice can be a loosening of our reliance on these limited ways of being in our lives and substituting a new and wiser way.
Some Yogis and sages describe this loosening as a process of developing an ability to access a new and more expansive way of being with ourselves within the practice itself. This way may be described as, witness consciousness, neutral mind or choiceless awareness. From this we may gain greater skill utilizing insights accessed in our practice to transform how we see and respond life itself. The techniques we use in many styles of mediation create in certain moments a healthy detachment from any preference or judgment of our experience. This opens the away to contact new perspectives and higher consciousness and ways of knowing. This way can be called intuition or the “wisdom of the overview”. The Eco Institute website defines intuition as: “knowing something without thinking beforehand. It is that guiding “inner voice” which always knows the truth – what is ultimately best for you, in all situations. Intuition shows up in many ways, sometimes in dreams, flashes of mental imagery, positive & negative vibes, coincidences, synchronicity, insights, and gut feelings.”.(3)
Acknowledging and releasing fear based negative reactive behaviors in the crucible of our committed practice over time. It offers an opportunity to bring new ways of living to personal and professional lives. Habits, old attitudes and behaviors can be assessed more clearly as helpful or not and then challenged and adjusted accordingly. Sages believe we are at our best when we can live more wisely by releasing our personal self’s(ego’s) need for struggle and competition and linear rational thinking. This allows the alternative of living with greater awareness and compassion that can be the hallmarks of higher intuitive abilities.
As the sage Lao tzu states:
Mastering others is strength;
mastering yourself is true power.”
― Lao Tzu,
So Yogis utilize the physical and meditative practices not only for their palpable positive impact on the body and the mind, but also for the deeper insights gained in practice when we become more able to access and abide in this state of “choiceless awareness”. From this place of wisdom we may more faithfully be with the challenges and changes of life us and use them to move gracefully toward what they have to offer.
**** I want to clarify that all references to wisdom and the like pertain to my best description of a state of mind and mental faculty as it relates to what gaining more access to this state may add to our lives. All ways of knowing ourselves and world are important in their own way. None is intrinsically better or worse t and I am not intending any value judgement here.
(1) From Goodreads.com, https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/2622245.Lao_Tzu
(2) From Eco Institute.corg, https://eocinstitute.org/meditation/how-to-awaken-your-intuition-with-meditation/
( 3) From Good reads.com, https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/2622245.Lao_Tzu?page=4