The truth of the matter is that Yoga has some good ass teachings. It has some teachings which are as powerful as the bible or any other religious text you can think of.
The way I like to look at religions are that they started out as one guy or a group of people seeing hurt, pain, suffering and angst in the world. Seeing some unnecessary suffering happening around them, whether it be violence, dishonesty or someone stealing someone else’s wife or chickens (unfortunately back in the day those two things held about the same status on the village pole). These people decided to take action and try to help alleviate some of this pain, to help others see there is another way.
These people weren’t magic, they couldn’t physically do the things these texts say they could (I don’t think anyways), but these people seem supernatural to those at the time because to the best of our historic knowledge they were the first people to take this human self awareness we all have and do something positive with it. I am going to use Jesus as an example because, although very limited, my knowledge of who he was is best. Jesus was a guy. Jesus was a real person who cared deeply for those around him, he was someone who today may resemble a guy like Tony Robbins. Not that Tony Robbins is Jesus, but he can hold the power of a room like no other alive today, he can pulse positive energy through a group of people so well that he continually changes the lives of people who come to see him. I can attest to this, I have been to one of his workshops and I danced around and clapped like a maniac, something which is any other circumstances would seem completely asinine.
Back to Jesus. I feel as though he was a dude who could hold the attention of those who listened so well that he changed peoples lives, luckily for the better. There have been some negative examples of this in the past *cough*Hitler*cough*. I believe Jesus just wanted people to be better at life. To be happier and to treat others more kindly. The “rules” he talked about were powerful ones, although some being not too well suited to our current time frame, mostly ones about wives being property and some of the gay stuff (again I am no expert, I am using strictly the Google of Ben, no references here). Deep down his teachings were ones of ethics and kindness. How to be a good person in the world you lived in, he didn’t feel the state of man kind was headed anywhere good with war and pain being such a staple of his current time. He found people acting from fear, acting from a place of scarcity and treating each other terribly because of it. Be kind you assholes, to sum his message up. Love your fellow man, respect the natural world, help each other and be fucking honest!
This is where my journey begins, and probably ends, being honest. I grew up very lightly christian, very loosey goosey with my ethics, driven mostly by the pleasure monkey part of my anatomy. This isn’t bad or wrong, this was just my path. My teachings on how to be were instilled by my parents, my schooling and the kids I spent my youth running around with. Again, not a bad thing, but this could be one of the exact thing Jesus was trying to nip in the bud.
Until I began this Yoga Husbandry journey, or tagged along with it to be more exact, I never put a lot of thought into why I acted the way I did, why I thought the things I thought and why I felt like I was letting myself down so often. Humans want to be honest and good, we are all born innocent and full of love, its our surroundings and experiences which shape who we become. Kids are not born racist, I don’t care who you are, no kid comes into the world thinking the colour of a persons skin means ANYTHING. Kids are not born stressed out, or anxious, or angry or sex addicts. We all enter this world with a clean slate, primed and ready to be moulded into whatever our surroundings dictate. So how can we expect to be honest with ourselves when we are told too often that we need to be a certain way? That we need to meet some certain criteria to be valued in the society we are born into? We all have our roles here, we all have a place, but maybe the place we are meant to be in isn’t the one we feel compelled to fill…
Jesus’ teachings held honesty as one of the highest virtues man can have, I believe most religious texts and ideas are rooted in a similar place. Once we are honest then we can find our happy place. Honesty is one of those things that can lead a lot of places. It can get us in trouble at the same time as get us off the hook. It can make us sick with fear and regret at the same time as it lightens the load on our souls. What other actions can have this impact on our hearts? Probably others, but I’m writing this blog/article/rant/opinion/garbage, so the answer is only honesty can have such an array of feelings and outcomes attached to the same action.
When most of us were little kids we were taught not to lie, that if we lie we are bad, or that we are not acting correctly. Good idea, no? Let our future humans know that telling lies to others is not a great way to move through life, that it won’t lead anywhere good. I agree. I don’t know about you, but my narrative as a child was full or truth bombs and owning my shitty behaviour. When I was caught playing with matches I wanted to lie, I wanted to say something other than, “you caught me!”, but I couldn’t. That’s how I know my parents did their job in the truth telling realm. I carry this tell the truth narrative to this day, I try my best to own my outward actions and deal with whatever consequences arise from them. It blows. I haven’t been the best human ever, petty man child shit, some vandalism and dumb things, but if I was ever caught I owned that shit. It sucked and maybe I would have had a better time if I lied, but my heart would have known and I would have carried it to this day.
As an adult I like to think this is one arena I have instilled some awesome quality in my yoga wife. She doesn’t like rules, fair enough, but when the rules are warranted I have helped her see that being honest is the best attribute to have and I will lead that charge when kids show up in our life.
So what the hell does this have to do with yoga? Or Yoga Husbandry? Well there are different kinds of truth. One, as mentioned, is outward to own your bad actions or just be a good fucking person, the other is all inside. No words are spoken, no one knows if you are lying but you and your ego. It’s the easiest place to lie and, in my eyes, the most detrimental place to lie.
Yoga has these teachings called the Yamas and Niyamas. They are some “rules” you are supposed to conquer before you begin the asanas (physical movement) parts of yoga. We clearly DO NOT follow this in our current yoga culture. We wake up hung over, after a rough night out, maybe a fight or some drug use and head to a hot detox class to get our asses kicked and feel terrible about ourselves. Well some people have done that, not sure who….
I am not going to go through the Yamas or Niyamas, it’s a lot, but a simple reduction is the Yamas are “rules” on how to BE and Niyamas are the “rules” of how to ACT. That’s a very loose definition, but the BEING side is inward things you do for yourself to be and feel like a better human and ACTING side are the things you do to be a better member of society. Does that make any sense? If not, look it and you will find a MUCH better description and summary on the Google.
For my purposes here I just want to focus on the second Yama, Satya. It is truthfulness. If you notice it is in the BEING part of these teachings. In most religions these things are not separate, to my weak little snippet of knowledge anyways, the truth part of Christianity in my eyes is very dependant on being honest outward. That if you are honest outwardly, your sins can be absolved or forgiven. In Yoga, truthfulness is both being honest to oneself AND outwardly, but it starts from within.
All we know as people is what our minds tell us, reality is a depiction of what we decide it to be. I’ve talked about this before, the bombardment of information we are smashed with every second and how our brains use our past experiences, our upbringing and social norms to decide what info we keep and how we feel about it. Being honest to oneself is using this information to consciously decide what you want or need from the world. The ability to decide if you like olives, instead of it just being a fact that olives taste like sweaty feet after a run in the dessert. I use this because I HATED olives my whole life, now I fucking love them and they are the best. I had a story I told myself my whole life that they were gross, so I held that as truth instead of deciding for myself in this moment. Turns out my mind was changed.
Inner truth is much deeper than olives though, it is how we feel about ourselves and why we live the way we do. What if we encouraged our children to decide for themselves as they grow? What if we gave them support in whatever they showed interest in? Instead of the things we find acceptable in our society, or the things kids are “supposed” to be into? I think this next generation would look a lot different than mine. I didn’t have the ability to look up any information I wanted in seconds, I had to make up all sorts of facts to impress girls. I guess that wasn’t truthful….meh, I got some playground kisses for it. I bet you can imagine this from a kids perspective, the unhindered life they could have to be 100% free and follow their passion. If you don’t want that for your kids, your an idiot and ya’ll need Jesus, or Buddha, or Yoga or something. Now imagine this for you. Can you? Can you picture your life being exactly what you want it to be? The dream job, which has always stayed a dream because it’s out of reach. The travel you may have wished you had done before kids? Anything at all. What if you were deeply and truly honest with yourself about what you want in life? Would it look the way it does? Maybe. Maybe not too.
In my experience exploring these depths of my inner workings I have found that what I do and feel sometimes don’t always match up. This is pretty vulnerable place for me to share from, but for most of my life up until now I have done things for other people. Not in a way where I shut down and live the specific way they want me to, my parents were pretty rad that way, even if they didn’t fully encourage me all of my passions (BMX was for skids in my culture, so they were not real big fans of that one), they wanted me to be happy. So as I ventured and found things like BMX I was being truthful inwardly. Then the lies came, the fitting into the mould of what a BMXer is and how he acts. I got myself into some pretty fucked ass situations because I was acting from a place of non-truth. I was trying to impress some chicks or some “cooler” BMX dudes than me. I didn’t want to be in some of those situations and I knew that. I’ve always had this idea, when I watch a movie or see a news story of a group of guys doing something terrible, that there is at least one of those guys who doesn’t really want to be there, he is just following suit. He is putting his own truth aside to fit into the group dynamic he is currently in. It’s totally normal! It happens every second of every day, boys do it, girls do it, adults do it. It’s not wrong or bad, what it is is lying. It’s just as much lying as saying you didn’t break your sisters doll, when you sure as fuck did.
Yoga has taught me this and taught me that my inner voice isn’t always right. That in every second I get to decide how to BE and which path I want to take. Just like Jesus intended there is no real right or wrong, there is just inner the peace we are striving f
or. All of us want to be happy, I’ve never met a person who consciously chooses to ruin their life, unless it’s selfless then they get a pass, I’m thinking of you Jesus.
Alright, to sum this bitch up…. Yoga is like a religion in the way of trying to get us to be better people, luckily the dogma of yoga has somehow skipped, for the most part, the hate and violence other religions don as ther
e journey to truth. It has taught me to be reflective, see where my moral compass points and act on it, which requires inner truth in every way imaginable. Not just if I like olives, but being honest with myself on how I am acting, if I chose the anger I feel or if it was put there by my upbringing. It’s not easy and it’s not really fun, at all, it’s painful and difficult, but I can see over the last few years that I am happier because of it. I am finding my own path and I believe, most days, that being truthful to my own damn self is best. So I will move and dance like and idiot when Tony Robbins comes to town because in that moment it feels right and I will do my best to be good and kind to myself and commit to experiencing it all, even the shit.