As human beings we tend to be very focused on the past and the future. The New Year’s holiday highlights the human tendency to be very future oriented. We want to live better in the New Year, be happier in the New Year, be kinder, be more philanthropic, lose weight, eat more healthfully, practice more yoga, meditate more often, write a book, build a house, or try something new that we’ve been fearing. Having goals is necessary for life and being somewhat cognizant about the future is absolutely necessary for survival in this world. However, if we are overly preoccupied with what we must do, or what we really hope we can do, we set ourselves up for dissapointed and become so future-minded that we miss the little blessings that life has put right in front of us.
The technical definition for “resolution,” describes it as a firmness in intention, or according to Oxford, “a firm decision to do or not to do something.” When I lead a yoga practice to a large class, I offer the opportunity to formulate an intention, but I usually add that it is not absolutely necessary- sometimes intentions, if too tightly grasped, lead us toward a likelihood of disappointment. And while disappointment is an emotion that we all must and will experience with some consistency, if we experience it too often we are left unequipped to cope and must seek solace in someone or something. If yoga is this “Something” that we seek solace in, we will eventually learn to “let go,” and be more open, as a means to avoid chronic disappointment.
All this is to say that a committed yoga practice will eventually lead us toward this idea of “letting go”- while still having goals and desires, we can be less attached to outcomes, less disappointed when our resolutions to lose 10 pounds or practice yoga daily fail. Perhaps then we might learn to enjoy each moment, each smile, and “hello, ”the wrong turns and the right, the achievements and the disappointments with equanimity, the boredom and the hyperstimulation, the mundane and the unusual. Many of the wise sages, gurus, teachers, writers, and leaders have been working to help us realize this for years and years. Maybe this year is the year to be present and live NOW.
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