Change is constant in one’s life. We grow from newborn to adulthood, the earth rotates between days and nights, the whether moves from one season to another, our emotions fluctuate, people comes and goes to our life, we get married, we co-create, and so on and so forth. Changes can be intentional (i.e. led by us whether consciously or unconsciously) or not (i.e. the sunrise and the sunset, the rain, etc.) – although we can argue whether there is any un-intentional change or not, we will leave it as is for the purpose of this article. Those continuing changes bring uniqueness to every single moment we experience in this piece of life. Nothing is constant but change. Therefore, we should learn not to resist to change – but rather grow from it.
In order to do so, we have to accept changing situations and learn from them. Accepting a change is being detached from the situation now gone. Most of us let our mind wanders with regrets, with nostalgia, with “what if” moments, with expectations, with fears, etc. For instance and if we reflect on our fears, we will soon realize that most of them are simple projection of an in-existing situation (i.e. an over anticipation of what could go wrong). We tend to constantly dwell the past and worry about the future. Attachment to both the past and the future prevents us from moving on and growing from those experienced changes in our lives.
We are powerful beings with the ability to create our reality. By embracing this principle we are showing our trust in life and in the universe. It is therefore crucial to focus on the changes we have power over rather than focusing and wasting our energy on trying to change thing falling outside of our ability to change. In shorter terms, if you want to change the world, start by changing yourself and new aspects of life will emerge.
While noticing and observing a present situation, we need to bring awareness to our inner patterns, also called samskaras in Sanskrit. Samskara are neuronal patterns or mental impressions from past experiences stored in our subconscious or unconscious mind, which resurface to our consciousness when a similar situation arise. Samskara can be related to experiences from our current life, from our karmic lives or even from the collective mind (i.e. the consciousness collectively created by all of us into one collective mind). Samskaras dictate our thoughts, actions and feelings and as we hold both positive and negative samskaras they are considered to be the roots of both pleasure and pain. The negative ones are also the cause of our limitations; however, they are not irreversible. Remember that nothing is constant but change, so use those changes to modify the way you would usually think, react and feel. We might not be able to do so straight away but overtime and with practice, this would enable us to stay out of negative patterns and allow us to grow, while reacting peacefully and calmly to events/changes. Even a change that may look negative on the surface is actually an opportunity to grow by creating space in our life for something new to develop. Growth moves us away from our comfort zone, from our cyclic behavior. It also brings awareness to our discomfort of not knowing; not knowing who we are, not knowing the purpose of our life, not knowing what is after death, not knowing what we do not see, and so many more questions we might not have the answers for; hence, the reluctance of some people toward change and growth. However, without growth we would not be able to evolve toward a higher state of pure happiness.
Yoga has been helping me lot in this process of personal development and growth. Indeed, yoga is a great tool to learn how to bring awareness to our samskaras, modify them and ultimately grow. It brings changes to our body and mind on so many different levels. Through the physical and spiritual practices of its eight limbs, we develop positive samskaras. Indeed yoga teaches us ethical conducts such as compassion, universal love, non-violence, truthfulness, contentment, self-discipline, etc. which all imprint positive patterns in our mind (and by changing our own mind we participate in changing the collective mind). Yoga is about letting go of things that weight us down by detaching from them. Yoga increases our flexibility to a more bendy body but more importantly to a more malleable mind (e.g. being open to the unknown, being open to the unconventional, being open to a different reality). Yoga takes care of the bodies (through the different layers) and prepares them for mediation. Yoga teaches us how to regulates the fluctuation of the mind. Yoga brings awareness and consciousness to our lives. Consequently, the more we practice yoga on a day-to-day basis the stronger the positive samskaras become and the less impact the negative ones have on us. Yoga brings changes in a very subtle manner, as opposed to bringing a major and drastic change at once that would be hard to comprehend and process.
Yoga can be seen as gentle journey of small changes accumulated to guide us through Samadhi (awakening), so let allow ourselves to live a conscious life of evolution.