I have great respect for professionals who in a desire to stay abreast of the latest information will readily admit that whatever they know today may be found untrue tomorrow. The author of one of my anatomy books, and an anatomy professor, always tells his students at the beginning of each semester that 50% of what is known about anatomy today may in the next 5 years become false. This kind of openness requires a real commitment to truth.
But it is also essential. It is a real obstacle to our own evolution if what we know about food, exercise, the human body, medication, science, spirituality, WHATEVER – is not allowed to be challenged and changed. Without constantly allowing our beliefs to be altered by new revelations, we are choosing to be static. And what is more essential to the existence of life than adaptation and evolution?
Usually it’s because we have become invested in believing a particular way about the world, have likely adopted habits and routines around these beliefs, and are even enjoying some benefits from this way of thinking.
This happens to me quite frequently around information on how to live a healthy life. Especially around food, but also concerning healthy movement patterns. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve changed the way I eat based on the most recent scientific information about diet. Of course, I think I’ve found the right solution for now, but who knows?
And functional movement patterns to maintain a healthy body, this information is constantly evolving. I always know when I leave a Yoga training that my mind will again have to be stretched to let go of some old well-established ways of thinking about the body and accept new, proven truths.
I find refuge in the teachings of Yoga when it comes to adapting to change. Yoga says true freedom is freedom from one’s likes and dislikes.
From a practical perspective, we do this through mindfulness of our thoughts, seeing thoughts arise in our awareness and allowing them to pass through, without aversion or grasping. Mindfulness and meditation allow us to see the habits of the mind more objectively, acknowledging them as they are a part of the present moment, and consciously deciding what to do with those thoughts (instead of letting them hijack us as usual).
Mindfulness and meditation help us to see our belief systems and practice not getting too caught up in them. Constantly acknowledging them and letting them go.
They’re just thoughts, after all.
For example, take the thought that “It’s just not a Sunday morning with pancakes”. I know. Blasphemy that one should attempt to topple this mainstay. It’s a tough one. But essentially, it’s also just a thought. And can be altered should we decide this is the best course for ourselves. (p.s., I’m not shaming pancakes, it’s just a teachable example!)
A deeper understanding of Yoga teaches us that we are not our thoughts. In our truest essence, we are simply presence and awareness. Everything else is a part of the journey of experiencing our human selves.
But all of this is better understood in practice than theory.
Hope to see you on the mat soon!