What do you want?
Why do you want it?
What are you going to do about it?
At first glance, these three questions may seem rather innocent and easy to answer – but they become far more complicated when we start peeling back the layers. Everyone comes into the world with two lives – the life we plan and the life that has been waiting for us. If I stated I wanted to reclaim my sovereign birthright – the person I was born to be and to live the life I was destined to live, that may be something you might not have thought of upon reading the first question. The reason I want it is because it belongs solely to me and nobody else. The projections others place on us are most likely not who we truly are – and what we do is also not who we are. Remember being a child and telling our parents what we wanted to do when we grew up? As children, we believed we could become anything we wanted. Have you ever wondered what became of that child?
In between the second question and the third question is a no-mans-land – our very own battlefield. On the opposite side is our opponent, and we are outnumbered by some very tough hombres. Leading the opposition is Resistance and his right-hand man, procrastination – backed up by endless excuses and justifications. Everyone on the opposition side is armed with doubt – shouting at us: “Who do you think you are? You’re not good enough. You don’t deserve what you’re asking for.” We’ll also find validation and permission ready at a moment’s notice to keep us playing small. Comparison, or worrying about what others might think about us also stands at the ready to keep us from reclaiming our power. Projection is there as well, ready to tell us and everyone else who we are. Our opponent has another weapon and it can be lethal. It’s the fear of becoming successful. Many people fear this weapon and we never suspect it. Too often we never put up a fight – we surrender from the intimidation of seeing what lies in front of us – so we never cross over the no-mans-land to answer the third question.
The warriors who appear so well armed and impossible to fight can be defeated. A warrior with a true heart, knowing what they want and why they want it can defeat this mighty army to reclaim their sovereign birthright and live the life that has been waiting for them since birth.
Once we stand up to Resistance – toe-to-toe – Resistance will back down and procrastination will follow, along with all of the excuses. We require no one else’s validation – because we are here for the Divine purpose of the Universe to unfold. That’s how important each of us are! And because we are that important, we don’t need anyone’s permission to be who we already are.
As the opposition appears to surrender, their backup plan for defeating us comes in from behind and we never see it coming. This last defense force is Distraction and it’s fueled by living in a material world. The education – the job – the career – the relationship – the marriage – the mortgage – the children – comparing ourselves to others and making the biggest mistake of all, believing we’re better than others. What society says will make us happy and successful, never truly does – unless that really is the life we are destined to live. At some point, often in our 40’s, we may find we are still living the life we’ve planned, trying to be someone we are not and discover it no longer works for us. There are many other distractions – some of which are rather dark. Distractions can become addictions. Resistance and Distractions together can be very powerful forces – they won’t go down without a fight.
This metaphorical battle I’m describing is Yoga, and the most important text ever written on Yoga is the Bhagavad Gita. The opening Chapter finds our hero, Arjuna, about to do battle with Resistance and all the other opposing warriors to reclaim his sovereign birthright. Arjuna arrives at the third question in the middle of no-mans-land: What are you going to do about it? For a moment, Arjuna hesitates, but he finds his resolve with the help of God to settle this matter once and for all. Every time we step onto our yoga mat, we come closer to finding our true self and purpose in life – but we too often are defeated by Resistance, Procrastination, Excuses, Distractions, and all the other warriors. Our lack of commitment to ourselves defeats us.
Our practice is not a selfish act – it’s selfless. We come to our mats for all those who love and care about us – who desire nothing more than for us to be healthy and happy. We practice for them! It’s a grave mistake to think Yoga is only about stretching, etc. – it’s actually a practice to help and support us in answering all three questions – eventually guiding us back to our true self and purpose in life.
Yoga is meant to be a “work-in” – not a work-out. It’s “fitness for our inner witness.” Yoga is meditation in motion – a practice to finally get us present from all the distractions and noise of life. When we finally become present, we arm ourselves with the strength and commitment to answer and manifest the third question. This is the Yoga we teach at our studios, Spirit House Yoga and YogaLab. We don’t play music, we don’t heat the studio to the temperature of hell, and we don’t have goats or dogs. We don’t get high before class, we don’t have any glow-sticks, and we don’t provide beer, wine, or chocolate. Nothing says, I have no clue about what Yoga is about than all of the above distractions we currently find in so many studios across the U.S.
Unless and until we commit to becoming who we truly are and living our purpose, we will forever be defeated, and most likely unhappy and frustrated with life itself. One method – but not the only method – is to work with the three questions – and after 18 years of teaching Yoga, it has proven to be highly effective in aligning committed students to their authentic self and a more expanded life.