“Try to see it my way.
Only time will tell if I am right or I am wrong.
While you see it your way,
there’s a chance that we might fall apart before too long.” -The Beatles (of course)
Isn’t that what we all (everybody) wants? For the “other” to see it “our” way? Oh, yeah, AND agree with us! Even if we ourselves might be wrong, as the song admits the possibility! As long as the “other” sees it OUR way… and even if their way is right.
There would be no wars, no more conflict… if only everyone saw it my way and agreed with me! After all, I’m completely RIGHT, of course! You just need to see it MY way! (whoever you are: Democrat, Republican, Green Party, supporter of Bernie, Hillary, or Trump the Fraud. [Fundamentalist especially] Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Yogi. Mother, father, child, grand parent, cousin, friend, lover, enemy. You get the point.)
Of course there is a HUGE problem with this perspective: we’re asking OTHER people to change, to listen and understand something that is perhaps foreign to their nature. We’re asking them to do something that maybe we ourselves might have a difficult (or impossible) time doing: let go of their grip on their perspective and change it. Can WE do it? Can I do it?
One of the questions on the final exam in my yoga teacher training, is “Would you recommend the path of Yoga?” (Would I recommend that others “try to see it my way?”) It’s a simple enough question, but I think, assuming we are ourselves on the Yoga Path and if we investigate our own experience deeply and honestly, we will have to come to the conclusion, something like, “in general yes, but it’s not for everyone.” We may even think that for the vast majority of human beings, some kind of yoga practice would be beneficial, but we still have to acknowledge that WE ourselves don’t know for whom it’s good and for whom it’s not. If we do come to this conclusion, we have already made the Beatles song irrelevant or inapplicable to us (and maybe to everyone)! We’ve already, thankfully, realized that we can’t and won’t be able to have others necessarily be able to see it our way. BUT that doesn’t mean “we might fall apart before too long” IF WE ourselves are willing and able to see things from a different perspective. Can we do it? Can I do it? Maybe that’s really what Yoga is all about: seeing it (LIFE) from a different perspective than the one we have been taught/bought into.
Early on when we get on a path (any path), the energy for it is very high and we think EVERYONE should be doing it. (Anybody reading this NOT been there??) If we flow with that energy and try to convert people to our obviously more enlightened way of being, then if you’re like me, we very quickly realize how little the people seem to want the help that we see that they so obviously need! We’re only here to help them! With the Path of Yoga, I think this can also be true, but with this Path, or any path that involves deep introspection or devotion, eventually we will know that a certain level of strength, patience, self-love and compassion is necessary to go very deep with it, and that maybe not everyone is up for the challenge.
Initially yoga practices free up long-blocked energy and it feels good, even GREAT! Once we are going deeper than the surface level, not-so-nice stuff is guaranteed to begin to surface, and at that point, we desperately need the strength and patience, or the counsel and encouragement of someone who has gone before on the Path, to encourage us to keep going. As Erich Schiffman said, “sometimes people stop doing yoga when it starts really working!” Many have seen this to be true, but keeping the practices going is WAY easier than stopping and then starting again at a later date. That’s the simple law of inertia; it’s just physics.
I’m not very big on proselytizing yoga. I know that it’s for some and not for others and that those who its good for will find it, I believe, whether or not I am trying to convert people to it. (And I don’t mean to say that you SHOULDN’T proselytize yoga, or at least tell your friends about it, if that’s what you feel called to do.) It’s a hard path to go very deep with, one that requires some degree of discipline and long-term dedication and a huge amount of Grace (which is readily available) to realize the fruits, but it is IMHO TOTALLY worth it, but only if you want Deep Peace and a deep feeling of Love springing naturally through your Heart and want to be free of blaming other people for your own problems and free from the attachments in your own mind. And I feel that I’m still only scratching the surface of what is possible for a human life.
So a possible alternate/parallel question is “Does everyone have the desire to be aware and to develop the love and compassion necessary to hold what will inevitably arise in the cultivation of awareness?” (basically the requisites if we were to say “yes, I would recommend the path of Yoga to everyone.”) So now I flip the question around: Do WE have the desire to be aware and to develop the love and compassion necessary to hold what will inevitably arise in the cultivation of that awareness? Do I have the desire to be aware and to develop the love and compassion necessary to hold what will inevitably arise in the cultivation of that awareness?
That’s worth pondering for a while. Let’s leave it there for now. That’s all we need to know for ourselves for now.