I recently read a really cool definition or concept of the word “Vision.” We certainly are aware of the more obvious definition which is simply what we are looking at right now, our vision. Another common use of the word is the “vision” we hold for ourselves in whom and what we want to be. I’m pretty comfortable with that concept. However, the more daring definition to contemplate is the vision that lies in between these two. It’s the part that we can’t see and the part that we don’t have control over. The best way to describe this idea of vision is to think of a blade of grass growing. We set the seed in fertile soil and then visualize our lawn nice and lush, and full of thousands of dense green grass blades. We can visualize the seed settling in the soil and visualize the pasture of grass but we don’t see the act of the grass growing neither do we have control over how and when it will grow. But it does. And, so do we in a similar way. We might consider that our best and most profound growth happens in that same phase: the space that we don’t see or have control over.
Deepak Chopra, famous authority on spiritual living and healing as well as a heart surgeon and quantum physics expert, says that who we are is beyond the thinking mind and the existence we can see. He uses the binary digits of “0” and “1” to illustrate a point. If our thoughts, feelings, and emotions are a series of 0’s and 1’s, then who we are is the void in between. Or in another example, think of a void being the space between our inhale and our exhale. These are challenging concepts for us to wrap our minds around, but very useful for us as yogis as we develop more awareness on our path of self-realization.
Bikram over the years has shared with his teachers and students hundreds of “idioms” that possess great wisdom if you take the time to really listen. “Best way to see truth, disengage emotional body and become the observer – the way a God would see it,” is one that I recall and love. Members, when we disengage from our thoughts, when we disengage from an injury we are nursing, when we disengage from the anger we feel about a situation we are in, when we disengage from the needs of our physical body, we sit in that void as I like to call it, we then allow spirit to come in and take over. It’s there where all possibilities live, beyond our consciousness, and it is all expansive in that it holds the higher visions of our reality, supporting what we want to accomplish.
A Bikram Yoga class is the most fertile ground that I know of in learning about life on every level, from the life you live to life eternal. Even after fifteen years of practice, I am astounded at the gifts my yoga bestows upon me in understanding life. I am left feeling grateful and humbled as I realize that I am so incredibly fortunate and yet I know absolutely nothing. Those of you like me who come prepared and practice day after day know what to expect and have a good idea of where you’d like to go in your practice. We are happy to work on it each day realizing that yoga is a lifetime practice and the attainment of any result we’d like to see is in the repetition. In each class we hear the same dialog in the same sequence in the same room with the same heat and for many of us even in the same spot. Over time, we participate with greater attention and soon our “0’s” and “1’s” aren’t as loud and what comes through is the awareness of the voids existing in between. Because of the repetition, our ability to take in more information increases as we begin to absorb what’s at first obvious, then we perceive more subtleties in our practice, in the room, and in our bodies. Eventually we begin to shut out even more “noise” and hear our breath; then finally we disengage entirely and perhaps “hear” nothing or as Deepak would suggest, we experience “the void.” It’s the vision you can’t see or control but a part of our reality necessary to live the “true” life you’ve been granted right now. The more you cultivate awareness or beingness in this space, the healthier and more balanced you become. How many of us have had breakthroughs in class at times that were unexpected? How many of us walked out of class with an entirely different solution to a nagging problem that usurped most of your day?
We can apply this same concept as we evolve with our own lives outside the classroom. Members, the more yoga you take the more difficult it is to NOT apply the principles we earn on our mats into our everyday lives. As yogis, we participate in life initiating right action and taking appropriate risks to be our best. We hold a vision of ourselves that is real and authentic and spend time in thought and meditation on where we are going and who we want to be. However, where we struggle – and again we see it in ourselves in the classroom – is in the letting go. We perform our tasks so well as moms, as students, as engineers, etc… that we expect to see the results we’ve visualized. But we are forgetting that vision in between until we are forced to switch gears. When that happens, how many of us finally toss our work aside and finally take that walk? How many of us get so frustrated that we take the day and do nothing. How many of us get so tight repeating our appropriate stretches in class only to finally resign and get that much needed two hour massage. At some point, we let go, we hit the void, and we silence the “0’s” and “1’s” only to return to our task at hand reset, refreshed, and refocused. How many of us “find” that creative solution after a walk? How many of us feel better and more grounded and better able to approach a situation by taking the day we need? How many of us open up to newer areas in our body after the massage? I’m calling it the vision in between. It is either ironic or no mistake that we have a two minute savasana in the middle of our class. That time to let go and relax. That time to lay in the void preparing for larger elements beyond what we could ever do to assist us in the ever important spine strengthening series.
Our outcomes are better as a result of this vision you let in. We reel in a larger mind, mystical elements or spirit as I call it, and produce a far better product than we could without it. Practice living there. Practice acknowledging the void and harness the universal support out there that knows a thing or two about assisting you in your best life.