Climb the mountain, not to plant your flag, but to embrace the challenge, enjoy the air and behold the view; climb it so you can see the world, not so the world can see you.
David McCullough Jr.
Are you thirsty for more?
There are two outcomes possible from the practices of yoga. The first, which I will argue is the better, is that we end up feeling completely satiated. We feel so content in fact, that there is nothing more that we could possibly need. Historically though, this is not the case. The second outcome is that we feel unfulfilled, not satisfied and thirsty for more. My belief is that this is more often the reality. The reason why I fear this, is that our experiences in life are largely based on tangible results. Just think, almost everything we do has an input and an output. In yoga we want to get stronger, look better, feel calmer, etc. At work we want to make more money, have greater growth, gain more recognition, etc. And as long as the practice continually provides such an outcome, we feel successful and in fact, think we are satisfied. But are we really? The rewards we reap quickly dilute as the desire for more seeps in.
There is an analogy in the Buddhist teachings, that I love, of the hungry ghost. Close your eyes and imagine a ghost with a tiny mouth and huge belly. No matter how much it eats, there is not a mouth capable of providing enough food. This craving is not unlike what we all experience in our daily life — it can be on the yoga mat, at work, with family and/or friends. Until we learn to develop the right attitudes and behaviors, this itch will never be scratched. Unbeknownst to us, there is the capacity to feel satiated right now. It is not far out reach.
It begins by coming to the realization that what we have right now is absolutely perfect. It has to be. Can you even fathom the circumstances that lined up in the universe for you to be reading these words. It is truly a marvel. Just knowing the miracle of our existence makes it easier to swallow the notion that nothing can be added to make this better and that nothing can be taken away to make this worse. This can be nothing shy of excellence. Then investigate the nature of change. When we take a close look, we see that there is a fleeting nature to all things. If what we have today, may be gone tomorrow, why not just enjoy what is here right now?
The next time you step off your yoga mat, ask yourself whether or not you feel satisfied. Investigate what it is that you are seeking. Look to where these craving are coming from. Then, open up to the possibility that what was, was is in fact enough.