“… do not set your heart on the results of your actions.”
When I worked with youth in a therapeutic setting one thing that we stated on a daily basis, as a mantra of sorts was “accept don’t expect.” When we approach any given situation in life with this mentality things become manageable and even enjoyable. The process of accepting outcomes for what they are is not as easy as it sounds but the process is incredibly rewarding. Challenging our expectations requires us to become aware of them first then followed by a choice as to what to do with this new awareness or insight about ourselves. Setting our heart on the process and not the results may seem unattainable but “accepting, not expecting” is a concrete statement that we can wrap our heads around. This statement is driven by action and may be more attainable than the above statement. Please don’t misunderstand me, I am not trying to rewrite any sacred text but rather to give a fresh perspective and hopefully a manageable way to put these texts in to practice.
“Yoga is action.” – Gita 2-50
The conscious decision to observe our intentions and our expectations is the “action” part of yoga in the context of our discussion.
Observing our intentions and our expectations is simply becoming conscious, aware of them. The process of becoming aware can be empowering and at times frustrating and overwhelming. Often times the expectations we have of ourselves or of others as well as our true intentions are not very pretty, in fact they can be quite disturbing when we get right down to it. In a society in which we are judged constantly by others as well as our own expectations, we often judge these thoughts as not very “yogi” like. At this point in the process of becoming aware is we’re we want to pull a Forrest Gump, run, run far away. As humans we want to remove as much discomfort as possible from our lives but this is where the real work begins. Hang in there and trust the process, this is your first opportunity to challenge these expectations and choose to do something different,to break a cycle established from years and years of practice.
“Yoga is 99% practice and 1% knowledge.”
– Sri K. Pattabhi Jois
Challenging the expectations we have for ourselves and our true intentions is one of the most yogic things we can do. If you don’t like what you are seeing about yourself, CHOOSE to see it differently. Choose to see this new awareness as an unbelievable gift, one that is all about the process of making you a wiser, more joyful, and less reactive individual. Remember, it is all about the process. For example, who cares how advanced you are at asana practice, if you are not using the practice to better yourself than you are not walking the yogic path and the process is not an active part of your life.
The yogic path for those who practice yoga is active, not passive. I don’t mean that it is purely asana but rather, the action to become a more well rounded individual. This requires brutal honesty with ourselves and requires us to remain vigilant at all times.
As mentioned in the Gita above, “do not set your heart on the results of your actions.” Make this your intention to practice this the next time you are on your mat. Get ready to be amazed at the impact this will have on all areas of your life. Your capacity to see others for their positive intentions instead of their behavior as well as your capacity to accept all parts of yourself even the unwanted and ugly. This is something that you can expect and that you can count on, I guarantee it.
Matt Porter is on his yoga journey and will be continuing his formal studies under Isabelle Casey & Rachel Goldberg in Be Yoga’s 200 Hour Teacher Training this coming fall. He can often be found riding his bike all over or on his yoga mat. Matt has worked with children and at risk youth for nearly 4 years. It was at one of these programs that he and his wife Sandefur crossed paths. Matt’s desire in life is for those around him to recognize the potential to change and the power to do so. He is inspired by those who challenge perception and who desire most the connection between individuals. He believes that all people are capable of changing the world they live by recognizing the people around them as similar and not separate. We all have a part to play in each others lives, whether we know it or not. Matt is also passionate about what we put into our bodies. He identifies strongly with the belief that what we put into our bodies in the form of food directly affects the relationship with have with those around us and the relationship we have with our own bodies. Matt has recently joined the AYS community in an official manor as Co- Editor. He is looking forward to this new challenge as well as meeting and building relationships with his fellow yogis here in Atlanta and beyond. Please contact Matt at [email protected]