“Desire is clinging to pleasure” –Yoga Sutra 2.7
-Gregor Maehle Ashtanga Yoga-Practice & Philosophy
This particular yoga sutra caused quite a stir amongst us yogis in Bali when I brought it up. Or at least it did for me. I was confused about this sutra because I asked my teachers, “What about a desire to want to make this world a better place? Or the desire to make others happy?” And my teacher said it was still a desire. A “good” desire is still a desire! It turned into a conversation about my “goals” in life because most of my desires are goal-oriented. What I got out of this conversation was that my “goals” only cause more desire and because I’m attached to a particular outcome, it causes my Will (ego) to work very hard. And we all know that my ego only gets me in trouble or makes me unhappy. Wanting something as well as NOT wanting something is just two sides of the same coin-they are both desires.
I was dumbfounded when I discovered my fellow yogis as well as my teachers did not have a ready-made list of goals they could whip out and share. Making a list of goals for the day, the week, and the month is like breathing to me! It’s such a part of our culture in the West. I left the study group that afternoon awe-stricken. But as the information sank in and I was more comfortable with the idea of letting go of my “list”, a sense of relief and lightness came over me. I waivered between: “No goals? How do I live? Others will think I’m so lazy if I have no goals to share.” and “I only have the present moment. Stay connected. What I need to know will be revealed to me. Stay open so you can receive.”
I thought I’d shifted away from what I thought was expected of me to living my life according to what I thought was best. But I guess when you’re in the dark, you don’t know you’re there till someone turns on a light and shows you that you were actually in the dark! I’ve realized that being goal-oriented is very masculine energy and it also causes tunnel vision. And with tunnel vision, it’s easy to miss what’s around you. The flowers don’t get smelled, the chirping birds don’t get heard, and other people or opportunities that are awaiting for our attention may also get missed.
So I’m going to slow down. If you remember from last year, my goal (ha!) was to work less and live more. I experimented with doing less and guess what? Everything that needed to be done was done. So this year, I will neither be desireful or desireless. Stay tuned for the results in 7 months!
Cheers to a Healthy. Happy. Sexy. You.