by Angela Clark
I was reading an email newsletter from Ashley Turner, a wonderful yoga teacher based in California. She posed the question from Ram Das, ‘Is your commitment to Truth or Consistency?’ Then stated, ‘Truth changes.”
Now this is not to say that we chuck our search for Truth to the corner. But, it recognizes that what is true for us today may not be true for us tomorrow. The example I’ve been giving to students is this: Perhaps when you first began your yoga practice you had tight hamstrings (you could barely get your hands to touch your knees let alone your toes) and as such you put yourself in the ‘tight hamstring club.’ Then you took it upon yourself to stretch your hamstrings a lot! Say, a few years (maybe 10 years) have gone by and now you are able to fold forward put your palms flat next to your feet on the ground, or at least pass your knees. You are no longer in the ‘tight hamstring club’ – sorry – but are you still practicing like you are? It is no longer true that your hamstrings are ‘tight’. The truth now is that your hamstrings are flexible and if you continue to practice as though they were tight, you will end up hurting yourself.
Our truth changes off the mat too. And this is where having a commitment to consistency is important. A commitment to a consistent practice means having a commitment to consistently be a beginner or to have an open awareness state of mind. Because when our truth changes, and it will change, we will need our grounding force (force = practice).
Sure you could say, my family grounds me or my friends will pull me up, back or out of the currents of change, but (and this is just a “what if”) what if the truth of how you behave changes? What if you used to get angry when someone pushed you out of the way to get the seat on the subway, and now it doesn’t phase you because you have learned how to deal with that quick to rise anger. What if that is the case, and your family and friends still see you as the “quick to angry person” (similar to still practicing for tight hammy’s when you no longer have them). What then? You can’t change how someone chooses to see you, you can only change how you react to them – so what then?
Practice. Come back to the commitment you made to yourself. Eventually others will catch on, it may take them many years (like, 10 years) but the your truth will prevail.
Sometimes the change of truth is a welcome one; sometimes it shakes our world. Having a consistent commitment to witnessing your practice of how you treat your body, speak your thoughts, and interact with your mind will help root you in what is true for the moment.