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I’ve always been a seeker. A seeker of truth for a certain part of my life, and more recently, a seeker of inner peace.
Not too long ago, during our last local beach yoga class of the season, someone reminded me of the fact that most yogis are seekers—of purpose, of equanimity, of contentment, of something. We are often seeking to satiate a burning desire to do or be more in life.
We ask ourselves: What can we do to grow? How can we contribute to the future? And, how can we make the best of our time while we’re here?
As a person who has struggled with anxiety most of my life, a soothing part of my practice has been knowing there is nothing more I can do but ultimately accept here and now. Accepting the present while acknowledging impermanence can be hard work.
We’re constantly reveling in the good times and consoling ourselves during the hard ones. We cling to life’s false dependability when we’re comfortable. Becoming aware of the fluctuating tides in our minds when we are in these ups and downs—without letting it suck us under—is the goal of our practice.
The world is not the same as it was even a moment ago. Leaves are falling faster; clouds are passing; waves are rising and falling; every second, something is new and different.
There is a famous story of a crying mother whose only son has died. She visits the Buddha and begs him to bring her son back to life because the pain of her son’s death is too much for her to bear. The Buddha agrees, saying he will bring the boy back to life, but only if the woman can bring him a single mustard seed from a house where no one has ever died. The mother quickly rushes off, running door to door to find a home that has never experienced a death.
She finds, of course, there is not one single home.
It’s important to remember that while impermanence can bring pain and sadness, it can also bring joy, like the happiness of a new baby. We can also find tremendous freedom during this transitional autumn time in letting go and knowing that this is the way that it is, the flow, the great coming and going. This shift is in every situation, every idea, every feeling—nothing will ever stay the same, even for a millisecond. Change is one of the only things we can be sure of!
Yoga teaches us to become aware of our resistance to change and how to let go. Think about how many things in your life that you thought would still be with you and are not, and how many new things have been invited in.
Contemplate how your life would be if nothing changed at all.
We all hold on to things for various reasons. The change of seasons is a great time to pause, take note of what’s holding you down or keeping you back, and bid it farewell to invite in something new.