Yoga is a wild horse.
One day you come across it and feel like you’re drawn toward it. You decide to get closer—but the horse is untamed. It won’t just sit there and wait for you.
So, the first challenge is to approach it.
Stand too far and you lose sight of it; get too close and you get kicked hard. Through trial and error, you swing between two extremes until you figure out you need to go slow and steady. Then the horse doesn’t run away and, if you’re patient enough, it might even allow you to touch it.
The second challenge is riding it.
Trial and error, once again. Sometimes it throws you off and almost stomps you, and sometimes you squeeze the harness so hard that it turns into a lazy mule. That’s when you realize you can only ride the horse on its own terms. A few precious moments of balancing on its back, tasting freedom, feeling the interconnection.
The realization deep in your gut that the horse is really your reflection, a projection of your own mind. What’s stopping you from always riding it?
As soon as this thought crosses your mind, the horse calls your bluff and throws you off again, as if it could read your thoughts. The mind catches wind of the mind.
Now the horse separates itself from you once again and stands in front of you, unbridled as before. You can’t cheat your way closer to it—you have to open your heart to it. Dropping the disguise of the all-knowing ego. You have to become a sincere beginner, a receptive explorer.
And the hardest part is yet to come. It’s the ultimate challenge:
To give your all without expecting anything in return.
You don’t own the horse. You don’t control it. All that matters is your noble goal and the pursuit of it. To become the best rider of a horse that can’t be rode.
It’s natural that you will doubt your motives, that you will consider the cost of your choice—whether it was worth it after all, or how life would be without this commitment that brings nothing in return.
And then suddenly you realize you’ve become wise. And to be wise means to have constant awareness of the fact that you are an idiot. Your whole life has unfolded thanks to this elusive goal you set. While you were fantasizing about life on horseback, life was actually happening right there: when you were falling, when you were thinking “screw this,” when you were embarrassed, when you were thinking you had it, when you were spending your money on famous horsemen hoping they would teach you the secrets of riding.
If you learned your lesson, good, you’re free. If not, don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of lifetimes to hunt down the horse.