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Yoga, Exploration, and the Not-Self

Calla In Motion

Yoga, Exploration, and the Not-Self

Lindsey Calla

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Shot at Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, New Mexico (definitely put this on your list!! I mean look at this place!)

I have to admit this is a post that might not lead to an answer.  My relationship with yoga is complicated.  It's on and off, there are commitment problems, and sometimes it really hurts.  But there are those days that literally change my whole entire being and if I can stay disciplined enough to commit through the good and bad then I can feel a tangible shift for the better.  My senses are hyper aware, I tend to think clearly and deeply and I become more patient.  Patient with others, the world, myself.  I can feel a difference if I don't practice.  I have less to say on this platform actually.  When I practice it's like I can access deeper parts of my self to share.  But here's the big question: is it all to there to help find yourself OR is it all a blueprint to lose yourSELF.  

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I love to read if you can't tell from some of my reading list posts, which are some of my favorites!  Currently I'm reading On Trails by Robert Moor and I'm hanging on to every word.  I picked it up at the airport on my way to somewhere, which is quite fitting since the whole book is about exploration.  While he tries to discover various trails of all-kinds from ant pheromone trails to ancient Cherokee trail building he caught me with one particular paragraph about the not-self.  We have this fascination with nature and we are coming up in a cycle of society again where being outside is considered a hobby, not a daily reliance.  So he says this about the wilderness c/o Aldous Huxley:

A man misses something by not establishing a participative and living relationship with the non-human world of animals and plants, landscapes and stars and seasons.  By failing to be, vicariously, the not-self, he fails to be completely himself

Basically he's saying that we are connected to everything and by thinking soley about ourselves we miss what makes us alive.  We are always taught to find ourselves.  What is your brand? What color is your brand theme?  Is this YOU?  Who are YOU?  You must figure this out!!  Well, should we?  One thing that yoga has taught me over the years is that letting go of that Self is actually the goal.  When we lose that attachment to an ego we begin to look at the world differently, more harmoniously.  So when I don't practice regularly that pesky ego comes back up again.  

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A Practice 

So I suppose this is why yoga is a practice.  It should be done daily, like brushing your teeth.  It massages the mind and is a reminder to take the pressure off yourSELF.   Take this beautiful labyrinth for example.  Walking meditatively in this maze sort of resembles, to me, trying to comb through all of the little intricacies of my brain.   While at first I thought the goal at the end was to be so clear and to understand exactly who I am and what I should be about, stand for, etc.  But when I got to the center and contemplated the focus I just gained by studying every twist and turn, I realized that the goal was to lose myself.  Here I stand in the center of this labyrinth in the middle of nowhere New Mexico staring at something that is way bigger than me.  

But this is what exploration does.  Georgia O'Keefe came here and contemplated herself as well.  It's been a place that lights up the imagination and pulls creativity and harmony out of all of us.  Well worth the trip if you're in the Santa Fe area, which I also highly recommend!

Thanks for reading this rambling!