I carry with me a metaphor that very often provides me with inspiration and support. A glass of water is inherently clear, but if you introduce some dirt into it and give it a good stir – clarity will be reduced. Clarity is still a quality of the glass of water but something is now preventing it from shining through. To experience clarity again you need to let the dirt settle.
Applying Yoga is a similar process. People are born with a quality of clarity that cannot be taken out. Clarity can be dormant and hidden behind a murky mind but it is always there. Therefor in yoga we tried to teach the mind stillness. When the mind it still enough, clarity can once again shine through.
As a seeking individual this reminds me that mind has a nature and quality of it’s own and it get’s murky – this is not a problem, it should not be criticized nor solved. I have also found that a great place to start to quiet the mind is to surrender to it and embrace it for what it is. Clarity is with me all the time, though sometimes it is not available to me because of state-of-mind… and in the spirit of embracing… maybe there is a reason for that as well (when I am driving, I prefer a nice and murky mind taking in information, making decisions and responding).
As a yoga therapist this reminds me to appreciate and embrace an endless potential embodied in people I teach. It is not up to me nor in my hands to “make them better” in any way (physically, mentally, energetically or spiritually). I have at my disposal tools that when introduced properly and practiced with care can involve a stillness of mind. The rest is in the hands of a higher force.
CONFESSION: When I created the images above I waited to see what would happen to the murky water. The first time I did this I left the glass out for too long and half the water evaporated leaving a dirty glass surface. The second time I tried things remained afloat in the water and clung to the sides. I was a little disappointed because I really wanted to go demonstrate the idea of clarity shining through again. But it’s never that simple, and indeed yoga practices are about an active purification of body & mind and not just waiting around for it to happen. So there you have it : )