I came across these beautiful paragraphs in an essay called The Miracle of the Mundane. It’s from Heather Havrilesky’s new book What If This Were Enough? which is well worth reading if these wonderful words are anything to go by.
She doesn’t mention yoga, but what she’s talking about — presence, mindfulness, tranquility amidst the bustle — are mental and emotional states that yoga helps cultivate. Through practice, we learn to trust our minds and bodies and exist in the present moment. With every breath, we connect to ourselves and free ourselves from distraction.
Many of us learn to construct a clear and precise vision of what we want, but we’re never taught how to enjoy what we actually have. There will always be more victories to strive for, more strangers to charm, more images to collect and pin to our vision boards. It’s hard to want what we have; it’s far easier to want everything in the world. So this is how we live today: by stuffing ourselves to the gills, yet somehow it only makes us more anxious, more confused, and more hungry. We are hurtling forward — frantic, dissatisfied, and perpetually lost.
Our bewildered state doesn’t just injure us individually; it impedes our ability to work together for a better world. We can’t stand for justice and effect change until we’ve learned to push away empty temptations, shiny dead ends, and trivial distractions. As long as we’re perpetually assaulted by a barrage of news and tweets and texts, as long as commercial messages and smooth brands and profit-minded discourse are our only relief from our insecure realities, we’ll never develop the ability to live in the present moment. We have to cultivate compassion for ourselves and each other. We have to connect with each other in genuine and meaningful ways. But we also have to relearn how to breathe in the late summer air and feel the sunshine, to admire the swelling pink clouds and shut out the hiss of truck brakes, to sit on the ground and look up at the trees without looking ahead to what we’ll post on Facebook about it.
Read anything inspiring lately? Share your recommendations in the comments!