Some people think that just because my job title is yoga teacher that I have awesome power over my mind. It’s what makes me self-disciplined. In psychology, this is supposition is called projection. “It’s easy for you,” is what they say. My husband, Daniel, emailed me the above image with the subject heading, “I saw this and thought of you.”

This is what I mean. To be fair, I project onto Daniel; he is my computer guru. If he doesn’t know the answer, either no one does, or he will find out.

We humans are funny beings. Our projections bump up against each other, working and playing, marrying, and divorcing, living and dying, and perhaps the real person never discovered.

A long time ago, I saw that when people pigeonholed me as a compassionate, peaceful, disciplined and wise person, that I had not much room to move. There are a thousand other ways for a person to be, which even include many negative qualities. Sadly, when these qualities are sidelined, they act as our shadows.

What to do? Give ourselves permission to be human, accepting positive and negative qualities–perhaps not even judging these. I think we all want to be released out of the tight boxes we’ve been put in.

Patanjali says in Sutra 1-2 that we cultivate awareness by stilling the mind:

Yogah citta-vrtti-nirodhah

Our aim is to “still the patterning of consciousness.”*

As writer Vyn Bailey says, “complete stillness coupled with full awareness – that is yoga.” (from Patanjali’s Meditation Yoga, translation and commentary).

*The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, translation and commentary by Chip Hartranft  

 (If you like this post, you might want to read Pedestals)