Do you think of New Year’s resolutions as being old hat? Do you feel like ‘why bother?’, when your good intentions of past years fell by the wayside so quickly?
Many yogis who go on retreat at the beginning of the year, or attend ‘intensives’ or workshops, do it as a kick start for what will be hopefully a year of regular practice. At first, there is usually some momentum toward a lofty goal, but then sadly, it peters out.
I read a fabulous book recently called The Great Work of Your Life by Stephen Cope that could give you yogis who aspire to do personal practice some needed inspiration.
The author doesn’t exhort his readers to do better or more but rather tells the stories of some luminaries who didn’t start out in life being at all inspirational. These are people who struggled, didn’t give up and then became heroes whom we still find uplifting.
Cope does dole out some succinct advice, gleaned from these role models’ lives, for instance, from the mid-nineteenth century painter, Camille Corot – ‘Practice deliberately.’
And from the American poet, Robert Frost, ‘Find out who you are and do it on purpose.’
And, Mohandas K. Ghandi: ‘Take yourself to zero.’
I hope your bright new year stays shiny as long as possible, but just in case you need a shot of encouragement, good wisdom literature (including the Sutra) can be every bit as good as a yoga workout.
Pravrttibhede prayojakam cittamekamanekesam
This influence also depends on the state of the recipient.*
*Patanjali’s Yogasutras, translation and commentary by T.K.V. Desikachar.