Why do I do it? Why do I watch a television series about not-so-nice people doing things that are definitely not nice. It could simply be a fascination for the shadowy, seamy part of life, but it could also be because the programming is excellent. And, sometimes the shows I watch stimulate my thinking about the way humans behave.
For instance, watching an episode of True Detective last week, I heard the cynical protagonist intone, “This is a world where nothing is solved… time is a flat circle. Everything we’ve ever done or will do we’re gonna do over and over and over again.”
Please tell me this is not true! In a ‘flat circle’ world, we would be doomed to repeat unskillful activities forever. For the most part, isn’t everything humans do in the spirit of self-improvement? Isn’t this why we do yoga? We keep on practising so we can perfect.
Here’s another take on this line of inquiry: I heard an acquaintance talking about ‘a different version’ of herself, reminiscing about the younger, unwise version of herself in university days and how she’s matured since then. The question is, are we different selves at various times in our lives? Can we truly choose a version and just step into this new self as though we are fleshing out a hologram image or putting on a smaller size garment when we’ve lost weight?
Maybe the answer lies somewhere between we-are-doomed-to-repeat and we can-choose-to- change. Our imaginations tethered to will power can push us through the inertia of bad habits and unskillful behaviour, but deep within, there may still lie the dormant the seeds of our original versions.
I know for that myself my yoga practice is not the same as the one I did when venturing down the path 43 years ago. Physically, I’ve needed to adapt many poses along the way. And, my practice isn’t necessarily different because I’m more advanced in what I do either. The main change has been in the way I do yoga. I think I’ve developed a kinder, more mentally flexible attitude to what I do, possibly more nurturing… that sort of thing.
Before I was able to make changes in my practice though, I had to observe what wasn’t working for me anymore. The ability to self-reflect and make different choices is the crux of what allows for change. Oh, and, of course, wanting to.
I wanted to do a kinder sort of yoga practice because that’s who I wanted this version of me to be – an Ahimsa girl, if you will. Someone who is compassionate and sensitive. A person who I like being with and, hopefully, other people do, too.
I feel sorry for the True Detective, stuck in his flat circle. The kind part of me would like to meet him and enrol him in doing some yoga together. In my imagination, I can see it.