Samkya philosophy, the philosophy that undergirds the practice of yoga, understands all matter to be the result of 3 strands of energy: that which expands, that which contracts, and that which moves these 2 along a continuum. This philosophy states that mastery in this world is obtained by choosing the action that will lead to balance of the 2 opposite energies that is currently dominant. Pretty heady stuff, so how does this play out in our lives?
We humans tend to love our imbalances; we call this addiction. Some of us love the feeling of “highs” and we seek these highs continually through triple espressos, sugar, rushing around, busyness, and risk…to name a few. Others of us love the feeling of “comfort” and we seek this feeling through distractions, such as web surfing, facebook stalking, you tubes, pizza, sleep…to name a few. Whatever our poison of choice, we love our imbalances or at least we love to hate them.
Understanding these proclivities allows us to be choiceful moment to moment. Noticing that we are heading further and further away from center and which direction we are going allows us to put the brakes on and make a quick u-turn. In fact, the yogis call this awareness and quick turn-around mastery, and the quicker we can do this, the more accomplished we are.
I happen to prefer my imbalance in the form of “highs”. I love to feel the rush of anything pulsing through my veins, even though I know it is false and disturbing to my breath and nervous system (hence the word addiction). My preference is to begin my day with a triple espresso and continue full speed ahead. The yogis call such action ignorance, and this ignorance brings suffering to all levels of our being, and spills over into those around us.
Mataji frequently used to say, “Take your medicine now.” As I have pondered her words over the years, I think the move towards balance, whatever that movement is, was what she was talking about. What seems pleasurable at the time causes us to suffer in the future, but what seems like medicine to us at the time is what returns us to balance, allowing our minds to rest in equanimity. It is medicine worth taking, no matter how much our addiction is beckoning.