We are living in very exciting times. They are changing times and uncertain times. Times characterised by a recognition that the story that has dominated our worldview for hundreds, if not thousands, of years is no longer working.
The big shift
So we are starting to write a new story, a process that has been called a Consciousness Shift. Or more accurately, to use the term coined by the eco-philosopher Joanna Macy, "The Great Turning". Because this touches everything and whatever we call it and wherever we are, it is happening here and it is happening now.
The old story is a story of separation
A story of each of us as individuals separate from all others around us. A story of us as a species separate from the world we live in. A story where we stand apart and above the web of life. A story where we stand apart and below the realm of spirit. It is a story that we have built on downtime, one which has birthed and solidified into the systems and behaviours that colour our worldview. It is a story that has brought us real benefits in many areas and one that has brought us just as many illusions of progress. These illusions of progress are now losing their shine.
There is a growing recognition that we are trashing our planet, neglecting and destroying our communities, and losing ourselves in the process. The old story is a story in which many of us struggle to find meaning. We are all coming to this recognition from our own experience and perspective, and as a whole this recognition is wide-ranging and touches all parts of this old story.
The new story is a story of connection
Of course, there is nothing new about connection - an idea that the yogis of old called “the fundamental truth of unity”. However, the story we are writing around connection is new. Simply because we have to manifest this in the here and now, to make it work for us in our times. And manifesting it we are - the green shoots of the new are everywhere. Whether you look locally or globally, in the world of scientific research, the commercial world, the not-for-profit sectors, the new-age movement, there are people working on the building blocks of a new story. People and communities moving forwards with stops and starts, with small successes and with failures from which we learn. There are green shoots that have roots that run shallow and roots that run very deep. Deep into the heart of the new story, deep into the heart of connection, into the heart of yoga.
Yoga feeds the deep roots of our new story
And our yoga does this in two ways. Because although we do not know how the new story will pan out there are two things we do know.
The first thing we know is that the deeper the realization of connection the more resilient the new story will be. And exploring and realizing connection is the heart of yoga. An exploration that begins when we roll out our mats for practice. Practice - that whatever other benefits it brings - in essence serves to loosen us from the patterns that bind us to the illusion of separation.
The second thing we know about the new story is that it will be written from the bottom-up. That is by each of us playing our part. Simply because we can not write a story of connection from the top down, using the old structures of hierarchy that belong to the old story. And playing our part from a perspective of connection - that all is one - is the heart of taking our yoga off our mats. This is the essence of Krishna’s message to Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita. Krishna who tells Arjuna: You are not who you think you are - you are the One, you are external love. And you are also love manifested in action here and now. So act in the good of all.
Playing our part from a perspective of connection - that all is one - is the heart of taking our yoga off our mats.
Through our yoga practice on our mats we develop exactly those qualities of head, belly and heart that will support us in manifesting the new story. Qualities that support us in taking our yoga off our mats. Because through practice we grow our ability to see things as they are and our ability to take purposeful action. And - above all - we develop compassion and courage in our hearts.
For a more detailed exploration on this and more, you can watch my video below.
Class: Yoga and our big shift
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