Judith Hanson Lasater cited a passage (book 2, verse 44) in the Bhagavad Gita in her book, Living Your Yoga:
“Krishna explains the nature of success, emphasizing that all those things obtained in the world are transitory and are not ultimately success. When we define success in a worldly way, we limit ourselves … contribute to our false perception of reality … and are missing out on life.”
I have returned to this thinking myself every so often over the years. It is difficult to square with all that surrounds us, within our own households even, let along the larger forces and flows of the larger society.
To feel it and follow it as an individual is one thing. To live it in the midst of relationships with people of differing views, values and capacities to live it with you, even if they can appreciate it on an intellectual level, is another.
How to balance my perception of truth with others’? How to allow space for their existence within my life while maintaining space for my own?
How to coexist with the modern, Western, consumption-oriented world is a huge challenge. And while I might, at times, like to withdraw and live a monastic life, that is not realistic.
First, would I really? Really?? Second, I am gaining perspective on accepting the idea and challenge of creating my own path within an understanding it’s okay to let others have theirs, too. Life does not need to be either/or.
And by living as a learning, growing example of another way, by doing it in public, rather than secretively in a hole in the mountains, maybe someone else realizes it’s an option, that they too can live by their own heart if breaking conventions of a “success”-driven life appeals to them.
Math Is Precise, Humanity Is Not
I am not interested in proclaiming I have answers or am a model of living. But, if along the path of my practice in view of the public someone asks me a question, I will do my best to answer. If I can shine light or support their journey, I will.
To live in a more-more-more and me-me-me society is to be different, if you’re willing to care and share above earn and buy. But to be different does not mean to be loud, outspoken or judgmental. Difference is evident in its existence, quiet as it may be.
In my 20s, I was more vocal in my opinions and about what I felt was noteworthy in the world. I’ve since come to the conclusion that wisdom comes from quiet. It comes from listening not talking, observing not judging, turning inward not aiming outward.
I am no one to shout what is right, and so I prefer to stay quiet. What is right? Whose perception wins rightness? Math is precise. Humanity is not.
The idea of redefining success to mean something of the spirit, of the heart, and not of the conventional, financial-and-stuff persuasion is ongoing focus for me.
I am continue in the process of coming to terms with what my career and life look like to me, and shaking off the guilt of how it does not fit the rewards we have been socialized to believe are what make a tout-worthy life.
I have given away my previous earning power. I told my most recent employers nearly a year ago they were overpaying me and wasting their money, that they weren’t ready for me on an organizational level, and that my purpose for them had dwindled under the circumstances.
My life purpose also was coming into clearer view. I was ready to leap into it.
I gave their money (future earnings, champagne flights to Europe, benefits) back to them in exchange for my full freedom to immerse in yoga and humanness, art and the art of self. It’s the kind of story I’d admire if I heard it from a TED stage, assuming a happy ending. But the reality is scary.
It continues to take time for me to learn how to de-program, to fully embrace and thrive in my new “un-successful” present.
My intention for living a life of success defined by human, heart-centered terms is to find peace within my being different from all I’ve been taught about success and all who taught it to me.
My intention is to be a quiet example of someone who follows his heart, his long-denied callings, especially for my sons. I want to be the success I value, and to model that for them.
I want this story to be TED Talk-worthy, an example of what everyone can do, rather than be an absurd decision that burns in failure and takes down my family with it … and makes me feel required to return to the life I don’t want to live.
My intention not only is to avoid missing out on life, but to create one that is whole and authentic, one that is fuller than I dream is possible.
My intention is to live my yoga through experience, connecting with self, others and nature … to ski, snowboard, saunter among the mountains, write poetry, make art, wade into rivers and … breathe.
Fortune Cookie: Elena Koycheva