Why do so many of us struggle and suffer unnecessarily?
For over 30 years now, I’ve been obsessed with this question (undoubtedly a vocational hazard), and it’s one that has been central to the quest of the ancient yoga masters for millennia.
Thankfully, a large part of the answer lies in a single unfortunate error. It's one that dooms most of us to lives filled with truckloads of totally unnecessary suffering. Sometimes, that suffering comes in the form of disappointment. Other times, it comes in the form of overwhelm and exhaustion. And at others, it comes in the form of frustration or even a feeling of being stuck.
And that error is this: our obsession with doing.
- From the business person obsessed with doing whatever she can to improve her productivity.
- To the spouse obsessed with doing everything he can to make the relationship work.
- To the parent obsessed with doing her best to be more mindfully present and patient with her children.
It is this single-minded focus on doing that makes things fall apart. Unbeknownst to most of us, we are working against ourselves.
Here’s what too many of us miss…
You can’t do your best while being at less than your best.
Once stated, it seems so obvious as to be barely worthy of mentioning. Even so, too many of us ignore this simple truth.
The fact is all tools and techniques and strategies in the world cannot help us, if we are doing them from a diminished state of being... Being overwhelmed. Being exhausted.
All are forms of this kind of diminished beingness; and all take a terrible toll on our every endeavor. And this is true for business people, spouses, parents, and even the average person trying to realize their heart’s desire.
The hard truth is this:
If you want to enjoy real success and joy and ease and meaning in your life, you must first attend to your beingness: Your calm, your clarity, your confidence, your energy, your attitude, your enthusiasm; these are the very foundation upon which all your doing relies.
And when we forget this critical fact, we start a vicious cycle that sabotages us at every turn. Because it is then that, not only do we feel worse, but… Our doing, in whatever endeavor, becomes less effective…and this causes our results to be stunted…which causes us to become frustrated and disappointed…which further diminishes our beingness…which further degrades our doing…and round and round we go. For many, for their entire lives. So, it is here that the invitation becomes to start with what is most important.
Start with your beingness, with how you are, and maintain that calm, clear, confident state of being as you undertake your doing in whatever pursuit or cause that you are engaged in. And of course, so many of our yoga practices can help us with this. It is in this way that our greatest success is allowed to unfold together with ease and joy all along the way. And all of that unnecessary suffering? It is finally allowed to recede in the rear-view mirror where it belongs.