Training the Mind to See the Abundance of Greatness

This article caught my eye. Thought you might enjoy it :-)

The daily practice of yoga gives us ample ground to test out the hypothesis of an infinite universe.

When you see an accomplished practitioner achieve masterful feats in their practice, that doesn’t mean you cannot go and accomplish the same thing. Yet it can sometimes be exceedingly frustrating to see someone accomplish a goal or posture—one that’s long eluded you—with little to no effort.

This is where the real yoga actually begins.

If you look at the success of others and think that their greatness only puts you in their shadow, you miss an opportunity to ride on the coattails of their success. Yoga teaches us that we should cultivate an attitude of friendliness toward the virtuous and successful.

In other words, yoga asks us to retrain our minds to celebrate the success of others—and really mean it. We can only do so when we truly understand the inclusive nature of life. Life does not judge us—we do. Life does not create harsh lines of exclusion and failure. We do. The yogic mind relinquishes these judgements and replaces them with a happy acceptance that leads to the realization of greatness.

Being great does not necessarily mean that others are not as great.

If you assume there is a limited amount of success available in the world, you will always see life as a competition with a set number of prizes. But in a world of infinities, all possibilities eventually find their way into being. When you see someone else’s greatness there is a tendency to think that the same level of greatness is not available for you, as though life is a zero sum game.

You might wonder, if there is space in the world for your unique contribution. Just because one person is successful doing exactly what you think you are destined to do doesn’t mean that you cannot do it too. Instead of operating from a truly expansive view of the world and life where we trust the limitless potential of creation, we more often assume the perspective that tells us there are a finite number of accolades in the game of life. Lucky for us there is no discriminating deity handing out a small number of prizes. The divine spark of the universe is just that—universal and equal in its love for all beings and their dreams.

Interestingly, the path to this endlessly peaceful way of being is straight through one of the more base emotions. From a purely egotistical standpoint, when we see the success of others, we often feel negative emotions like envy, jealousy, anger or depression.

When we feel this draining rush of sensations, we direct the desperation of our inner yearning to others and ourselves in a negative way. We create excuses for why that person is better equipped to have the success we desperately want. We invent reasons for why they deserve or do not deserve the things they have achieved. The gulf that stands when we see manifest a dream we have long labored for accomplished by someone else hurts. It hurts because we see a mirror of all that we could be but are not yet. It is not the fault of the successful person who managed to cross the gap. Whether it is a yoga posture or life goal that we see reflected back the teaching of yoga asks us to smile at the image of our greatness and follow to beacon to the source of the light. For if we consciously train ourselves to celebrate the success of those whose greatness we admire we can let these powerful beings be our teachers. In the mirror of success we must retrain our small, scarcity thinking minds to see the potential of who we really are.

When we see a successful person whose power, grace and beauty is awesome and we feel a muddled mixture of emotions it is the time to actively practice a new way of thinking. This yoga of the mind asks you to carve out new pathways in the neural network of your brain. Out of awe, yearning, fear, doubt and jealousy arise a lovingly inspired view of what we can be. The abyss between where we are and what we want to be is actually the source of all the negative emotion we feel in the presence of other people’s greatness. It is not their greatness we react to, but our own apparent littleness. If in their presence of greatness we choose to focus on all the reasons why we have not been able to be great ourselves, we will only ever be small in our minds and in our lives. Yoga teaches us to remain open to our own greatness and learn from those who set the standard ahead of us. Remaining happy about your own journey can give you the happy realization that coming second can be easier because the path is already laid out before you. To be the first ones to pioneer a new way to be successful is hard, arduous and requires great strength. If you want to follow in the footsteps of the great ones it is often easier to walk along the clearly laid out path before you. So in the presence of people whose accomplishments you consider great drop your ego and learn. Once you stand of the side of accomplishment nothing can take that away from you.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. maria maki
    Aug 05, 2010 @ 18:11:47

    Hi Briana,
    I am planning on coming tonight, but my friend Nina can’t make it. If it is only me coming, feel free to cancel. It is so hot! It must be nice at the lake. I’ll check your blog later.


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