I'm beginning Yoga Teacher Training today. It's a 200-hour program spanning a month, a basic training on the eight limbs of yoga with a focus on the third limb, the āsanas (postures).
When I tell people I’m doing Teacher Training, many say kind things, like they think I’ll be a great yoga teacher. I deeply appreciate everyone who's expressed this sentiment; however, I have no idea if I want to be a yoga teacher.
I know, begging the question: Then why are you doing Yoga Teacher Training?
My answer: I do have a feeling it will deepen my spiritual practice, but the primary reason I’m doing yoga teacher training is to do yoga teacher training.
One of my big takeaways from the Bhagavad Gita is this: relinquish the fruits of your actions. Completely let go of the results. (Now that's some serious aparigraha.) The Gita says, Ch. 2 verses 47-48:
"The action alone is your mandate,
Never the fruits at any time.
Never let the fruits of action goad you.
Never get attached to your inertia.
Fixed in yoga, do your work.
Relinquishing attachment, Wealthwinner.
In success or failure, stay the same.
It's said that equilibrium is yoga."
This message—focusing on your actions and not at all on their results—is entirely subversive to modern society. Our culture is sickeningly transactional; our society is obsessed with “fruit.”
So much so that people do not know how to Love, in friendships or in romantic partnerships. They approach relationships like they approach Cyber Monday deals online. Always thinking: What’s in it for me? What can I get out of this, and how quickly?
Do you know someone who only wants to talk to you if they want something from you? Of course you do.
A more difficult question: Whom do you only talk to when you want something?
The Gita advocates relinquishing fruit in all situations—not just relationships. I'm always finding more areas in my own life where I can let go of the fruit.
I have to remind myself of this often, as it's so easy to get caught up in so-called "results." For example:
Why do I write this letter? I write this letter to write this letter.
Why do I meditate? I meditate to meditate.
Yes, there are results of me writing this newsletter. One beautiful result is I feel closer with a number of friends, because I feel my letters (and their responses) have encouraged deeper conversations between us.
And I could write an entire letter on my “results” of meditation. I worry less, my creative energy flows more freely, I’m consistently happier.
AND YET: those are not the reasons I write or meditate.
Right now, this instant, I am writing to write. And—in an hour or so—I will meditate to meditate.
Relinquishing the fruits—first off—has brought about a greater sense of peace for me, because it has brought me more often into the present moment, the moment where peace can exist.
I've also found if you cling to future fruit, it is less likely to come. So, when you stop being obsessed with results, you actually get better results.
I know this might sound like bull shit, but, hey, if you've been trying for a specific result your whole life and have never gotten it, maybe it's time to rethink the approach, homie. (I am predominately speaking to me here. (Yes, I am my own homie.))
Here's an example that may sound trivial and ridiculous, but I'm starting to believe how I do anything is how I do everything.
Whenever I used to send a text message, I'd send it wanting a response. I.e. clinging to the fruit.
So, I'd send a text. And wait. And wait. And if I didn't get a response, sometimes, I'd start to panic. And then, depending on some variables (who I texted, my mood, etc.), I might start to spiral.
It's not like I did this with every single text message, but for years, various people here and there would vex me if they didn't respond. Maybe it was someone I just met, or someone I felt was "cooler" than me. Or, if I was having a bad day, maybe it was anyone.
What if them not responding indicates dislike? What if I annoyed them? What if they're devising a way to never speak to me again?
It was such a well-run course for my mind, and so EXHAUSTING...all because I wanted "fruit."
[Aside: I do feel that it's worth unpacking all emotional patterns, and rest assured, I'm doing that work, too. Questions I've asked in this unpacking: Why do I need external approval? Why do I believe people are 'cooler' than me? Can I be so self-contained I don't desire external validation at all?]
But still, I've found so much peace from simply relinquishing the fruit—even in this *tiny* action—and saying: I am texting her to text her. I am texting him to text him. Not because I want or need a response from him or her.
And the weirdest thing is....when I text with this energy of non-clinging, it's like people can feel it. Often, they answer more quickly or thoughtfully or whatever. It's wild—and so counterintuitive.
Or, they don't answer me at all, and I don't care.
Which is even more wild.
This is what I'm finding across the board —when you relinquish the fruits, when you burn away striving energy, when you let go of expectations, when you stop trying SO DAMN HARD to get EXACTLY what you THINK you want, well, you create space for beautiful things to enter your life. Amazing, unexpected things. Things your mind wouldn't even know to want. Rumi says:
"Stop weaving and watch how the pattern improves."
I agree. Stop trying to get the fruit, and allow fruits to flow into your life.
Because why did Adam and Eve fall in the Garden of Eden? What caused the first man and the first woman to stop living in a perfect paradise, in harmony with nature and with God?
They ate the forbidden fruit.
Don't grasp for fruit. Relinquish it.
Let go of the fruit, and see what beauty enters your life.
with Love and with Light,
p.s. In the Gita passage above, Krishna is speaking. When Krishna says "yoga" he's not referring exclusively to physical yoga poses, it's a lot more than that. :)