The Wisdom of Wellbeing

December 09, 2020

Filed Under: Wellness

"To keep the body in good health is a duty…otherwise we shall not be able to keep the mind strong and clear."

– Buddha

Even though our means of obtaining information nowadays is in fact thanks to the inter-webs, there is still merit in lifelong learning – whether from written research or our own personal experience.

Regardless of where and how we learn, yogic philosophy reminds us that true wisdom is not necessarily something that can always be found in a book or a class, but it is something that is within each of us. Of course teachers, guides, researchers and writers support our learning, but it turns out that true wisdom comes from practicing it in our own lives – or even simply just practicing the act of being human in and of itself.

By getting to know ourselves better and whatever is true for us, we become more in touch with not only ourselves but each other, making us continually more conscious of whatever it is we are learning from other sources. Being more mindful in general makes life a whole lot smoother in the process of said learning, through all of its ups and downs, no matter where or how or from whom we learn.

In soaking up our teachers’ collective knowledge of whatever subject we’re currently engaged in – whether we are in a proper class or simply learning by observing ourselves and the world around us – we open up the opportunity to be continually surprised and delighted; to show us differing viewpoints and new discoveries; to help us recognize how far we’ve come and where we have the capacity to go.

By learning how to better understand one another, we create more connection and less division, cultivating more compassion by default – something we could all use a little bit (a lot) more of, especially as we approach the holiday season.

As we near the end of the year, we naturally reflect. It is a time to celebrate ourselves and one another in the present moment, including what we’ve learned, where we’ve been, what we value, and what we envision for our future.

Consider a few of these practices to incorporate into your end-of-year moments as you reminisce on the big lessons of 2020 and continue to learn about yourself – as inspired by the infinite teachings of yoga:

– Relax the mind through practices like meditation, or meditative activities like walking, painting, swimming, yoga, dancing, etc. This will help us shift the attention to the body and the present moment in lieu of gripping onto thoughts and expectations – something we can all easily do around the holidays, pandemic or not. Plus, a relaxed mind leads to a more responsive immune system – a quality that is increasingly important.

– Remember and revisit your personal truth, or whatever is true to you right now versus what someone else is telling you is “right” and “wrong.” Keep inquiring; take things with a grain of salt; remember that nothing is fixed and that there are always new discoveries to be uncovered – whether we learn something new about ourselves or from a scientific study.

– Practice awareness with love and compassion – meaning be kind and patient whatever you end up observing, witnessing, or learning about your Self and others. We may not always agree or like what we see, but we can do our best to practice simply being more non-judgmentally alert of and grounded in the present moment (over and over again). By being generally more present, we reduce pain simply by stopping the act of always projecting so much into the future or feeling so attached to the past.

– Remind yourself that wisdom might not be immediate; that it can and will be revealed through practice. It takes everyone different amounts of time to learn different skills and concepts, whether we have a proper teacher or end up teaching ourselves. If we don’t have an answer right this second, perhaps it will arrive over time, especially when it comes to self-inquiry and our relationships with others. We can learn so much from one another – something to remember as we practice being present over the holidays. Ram Dass said, “If you think you’re enlightened, go spend a week with your family.”

What are some of your own personal practices for learning about and being more present with yourself and others?

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