Updated: Jan 18
I love The X Files. A couple of years ago I got heavily into the exploits of Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, two fictional FBI agents working to find evidence for the truth they both knew deep down, the truth that we are not alone in the universe!
I’m not about to start writing about extra-terrestrials or ghosts, even though all of that bloody fascinates me. I identified a lot with Agent Mulder because I’ve always felt like a truth seeker of sorts. I have always had a sense that what we see in the day-to-day repetitive minutiae of life is not all there is to being human, and definitely not all there is to the vast mysteries of the universe. I still believe (and know) that there is far more to life than what we typically see in the West: school, university, career, relationships, own things, get old, die. I always felt as if there were deeper layers of me which were somehow connected to both other people and the unseen aspects of life.
Something unseen that I was all too aware of though, was the repetitive thought patterns which formed my belief that I was not good enough. I was a striver; striving to make it look like I was the best, cleverest, nicest, coolest, prettiest, hardest working all in a f**king exhausting effort to cover up my belief that I was not good enough. I believed that belief as the truth for a LONG time. There was something quiet though underneath the I’m not good enoughs, an evasive whisper which wanted me to listen. Except I didn’t listen….aaah the tribulations of being a teenager!
In my early twenties, in my quest to understand this life of ours, I got mixed up in personal development/ spiritual organisations. You know the kind of place I’m talking about; rooms of excited people being talked at/shouted at by charismatic speakers all being encouraged to live the life of their dreams, forgive every person who ever wronged them and then be upsold to the next big ticket course which they would need in order to live the life of their dreams. These organisations forcefully encouraged truth speaking, but its funny (unfunny) that the truths they liked best were the ones which saw participants live with invisible shackles to that particular organisation’s methods and dogma were the only way to live, everything else was deemed inauthentic. It was a hard pill to swallow along while later that for those years of my life I had been duped by a cult. I was confused for a long time after I left, I felt I had no way home to myself and my real truths because I had soaked up a lot of culty ideology.
The joke here is that when I was being rushed to sign over my debit card details, there really was a quiet voice and very uneasy feeling in me saying hold your horses love, this seminar may not be for you! In actual fact, one group whose courses I took told participants to override our inner voice because, to paraphrase, it would keep us living a small life. The very uneasy feeling I had was my inner truth, nudging me to back off because that place was not going to be good for me.
When I finally found some yoga classes where I felt relaxed enough to feel into my body, after going to alot of very unrelaxing yoga classes(!), my sense of the evasive whisper started to return.
Spending time developing my own yoga practice, I’ve been able to slowly regain my connection to listen to my inner truth. Realisations happened, it seemed as if my searching amongst unscrupulous teachers, I was looking around for what was already within me; the ability to slow down and hear what my body was holding on to let me hear.
Our asana practice (poses/shapes on the mat) can help us cultivate the focus and quietness to hear our inner truths. Sure we might view yoga as a ‘doing’ situation eg, doing downward facing dog, doing child’s pose, and yes these are physical actions but it is in the pauses where we can learn to soften and love the quiet space in which are truths arise. These quiet moments and the connection of movement and breath gift us the opportunity for self-discovery; discovery of the subtle inner aspects of ourselves which the chores of everyday life can muffle. In yoga philosophy, truth is known as Satya and is one of the recommendations for our conduct of the yoga path. There is chance for you to recognise your truth EVERY time you arrive on your yoga mat, I don’t know about you, but I think that is VERY cool.
Physical movement in asana helps us to develop flexibility, strength and poise. These benefits are also critical features of our emotional landscape to help our minds stay flexible to the truths of other people, truths which may be vastly different from our own. Sometimes it can look like we live in a world which spews out events which are even weirder than an X Files episode, so finding our inner truth is a stabilising anchor which we an come to time and again.