“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
Albert Einstein is often credited for the above quote but there is no evidence that he actually spoke or wrote those words. However, are these words actually true? It’s true that two plus two equals four. No matter how many times you add two and two together, you can’t get a different result. It will always equal four. It would definitely be insane to expect a different result.
With that reasoning, what would be the purpose of me trying to do a headstand if I keep falling backwards every time I try? Over and over again, I’ve tried to do a headstand. Over and over again, I’ve fallen down. Am I insane?
I watch my ten-month-old great granddaughter standing and falling again and again. Is she insane? Is it innate in humanity to keep repeating the same thing over and over again expecting a different result? Of course it is! That’s how we learn to stand on our own two feet… and head.
Eight Limbs of Yoga
I had the wonderful pleasure of watching my great granddaughter practice the Eight Limbs of Yoga, specifically, Dharana (focused concentration), Dhyana (meditative absorption) and Samadhi (bliss or enlightenment). I watched her focused concentration as she pulled herself up, becoming fully absorbed in the object her mother was holding up, and the bliss as she walked somewhat drunkenly to claim her prize.
This is the proof that the Eight Limbs of Yoga is a natural part of our ‘doing’ and ‘being’ whether we know about them or not. We can’t help being influenced by them during our life’s journey. However, identifying and understanding the Eight Limbs does contribute to a more peaceful life where suffering and falling begin to subside the more we practice the Eight Limbs.
Learning about Patanjali’s Eight Limbs of Yoga during my teacher training at A Yoga Village was a wonderful eye opener for me. Now I can’t help but see the Eight Limbs in the whole of creation. Discovery and awareness is blissful and very enlightening.
Practice Makes Practice
When I’ve wanted to achieve something, such as a headstand, I’ll do the same thing over and over again with the hopes of achieving a different result. Not only does practice make practice, you begin to discover the secret to success. The secret to success is really no secret. It’s simply being more in balance. Balanced is one’s body, emotions, and spirit. I love to do headstands and am now working on my crane pose.
True or False
So, is the whole of humanity insane for doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results? Absolutely!
Trying to do the same thing over and over again is an impossibility. I can’t even take the same breath twice. There would be a different amount of air molecules entering my body. The strength of my inhale would be different. The length of my inhale would be different. Even the flow and vibration of air entering my body would be different. Each and every breath is unique. Just as each and every attempt to stand or do a headstand is unique.
The law of karma, the law of action, moves you to react. Every cause has an effect but you can never do the same thing twice. You can never make the same mistake twice. You can make mistake after mistake just as you can make success after success. Each mistake, each success is unique.
True For You
We are never repeating ourselves. We are continually adjusting, adapting, stretching and growing. The results will always be different simply because we can’t repeat ourselves or for that matter, copy anyone else.
When I teach tree pose, my students can’t repeat my tree pose. They become their own individual tree unique to them. That’s the beauty of yoga. It brings you to the realization that you are perfectly you. There is no other. You are unique as and perfect as a snowflake, a star shining in the night sky, a wave in the ocean.
And, as each wave is a part of the ocean, yoga guides you towards the absoluteness of creation. Connecting you to the completeness and utter bliss you inherited at birth. The bliss that gets buried with expectations and stress from outside influences. The bliss that yoga invites you to uncover by looking within for truth. The truth that nothing is ever repeated. The truth that creation is constantly creating its ‘Self’.