As my husband was getting ready to prepare to have a garage sale, he came across a movie poster from 1999. It was the 19th spy film in the James Bond series called, “The World Is Not Enough.” That poster got me thinking about a little story I have used in my yoga class. I can’t remember who authored the story but it went something like this:
The king was approached by his best friend and asked, “If you conquer Rome, what will you do next?’ The king replied, “Sicily is next door and will be easy to take.” The friend asked, “And what shall we do after Sicily is taken?” “Then we will move over to Tunisia and sack Carthage,” said the king. “And after Carthage?” asked the friend. “The turn of Greece will come,” replied the king. The friend, much aggrieved asked, “And what may I inquire, will the fruit of all these conquests be?” The king thought for a moment and then replied with a smile, “Then we can sit down and enjoy ourselves.” “Can we not,” said the friend, “enjoy ourselves now?”
When is enough, enough?
I find myself constantly striving to become more. In the past, this has served me well as I became independent, buying my first home on my own in England over thirty-five years ago. Not common for a young single lady, let alone entering into the management field as a twenty-one-year-old in a male dominated business.
I have always striven to be the best I can be, tripping up along the way, but always swimming in the current of life. I have found myself sometimes going with the flow and also consciously stepping into the flow. Either way can lead you into the school of hard knocks and can also lead you to your strengths and successes.
However, yoga teaches me that when I try to overachieve, I’m trying too hard. I’m trying to “become” the perfect pose. If I’m holding a pose too strongly, there is too much fire and I burn out quickly. I can’t hold the pose for long. And then I’m wondering if I’m not strong enough or perhaps not flexible enough. ‘Enough’ being the operative word here, I’ve also began to realize that perhaps I’m just too attached to the outcome, too controlling in my way of being.
As my young childhood fell apart at seven-years-old, I find I hold on too tightly in order to control the outcome. In order to make sure nothing falls apart. To avoid the pain. But the harder I hold on, the less I’m able to move and the more painful life becomes. The less we are able to move, the more trapped we become in our past and in our present, which ultimately closes the door on the future. It’s not enough to keep holding on tightly. I have to hold to the idea of letting go sometimes. To say, “Enough.” I need to sit where enough is just fine. There doesn’t have to be more.
The Eight Limbs of Yoga
Now is the time for me to reflect on the teachings of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, specifically, the Yamas and Niyamas in the Eight Limbs of Yoga. There are five Yamas and five Niyamas however, one of the Yamas is aparigraha (non-possessiveness) and one of the Niyamas is santosha (contentment).
Whether in a pose, in my yoga teaching, or in my personal life, I will endeavor to practice aparigraha so I can move toward releasing myself from any attachment to the outcome. I will strive to simply be present, consciously aware, and to find a sense of steadiness and ease so I can enjoy my practice, my teaching, and my personal life. To “smell the roses” as they say.
I will also practice santosha, moving toward finding contentment with what is instead of what is not. “To be or not to be.” I just want to be. I’ve realized that I spend so much energy trying to “become,” not realizing, “I am.” I know intellectually that there is my Self. Perhaps I can now stop striving to “become” and meditate on connecting to my Self, the essence of my being. To stop and simply be. Be contented. Contented from where I came from, where I am and how the universe will unfold before me.
Contented because nothing is permanent therefore, there is nothing to hold on to, nothing to expect and everything to enjoy. Enjoying the world because it is enough. The world… the universe… supports life, has beauty, and wants nothing of itself. It simply is… It’s enough.