Recently I wrote in a yoga article (published by the Winnipeg Free Press), in order to be happy no matter what emerges, we need to strengthen our positive response-ability. Ultimately, this means finding our centre (our true nature) and staying grounded in that centre — even when experiencing negativity. This act is significant because our true nature is where truth abides.
The path to discovering truth requires us to understand the difference between intelligence and wisdom. Our sensory organs (eyes, ears, nose, tongue, skin) and our brain process our intelligence or consciousness. Wisdom, on the other hand, is non-organic and arises from our awareness, that is, our true nature.
Our true nature is the aspect of ourselves referred to by many spiritual traditions as infinite, never-born, never-dies. Although consciousness has many layers, it is not awareness. However, it does allow us to see awareness. Furthermore, everything we experience in mind and body consciousness is purposed toward awareness — toward finding our true nature, toward finding truth.
As we traverse this current Age of Innovation, we discovered our organic or rational-empirical intelligence does not prepare us for the many newly emerging experiences and what are now categorized as wicked challenges. As a result, the wisdom inherent in intuition (awareness) has become an increasingly valued route to truth.
In our pursuit of truth, life experience teaches us the body never lies, but the mind is the master of deception. In this vein, you may recall playing ‘mind over matter’ games in your youth where you used the power of your mind to control and influence your body or the physical world. Or, maybe like Oprah Winfrey, you attended a Tony Robbins’ Fire Walk seminar and successfully walked across hot coals without injury. Or when, as in the case of our own physical addictions, we use our mind to fool our body into thinking we require the excess food, drink, drug, etc. to be happy when in reality, the addiction is our distraction for resisting our truth.
Yoga teaches us that the birth of our addictions exists within one or more of nine obstacles to transformation. The undoing of these obstacles is contained within our every day, mundane actions as we relate to others. Thus, the path to transformation and truth requires us to be in relationship with others so we can see the source of our addiction. In other words, our relationships reflect or mirror exactly what obstacles we are using to deny or avoid our truth.
Consider which of the nine obstacles listed below resonate with your life experiences. Place a checkmark beside the ones you know are distracters for you. If you are feeling fearless, ask someone, whose opinion you value, to also check off the obstacles they see in you.
( ) 1. Disease (illness in the body)
( ) 2. Mental inertia (illness in the mind)
( ) 3. Doubt (of self & others)
( ) 4. Carelessness (doing wrong when you know it is wrong)
( ) 5. Laziness (burnout; heaviness in the body)
( ) 6. Excess (overindulgence; inability to turn attention inward)
( ) 7. False perceptions (erroneous views, illusion)
( ) 8. Lack of perseverance (failure to reach firm ground)
( ) 9. Inability to sustain practice (slipping from ground gained)
Once you have collected this data, you are positioned to bring your mind-body consciousness into greater awareness. Furthermore, each hurdle that presents in your life can be traced back to one or more of these obstacles. This added awareness provides you with an early warning signal that your positive response-ability is being challenged. With awareness and practice, the distract-ability of these obstacles will diminish allowing you to persevere in your pursuit of the truth.
For more information on transforming fear into positive response-ability, click here.