You're Aware, Cool, and Now. . .
The only way the teachings of Yoga can truly be effective in our lives is by putting our money where our mouth is. Awareness is the beginning, talk is cool, but action is where we truly begin to see change.
The teachings of yoga are quite specific and powerful philosophies. When we really take these teachings and apply them to our lives they have profound and far-reaching effects. They can reshape our worldview, change our fortunes, and release us from a powerful compulsive cycle of suffering. In order to get these benefits, in order to really feel them and to really see these changes, we must truly apply the teachings to our lives.
It is not enough to say "I do yoga and now I'm more loving." I couldn't care less if you say you're more loving, do you act in a more loving way? Do you treat others and yourself with more love? It is not enough to say "I practice mindfulness and I'm so aware of this destructive or inconsiderate habit I have." That's great, now what? Are you willing to stop that behavior? Are you willing to look honestly at yourself and decide to make a change that causes less suffering for yourself and others?
You see we can't just stop at awareness. Awareness is a powerful, necessary and huge step but now that we are aware we are responsible. That's the rub, once we know what we are doing now we are responsible for offering action that will create change. It is through our actions, not our awareness and certainly not our talk, that we compassionately begin to end the cycle of our own suffering.
The challenge is that when we offer a new action, even one that will lessen suffering, it feels really uncomfortable because it is unfamiliar. We have to be willing to wade through the discomfort to allow ourselves to grow in a new and more beneficial direction. Discomfort when we offer healthier action is only telling us that we are clearing the weeds of our old habits to allow new more advantageous habits to grow and flourish. This is how we change our lives, by creating new habits that create different choices that lead to different behaviors that get different results.
Celebrate your awareness, and then realize that you have only opened the door. Have enough compassion to look at yourself honestly and act on what you see in a way that is of benefit. Realize, as it took me so long to realize in my own life, that you are worth that beneficial change. You are worth giving yourself all the possible benefits that this magnificent system and philosophy of Yoga has to offer.