In realizing this lies substantial freedom. One of the leading causes for self-imposed mental prisons is the fear of the unknown and the instinct to cling to familiarity, even if the familiar is intolerable. Most adults experience the desire of taking some time off and travel somewhere, but many will never do it. Instead, they will trade it for job security. This is only one of the thousands of the examples in which an individual will act externally in an expected ‘safe way’ although internally he/she craves for something that totally differs from their actual circumstance. That becomes second nature because it was a behavior that is so deeply rooted that it has become the norm.
Today, it is normal to maintain emotionally dead relationships, to eat poison, corpses, to spend a lifetime working to fuel an invisible supremacy that we don’t understand or agree with, to block emotions by inhibiting brain activity so that we can mechanically be able to keep doing what we no longer want to do. It appears impulsive, immature or insane to act naturally.
A person acting spontaneously can appear very odd. Take for example a child running around in a public space, such as an airport with their parents standing in a queue. The vitality that this child feels makes their body flow, even in an artificial environment. However, the child would very soon be suppressed by a parent saying that the kid must ‘behave’. The child, who still has limited or no vocabulary, will stop, responding primarily to the universal facial expressions and obey, attending the expectations imposed by his parents, who learned about parenthood from their parents before them and so on.
A moment later, a stranger notes that lovely infant, smiles and pays a compliment saying that he is such a good boy! And in this moment, a concept is unconsciously adopted as a true statement. That boy/ girl will grow into a man/ woman who will live for being rewarded by suffocating his/her nature, believing that in order to receive some praise, they must act in a way that is appropriate.
How many of our beliefs were adopted in the same way?
Now, imagine that there’s an adult at the same airport, who doesn’t share the same values as most of the others at this same place. He or she is also bored and decides to use the energy of his/her animal body to practice yoga while waiting for his flight. That would be totally crazy and make people very uncomfortable even though this person is not really making anyone uncomfortable at all…
In this next exercise, picture a man in the airport who is feeling very confused because he had a difficult conversation with the woman that he loves. His emotions start to build projections into the future that scare him. He recalls the past, which distresses him. Imagine that this man has surrendered to the now and fully allowed that emotion of sadness. He then starts to cry loudly, making sounds and sobbing, but eventually stops after a few minutes feeling much better… Could you anticipate the others passengers’ reaction? That would be totally crazy and make people very uncomfortable even though he is not really making anyone uncomfortable at all… However, if he publicly takes some prescribed medication to suppress his grief, that would be totally acceptable and probably go unnoticed.
It’s normal nowadays in our society to be taught to deal with our unconscious minds for the most part of our lives. It’s habitual to repress what we truly feel and to live in denial; controlled and sedated; and some, in this stage, will reason that by doing this it will inevitably lead to happiness in the years to come. We keep trying to adjust or improve our external world, hoping that it will feel much better when we obtain enough titles, acquisitions, kids etc. But there comes a time, maybe with the approach of our physical death, when we realize that by repeating the same actions it just won't get better. We name this phase maturity.
Some become cynical and commit emotional suicide. After all, for 30 or 40 years they have been devoting themselves to the wrong investments just to realize that it actually did not deliver the promised results. But it’s a bit too late to restart. Therefore, they keep doing the unnatural thing that is now the second nature: sedate, deny, go along with it. In case it persists, suppress it. There are quite a few ways to do it so: shopping, drinking, working, taking holidays, reading, exercising… not thinking about it. But because this doesn’t treat the cause of the discomfort, the inner turmoil persists, re-emerging fully at some point in our lives.
Others suddenly go through an inevitable spiritual awakening that is shocking at first, as our true selves start to reclaim their ignored voices. As this occurs, we begin to recognize that our entire life was inauthentic and that all we have is not what we wanted but a veneer that we worn to hide how we feel inside. A veneer that was manufactured by our concepts gained throughout childhood, in a time when we were authentic and punished for such. The process of removal can be painful, as the skin feels very bare without the armor, but too suffocated with the armor on…
The liberation is not meant to be easy; the return to unconsciousness seems impossible. It is impossible – no one can make unseen what was shown. In this part of the journey, we realize that there’s no time for change… that change comes in time. We want the change to happen as long as everything remains the same, but this wish cannot be granted as it is based on fear. However, fear never stopped change, it only made it unpleasant.
Positive change takes time and effort. Start off on the right track by joining a yoga therapy retreat!