What better way to honor Columbus Day than to discover yourself? Our Western selves often seek ventures outside of ourselves, rather than take an internal journey to get to know our own minds and bodies better. If I asked, how many thoughts you had per day, would you be surprised that the average person has between 30-70,000 thoughts per day? If I asked you how many thoughts you had that you were aware of, would you be surprised to find that most of us are unaware of 90-95% of our thoughts? If I asked you how to access the 90-95% of your cognitive thinking, would you be able to tell me how? If I asked you how any breaths you take per day, would you be surprised to know that most of us take about 21,600 breaths per day? If I asked you where your pancreas, liver, and stomach are, would you be able to tell me where and what functions they have in the body?
It is only through yoga that I’ve discovered how much of me I don’t actually know, and there’s a lot. As I delve deeper and deeper into my own mind, through daily observation of my reactions, desires and aversions and through meditation, I have begun to understand and appreciate all that I am-the good, the bad and sometimes the ugly, without judging it, but simply by watching myself. After practicing yoga and meditation for years, I try to watch how well I chew my food, or how often I engage in meaningless conversation (sometimes with food in my mouth), or how well I hydrate myself throughout the day, or what triggers my nervous system, or what are my intentions for the day, or how my words or actions potentially make others feel. Knowing more about my internal body and mind, I rely less on others and other things to make me feel valued, healthy or fulfilled. I try to understand and disable my ‘automatic pilot’ reactions to different external conditions or inputs. As an example, I am much more aware of when I’m holding my breath, usually an indication of anxiety, and am able to return my breath back to normal, thus restoring my nervous system.
Delve inside today, and see you what you can uncover about yourself. Don’t forget-we are a microcosm of the macrocosm. There is so much for us to discover about the macrocosm, through discovering ourselves. Happy Columbus Day! Enjoy the adventure!