One thing that we know for certain is that everything changes. This is a universal truth. You may want to hide from said universal truth but take a look out your window right now, what is happening in your environment? Is the wind blowing the leaves? Are the clouds creating shade? Is there a bird flying by? If you look again in a few minutes the entire scene will be different.
Now take a moment to scan your inner world – what is happening? What do you notice if you start focusing on your breath? If you scan again a few moments later? You may notice that everything is in flux at all times. As it turns out, on a quantum level we are made up of a bunch of tiny energy particles that are whizzing around at great speeds, with less predictability than one would expect, so ultimately, this all kind of makes sense.
Alright change, it appears that you are here to stay, so, are you a friend or foe? I’m going to go out on a limb here and claim the friend option. Once I accepted change as an inevitable friend in my life and softened to the opportunities that it presents, situations opened up in easeful and mysterious ways. Let’s be clear, there are still times when I resist change. However, now I recognize the resistance and it’s from this place of awareness that I can make the choice as to whether I let go and surrender or remain stubborn and hold on. The stubborn approach rarely results in the desired outcome however I still find myself going there now and again. Life presents a multitude of opportunities for learning, like sometimes Life says “Oh…I see you weren’t able to let that go….how about we present it again in a different way and see what happens?!”.
It is indeed a useful practice to let go of the need to control and maintain the status quo. However, there are moments in life where change fuelled by intention is beneficial – especially in relation to the kind of world that we want to live in. Change in alignment with our values or change that is mutually beneficial to everyone involved is often a good thing, especially when there is thought and planning behind it.
Sustainable change evolves from this heart centered place of mindful, positive intention. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about change, having been engaged in the field of international development for over 12 years. And I have often seen that when intended change does not come from a heart centered, mindful place, it can do more harm than good. In the context of international development, sustainable change is defined as change that creates resilience in an individual or a system - so that the individual or system can adapt to the changes in the environment. Imagine what the world would look like if each of us and the systems we live within were all a bit more resilient. Imagine a world where there is an effective use of resources, and where all actions take into consideration resource availability to future generations. I am defining resources broadly here as all resources necessary to live healthy lives free from external and internal limitations. It is from this place of mindful intention that our Awakened Spirit collective hopes to inspire change in ourselves, our co-creators and our communities.
Ultimately, any external change starts with our own internal process. Our outer world reflects our inner world, and this is where yoga holds immense potential. Practicing yoga, including the philosophy and wisdom of yoga, helps us to bring our inner world into alignment, which then reflects in changes to our outer world. Spending time in nature also has a positive effect on inner alignment, and allows one to observe and notice the resilience of natural systems. Combining the wisdom of yoga, observations and interactions with nature and a few simple tools to support the design and planning process is a simple recipe for sustainable change. Join us at our Sacred Earth Yoga Teacher Training in Guatemala this November to learn more about this process and how to apply it in your own life and the communities around you.
Take some time to consider the following questions and let us know your thoughts!