Our ego is like a sheet of glass that exists between the world and our mind. As information from the world filters through our senses, it passes through our ego on its way to our conscious thought. We screen though everything we perceive: “I like this because I did something like it before and that was good,” “This has made me look bad in the past,” or “This reminds me of the time…”. Whether we’re aware of it or not, our mind is continually making lightning quick assessments based on previous experiences in order to organize ourselves in the world.
Through the years, the sheet of glass begins to get a little, well, dirty. Our experiences, both positive and negative, begin to form a film over the glass that distorts the way that we perceive our environment. As these mis-perceptions get confirmed over the months and years, we soon have a good ol’ crusty cake of samsara baked over our plate of glass. Like a windshield that has endured a lengthy road trip, our glass has become overlaid with the splatters of past experiences. Soon we aren’t able to see through the glass anymore at all! Instead, we’re just acting out based on previous experiences. We’re sleepwalking.
Now, our mind is designed to draw the line between cause and effect; it’s one of those nice things it does that keeps us safe. (Who wouldn’t want to remember that the stove is hot after burning themselves once?) But our mind sometimes is indiscriminate or can get too good at its job, and begins to draw lines of cause and effect that aren’t really useful to us. Instead of keeping us safe and aware, our mind traps us in narrow lines of expectation.
Part of our work in our yoga practice is to PRACTICE freeing ourselves from expectation. I’m emphasizing the word practice here because it’s really okay if we’re not good at it. By actively letting go of expectation, we can start to clean off our nasty, cluttered windshield. We can begin to perceive the world as it is – not as how we expect.
In your yoga practice this week, can you dare to not know what will happen? Dare to surprise yourself? By undoing expectation, we can discover that there is a wealth of feeling, sensation, and intuition that we may been neglecting. The world will literally look and feel different.
Be patient with yourself and keep clearing off your windshield. Soon, who knows? You may even get that new car smell.