“A human being is an island of excellence. We are born to excel”.-Pandit Rajamni Tigunait
Are you a being of excellence?
Do you live your life as though you were born to excel?
What is the hidden driver of excellence and how do you learn to live as an island of excellence? What is the purpose of excellence?
We live in a world where Panditji’s statement “a human being is an island of excellence” is difficult to comprehend. The reason is that we are bombarded with messages that tell us how we can learn or conquer just about anything in “2 weeks or less!” The tenant, “we are born to excel” requires that one live as though life is for mastering what it is to be human. Mastery is one of those often-misunderstood words as well; however, mastery is necessary as part of living excellence. Mastery is undermined daily with messages that faster is better and quick fixes & step-by-step programs promise goal achievement with little effort. The results in patterns and beliefs that when something takes a lengthy amount of time or moreover, a lifetime, then its value is diminished. You find only the few on the path to mastery; yet mastery is a necessary requirement to be an island of excellence.
Real mastery isn’t just about goal achievement; it is as much, or more, about embodying the philosophy and concepts that will sustain growth and development after you have reached your goals. The supreme skill for excellence is self-awareness and the capacity to collect one’s attention for a desired length of time. Living mastery means that everything we seek to master in life, including life itself, becomes the impetus for developing the muscle of self-awareness and sustained attention. Mastery is not a destination but a true path whereby seeking sustained adeptness at living excellence becomes a way of life. In other words, the very process of being human becomes the path for mastery and the result is living excellence!
George Leonard, a leading expert on mastery, shares this, “but while a mastery mindset offers us a clear path to excellence, our society seems to reject it at every turn.”
Yoga and Ayurveda are the art, science and philosophy for the mastery of being human, offering a very clear and systematic approach for learning a practice over a lifetime. However, we have people coming to yoga schools en masse only to find that the desire for a quick fix is what drives most and this often drives people away from potentially tapping in to their true potential in life. Mastery is built on long periods of practice without tangible results which leads to small bursts of clear progress and then giving way to a steady and deliberate practice once again.
“The journey toward mastery isn’t shaped like a steep incline,
but rather a series of plateaus punctuated by spurts of progress.
Learning to love these plateaus is essential to achieving mastery.”-G. Leonard
Plateaus, for most people can be extremely challenging to endure and George Leonard shares three personality types that struggle with mastery – dabblers, obsessives, and hackers.
Dabblers begin new skills with such enthusiasm, going in fully in the beginning and until the first plateau. Dabblers are not able to handle the plateaus and end up dropping out and then spending a great deal of energy justifying their decision. The obsessive is determined to learn in as short amount of time as much as possible and the journey doesn’t matter. To the obsessive, all that matters is getting the results. For the obsessive, it can often be too painful to see their limits and will often quit because of the resistance to limits. Most of the time the plateaus will discourage the obsessive personality type enough to quit. Hackers are perfectly fine living in the plateau, spending all their time in this cozy spot. They are generally not inspired to push past any limits and will not see the value in the obstacles toward growth.
If you see yourself as any of these three personality types and the goal of excellence seems far from reach, not to worry. Through the self-awareness you will develop in Ayurveda and the capacity to sustain attention that Yoga will cultivate, these personality traits offer simply a few more obstacles to strengthen character serving as the sand for the pearl to inspire excellence.
The first step if one is to master anything…you must have a teacher and the willingness to surrender your ego. The second step is to strengthen your ability to practice as a journey, moving into practice without attachment to the fruits and to practice for the love of it, as a way of life. Once a teacher is found and willingness to learn practice as lifestyle is set, two very important tenants of growth are the capacity to visualize the intention you seek & to embody the feeling of the intention in the present and a willingness to confront your limits.
You will run into the inevitable challenges of feeling you own limitations with playing your edge and pushing your boundaries. This requires that you surround yourself with others doing the same and you must create rituals and daily habits that will support you physically, mentally and spiritually. There are three specific distractions: 1) your own mind and inner dialogue 2) the level of energy in your body and 3) social circumstances and jealous or fearful loved ones. With Yoga and Ayurveda, you will learn to calm your mind and consciously direct your inner dialogue toward something that is supportive. With Yoga, you will develop the skills and sensitivity needed to moderate your level of physical energy through breath and strength training for your structure. For most students of Yoga, they find fairly certainly and quickly others of similar mind and goals, so community is generally available. We are so incredibly fortunate at Rasa Yoga to have so many edified and focused people on the path of mastery and inspiration toward excellence.
Finally, to empower yourself to move powerfully through all of the pitfalls on the path of mastery, just get your body moving with breath every day and in the moments of any regression or downfall. Rasa Yoga Sun Salutation or many of the other mini flow sequences partnered with breath can get you back on track. Each and every day, you must be clear on your intentions, goals and priorities and totally accept the fact that you have made a lifestyle commitment. Notice the tendency to resist your own best efforts and simply surrender yourself and SEE yourself as the decision is made! The resistance to yourself will drain you of precious energy, make the nervous system turbid and totally skew your perspective. Fully accept it all and each day remember to pray morning and evening. Pray and surrender your failures and pray that you begin again, a little wiser, more functional at being human and a great deal stronger.
“ The journey to mastering Yoga’s challenging postures empowers one to journey through life with mastery.”-Padma Shakti