I recently heard a statement that perplexed me but as I contemplated it further it made sense. It became my clear inspiration and focus for my classes last week. “If you are not happy where you are, you will not get where you want to be”.
My first thought was that often dissatisfaction motivates change. However, then I realized the point of the statement was that if you can’t be happy in the present, chances are whatever you think will make you happy in the future actually won’t. Sometimes, we get in the habit of being unhappy. When we get in the practice of dissatisfaction it is hard to break, even if we achieve the goal we think will make us happy we may not feel happy or connect to gratitude because we are out of the habit.
Happiness is also a habit. So I asked my students to think about creating a habit of happiness on their mats last week. The journey is the journey, we can choose to enjoy it or to be unsatisfied with where we are and constantly believe that getting to the “next” place will make us happy. So on our mats we practiced being happy with where we were. Being happy in the present doesn’t stop us from working to go deeper, to move forward, to achieve or grow… it just allows us the chance to be happy on the way to getting there. It’s a choice we get to make. We are all on our own paths. We can choose to cultivate a habit of happiness along the way or not.
As we warmed up with Sun Salutes we then explored a rigorous flow and balancing practice. We explored Eka Pada Koundinyasana (pose pictured above) in several different ways slowly building and stopping at the point that our bodies needed. We knew where we wanted to ultimately be but we didn’t tie our happiness or satisfaction to the end result. We practiced being happy and satisfied with where we were on the journey knowing that being happy along the way was not a deterrent to reaching the final pose, rather it would make it that much sweeter and truer for us when we ultimately got there.
We all have encountered people who are perpetually unhappy with their place in the present. They believe they are one job, one relationship, one lottery win away from happiness. In my experience, those people never actually achieve the happiness they are looking for because what they seek is already inside them and they haven’t found it. One can search their whole life for external things to make them happy, but if they could just tap in to the happiness inside themselves, the entire journey would be a happy one.
As we slowed down and moved into Savasana, the work really began. I asked my students to appreciate the journey…to not move on to “the next thing” but rather to enjoy this part of the path. I reminded them that if they find satisfaction in the moment, they will achieve all that they wish on their mats and in their lives. It’s a funny thing really, when we allow ourselves happiness along the journey then we ARE where we want to be in that moment; the JOURNEY becomes the DESTINATION and therefore is the HAPPINESS. Namaste.