The Steps We Take


The non-dual interpretation of Yoga that I espouse is often signified by the adage: no steps need to be taken.  I have grappled with this adage. Mostly, I wrote it off as a cliche of sorts like "Carpe Diem" or "you could walk outside right now and get hit by a bus."  I am intellectually sympathetic to the idea that life is best lived in the present but have found this of little consolation when the strains of life begin to bear down.

It's hard to escape the feeling that there are things I would like to have happen in my life and efforts I might make that could help bring them to fruition.  How can no steps need to be taken when it feels an awful lot like some steps still need to be taken?

Most of the steps that feel like they need to be taken, in one way or another, involve discovering pursuits that fulfill our inspirations, providing resource to support ourselves and families, and having time to enjoy simple pleasures.  All too often, these modest aspirations seem dashed.  Fulfilling our inspirations and enjoying simple pleasures is unwittingly sacrificed just trying to make enough money to pay the bills.

Fortunately, there are aspects to being alive that are not the least bit contingent on time, money or accomplishing goals.  On some level, right now as you are reading this, regardless of your situation, there is no problem.  Whether we are making enough money, realizing our dreams or have the partnership we desire genuinely does not matter.  As easy as it is to write it off, any one of of us could have a brain aneurysm in the next minute and die.  Happens all the time.

Personal and financial responsibilities notwithstanding, the fickle nature of events makes struggling and worrying largely for naught.  More importantly, pain and confusion can never fully eclipse the miracle of your own existence.

What I am beginning to understand is that the adage, no steps need to be taken, is referring to an overarching perspective more than the events on our daily planners.  The suggestion is not that we renounce our worldly pursuits and sit in silent repose but rather an utterly pragmatic and emboldening attitude.

There is nowhere you need to get to. Nothing needs to be done. Then, continue doing what you're doing.

I will continue to make every effort to create the life I wish to have and, in the absence of a clear course, I will be content with the way things are and keep an eager eye for any potential fronts.  In the meantime, I choose to give more import to what I may have some say in and meet the rest with unyielding lightheartedness.

I invite others to join me.  Nothing is better for shedding unnecessary anxiety then useful perspective.


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J. Brown

J. Brown is a yoga teacher, writer, and founder of Abhyasa Yoga Center in Brooklyn, New York. A teacher for 15 years, he is known for his pragmatic approach to teaching personal, breath-centered therapeutic yoga that adapt to individual needs. His writing has been featured in Yoga Therapy Today, the International Journal of Yoga Therapy, Elephant Journal and Yogadork.