On The Mat: Don't Make Assumptions

Uncategorized May 10, 2018

“Assumptions are dangerous things to make, and like all dangerous things to make — bombs, for instance, or strawberry shortcake — if you make even the tiniest mistake you can find yourself in terrible trouble. Making assumptions simply means believing things are a certain way with little or no evidence that shows you are correct.”

          — Lemony Snicket


Nothing is as it seems, especially in interactions and relationships. Our most common form of interaction is through technologies such as email and texting, and we are forced to assume the meaning behind words and symbols. In any situation, do you trust that your first thought is the clearest one? Our first thoughts are usually based on past events and conditioning. This will work well as long as we want to continue to recreate the past. In yoga, this is the trap of samskara—the impressions and imprints that are at the root of our suffering. The well-adjusted human will question the first thought and do the work to find clarity. This third agreement is about taking the courageous step to communicate clearly. Many of the misunderstandings in our relationships have formed around an assumption that is not based in reality, but in our samskaras. We hold the assumption that other people see life the way we do and know what we know. However, no one else resides in our bodies and thinks our thoughts and has the same past and experience. The base assumption that everyone can understand where we are coming from is false. In the same way, we can never have the whole story about the experience of another. Therefore, no judgment that we hold can possibly be true. This week on the mat, we will use our practice as a means of transforming judgment. Through silence and emptying, we can reposition the internal self to be receptive to clarity. Use this practice as a way to be courageous and examine everything—your thoughts, your assumptions, your cravings and aversions. This is the formula to find a place of greater freedom. The practice has a way of bringing us to the baseline of clear seeing. We can step out of the role of judge and into body and mind of the witness. This is the only way to see the truth, hear the truth, and live the truth. The courageous act of understanding will yield extraordinary grounding and revelation. This is connection.

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