Such interesting times we’re living through. So many opportunities to reinvent ourselves. So much possibility in restructuring society. We know it isn’t easy, or simple. We know the road ahead of us is twisted and full of dangers and surprises.
In many ways, simplifying certain things in our lives can help make life easier, smoother, less stressful. That’s often a good idea. Especially in a world that feeds us stress for breakfast, bathes us in anxiety, and covers us with a blanket of uncertainty when we go to sleep at night.
But is easy and comfortable always a good idea?
The trend of simplification comes with a price.
We are complex beings.
We are a web of embodied functions and evolving and devolving capacities.
We often have contradicting feelings.
We can be attracted and repulsed at the same time.
We can love deeply and also kind of hate someone at the same time.
Our fears can save us and harm us.
We are layered and woven and always in relationship with a world that is anything but simple.
We’ve come up with sophisticated ideas – us humans. We’ve discovered incredible things. We‘ve uncovered astounding pieces of information. We’ve gathered knowledge and cultivated wisdom. We’ve grown in ways that are hard to fathom. Human beings have done some astonishing things.
We are so smart.
So smart that we’ve become stupid.
Life is a paradox.
With all of our intelligent inventions, we’ve also become the only living creatures on this gorgeous planet that are ruining their habitat (and everyone else’s along the way). Much in the name of making things easier, or simpler.
Simplifying certain things can help heal and restore life on earth.
But simplicity is also pouring anti intellectualism through our pipes.
In the name of simplicity we made up reality TV. And Instagram.
Simplicity gave us 45.
The complexity of technology, and the “comfort” and “ease” that it sells give us many gifts. I can Facetime with my family in Tel-Aviv every day, and my kids can have a tight relationship with their grandparents. And even with a raging pandemic that prevents me from going back to see them, I can have a meaningful relationship with my 17 months old niece. I am grateful.
But this ease of technology comes with the disease of addiction to the device in our hands.
We consume emptiness on an app we click on through the device that never leaves our hands. We feel like we need to somehow participate in that nothingness, and be visible in it if we are to exist in the world. So we polish and flatten. Simplify.
Social Media, with misinformation spreading like wild fires, gives life to oversimplifications. And all of a sudden facts are no longer the baseline of conversations.
It’s so much easier to live in a world where the only thing we hear is what we want to hear, what we already believe in, what doesn’t challenge our own thinking, or make us look at things from different perspectives.
Simplicity gives us Cancel Culture. It’s so easy to unfollow, to unsubscribe, to block, to ghost, to disengage from anything that causes discomfort, from anything that might make us see our own blindspots.
And we also know that boundaries (block, unfollow, unsubscribe) are necessary for a healthy life in the online world.
It’s not so simple.
Oversimplifying things points us in the direction of closed mindedness, of racism, of prejudice.
SImplicity can give us so much comfort that we forget to learn how to be with discomfort, which causes a lack of self reflection. If we’re not willing to look at ourselves, we’re unable to identify our own participation in conflict, in causing harm. If we’re not willing to be with complexity, we contribute to a lot of problems.
If we recognize the places where we are a part of the problem, we can start to do something about it. Being able to stand up, and show up vulnerable, able to see our shadow, is the first step in the process of healing, of deepening relationships, of being a good friend, of being a loving partner, of being a great model for our children.
Yoga (and when I say yoga I mean asana, pranayama, meditation, mudra, mantra, kriya, study, and contemplation) can be a path that gives us comfort. And we need that because life is fucking hard, and reducing our stress levels is necessaery for our health.
But it can easily bypass the shadow, ignore darkness, escape discomfort, and paint a super easy, fluffy, light and love kind of picture.
In its core, it is a practice that causes agitation – the healthy kind. And we might need to accompany our yoga with some good therapy. Transformation is not light and fluffy, and we don’t need to take it lightly.
Yoga can churn us and burn us and push us through the canal of rebirth on a daily basis.
Yoga is the call to engage. We can take care of ourselves through it, and also challenge ourselves to take care of more than ourselves with it. The practices are meant to heat you up and stir things around, just as much as they are meant to cool you down, and calm our shizzle.
Our world is a wonderful, complicated, paradoxical place.
May we move and breathe with a growing capacity to be a conduit for complexity, richness, and the capacity to simultaneously nurture ourselves and challenge ourselves to take better care of this planet, and those we share it with.
With love and appreciation for our similarities and for our differences,