Tuesday, August 28, 2012

It Depends

      Here's the thing that would make me crazy.Or should I say here's A thing that would make me crazy? So many opportunities to hop on the crazy train!! But I digress, so here's my story. I was in a yoga training a few years ago with a teacher I greatly admired in so many ways but who would answer a great deal of our questions with a confounding "it depends".  Now, I have been programmed with alot of "whys" and in a family and culture that values knowledge it can be an ego bender to admit " I don't know" and  "it depends" has a whiff of  the same dangerous vulnerability.  Also, like many people I like neat and tidy answers, resolved questions, and concrete certainty. "It depends" was not an answer that left me feeling warm and tingly but rather a little off kilter. At the very least weren't we paying for rock solid answers? Perhaps she not know the answers, I groped in the darkness for certainty to wrap around my shivering ego. Or perhaps she was just trying to make us think for ourselves? There had to be a reason this smart woman kept answering "it depends" Thoughts tumbled like agitated marbles upon hearing "it depends" so many often when I was craving a solid 2+2 =4.

     "It depends" was simply not an acceptable answer to me at the time. But  how quickly times do change! Fast forward to this morning and I am reviewing a lengthy email response  I wrote to a students question when I notice I really could just sum up my answer in two words: "It depends"! The thing is, I wasn't trying some teaching technique in the email,  the answer just really was "it depends". And although answering  "it depends" made the ground shake ever so slighly it was ok to not have a rock solid answer to stand on. I gave the same answer to a yoga student last week asking for definitive permanent alignment directions. Alignment can depend on the postural intention, the personal body structure which subtly changes pretty much continuously, the therapeutic needs, alignment can depend on the moment. So, once again "it depends" was the answer. Sometimes a definitive answer shuts down exploration while "it depends" can fan curiosities flames.

     The thing is, so many times when I have given an "authoritative" and definitive answer to someone about their yoga journey not long after other alternative answers have presented themselves. There are infinite ways to move and live and breath. When we clutch at the certainty and permanence of our beliefs we are stifling our growth. Just when we know we are right is when we often become wrong. So, "it depends", really is the very best answer in so many circumstances.  "It depends", says I am open to evolving circumstances. "it depends" says I may have some information, but I don't have all the information. "It depends" leaves spaciousness for change and growth. Your answer today may not work for you tomorrow. "It depends" allows us to surf the currents of life unencumbered with the certainty of our rightness massaging the ego. Buoyant with curiosity and humility ironically we are made stronger in embracing our vulnerability.

     Recently I choose to take a break in my pursuit of happiness to just be happy. Well, now I am taking a break in my relentless pursuit of answers to be present in the moment to let the answers unfold. To let knowledge whisper to my soul rather than allow certainty to crush the tender flower growing in my heart. The answers presenting themselves as I stop pretending I know all the options. The path to our best self is anchored by curiosity and humbleness. The more you think you know the less you know. The ironies of life bursting open with a sweet richness. Shedding the fear of not knowing and embracing the truth of "it depends" we open to the lessons of the moment. And ironically in perceived weakness there is found enduring strength.

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness
2 Cor 12:9

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