If you opened this blog post, my guess is that at some point in your life you have had a hard time sticking to something. Maybe it was a deal you made to yourself to reach your true self(moving from lower desires to higher ones- is a definition of yoga), or you started something full force and then soon fizzled out and back into your daily habits.
I have been accused a time or two of this in my own life.
As someone who has dug many shallow wells, mostly academically, as I switched major over an over… I know well, what it’s like to start out full force and then become distracted or uninterested. The brain likes to give us a false start with things. We think we are really nailing this new_________, or have gotten to know _____ well and then the moment we hit our first obstacle we turn away, because the mind creates an illusion of “false achievement.”
I picked up a new book the other day(another thing I love to do… is surround myself in books, and never finish them ; )
This one was on Willpower. I was curious about it, because this is something I teach, that we actually don’t lack. Still..I want more of it…
I sat in my lawn chair, with a beer in hand, ready to reclaim my willpower…again.
Excited.. and hopeful to learn something new…
As I got to the chapter about the brain , this book confirmed everything I have learned in the past decade as a life doula, what I call my work as a yoga therapist and ayurveda wellness consultant.
The reason we dont follow through with what we set out to do, is NOT a lack of willpower, it is atrophy of our concentration muscles.. the prefrontal cortex of the brain. It is not a lack of willpower, it is a lack of focus.
The more we multi-task the more we weaken our willpower, and our ability to make powerful change. The more we center ourselves around one-pointedness, focused concentration; the more we align with what we set out to do.
Are you with with me?..Concentration is our POWER.
But….What is our will?
We cannot stop with just understanding the brain and power. Life is two-fold. Linking our hearts with our mind. In India these words are not separate, and when we are most harmonious the heart and mind are one.
We also have to uncover our passion? What do you Love? What brings you the most enthusiasm for living? Who makes you feel the most radiant?
Yoga is about moving from lower desires to higher ones.
In my journey, my lack of willpower came from my people pleasing tendencies. I ignored what I wanted from 7-27… and gave my power away to others. Many times we “act”, by trying to be what we think others expect or want from us. Always saying yes to others, was the reason I could never say yes to or make way for myself.
As Carl Jung says, “Consciousness begins with an act of defiance.” I began to say no to my people pleasing tendencies and stop worrying about what everyone else was thinking about me, and laid the foundation for a YES to grow my life. Because of this yes, I was finally able to be authentic.
Whose will are you acting out? Your parents’, teachers’, partners’, religions’, friends’?
What I have learned… Willpower = God’s Will + My Power
Here are three things I have learned about willpower, or as I like to call it, the heartmind connection..
1. Make sure the things you are reaching for are your innermost desires…not what you think others want, or what you think you want, by comparison. Focus on the things that continue to nudge your spirit, even when you turn away. Be with them.
2. Show up. Great. Fully.
As the ancient yoga sutras of Patanjali puts it into context for us in Y.S. 1.14
“But that practice only becomes firmly established when it has been executed with great attention and without interruption over a long period of time”
3. Don’t Stop…please don’t stop.