I am a visual person. I’m pretty sure I’ve always been a little deficient in the category of imagination. I have to see evidence in order to confirm that something exists. I have never seen a ghost, Bigfoot, or the Loch Ness Monster, therefore I am skeptical of their existence. Growing up as a child in the 60’s and 70’s, imagination was a pretty important element in day to day play. Toys in that era were fairly simple and involved creativity to fully enjoy. For instance, I had several dolls growing up, but they were not the plush, life-like variety sold in stores today. They did not blink, bend, cry, wet themselves or come with a background story and adoption papers. They were made of hard plastic with painted-on eyes and coarse hair. I would often wrap them in a kitchen towel for a blanket and use a shoe box for their crib. Our own creativity defined the story behind our toys, and without fanciful ideas to work off of, I’m afraid I was a bit on the boring side of story-telling. I’m sure my dolls didn’t care.
As I’ve aged, this deficiency has manifested in other ways. When I go to redecorate a room I need a picture from a magazine to guide me. I can’t “see” the end result without the help of a visual aid. Either that or I need the assistance of one of those lucky individuals with “vision” who puts it all together in their head first, and is then able to physically create the masterpiece they dreamed up.
So it was at church one recent weekend when the woman giving the scripture reading said “you must believe to see, not see to believe.” And I stewed for the rest of the service on how I have had that wrong for so, so long.
Of course, it makes sense. When we have a strong belief in something, it’s easy to see. Spirituality itself is based on what you believe more than what is tangible. For example, few have witnessed a true miracle, yet that doesn’t stop us from believing they exist. Especially when we need one.
So, as I sat in church that evening, distracted by my shame at too often believing only what I see, I realized that I’m not a complete lost cause. I have two strong beliefs and neither can be physically seen. I have spiritual faith in a power that is greater than all earthly things and I have yoga.
The theory of yoga is based on the premise that everything we need in life, we already possess. Strength, peace, knowledge, and contentment lie within us all. Through mindfulness we are able to peel away the layers of judgment, ego and disbelief to reach those qualities that lie within. Sitting in silent meditation, we focus on the rhythm of our breathing without attaching to the many thoughts that float into our consciousness. Because each thought we attach to we then believe, and believing makes it real. If it’s true that what I attach to I will believe, and believing in something makes it real, then maybe I just need to be more selective about what I attach to.
For example, each day we experience more than 50,000 thoughts. That’s more than 2,000 in an hour! More than 30 in a minute! Is that even possible? No wonder we are distracted. And how many of those 30 plus thoughts-per-minute serve us in the best possible light? How many are even clear? Pithy? I admit to having an occasional pithy thought. Those are the ones I should attach to. Moments that are clear, concise and focused. Thoughts that give direction; grant forgiveness; provide compassion; withhold judgement.
I believe that yoga has this power for me. The power to energize, to restore, to cleanse and to calm. And by believing with conviction, I am able to see progress through my practice.
Muhammad Ali said: “It’s the repetition of affirmations that lead to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.”
My words of wisdom…be mindful about what you believe because it soon will be all that you see..
Laurie Kasperbauer is an active Florida Realtor specializing in properties in Naples and Marco Island. Laurie also enjoys the spiritual and physical benefits of yoga practice and instructs both group and private classes.