Life never goes as planned. We expect things to go a certain way, we even believe we deserve things to go in a certain way. We have it all planned out. And then... it doesn't. Things happen that stop us, we don't get what we wanted, and then we're left to ask; now what? The secret is that the blockages are blessings.
Karma yoga holds that the motivating factor for our actions shouldn't be about getting something back. When we act, we're acting out of love for the doing alone. We're not expecting anything in return. When we live our life in this way, we find beauty in everything. If it happens; perfect. If it doesn't happen; perfect.
We remain in the current moment, present with what we're doing. Grateful for the opportunity to be doing anything at all. The expectation is what creates suffering. Constantly looking to the future creates the suffering.
But let's be honest; we all do it. It's impossible not to imagine what we want, and even having goals can be a helpful path for moving forward with improvements in different areas of our life. We can't control when we don't get what we want; the job, the relationship, the yoga pose. What we can control is how we react to it.
What I've often found to be true in my life is, that the blockage to what we think we want, actually holds some kind of lesson or nudge for us to move in a different direction. A direction more aligned with us.
Last month I injured my back, meaning that backbends (one of my favourite parts of my asana practice) became inaccessible to me. At first I felt wronged and robbed of my heart openers. From being unable to do them, this past month, I have put more effort than ever before in strengthening my core, as I've had no choice.
If I want to return to my backbend practice, my core will need to be stronger than before. Just sinking into my flexibility (what's easily accessible to me) is no longer an option. I had to do the hard work of building strength to support the openness. Finding boundaries with my body, and commitment to an area I've never invested in before.
The outcome of this is that I feel stronger, more stable and secure than ever before. I've started noticing how core engagement interacts with other areas of my practice. I've took the time to return to the basics of my practice; the importance of lifted arches in my feet. The upward motion from my mula-bandha. I feel I've really had a breakthrough in my practice.
And all of this happened because of the blockage; the back injury. After a month, it's very clear to me that this blockage was a blessing. Since yoga translates off the mat, it's clear to me that all blockages hold this gift.
When something doesn't go as we intended, or as we wanted, what can we learn? How can we use this to grow, to put our focus somewhere more important? Instead of directing negativity towards ourselves for a change in our plans, how can we direct energy to something positive?
So next time something goes wrong, take the time to look a little closer. From my experience, these blockages are almost always simply
blessings in disguise.