WHAT IS REAL?
You've surely had someone say to you: It's all in your head. And now I'm telling you it's true. Every experience you've ever had and will have, is experienced through the filters in your mind.
In yoga we learn about Maya -- the veil of illusion -- and it's that veil that we see the world before we reach yoga, or become enlightened.
Can you imagine what a psychedelic experience the world must be for a child before she has downloaded language to make sense of the world, to incapsulate memory? Before she has learned cultural norms, societal biases, before she has embodied her parents' worldview? Her world is all raw data. Shifting, swaying, swirling light and colours. Sensations on the body. Scents. Sounds. All urgently and acutely NOW. Certain biases, against pain for example, or certain smells and tastes, already exist, inherited through evolution, to protect us from danger, to ensure we deliver our genes into the next generation.
A few years ago, during a walk through 'Your Rainbow Panorama,' a permanent installation by Berlin-based Danish/Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson, on the roof of the contemporary art museum in Aarhus, Denmark, it became extremely clear how various filters influence our experience. This artwork consists of a rainbow-coloured and circular plexi-glass tunnel, that provides panoramic views of the city below. Looking through blue glass, red glass, green glass or yellow glass strongly affects your impression and mood, as certain colours, probably through downloaded cultural biases, has certain connotations.
I'm sure you've been in love, no? Do you remember what a wonderful place the world seemed then? Full of adventure and promise. Smiling faces, sun rays and slivers of beauty everywhere. Magical!
or unsmiling faces that could so easily be coaxed into cracking a smile if only you smiled at them. Like magic!
And then, when that love fails you, when your feelings aren't reciprocated, when your beloved says or does something seemingly against you -- ah the misery! (how selfish this so called 'love' as it's only about how it makes us feel, but that's another blog topic). Faces are ugly, stern, the world coated in a gray sticky film.
Or, when you and your friend go to a party. You find it sucks. Your friend has a great time. Same party. Same people. Same location. Same music.
All you've got to offer to the world is your mind. And the practice of yoga (with this I mean 75% meditation and 25% asana) is one of the ways you can make it a less cruel filter.