I was at Whole Foods the other day going through my weekly routine of getting some apples. I was very happy to see that they had finally restocked my favorite Pink Lady Organic apples. So I went through the ritual of picking out a few apples: checking to make sure they weren’t too soft or too ripe. That they had a good color and consistency, so that they would last through the week and stay crisp.
I know this is going to sound crazy, but every time I engage in this ritual, especially with apples (maybe because they seem more individual vs. a bunch of kale : ), every time I do this picking and choosing – choosing one over the other – putting one back and keeping the other, I get bothered at how something in me is deeming the worth of one to be lesser or greater than the other. “Oh, You are worth taking home. You, not so much!”
But then reality sets in of how we engage in picking & choosing all the time with all of life, constantly deeming the worth of one to be lesser or greater than the other. Even at the most basic level, we pick and choose who is worthy of our kindness, our courtesy, our eye contact, our smile, our civility, our seat. Unconsciously we carry criterias of beauty, wealth, age, gender, race, sexuality, nationality, species, etc.
In the process however, there is this start & stop way of being about us: Now I am kind. Now I don’t need to be kind. Now I care. Now I don’t care. Now I am attentive. Now I am not attentive. Down the road, what this inevitably leads to is “Now I am happy. Now I am not happy!”
The teachings of Yoga investigate how to return to Joy, if not how to sustain Joy. Whether it is transitioning from one yoga posture to another, one individual to another, one situation to another, the teachings don’t say for us not to have preferences. But rather for us not to be so very defined by our preferences.
Ref.: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Ch. 2, Sutra 5
The practices of Yoga try to help us overcome mistaking the non-Self as the Self.