The New York City Marathon had its partakers and its viewers. I was the viewer on 6th November and eavesdropper where, at a city centre hotel, a number of men were glued to the television giving a running commentary on their thoughts of those passing over the finishing line.
One observed: "Look at the disappointment on his face. He's not happy….sure, we can't all be winners."
It struck me … "we can't all be winners". Can't we? Do we really believe that there is not enough space in the world for everyone to win? Disturbingly, we do believe that he who has the most money, fame and power wins. The win-lose divide may exist but it is the beliefs of people that have created it.
It may be the way the world of sport plays out, but why extend the game into every other part of our lives? Where there is a winner, there doesn't have to be a loser. From the smallest belief of 'I'm too unfit to start yoga', to 'It's not the right time to change jobs. It's a recession', all belong to the belief and fear factory that have been given or taught to us from childhood.
To transform the belief from 'we can't all be winners', to 'there is enough space in the world for winners', a shift in a person's mindset has to happen. It's easier for a person with an open mind or a positive thinker to understand this view, but more difficult for someone with a closed mind to get to grips with.
Personal transformation is not a race. In fact, the harder one tries to change, the longer it will take. So many people treat transformation as an extreme sport, rushing to get to the finishing line or expecting immediate results in a heartbeat.
The ancient practice of yoga, for example, is a life-long practice. There may be a beginning but there is no end. It's a non-competitive practice and so does not yield any expectations. The results filter through and, before a person notices, it has become part of them.
A great teacher of mine once said: "The older I get, the less I know." I took this to mean the wiser one becomes, the less they are caught up with opinions and views and the less they are expressed or overused. It is our democratic right to have a voice but sometimes that voice or opinion can get abused, to the point it is used for personal gain (the ego) or to hurt someone.
Professor Narasimha from the Anantha Research Foundation in Mysore, India, under whom I have studied philosophy, does say that we should use our voice to help prevent injustices in the world. To use our voice wisely is a golden piece of advice.
It comes back once again to shifting our perception on life, so that we can all believe we are winners, whether it is in home life, in friendships or even in our nine-to-five jobs. If we view our world differently, we might just realise that we don't know it all.
Claire Maguire teaches Ashtanga and pregnancy yoga at The Yoga Room, Ashbourne. See www.yoga-meath.ie
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