We live in a day and age of information overload. You know exactly what I mean. In fact, you’re probably sitting there at your computer right now beginning to think to yourself that you’ve spent way too much time on the Internet mindlessly surfing for one evening. Nonetheless, unless your will-power is stronger than your mouse clicking fingers, this blog will probably not be your final web surfing destination for the moment. In a matter of minutes you’ll be off to some other website in search of that mirage-like satisfaction that the Internet provides (unless of course you decide to stay at Daily Cup of Yoga and invest nine minutes of your life to find out who wins in the battle of Kung Fu v. Yoga). I’m reminded of the TV commercial that ran a few years back where a guy sitting at his computer at home is feverishly surfing the web and finally gets the message on his screen that says, “You’ve reached the end of the Internet” (or something along those lines). Well, if you ever find it, let me know. I think you’ll be looking for a long time.
Luckily, the eight-limbed path of yoga gives us some tools and principles that help us deal with our compulsive tendency to keep clicking the mouse, or continuing in any activity, for that matter, that draws us away from reason and into our senses. In Light on Yoga, B.K.S. Iyengar states, “If a man’s reason succumbs to the pull of his senses he is lost” (p. 45). That is a very insightful statement. It implies that unless a person is able to overcome his or her senses through the human endowment of higher reasoning, then he or she is no better than an animal. In essence, by constantly succumbing to the pull of our senses, we are in fact forfeiting or giving away the power of reasoning that makes human beings unique.
Iyengar then explains how the principles of yoga can help us combat the tendency to give in to sensual stimulation. He continues, “On the other hand, if there is rhythmic control of breath, the senses instead of running after external objects of desire turn inwards, and man is set free from their tyranny.” It is through the “fifth stage of yoga, namely pratyahara, where the senses are brought under control.”
With that thought in mind, I urge you to take a moment to listen to your breath, to feel its rhythm (or lack thereof), to take some time to turn away from whatever it is that is distracting you, to close your eyes, and turn inward. Take a few minutes to shut down your outward sensors and spend some time finding the true satisfaction that comes from just being with yourself, inside your mind, with your breath. After just five minutes of inward searching, you will undoubtedly have a greater sense of peace and self-control when you open your eyes and are confronted once again with the battle for your senses.