The thing about mind, is that our whole life get filtered through it.
Last week I moved into a new apartment, where the morning light streamed in planes across the parquet floor.
On the phone I gushed to anyone who would listen how happy we were going to be here, and about how at home I already felt.
And then I woke up to some disappointing news and the apartment I loved just the night before suddenly felt like a prison.
This is mind. Our environments don't necessarily change - the things around us in fundamental ways stay the same. But the mind changes, and with the mind everything around us is altered.
Is the expression, "when you have a hammer everything suddenly looks like a nail?" Maybe that's not the exactly right one to use here but it makes me recall the same feeling; when you're stuck in bad perception, everything around you looks 'bad'.
You'll walk down the street and notice the trash in the gutters. You'll look at a person's old wrinkled hands and think, "why don't you look after yourself?"
This is the coloured mind according to the Yoga Sutras, and it is the main cause of our suffering.
Of course (and herein lies the ultimate life hack!) the opposite is also possible. When you're in good perception, you'll walk down the same street an see everyone is smiling. You'll look at those same old wrinkly hands and think, "wow, you must have lived a life of hard work."
"When the mirror is distorted, so is the reflection." - that isn't an exact quote, but a simplification of a concept understood in yoga.
Based on the narrative I was playing in my mind upon move (love!, a fresh feeling, creating a space, a new home, opportunity, reconnection), I saw on the light shining in through the windows. My mind was reflecting back at me.
Post disappointing news (border complications, plans on hold, separation, burden, barrier, stuck feeling, stuck feeling, stuck feeling), it felt suddenly like I'd signed a life sentence to be carried out in the confines of these grey walls. My mind was reflecting back at me.
The crux of this is that both times, my mirror was distorted.
Waking up on day three, and I've been reminded once again that it's all mind, and it is continuously 'come and go'. There's no point prolonging the regret that this experience was just another re-education on the topic. Non-attachment and everyday practice. We just keep coming back.
We simply acknowledge, "ahhh I was believing my thoughts again!" and we come back. And this is key! Because no one goes from mind to truly having no-mind instantaneously (we all have the ability to - but that's a different conversation).
We start by becoming aware of our mind. The stories it tells. The lines we believe.
We start watching; "How am I when I believe this thought? Who would I be if I didn't believe this thought?"
We make a little more space between stimulus and our reactions.
We make space to respond instead of simply react.
We come to understand that we can choose our thoughts. And we can choose how we respond to them.
"I am relaxed."
"I am free."
"I am happy."
We keep coming back.
Michellé D'Almeida is a yoga teacher and student of Ayurveda Yoga Academy with 5 years of teaching experience. She is also founder of Ayurveda Yoga Africa and co-founder of Ayurveda Yoga Africa's Online branch: Yoga Together Online. Join her online for classes throughout the week!