Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Questions and Answers

As I was considering a question the other day, I went online to do my research in search of an answer. I was overwhelmed with the amount of information about my chosen topic. I read this page and that page. I tried to put my thoughts on paper in an attempt to organize an answer. I looked at the issue from many different angles. I became paralyzed with the prospect of (1) choosing; (2) choosing wrong. I ended up with what Barry Schwartz calls "the paradox of choice."

The paradox of choice theorizes that too much choice makes people unable to choose. If and when they do choose, they are inevitably dissatisfied with the result. They imagine the result would have been better if they'd have chosen differently. From the plethora of choices comes high expectations that cannot be met by any of the available options. Nonetheless, we imagine our expectations will be or could be met with one of the available choices. Hence, we are discontent and unsatisfied. And whose fault is that? Ours. Because we made the choice.

We are fortunate in that we are often able to be or become very informed. Much of the time this information comes from without rather than from within. While I think having external information is an important component in being informed, we also need to be able to look within ourselves to find OUR answers rather than THE answer. THE answer likely does not exist.

Yoga is a way to look inwardly. We come onto our mats and begin by bringing our attention onto our mats and onto our breath. We are beginning our internal journey.

Our journey might begin with questions of physical alignment. Are my quadriceps active? Am I overly dependent on my toes for balance? Am I dropping into my lower back?

And then we go inward.

Is my shoulder correctly aligned in its socket? Are the heads of my femurs internally rotated? Is my chin level to my forehead?

And then we go inward.

Am I here in this room, practicing this posture? Why do I feel anxious in this pose?

And then we go inward.

Am I breathing?

We settle into ourselves, searching ourselves, and we find our answers.

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