Compassionate Determination

How can we be fierce and committed in our goals, and still remain open to different pathways and modes of getting to those goals? One of our primary texts of yoga, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the following advice is given: Sthira Sukham Asanam. This can be translated in the following way: The way in which we relate to the manifest world should embody both a resilient understanding (compassion), and a steady focus (determination). When setting goals, plan to bring compassionate determination. Stay determined to align with what you are here to do and your metrics for success, while bringing compassion to the process of getting there.

Setting realistic and attainable goals and creating useful tools for measuring our success is an essential tool.  It is important to consider clear parameters for your goals. The process of living and manifesting our visions is never linear. Creating unique and individualized goals, as well as adapting to and refining goals as your ideas are re-shaped through interaction and experience, is important.  The less clear you are about what is most supportive to you now, the more likely you are to be overwhelmed by “everyone else’s ideas”.

Many of us have been taught to invest in the results or the attainment of a specific goals in a way that can sometimes lead to rigidity and stress.  Over time, we define our happiness in such a way that it becomes conditional on the outcome.  Although it can be crucial and supportive to create goals, it is also important that we remember to invest in the process (not the outcome). The moment we couple our happiness (or sense of self) with something conditional, we have entered a contract that will result in either: temporary and shallow happiness or guaranteed unhappiness.Learning to take advantage of the utility of goal-setting, without attaching one’s happiness to it, allows enjoyment and excitement in the process, even when it (as is so often the case) does not happen in the way that we expected it to.  At a deeper level, this is the practice of learning to be with the reality of the present as it is, not as we want it to be AND moving from the present moment with the capacity to manifest our visions. From this perspective, we are embodying the belief that everything is fundamentally okay and that we are inherently and unquestionably valuable exactly as we are. Moving from this assumption, we create goals simply as tools to organize our thoughts, actions, and the physical world around us - honoring the absolute gift of the experience of being alive.