The biggest existential question that most misfits struggle with is the inability to find people that understands them. That is its foundational crisis. It’s the same crisis that sent me on my journey of self-discovery with yoga.
When I started I didn’t quite understand why I had to. Like most of us. It was like the first few scenes of Matrix where Neo feels himself stumbling down that rabbit hole. That’s the nature of this journey and it usually starts with a itch in your conscience and something that drives you to understand yourself better – especially when the world doesn’t.
My journey started similarly with an itch that was ultimately verbalised into Om. Generally people rely on family members and close friends for constant validation in life. It is when that close circle of people around you fails to understand where you’re coming from when you know you have to draw your own circle. A fiercely protective circle. I have drawn one with a small radius that keeps everyone and everything out at a reasonably healthy distance after myself. It ensures the survival of my own system before anybody else’s.
When I was much younger, my search for this validation continued amongst the people around me. It was important to know what they thought of me and I desperately hoped that they thought well. It’s this expectation that ushered in years of frustration, first with myself, try as I may, I could not fit my thoughts and opinions with anyone around me. Secondly, frustration against the people that surrounded me, in their incapability to tap into my understanding. But that’s also what made me stop.
What made me stop was the realisation that often some of our minds are a specialised little corner. If you try to mainstream it, you lose the very thing that sets you apart. You lose your specialty. Validation from a mass group only means to show what you’re thinking has already been thought before. It might be comforting as a feeling, reassuring even, but fruitless. Because it takes your individual purpose away from you. It makes you stick to that bandwagon and never venture outside of it.
Imagine if people like Mary Anning or Einstein stopped pursuing the unique direction of their thoughts only because they failed to find validation for their theory with similar papers from their counterparts. It would have never led to any real progress.
On the yoga mat, my efforts have always been to strengthen the most important relationship in my life – with myself. I spend the most amount of time in my own head, in company of my own self. If that company I constantly keep is the most interesting and fulfilling, the rest of all human interactions are just garnishing – still important but as an afterthought.