By Anya Light
I’ve been thinking about yoga mats, lately. The yoga mat I currently own (which I picked up for a few bucks at a grocery store) is not that wonderful. It’s a piece of crap, actually. I need better traction. It’s frustrating trying to hold downward dog correctly when my hands are slip-sliding all over the place!
Recently, the Universe magically brought me into a lovely email exchange with Jericka Lambourne, writer and researcher over at Reviews.com. And I discovered her recent geek-fest with yoga mats.
Seriously, someone should give this woman a PhD in Yoga Mats! She spent over fifty hours testing over thirty different mats in various temperatures and conditions, such as carpet and hardwood floor; interviewing yoga teachers and studio owners; and researching the technology and history of various brands.
If a yoga mat is on your Christmas list this year, I recommend checking out Jericka’s research. It’s pretty cool.
THE FALSE DISTINCTION BETWEEN SPIRITUALITY AND THE MUNDANE
Why the heck am I talking about yoga mats? Isn’t this supposed to be a “spiritual” blog?
Too often in our spiritual journey we make the distinction between the mundane and the spiritual. Between the material and the spiritual. Real life versus everything else. Consensus reality versus higher ideals. 3D versus higher consciousness. And yet what does all this labeling and categorizing really accomplish? Does it truly help us?
Sometimes these mental distinctions can actually get in the way of living our lives in the most authentic way possible. Sometimes these categorizations can actually block us from experiencing flow and harmony.
I honor and deeply appreciate how external “things” can often aid in the enjoyment of life. A shiny new outfit can bring a burst of confidence during a job interview. A new knife can bring an added sense of ease and harmony to the cooking process. A new pillow made with organic materials can bring higher vibrational dreams. Crystals in the home can serve to protect and rejuvenate empathic people. And a quality yoga mat can help us hold certain postures more deeply—which is a very good thing!
Is it materialistic that I (or you) might want a new yoga mat? No, not unless such a wanting takes over and becomes a compulsive obsession. Is it materialistic that you or I might want financial abundance or awesome tools that increase the possibilities of physical health or emotional peace? No, not unless such preferences take us away from the enjoying the present moment of exactly where and how we are right now.
THE AWESOMENESS OF EVERYDAY LIFE
In my view, the objects of “everyday life” can certainly be enjoyed, relished, and savored—with mindfulness.
Perhaps this is more of an advanced lesson than some would like. That’s okay. If what feels right to you at this time is shunning the entire monetary system altogether and making a beeline for the nearest commune, monastery or cave, that’s okay. But if you are where I am, maybe the thing for you to do is to strike that oh-so-delicate balance between “the mundane” and “the spiritual.”
When we think about the worth or value of an object like a yoga mat, we must remember that objects are not just objects…they are more. Every plant, animal, mineral, person, and supposedly “inanimate” object is made up of chiti (a Sanskrit term meaning consciousness). Everything is alive. Indigenous cultures have known this forever, and if you’ve ever participated in a plant medicine ceremony or a shamanic journey, you’ll have had direct experience with this truth.
Every part of the Universe, from the tiniest atom to the brightest star, is a living reflection of the Divine Source. Everything is God.
While it is certainly good to avoid being trapped by the shallow mindsets of our overly-materialist mainstream society, it can be just as detrimental to remain ignorant of the power that objects have to affect our consciousness. We are all energy. Each thing has life, a vibrational force that subtly (or greatly) affects us. For example: if we fail to take care of our possessions and allow our home to become dirty, dusty, and cluttered, we will feel this as a certain subtle heaviness in our daily lives, a certain sadness or dullness. If, on the other hand, we take care of our living environment with regular tidiness and cleaning, then there will be more flow, order, and peace in our daily lives.
The external is the internal; the internal is the external.
All is one.
Everything is spiritual.
As you go about your week, I invite you to share with us (in the comments below) about how the objects in your reality have blessed you, assisted in your journey. I invite you to share with us your gratitude.