The Education of Limitation

I recently came across this passage in the book Bodymind by Ken Dychtwald. I especially relate to the bit about “a temporary surge of ambition.” What do you think?

“Now, if I sit on the floor and try to reach over to touch my toes, I might notice that I can only stretch to about five inches away from my toes before I experience tension and slight pain. At this point, the muscles in my lower back and the muscles in the back of my legs are just too tight to allow me any further stretch. At this point I am experiencing one of my boundaries.  

This point, this ‘edge,’ is a highly important place, for within the yogic philosophy, this edge is considered my creative teacher from whom I can learn about myself. If I approach this teacher/edge with love, sensitivity, and awareness, I will discover that my teacher/edge will move and allow me a greater range of motion. If I shy away from approaching my teacher/edge, I will learn nothing new, and in time my own dogma/tightness will contract upon itself and I will grow tighter. If I try to blast past my edge, I might fool myself into thinking that I have learned and expanded, but in fact what usually happens is that I am only impressing myself with a temporary surge of ambition and that this feeling will probably contract upon itself with fear and subsequent tightening, forcing me into greater confusion or potentially dangerous misunderstandings. Physically, when I approach my edge gently and consciously, my body responds by focusing energy and attention on this spot, encouraging the blood and energy to bathe the related muscles and organs with vitality and life, thus allowing me the experience of true growth and self- nourishment. But if I do not try to reach my edge, my body, having no point of focus, will find it difficult to isolate the place and nourish it, and little growth and improvement will follow.  

To state the extremes: If I never explore my limits, my bodymind will gradually tighten and become unconscious. If I regularly explore my limits in a caring and adventuresome fashion, I will expand and grow in vital fashion.”


2 thoughts on “The Education of Limitation

  1. stonerussell

    Adarsh: I am constantly trying to impress myself with a temporary surge of ambition. Hadn’t you noticed? 😉


  2. Adarsh & Heleen

    Most of us fall into one of the above categories from time to time, right? I certainly do- I am intoxicated by accomplishment one day and sobered by limitations the next.

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