Posted by: Bruce Black | December 1, 2017

The Gift of Being

Often we lose sight of the gift of being in the moment because we are busy striving for something just beyond our reach.

Is this striving—this continual reaching for, wanting, needing something more—ingrained in human nature? Or do we learn to strive from our culture and its values, or perhaps from the people who surround us in our day-to-day lives?

Do you strive for a better job, more money, a larger house, a newer car? Do you strive for beauty or serenity or love? Are you striving for what you don’t have or own but what you want—words of praise, recognition, admiration, love? Are you striving for perfection—or something close to perfection—in your poses, your life, your work, your relationships, your self?

Does this striving for something more ever cease?

It may be an inextricable part of human nature to strive, to want more, but my yoga practice has helped me become aware of the moments in which I strive for more and has helped me reflect on the futility of striving.

Each pose helps me recognize that no matter how hard or how long I strive for something, once I attain it—if I ever attain whatever I’m striving for—I’ll always want more…and more… and more.

If I strive to do a “perfect” Down Dog, for example, I will find once I do my version of a “perfect” Down Dog (if there is such a thing) that next I’ll want to do a “perfect” One-legged Dog and after that a “perfect” Chatarunga or Cobra or Plank. It never ends, this striving, this seeking some form of perfection.

But my yoga practice has shown me that perfection is an illusion, just as permanence is an illusion, and that all of life is constantly changing, in constant motion, just like my asana practice. One day I may feel I’ve found my fullest expression of Downward Dog or Tree Pose, but the next day my shoulders might feel tight or my hamstrings might ache in Downward Dog, or I might not be able to hold my balance and will keep falling out of Tree Pose.

It doesn’t take long after I step onto my mat, though, to feel a sense of peace wrap itself around me, and I find that I can stop striving for perfection and cease trying to be someone other than who I am or wanting to be some place other than where I am.

On my mat, as each pose takes me deeper into what matters most, I can simply let myself “be” in the pose and savor the moment.

It’s only when we learn to stop striving and cease wanting to be elsewhere, only when we can accept that permanence and perfection are illusions, only then that our mats—and our lives—can give us the gift of being in the moment.

Journal Practice: Take a moment to think about the things you strive for. Ask yourself what is the source of this striving, this desire for something more. Is it a positive or negative force in your life? If positive, how so? If negative, why? Has there ever been a time in your life when you stopped striving and just let yourself be? Can you describe how you felt then… and contrast it with how you feel now? Write: 10 minutes.



  1. love this article and the reminders of life…thank you

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