Coherence requires authenticity, courage, and time. — Yoga The World
It’s hard to be coherent. Even now, as I am starting to type out this reflection, I am not quite sure how to make that seemingly simple point clearly.
We live in a declaratory world. Social media, political polarization, massively truncated attention-spans… All of it invites us, nay compels us, almost forces us, to declare which team we are on, and then hammer home that point ad nauseum. Others make the connections for us, before we have time to properly reflect.
Sometimes, it is because the group we attach ourselves to (or are born to) has ingrained beliefs and behaviors: “We only wear track suits on Fridays” or “Gun ownership is part of our national DNA.” When beliefs and the behaviors that flow from them are too ingrained, anyone questioning them is summarily excluded (“You can’t sit with us”) and sometimes sought violently suppressed (see, death-threats against those who seek support for gun-control in the US).
But coherence is hard at the more subtle level too. Even when we want to do things differently — indeed, even when we have clarity on what that difference looks like — there are set rules and expectations that draw us in. I have experienced this most clearly as an adjunct lecturer: I might have clarity on the benefits of co-constructing knowledge and the ridiculousness of traditional grading (not to mention grade inflation), but students still expect me to lecture rather than discuss and the colleges I have taught at definitely expected me to grade “across the spectrum,” even as they want an A-average of graduating students.
Sometimes, a situation just feels “off” but there is no time to be in it long enough to know why.
I am sitting with that notion this morning: the time it takes to be coherent, the hope that resides in authenticity, the courage it requires to be clear. It is definitely the road less traveled. But it is the only one out of here.
Originally published at https://www.yogatheworld.org on June 12, 2022.