Ritual Rules

Every morning I try to read a chapter in the book Tao Te Ching. It’s a book with a lot of wisdom and teachings, and even though I wouldn’t say I see myself as a Taoist or agree with everything that is written, this book gives me a lot of thoughts which have taught me a lot about myself and how to look at the world around me.

In one verse I read a couple of days ago it said:

The more taboos in the world, the poorer the people become

The meaning of this, according to the author, isthat we have a tendency to create these ”Ritual rules” which have a lot of taboos, saying ”you can’t do that”, ”This isn’t done” or ”this is lucky, this is unlucky”. In this way problems multiply and the people become poorer and poorer. As an example for this the book says; if you say feet can’t be wiped with a hand towel, then you have to have a foot towel as well.

As a movement enthusiast and coach with a work-damaged brain I of course immediately related this to training and movement.

So often do I hear and see people at outdoor gyms looking at a bar, a rail or another structure asking ”What is this for?”, whereas their more experienced friend says ”This is used for this”, as there were only ONE option, limiting themselves for all the other possibilities.

I hear people at gyms saying ”Don’t do this, it’s dangerous” or ”It has to look like this”, only to create a fear of movement and limiting their body and minds instead of using their bodies to what it’s capable of and expanding their movement.

I hear people asking ”is this yoga?” because they see someone move in a certain way that in their mind must be yoga, and as soon as you take just one step outside that box it’s not yoga anymore, so then it must be something else, because that’s not how yoga is suppose to look. Instead of seeing the similarities between the different disciplines and understand that movement can be a universal language without boxes and labels.

I see people limited in their thinking that training has to look and feel a certain way, otherwise it’s not ”real” training, and if it’s not real training there is not really a point of doing it so better just stay in the couch. Instead of seeing that your body doesn’t know the word ”training” and responds differently to different stimulus. Training can be different things, that will feel differently and that you will probably benefit from both the high-intensity workout as well as an easy walk in the forest, no matter if you call it ”training” or not.

You can use it however you want.

The only rules at the outdoor gym saying ”you have to use it this way” is the rules you set up for yourself. You can use it however you want. Similar there are no rules at the gym saying ”Do this, not this”. Moving in different ways outside the alignments it’s not dangerous. Your body is capable to amazing adaptations if you let it. So encourage movement in different ways and explore what your body can do.

It doesn’t really matter if it’s yoga, dance, martial arts, Tai chi or something else. They are all movements in some way, see the similarities between them instead of the differences.

There is no such thing as ”real” training, just get up and move. Sometimes we get sweaty, tired and get sore muscles and sometimes we don’t.

I see so many people limiting themselves, creating taboos and rules, including myself sometimes, and the only thing we get from it is that we are getting poorer and poorer. Not poorer in the sense of money, but in the sense of a poor mind.

Don’t be poor. Don’t set up rules, taboos and limitations. Be curious, be open, see the possibilities, understand that it’s not just black and white, see different alternatives and create a rich mind.

There are so a lot of things we can’t change about ourselves and there are so many more that we can. Your mind is one thing that is malleable. So what do you choose to focus on?

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