What Do Your Mental Images Reveal?

Since February, I have been training to become a certified yoga instructor. As the end approaches, the now vivid images of fellow yogis, sweat, hours of studying and awkward moments will be stored away in my mental photo library. Soon I will be teaching and learning from my students. With each new class, I will collect more mental photographs; images that reveal teaching blunders, times of deep connectivity and moments of humility.

Memories stored in our psyche are like digital images saved to a computer. They are always there and can be called up at anytime for a good laugh, a tear, or to remind us of lessons learned. Those I have mentally indexed from teacher training remind me of insights I gained during the program. As I write this, I recall an image of me standing still, completely frozen in the center of the studio. I was practice teaching and forgot the next posture.

As I set out to teach and perhaps find myself in a similar situation, I can quickly toggle back to that mental image. When I do, I will recall that what brought the next posture to my awareness was my breath. By breathing and inviting my mind to quiet, I remembered what came next in the sequence.

So long as we do not live in the past, scanning stored mental images for guidance can positively influence our current actions. By learning to draw on the context of past experience rather than holding onto the experience itself, we can make better decisions.

From my reel of teacher training images, I’d like to share two whose context are applicable to every day life:

Image 1:  Me…February 5th…at the yoga studio. Looking at the teacher training promo flyer thinking, “I want to do this, but I do not have time,” then acting on the impulse anyway and signing up.

This image is a great reminder that when we heed our call, when we follow our intuition to do what feels good and right, the universe bends time. Never in a million years did I think I’d be able to finish training along with everything else I had going on. By acting on a that inspired impulse, I was able to fit it all in.

Image 2:  Fellow yogi. Asked on day 1 to share her idea of what ‘yoga’ means. The yogi shares. The room is silent while we all look at our instructors to comment. They don’t. Yogi asks, “Are you going to give any feedback?” They say, “No. Most times, in teaching yoga you will not receive feedback.”

The context of this image is two-fold. We share for the sole purpose to inspire those around us and we do so in humility. When we share our gifts with others, we won’t always receive re-enforcement or feedback.

I invite you to discern when calling forth mental photos of the past is appropriate. Allow the messages linked to these images to be useful in shaping your actions in the present.

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