The Tangled Wing: Biological Constraints on the Human Spirit is a book by Melvin Konner detailing the various challenges human face when it comes to patterns like eating, reproducing, processing emotions, learning. It’s full of studies and Konner’s extrapolations. He gets into a lot of detail, with a lot of discussion of the chemicals in your brain or your stomach or whatever is being discussed. Not the easiest read but a truly fascinating book.
Lessons for Yogis
1.) Emotions are universal, and experienced by all humans, no matter where from. When we sense our own emotions and learn to better handle them, we are learning a lesson we can share with any other human (not to mention we will interact better with them.)
2. ) Being able to adapt, transcend adversity, and self-heal is what can determine happiness. We think about freedom from struggles or suffering, or having everything we want, as being happy, but many studies indicate these conditions do not make joy. We can start anywhere, under any conditions, and find fulfillment and happiness. For some people, yoga becomes a tool for acceptance and healing.
3.) One uniquely human ability that gives us hope for the future is collaborative ability. We are the only species that can work together to develop something new and create change. When we set intentions on the mat that we can bring with us into the world, we can generate change. Science points to this ability as a way for us to move towards a more sustainable future.
If you’re in one of my yoga classes, I’ve got a worn copy fuulll of pencil underlining that I’d be happy to lend you! I’ve read parts of it many times. ~Jordan