Sunday, May 30, 2010

Order or chaos, which do you prefer?


We adore chaos because we love to produce order.
M.C. Escher

Is there more random chance or more predictability in life? Is there security in order and danger in chaos? Or is there boredom in order and excitement in chaos?

Do people tend to prefer order over chaos? Some people like to have schedules, they like their lives to be organized and they like to have a plan. They function best this way. Other people like to live spontaneously, schedules seem restrictive and they prefer to do things on impulse. But the orderly people still seek some kind of spontaneity and the spontaneous people still seek some kind of order.

Scientists have often found systems that seemed extremely disordered but were actually following strange and intricate patterns. Water crystals forming on glass show high level of organizational structure from the random motion of water molecules.

They have also been baffled to find chaos in systems they thought they were more orderly. Ary Goldberger of Harvard Medical School found that when comparing the variations in the heartbeats of a healthy person to those of one suffering from heart disease, the healthy heartbeat was actually the more chaotic.

It is difficult to know if order precedes chaos or if chaos precedes order. But what we do know is that both are contained within the other.

Yoga has a blend of order and chaos. First we open to grace, we open to the world of endless possibilities and mystery that is bigger than all of us. Then we use a sense of order to create stability in our poses using principles of alignment. Ultimately each pose will be an expression of our own unique individuality that has an expansive unbounded quality. We continually pulse between order and the uniqueness of our own individuality. Without order we would have nothing to guide our practice and without chaos, the chance of learning something new, we would lose our incentive to come to the mat.

We all need some kind of order in our lives or we would go crazy. If we could not count on anything, life would be tragically difficult. Yet chaos is like a breath of fresh air. The unexpected is needed to keep us feeling alive, curious and to grow as an individual. Chaos and order are like two perfectly matched partners that move together in the dance of life.

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