Inclusiveness is not a word we hear every day. Yet an exploration of this idea can have a profound effect on how we experience ourselves and the world around us.
So what is inclusiveness? The root of the word is the verb, to include. We know what it means to include a thing because we know what it means to exclude a thing. Similarly, to begin to deeply explore the idea of inclusiveness it can be helpful to first clarify what it is not.
what is inclusiveness?
Inclusiveness is not simply saying “yes” to everything that appears in our experience. Doing so would amount to an abdication of our response-ability for ourselves and for all that we experience in life. So the attitude or approach of inclusiveness is not simply to say “yes” to experiencing everything; instead it’s saying “yes” to the validity of everything. It’s simply acknowledging that what is, is. The happy side effect of which, is often greater peace.
Continuing a little deeper to explore the idea of inclusiveness and it’s benefits, we see that rather than being some sort of dictum or prescribed code of conduct, it’s more like a paradigm, or a lens through which we may view worldly phenomena. It’s a consciously chosen attitude towards each and every aspect of our experience. Why would someone choose this particular lens? All of the same reasons that we practice the eight limbs of yoga, which as we know have numerous personal expressions and forms. But even while all of those individual goals are being achieved, we are also reaching the ultimate goal: to increasingly expand our awareness as we increasingly integrate with the true knowing of our enlightened Selves.
inclusiveness to expand our awareness
To explain this by way of counterexample, consider for a moment what a person’s day-to-day life would look like if they expertly practiced the opposite of inclusiveness. They would in essence continually and repeatedly be saying “no”, to everything. “No,” in this context, is a summary judgement. It precludes any further investigation or inquiry into the subject at hand. Every topic is then closed to any form of deeper examination.
By contrast, to approach daily living from an attitude of inclusiveness, to accept the validity of each experience, whether internal or external, leads us to ask more meaningful questions. Questions such as, “How is it that this thing, this thing that on first impulse I would have chosen to reject and turn away from, how is it that the very fact that this thing exists could still be explained by my present views and ideas of the world?” Since it’s a widely accepted spiritual truth that all of the manifest universe has arisen from the one non-stuff that continues to pervade and permeate all existence, having the attitude and the will to ask questions like this is what helps us deepen our understanding, and thereby deepen our awareness. Our awareness and understanding deepen quite naturally because all honest questions such as these will inevitably lead us to one of two conclusions: either our present understanding of the Universe is flawed or “missing a piece, somewhere,” or that there must be more to this thing I’ve been rejecting than I’ve been willing to consider.
“The opposite of love is fear, but what is all-encompassing can have no opposite”
– A Course in Miracles
For the next 30 days invite the possibility of inclusiveness into your yoga practice, both on and off the mat.