Home » There is Nothing You Cannot Do: Tao Porchon-Lynch (Transcript)

There is Nothing You Cannot Do: Tao Porchon-Lynch (Transcript)

Full text of yoga master Tao Porchon-Lynch’s talk: There is nothing you cannot do at TEDxColumbiaSIPA conference.

Notable quote from this talk:

One minute after midnight, it’s already today. Nature has been my encyclopedia of life. So let your nature be your guide, and feel the wonder of living, the breath of the eternal life force. Revitalize yourself with every breath you take. Know that the secret of life dwells within you.

Listen to the MP3 Audio here:

TRANSCRIPT:

Tao Porchon-Lynch – Yoga Master

Thank you. I’ll take my shoes off.

Thank you.

I want you all to start with me, and as we are all in unison today, I want you to take the biggest breath you can, and you can feel the energy rise up throughout your whole body.

And just hold it there a moment. Use a mudra – the thumb and first finger together. If you just leave it like that, it will actually feel nothing, but if you press your index finger with your thumb, automatically, you’ll feel the energy in your hands, and you’ll feel the heat there. And place them on the top of your knees.

If you want to just shut your eyes and take a deep breath in and feel that energy rise up and open up your heart center, hold it there. And exhale twice as slowly, and bring it back down into your base.

Just feel the energy. This is the Lord of creation. This is the melody of the rhythm of life, feeling inside of you. And relax.

So I want you to come outward, and – excuse me – I thought it was better if I told you a little of my background.

I’ve traveled all over the world with my uncle and been to many countries because he was one of the heads of creating new railway lines in different countries, so he took me with him. So I traveled all over the place.

I was brought up, however, in Pondicherry. Pondicherry is a little French colony in India, on the Bay of Bengal.

When I was very young, I was around there walking along the sands one day, and I was watching some boys playing around with their teacher. And I thought, “This is a new kind of game.” I didn’t know what it was, but I was fascinated, and I joined in.

I couldn’t rush home quick enough to tell my aunt all about it. And she said, “Oh, that was yoga. That’s only for boys. It’s not ladylike.”

I said, “If boys can do it, I can do it, and I’m going to do it.”

My life was sort of molded and influenced by my uncle, who was a great friend of Gandhi. And I met Gandhi one day in our house. I saw this little man sitting there with funny little glasses, and everybody bowed down to him, and I didn’t know who he was.

Three weeks later, my uncle said to me, “I want you to put together a few little things: no fancy clothes, just some underwear and an extra change of top.” And I marched with Gandhi. That was in 1930.

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And this was an incredible experience, because there I met all the famous friends, even Prime Minister Nehru and all of them, who were friends of my uncle.

Actually, I have been fascinated by people from all around the world and what they stood by. I never thought anything about age. I believed sincerely – and still do – that there’s nothing I cannot do.

I believe that all the power in the universe is right inside of me. I don’t procrastinate because I believe that tomorrow never comes.

One minute after midnight, it’s already today. Nature has been my encyclopedia of life. So let your nature be your guide, and feel the wonder of living, the breath of the eternal life force. Revitalize yourself with every breath you take. Know that the secret of life dwells within you.

Use the wonderful laws of nature to recycle your whole body. Nature gives us the clues to living. We have so much to learn from millions of trees on this earth that are hundreds of years old.

If you realize that just a couple of weeks ago, they were all looking as if they were dead, and now they have blossomed. They were not dead, they were recycling themselves during the period of winter. And we can do the same. So I’m constantly watching them.

And as a child, I used to lie on the grass sometimes, put my ear and speak to the grass, and my aunt said to me, “Oh, she’s becoming cookie.”

And my uncle said, “No, she’s not.”

Because even the grass has the same heartbeat as you have, otherwise it wouldn’t be able to pierce the soil and prove the millions of beautiful plants that come into being. All of them have that same heartbeat as your own.

We have just come out of a really dismal winter. And the trees are not dead, simply going through their encyclopedia of releasing and recycling.

Suddenly then, despite that horrible season, spring has burst across the whole of the earth, and the dawn of a new life appears throughout the world, bringing new fruits of food, of life, and energy into our lives.

As I listen to my heartbeat, I feel the start of a new cycle, and I’m taking on a new journey that brings me into a higher level of consciousness: the joy of living each day.

So many paths will open up, and there’s nothing you cannot do. Just feel the dance of life within you. Know whatever you put in your mind materializes. So don’t think negative thoughts, because they also bring bad things towards you.

Think, “This is going to be the best day of my life.” Don’t think of tomorrow or yesterday; but today counts.

You tune into your body, and you’ll experience it. Stagnant muscles and mental fears cause stagnant minds. People should stop talking about getting old. There is no such thing as age. You can do anything.

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15 years ago, I fell, and I actually had to have a hip replacement and a rod in my leg. And then, I fell again, and the rod broke and went into the bone.

So the doctor, who had done a little yoga, said, “I promise, Tao, that you’ll be able to walk in two weeks.” So I let him operate on me.

Three years ago, I fell again and broke my wrist as well as the hip, so I had another two replacements. Doctors said I would never be able to do advanced yoga again.

I told them I’m not interested in what I can’t do, only what I can.

Yoga is the dance of life within ourselves: the dance of the eternal energy.

When I turned 87, I decided I would start to do ballroom dancing. Ballroom dancing is like the dance of a champagne bottle that explodes with joy and the joy of living.

Just two weeks ago, I was in Atlanta, Georgia, and I was dancing with my partners and teachers, who are 70 years younger than me. They don’t seem to mind dancing with me. Actually, sometimes they say, “Kick up to the ceiling,” but when I did that, I made a hole in it.

So I got all first places in Atlanta, Georgia, for the Fred Astaire World Championships and on the mambo, I got the first, highest marks: 99.

So you see, there is nothing you can’t do. Even if it doesn’t work too well, I worked, and I am still doing it.

Life doesn’t end when you’re older. I drive my car, and the people are always asking me, “You drive your car! Oh, my goodness!”

But why shouldn’t I? I haven’t finished growing up yet. So don’t let age dictate to you what you can and cannot do.

Don’t say I cannot do something. No, there is no such verb as “can” or “cannot,” only the verb “to be able.”

“Can” means canning fruits and vegetables.

Even children can be a wonderful pathway to understanding life. And I want to tell you a little story that occurred when I was teaching some children; they were adorable.

They were from 3 years old to 6 years old, and 7 years old to 12 years old. And at the end of it, they asked me, “Tao, would you sit down and talk to us?”

And I said, “Of course.”

So they asked all of the wonderful little questions that children ask you, but then I came to a little girl. And she’s six years old, and she said, “Tao, what are you going to do when you retire?”

I said, “I’m not going to retire.”

She said, “Oh, goodie! But what are you going to do?”

I said, “I’m going to dance my way to the next planet.”

She said, “You know, that makes sense. We’ve put a man on the moon, and when I reach your age, all the stars will be filled with people. And I’ll see you there.”

So you see? You can get wonderful ideas from children too. Better than violence. Showing that there’s always something that you can do in life, and that you can follow a path and show by the way we think and the smile on your face because the power of a smile meets everybody.

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And it opens up the doors throughout the world.

I also have a funny little story. I was in Pentagon, and I was teaching for 90 people coming back from wars and different people like that, and needed some help to reestablish themselves.

And I looked, suddenly, at a little gentleman with a beard, and he is like this, and he looks up at me, and he said, “I came for you. I can’t do that. I never did that in my life. I can’t do it.”

I said, “No, never say you can’t to me. I’ll show you how you can.”

So I got him into the dancers pose, and I lifted his back leg up, and he was able to touch it. He came down, and he jumped up and down, and he said, “Did you see that? Did you see that? Never in my life I’ve been able to do that.”

He made us all laugh so much that it was hard even to give my class on yoga because we kept bursting into laughter of this wonderful Jumping Jack that was there.

My personal mantra is really: “There is nothing you cannot do,” for nothing is impossible if you tune in to the creator of life within you.

I don’t want you to pray into the atmosphere. I want to feel that if there is a creator of life, it’s right inside of me. And as I listen to my heartbeat inside, I’m listening to the oneness in the whole universe: the eternal energy.

And then I can prove the reason why I am on this earth, and that the task I want to do, to try and feel that oneness with everyone, like all of you in this room.

And so just to show it – nothing else. I know you don’t have room to do it, really, but, you know, if you put your foot out like that and just lean back, you can bring it right up to the ceiling and over.

And if you want to join it up with this one, you can breathe into it. Breathe out and breathe in and breathe out.

Or if you prefer, you can come into lotus, and this is what my doctors were telling me I wouldn’t be able to do, and up here. And so I’m just going to put my hands – and I hope my wrist don’t crack – but I’m going to lift off the ground.

Thank you.

Resources for Further Reading:

Everything is Connected – Here’s How: Tom Chi at TEDxTaipei (Transcript)

Gen Kelsang Nyema: Happiness is All in Your Mind (Full Transcript)

How to Unlock the Full Potential of Your Mind: Dr. Joe Dispenza (Transcript)

Sir Ken Robinson: Finding Your Element (Full Transcript)

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