Rotation is the action of spinning on an axis or a center, and we often associate this movement with the planets. It is Earth’s habitual movement that gives us the experience of day and night. Living beings also seem to spin around an invisible central axis, which creates our visible rotations. Animals have recurrent migratory and homing patterns. Humans go back and forth to school, work, grocery stores, to spend time with loved ones, and to entertainment spots. All of us like kites connected to invisible threads anchored somewhere in our life.
The central axis around which any individual spins is determined by their biological needs—both physical and emotional—and these keep evolving as we develop. This invisible and ever-present axis manifests clearly in the combination of roles one inhabits: a student, a sibling, an entrepreneur, caregiver, athlete and so on. These roles in turn determine how we use our time: the places, people, and activities that fill our days. Just like for Earth, our axis (needs and roles) determines our rotations (time spent in habitual engagements).
But unlike Earth, our axis shifts in response to life changes, both big and relatively small: moves, babies, deaths, acute injuries, new friendships, or home repair projects. We take on new roles or drop old ones. Consequently, the makeup of our time shifts quite organically; where we spend it, with whom, and how alter without too much effort. A change in our needs and roles changes our lived footprint. A shift in axis, changes the rotation.
Axis and rotations are inseparable from living organisms. They create the observable footprint of our days and, over time, a life. We can intentionally choose them or they come into form on their own by the mere fact that we’re alive.
If we wish to change our life experience, a useful first step might be to note the axis around which our life is anchored. While it’s not always easy or desirable to shift our axis, we do it many times over a lifetime when we make big life moves. Rotations rarely venture far from the axis we’ve settled into. Even so, it’s easier to shift the structure of our rotations vs. our axis. We can choose the physical places and online spaces we spend free time in, the relationships and interests we cultivate, ideas and information we engage with, and our patterns of engagement and rest.
Most of us have more agency over our life and attention than we realize, and we must exercise it. When we don’t, we end up creating a life that looks nothing like the one we crave to live. Unlike our beloved Earth, we have the power to see our habitual patterns and make changes.
“We give no significance to human attention. Things open up and change only in response to attention. Otherwise old cycles repeat endlessly.”— Sadhguru, yogi, mystic and teacher