What would I have been happy doing for a living? Am I meant to become a doctor, a researcher, an artist, educationalist, engineer, manager, or a writer? As a child I wanted to become almost everything from an Ayurveda doctor to singer, to a fairy. The mind wants to become all that it is attracted to. Then one learns to walk a road steadily. Choices are made and progress happens when one is willing to have vision of where one wants to be. Consistency is the key. When one is walking a road then the human mind has a tendency to wonder what might have been. Would life be better if my profession and personal choices were different? It is good to introspect. It is good to want to direct the course of one’s life and it is good to want to better oneself. But one can get too caught up with the flow, yet, not become a drifter.
Fickleness can mask itself as wanting to move ahead. Inconsistency can mask itself as boredom. One can flit from one thing to another without having the courage to go deeper. One can constantly feel unfulfilled when what has to be changed is not the situation but the attitude. Sometimes one might need to retrace ones steps. Take a fresh look and re-charter one’s own course. With time and more awareness, we might have to redefine our visions and goals. We might have to make choices about profession and lifestyle. We might have to see what our barter is. Are we giving away our lives for a few extra bucks or for the goal we crave.
We have to see if our goals are in alignment with our highest potential and the spiritual laws. (spiritual laws do not mean laws that pertain to spirits but, the simple karmic law of “as you sow so you reap”-that helps us live a full and harmonious life on planet earth). Then we may have to shift out paths and rework our lives within the framework of what ever we are doing. Every time we look at what we have done and what we are capable of, we have a chance to better ourselves.
That is what Yoga is about. It is a path that wise and questioning souls have walked. It is a path that has already been cleared, so those moving towards the same goal can see. It is a path of the individual towards universality. It is not just a professional path. It is a path moving towards one’s essential nature. Sometimes the ego might want to cut through the jungle, just to feel that it has created it’s own NEW WAY. And ultimately, after all the toil and drama, the destination is still the same and the straight paths are parallel.
All mystics speak of the same truths. One can find one’s own different path if one is willing to walk in circles for a while. Even in a structured path there are many steps that we take that are our own. The structure is there, so that we don’t go way out. Some take detours and are like children who like to get lost and scare themselves while playing. We can laugh at our games of hide and seek.
In India, there are Satdarshans, or the six revelations or, views of reality, of which, Yoga is a legitimate path of Self Discovery. The path is not just the techniques, but the awareness and consciousness with which one leads one’s life. The more consciously one walks the path; the more aware he is if detours take place. India has produced many enlightened souls, as the path was there for many to see. Each enlightened soul did not start his own cult. In the west, we have a couple of new institutionalized paths and they seem like trendsetters. New religions are created after them. The west fails to understand that no path can be patented. The world religion comes from the Latin root religere, which means to bind. Yoga also comes from the root word Yuj, which means to yoke or to bind. We are yoking or binding the individual consciousness to the supreme or universal consciousness. From limitation, we become unlimited.
Yoga is the journey and the goal. It is a path that one walks if one wants to realize ones full potential, be in touch with oneself, move from fear to trust, become more skilled and more aware, if one wants to live life fully and relish every moment. Yoga is not a hobby, religion, cult or profession. It is a path to move beyond our patterns, be it emotional or mental. As Swami Gitananda taught, it is a path of conscious evolution. I am extremely happy and grateful to be walking the Yoga path. It is a blessing to be a student of Yoga. Yoga has the capacity to satiate my desire to be what ever I want to be. But, are we not supposed to be desire less? That’s the last rung on the ladder up to moksha (freedom for identification). A state that I can imagine yet not experience. I do not want to suppress my desires but sublimate them. I do not want to fool myself into wanting less out of lethargy. I need to know I am capable of actualizing my desires. I want to let go of them as they no longer hold me and not because of defeatism. My desires have definitely become more and more refined and more and more real. I remember as a child, I wanted to save and clean up the world. Now, I am content saving myself. When one is happy, healthy and balanced, it infiltrates ones relationships and one’s surroundings, unhealthy dependencies are avoided and fewer are played.
Yoga fulfills my need to be the many things I want to be. It helps me be a scientist where there experiment is I, the personality. I keep observing how I react in different laboratory conditions. In effect, the observer and the observed are i. The lab is the world and different people and situations variants. That’s quite an experiment. Now, if I don’t watch myself dispassionately, I have the tendency to influence the outcome of the experiment. The Heisenberg principle states the result of the experiment is influenced by the intention and expectation of the experimenter. That’s a law of modern physics.
The Rishis had discovered this law more than 10,000 years ago-they were the researchers of that age. They researched the human body, the breath and the emotions, the mind and its different faculties, the gr4eat cosmic energy and the interconnectedness of all of them. They knew that their consciousness affected them and everything around them. They lived in harmony with nature and applied their minds to create a life and environment that seemed beyond the natural. Yoga develops the artist in me. I can sculpt myself the way I want to be. Yoga helps smooth-en out the edges. Once I decide I want to mold myself, the divine sends me his bandwagon to help me. He is the greatest artist of all and I aspire to be like the great creator of beauty.
We also see horror and grossness. with free will, one creates ones reality. I am responsible for the beauty and the ugliness I see within me. Again what I see ugly can be just a matter of perception. Now, let us apply the Heisenberg principle. When my intention is “I am ugly”, then according to the thought, and to the intensity of the thought, I make myself ugly. So change the thought and you can change the outcome. That’s brilliant isn’t it?
Now I get to be an artist and a scientist at the same time. Yoga develops the manager in me. It helps me manage myself with all my idiosyncrasies. As Swami Gitanana said, “Yoga is the Right Usenet of everything”. This includes our body, emotions, thoughts, time and external resources. We need to learn to make optimum and responsible use of all that there is. We start with our body optimizing the energy in the system and directing it with our intellect to work towards a vision. We learn to be the CEO of our own energy system and manage and direct our resources efficiently. We learn to become leaders by motivating our body and emotions to do what our intellect knows is healthy and not force them. We build a healthy team of body, emotions, mind and intellect and make them work in harmony. We deal with conflict resolution and disaster management just by managing ourselves effectively. Yoga helps us to look at ourselves as a project-a project of self-improvement rather than give excuses or condemn ourselves.
My film making skills are also honed by yoga. My life is like interactive TV. I am constantly writing and rewriting my life’s script. Some scripts don’t work and others do. The more in tune I am with my power and consciousness, the more I materialize what I think about. Sometimes, I just sit back and see the great soap operas that unfold in my life and around me and I know it is all His Leela or play. Our lives surpass the dramas on television and are infinitely more engrossing. We can see the roles we play and know we have the capacity to move beyond our roles.
Whatever roles we play, teacher, father, manager, Christian, musician, or saint, Yoga will make us better at it. With yoga we address our being. We move closer to who we are, rather that what we posses. We develop a deep respect for ourselves as an individual and as a manifestation of the divine-not because of our acquisitions, be ti material, intellectual or spiritual. Yes, there are a lot of spiritual acquisitions also that one can start identifying with – like titles, visions or powers to heal and manifest objects. They can also be a pitfall, as one stops identifying with professional and emotional roles and, starts identifying with the spiritual roles one plays. Yoga helps one work on one’s being and that is reflected onto everything one does and all the roles one plays. The roles are a vehicle to fulfill ones learning on planet earth. Roles are necessary and are an expression of ones being. The stage is set, and we can decide how well we want to play our roles. Each role is crucial to the scrip. When we play our roles with joy and awareness, we realize that no role is too small or too big. No profession better than the other.
Each of us is not just a part of the whole but a reflection of the whole.