Since in the past couple of weeks I have been spending all day in front of the computer working on my book, writing a blog post was not on the agenda at all. So, the text I am posting now is actually an answer to a question I got in my facebook inbox today form a dear friend. I am sure he will not mind me sharing a part of his question and a part of my answer with all of you...
Question: did the practice of yoga make you a more spiritual person or did your connection with the divine exist before you even began? I'm asking because I feel this spiritual disconnect in my life right now and I'm looking at ways of regaining it… my heart, my soul is searching, asking questions, looking for guidance...
Answer: I think we are all spiritual beings connected with the divine, only misguided and misled by our Ego and by this materialistic society that imposes wrong values in order to mass control us (just look at what the US an EU keeps doing). Most of try to live by somebody else's (society, family, religion etc.) rules and are led astray from our true path and our true Self.
Yoga is my chosen practice that keeps me on the path and reminds me of what is truly important. That keeps me connected with my Self. And it does so every day, as we all need daily reminders. By that I don't mean I come to some profound realization when I do a headstand. It means LIVING YOGA daily, living by certain principles. Yoga, like any other spiritual discipline, has its set of 'rules' of behavior called Yamas and Ninyamas. It also has a prescribed paths and a goal which is the state of liberation (pure consciousness). Some yoga traditions also talk about Jivan-mukti which is a term meaning liberation is possible in any given moment. I think it is very important to have a spiritual discipline in one's life. To serve as a daily reminder.
To stay on the path I practice every day; sometimes that will be just reading or writing something that inspires me or something that I find is my truth. Sometimes is through my asana and pranayama or mediation practice that I connect with that higher Self. Sometimes is an act of kindness or talking to my friends about what is important. Like now, while writing this to you I also remind myself of these truths :).
We are human and have our human ways. We make mistakes and get easily sidetracked by Ego (lower Self) and that is ok as long as we are aware of it and know how to get back on track. Yoga is what brings me back and reminds me of who I want to be. We need every day practice till we embody that practice, be it a way of thinking, an idea, a way of life, an emotion..
Imagine watching that scene from Samsara (I'm sure you've seen it - the one with chicken slaughter house and workers in pink) - could you bring yourself to eat chicken that day? Probably not. Or after a good workout - you won't light a cigarette. Or eat something unhealthy. Why? Because when you do something positive for your body, mind or soul, your higher Self emerges and you stay in that state for a while. This is what practice means to me. Doing something that will on some level bring your being or one part of that being to a higher vibration - and closer to your true Self. The more you practice the more you will vibrate in your higher Self. And that's where we all want to be. It's a happy Self that doesn't need anything to be happy:). It just needs to BE.
Did I get too philosophical? Bottom line - deep within we all KNOW but we are afraid to live our TRUTH. There is always that shadow of a doubt that keeps us in line (of society’s norm). Every time we feel we would like to do something that is out of the ordinary there is that voice of self-doubt and that 'what if '. Sometimes it's a real voice of your friends, parents, family.. It's a voice of fear.
In order to remove that fear and reach a higher goal we need some help. Buddhist, for example, talk of three jewels - Buddha (the enlightened one - the provider of the teaching and proof that enlightenment is possible), Dharma (or the teachings, practices, path) and Sangha (the community of like-minded peeps). All three are equally important. I also need my Yoga as my spiritual practice and my Sangha (people that are on same path) to keep living in sync with my authentic Self. I believe I am there now, but I know I can easily get sidetracked, as we all do... So, I keep practicing and watching for those Ego traps..
If you feel lost just ask your heart what it needs. Sometimes it won't speak to you at first, not before you remove all obstacles that can mask what it's saying. That can be your definition of who you are, wrong people you might be surrounded with, books you read, news you watch (I don't have TV or read any news on regular channels)... All of that which is not sincere and pure and with only one goal which is truth. Ones all that but for a moment disappears, ask your heart what it desires and follow that without any fear. I believe only that leads to ultimate freedom and happiness we all desire and which IS our true nature.
So, that was my answer to my friend (thank you Friend:) to which I would like to add…
The material world is crumbling down. The time has come to realize that we all need to let go of wrong identifications and see pass the glitter and gold, fame and power. To realize that those things do not make us happy and do not create a healthy society. Because, something is very wrong with this society when beautiful Souls like recently passed Robin Williams cannot adapt to it. When I read of his death I was so sad, and what came to mind is how highly sensitive and creative people keep leaving us. But, looking at who runs this world and what values are prioritized it is no wonder. As Krishnamurti said: ‘’It is no measure of health being well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.’’
We need to wake up and heal ourselves first in order to heal this society we have created. And yes, we need to question our motives, our goals, our lives. And we need more than ever to embrace any spiritual practice that preaches unity, love and consciousness as a goal.