According to the spiritual tradition of India, the world we live in, is two fold. There is the outer world and then there is some thing called the inner world. The outer world comprises things, people, places, experiences. The inner world is the functioning of your mind.
We spend an enormous amount of time in trying to understand the external world. We know less well the functioning of our mind. We don’t know for example, why we think the way we do sometimes. We are not quite sure why our moods change suddenly.
Yoga is a systematic study of the mind. It allows you to go deeper into the layers of your self and potentially help you understand what your life is all about. What your personality is all about. So you can align it with the world that you see outside.
Yoga also says that the deeper you go, you will realize that the instrument through which you perceive the world, your mind: has every thing to do with the world you see. So the world that you live in, is your world. And the nature of the instrument, the subtlety of your mind drives the quality of your experience.
The subtler you are, the finer your experience. The grosser you are, the grosser your experience. If you live in a gross world every thing feels solid. Things appear to be separate.
I am separate from my world. I compete with the world for my happiness. The subtler you become the more you realize that in its essence, there is no difference between who I consider to be me and what I consider to be my world.
Your ability to live in both worlds is the key to thriving in your world. You may have glimpses of this already. You may have achieved great things in your material life. You may have arrived at the destination that you had set for your self.
But you may find that its not enough. That there is something underneath, something inside you, like a river of melancholy, which is constant. That no matter where you go, what you have, who you are with, there is an ever present sense of incompleteness. That there is a sense of lack. And yoga will remind you, it will teach you that, that the sense of lack is in itself the source of all your miseries.
If you try to fulfil the sense of lack by acquiring things, achieving something, by going somewhere, or having arrived somewhere in your life, you will find that it is not enough. Nothing in our material life can us this sense of completeness.
In fact, you will see that which you felt had the capacity to make you happy also has within it the capacity to give you sadness. Your child, your spouse, your job, your possessions can be a source of pleasure. They are also a source of unhappiness. That is the nature of the external material world. Trying to find a sense of permanence in material happiness is like chasing a mirage. It doesn’t exist. It doesn’t exist in the people, It doesn’t exist in the place. It doesn’t exist in that material possession.
The source of your happiness lies within you. It is the source of contentment. It is a sense of fullness that you need to discover deep inside the depths of your mind.
If you want to be happy, you have no choice but to try and understand your self.
Yoga is a fascinating journey. It is a science. It is a religion. It is an exercise. It is a prayer. It is all encompassing. But in its simplicity, it is simply a set of processes and practices based on a philosophy that is designed to allow you to harness, strengthen and then purify your mind and your body energies, which in essence are two energies vibrating at different frequencies – one gross, another a little subtler.
We are blessed to have an opportunity to contemplate this. For many there is no time. There is no opportunity. When you understand yourself a little better you will understand the world you live in a little better. When you are gentler with yourself, your relationships with those around you will become gentler and more fulfilling. When you realize that no “one” or no “thing” outside of you has within it, the capacity to make you happy, you will expect less of the world around you. And that in itself will save you from many disappointments.
Life is not about trying to extract happiness from something or some one. It is about accepting life for what it to offer, being happy from within and then sharing that joy with others. You have to feel full. Because when you feel full, you give and you don’t feel the lack. Yoga tells us that there is nothing lacking in our life. The sense of lack, the sense of desire, the sense of want; they all come from a misunderstanding of the nature of reality. You have to try and discover that reality within yourself.
It truly is a journey of self discovery. And this entire life that you live- from the beginning to the end, as long as your physical body lies with you, is nothing other than a opportunity to try and discover that for yourself.
Do what ever you have to do in your material lives. But spend some time getting to the root of that person that lies within you. You are not who you think you are. And who you are, you cannot imagine. Its a beautiful journey. You have no choice but to be on this journey. it is just a question of figuring out that I will do it voluntarily. That I will make an effort.
There is nothing wrong with this world. There is every thing wrong with the way we perceive the world. The goodness and the badness that we see in others, are just projections of goodness and the badness in ourselves. It is something that you need to discover within yourself. .
The Dalai lama always used to say “if you want to change the world, change yourself first.” The change you are looking for in the world has to start with the change within you.
It is an empowering thought. You don’t need any one. You don’t need anything. It is just a question of trust, hard work, focus inner strength.
That which makes you unhappy, that which makes you agitated is just your inability to accept life for the way it is. The simplest way I have found is to try experience every moment completely. Be in an experience completely. When you are sad, be sad completely. When you are happy, be happy completely.
But then move on. Do not let your mind get stuck in the past or wander too far in the future. Neither are in your control. Your world will play itself out in front of you.You just have to be ready for it. You are always free.