Most of us tend to live our lives from outside-in. By that I mean, we tend to think that when such and such thing occurs, I will be happy. When I achieve this or that I will feel better. And such thoughts are not just about accomplishments and achievements, but also we think the same about other aspects such as feeling better, not worrying, addressing physical or emotional pain and so on. But the key lesson in life is that- it all works from inside-out. That is, whatever is inside of us, will manifest in time to what we experience in the outside world.
I am sure many of you will say that hey- I did not “choose” this pain or that I did not “want” this negativity, hurt and anger in my life. But- Universe does not function with our chosen labels for these thoughts and emotions. The key questions to consider are: are you worried about what will happen to you or a dear one? Are you angry at someone including yourself? Even though we may think of them separately, they all in a way are negative emotions and the Universe is going to reflect back to us what we send forth. So, if what we are sending out thru our thoughts, emotions and actions is negative then those are the very things we will receive back. By the same token, if we are to send out positive thoughts, emotions and actions then those are the things we will receive.
I can almost hear you say: “hey- you don’t understand. I just lost my job and I have kids to feed and a mortgage to pay- of course I am worried. Am I not human?” It is true that such “worrying” is considered quite acceptable in our society as “normal”. But does it really serve any purpose? We all know the physical impact of stress and worrying. So, irrespective of spiritual reasons- think about this for a minute purely from a material-logical standpoint. When you don’t have a job, do you want the added expense of medical bills, not to mention bad health, which will further prevent you from efficiently and energetically searching for a new position? So, do you see- how worrying is a wasteful emotion? It is not only meaningless, but in fact aggravates the very situation which initially caused it!! Even though I have taken worrying as an example here, the same holds true for other negative emotions like anger, greed and so on.
Then why do we as humans engage in this behavior? In a way, it is to make ourselves feel more worthy! You see, deep down we all want to be recognized- this is not about fame, but simple recognition of “being-ness”. Unfortunately who we identify as “us” is not our true being-ness, but “an identity” of what we think is our “true self”. This false sense of our identity or individuality is called as the ego- or ahamkara in Sanskrit. It is Ego that wants to feel that it (which for you is you) exists! When things are good, it leads to one type of ego boost- where all the recognitions and praise, make you feel like you exist- and when things are not as good and you feel ignored and left-out by the world- your own mind creates emotions like worry (“what will happen to me”?), anger (“how can they do this to me?”), greed (“how can I get this for me?”) and so on…
That is why Yoga helps in addressing the ego. Yoga means to be in unison with the supreme energy of the universe. Each time you do Yoga, somewhere you are expanding and at the same time rarefying your ‘sense of identify’. And like all facades when you start removing these fake layers (your identity about you or the ego) your true “being-ness” shines forth. And this being-ness will over time (linearly speaking) slowly merge into the Universal consciousness.
By doing Yoga, particularly in the initial stages of your spiritual journey, you start becoming conscious of a greater dimension than your own self almost like a higher harmonic/octave of your current note. This sense provide the assurance of “existing” to your ego, so in a way your ego identification need is addressed or should I say tamed so that you don’t feel the urge to indulge in negativities that boost it. For this reason, Ashtanga Yoga, which means the eight limbs of Yoga is the best approach, where asanas, what is usually taught in the west, is one of the limbs.
I will address the eight limbs of Yoga and how they can be utilized in this rarefying of our identification in another post. Hope you start with Yoga. Even a little bit of asanas, a little conscious breathing (called Pranayam) will all go a long way in setting you on the right path of your own spiritual pursuit.