The Journey Begins Now

So much of today’s society struggles with fundamental questions regarding existence, such as:

Who am I? What am I worthy of?

What do I love? Where am I heading to?

        This crisis is putting hearts at risk — literally, take a look at the heart disease, which is 1 in every 4 deaths and the leading cause of death amongst both men and women in the west [1].  Unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, stress, and addictive behaviors — all contribute to this growing epidemic [2]. But ultimately, none of these things are at the root to the struggle of identity, the lack of self-love and worthiness. This boils down to lack of self-esteem, self-awareness, self-discovery, self-truth, and self-mastery! 

        Many of us walk, talk, and breathe in circles all day long. Wake up, go to work or school, come home, watch Netflix, eat a frozen meal or order out, and finally, go to bed. What if this cycle is the reason for which we enter into the afore-mentioned crisis? If it is not this cycle, is there another cycle that seems to be taking over our lives? Wake up, facebook, instagram, Netflix and chill, work, sleep. Are the words we say and the actions we perform in perfect harmony?

        Where shall one pause?  Where shall one stop for long enough to ask the question, who am I, really? Does one enjoy one’s own company? 

A wise master once said, “If you are alone and you are miserable, obviously you are in bad company.” [3]

Therefore, the best company one will always have is one’s Self. How do we take care of our best company? What steps are we willing to take to become the best version of ourselves?

        Imagine the way we treat the person we love, such as our best friend, lover, mother. Is that how you treat yourself? Is it better or worse? Shall we let our best friend soak in misery all day or shall we support them experiencing their greatest self? Can one support oneself in the same way and want to be supported by one’s greatest friend and confidant? What is stopping us from giving our BEST to ourselves? How shall we regain who we truly are?

        A classical yogic text called The Bhagavad Gita states the following (Chapter 6, Verse 5):

उद्धरेदात्मनात्मानं नात्मानमवसादयेत् |

आत्मैव ह्यात्मनो बन्धुरात्मैव रिपुरात्मन: ||

uddhared ātmanātmānaṁ

nātmānam avasādayet

ātmaiva hyātmano

bandhur ātmaiva ripur ātmanaḥ

This loosely translates to — 

“Elevate yourself through the power of your mind, and not degrade yourself, for the mind can be the friend and also the enemy of the self.” [4]

We must use the mind with wisdom, as our guide. We must do this through training the mind so that our conditioned selves can be free from mere ignorance. 

Continuing to Verse 6 in Chapter 6 of The Bhagavad Gita — 

बन्धुरात्मात्मनस्तस्य येनात्मैवात्मना जित: |

अनात्मनस्तु शत्रुत्वे वर्ते तात्मैव शत्रुवत् ||

bandhur ātmātmanas tasya

yenātmaivātmanā jitaḥ

anātmanas tu śhatrutve

vartetātmaiva śhatru-vat

“For those who have conquered the mind, it is their friend. For those who have failed to do so, the mind works like an enemy.” [5]

Our best friend, our best self will be present once we learn to take control of our mind! One who cannot gain control over the mind lives with one’s greatest enemy. As long as the mind remains untamed and unobserved, we fall into spirals of fear, lust, anger, greed, delusion, addiction, envy. 

        Can the mind  imagine what would happen when it becomes its own best friend and steps into its best self?

जितात्मन: प्रशान्तस्य परमात्मा समाहित: |

शीतोष्णसुखद:खेषु तथा मानापमानयो: ||

jitātmanaḥ praśhāntasya

paramātmā samāhitaḥ

śhītoṣhṇa-sukha-duḥkheṣhu

tathā mānāpamānayoḥ

 The Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 6, Verse 7

“The yogis who have conquered the mind rise above the dualities of cold and heat, joy and sorrow, honor and dishonor. Such yogis remain peaceful and steadfast in their devotion to [the Supreme].” [6]

       To tame the mind is a prime goal of the practice of yoga. To practice yoga is to ride the ebb and flow of life. To cultivate compassion on a moment to moment basis. To stand in truth, practice non-violence and self-observation. To let go of the fruits of action. Living yoga means living in alignment with the highest Truth and cultivating a life that revolves around that Truth. To cultivate a life of truth is to go beyond the illusions. …and that is the beginning of Living Yoga. 

Let’s start within. 

The exposition of Yoga begins NOW! [7]

References:

  1. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  2. Kübler-Ross, E. (1973). On death and dying. Routledge
  3. Yogi mystic Sadhguru talk “If You are alone and miserable, you are in a bad company” (2017) on YouTube; bit.ly/SadhguruYTTalk
  4. The Bhagavad Gita [The Song of God], Commentary by Swami Mukundananda; bit.ly/BGCh6V5
  5. The Bhagavad Gita [The Song of God], Commentary by Swami Mukundananda; bit.ly/BGCh6V6
  6. The Bhagavad Gita [The Song of God], Commentary by Swami Mukundananda; bit.ly/BGCh6V7
  7. The Yoga Sūtras of Patanjali, Book 1, Sutra 1