What seems like a simple question with a simple answer, could be the very words to access the core of who you really are and release unnecessary suffering. Not one of us can say we haven’t experienced some form of stress and fear within the last few months. Social media and the news has filled our world with expressions of fear as post after post rife with hysteria and panic, far and few between were posts of faith and hope. As it all starts to settle it’s the perfect time to reflect and check in with “what prevailed most in me during this time – fear or faith?” I am not going to lie, at the beginning I looked a bit like a deer in headlights, I had to repeatedly put into practice my faith and remember to surrender and trust. I had to choose what I was focussing on to keep bringing me back. When I ask anyone else who got through this without the panic, the answer is the same with or without a religion, it’s a knowing that ‘everything is going to be ok’.
Feelings of stress, anxiousness, depression, disappointment, fear of losing control are symptoms of attachment. In Yoga the practice of Aparigraha (non-attachment) is essentially what sets us free. Our attachment to all that is finite is what causes our stress, it’s our disconnection to the infinite – Avidya (forgetting who we are). In this modern life we live in fear of survival without certain material assets – and yet when we experience a global pandemic we see they are of no value in our survival. All the money, expensive cars and property, fame in the world gave no guarantee in getting through this untouched. Our attachment to that which is changeable – our income, roles we play in our jobs, as a parent, a relative, a friend – any of these can disappear in the blink of an eye and for millions all over the world it just did!
The fear associated with ‘attachment’ versus the faith in ‘non-attachment’ is the difference in our suffering when we experience loss and change. It’s the missing ingredient why some can experience the unimaginable and become a powerful source of inspiration and others struggle deep in depression. It’s not that we won’t experience fear, it’s how quickly we come back to faith. When anything we have relied on as our existence dissolves, perhaps it’s the loss of a loved one, a relationship, a debilitating injury, loss of career or income, it is then we get to see if there are any cracks in our psychological infrastructure. In exposing our ‘Avidya’ we can recognise our failure to remember who we are at our core, an eternal spirit. Here we find our inner calm, our resilience. This is the deeper purpose of Yoga. For me I do not have a religion, I bring a sense of Bhakti (devotion) into my Yoga and Meditation practice when I consider my breath as sacred, the Prana (life force) that connects me to all that is, instantly remembering who I am. It doesn’t have to be a Yoga practice, perhaps it's swimming, walking or running, prayer, anything that you can repeatedly put into practice devotion, honouring of Self. Transcending a physical practice from an ‘exercise to get fit’ (or even punishing yourself) to a discipline in devotion is so liberating. Have you ever noticed how difficult it is to feel physically strong when we’re stressed or emotional? Remembering who we are at our core not only supports us mentally but physically as well.
A daily practice of being aware of emotions and fears associated with ‘attachments’ is a way of acknowledging re-occurring Avidya. So Hum meditation is a mantra repeating ‘I am that’ brings us back to remembering, dissolving away the rest. A meditation practice repeating “Who Am I?” can have profound affects as you peel back the delusionary layers of a false Self and attachments. Try it, ask yourself “Who Am I?”, because the answer is what drives your every choice, creates the life you’re living. Is it a changeable aspect of who you are or unchangeable, infinite? Is it fear or is it faith?
I recently read The Surrender Experiment by Michael Singer, and now this month's Inspya Book Club ‘A Return to Love’ by Marianne Williamson and these have both provided me with powerful journeys back to Self.
Join me online www.inspyameonline.com for practices supporting this remembering;
Who Am I Meditation
Finding Core in your Yoga (not just your abs)
Bringing Bhav into your practice
So Hum Meditation
Morning Limber & Third Eye Kriya Meditation
Namaste - the light in me honours and recognises this same Divine light is within you