It’s funny how we spend an entire lifetime trying to get somewhere. We struggle to get ahead in life, to make the grade, to get the big contract, to be liked on social media.
Yoga and Spiritual Awareness
A spiritual discipline is not immune to the mind that grasps. We try to get better at yoga, become more mindful, improve our meditation. While these are worthy goals they are actually a big problem. Because, more often than not, trying to better ourselves only blocks progress on the path.
Again and again, we fail to realize that the goal is to simply be. Always busy and on demand, we are no longer a collective of human beings, but rather have become human doers. For this reason, you should never “do yoga”, but “be” yoga. What does it mean to just be? How do we practice being? Follow the example of trees. And clouds and crayfish. Follow the example of your four legged friend waiting at the window to go out in the morning.
The Art of Being
Being is simple, straightforward. When a monk asks the heavyweight Zen master Joshu, “What is the meaning of the first patriarch coming from the West?” (that is to say, what is the meaning of this whole practice) Joshu responds, “The oak tree in the garden”. It is hard to appreciate just being. Eternally restless and hankering for more, we distract ourselves with our phones, keep busy, and fall prey to the belief that we need to be other than we are.
To be requires stripping away, going bare bones. This is referred to in Christian doctrine as “fasting of the heart”. In yoga, it is called sat-chit-ananda, “the joy of being aware”. Sadly, we feel that we are never enough. We keep wanting more…more attention, more money, more likes, more followers.
Can we realize we already have enough and do not need anything more?
Can we relish in just being?
Tat tvam asi. You are being.
Or put another way, be as you are.
When we accept that to just be is enough, then we need not go anywhere or get anything. For the time-being, we experience enduring peace.