In yoga class yesterday, my dear teacher at Jivamukti, Maria Preuster, talked about getting to our truth and identifying who we really are rather than the association that we have with our outsides, our personalities, the you the world sees and the you we cultivate to be more appealing, hirable, lovable, etc. It was an interesting discussion that highlighted some thoughts I’d been having on my own these last few days after watching the interesting documentary, Enlighten Up about a man’s journey into the heart of Yoga.
Who are we? It’s a great question, and anyone who has reached middle age has pondered this at least once throughout his or her life. Are we a series of facts: man, woman, educated, successful, lawyer, accountant, wife, child, yogi, friend? That is part of it. Clearly, there is an element of facts that determine who we are. But beneath that, who are we? Energetically, what are we lined up with?
The reason I find this so compelling is that I work with people every day that want desperately to be well, lose weight, heal their bodies, achieve the lives they long for and on some level, know are available to them if they were to focus, get disciplined and make it happen. It is difficult for me to see someone lose enthusiasm for their health and goals because the results aren’t happening fast enough for their ego. The spiritual, emotional self, the self that knows and sees, the self that brought them to me in the first place full of hope and inspiration, the self that has patience, at some point loses the battle with the ego that wants results immediately and would rather sit and eat their favorite bag of chips than go out for a walk. In class, Maria read from Carolyn Myss’s book, Anatomy of the Spirit: The Seven Stages of Power and Healing, a story about a young, HIV positive girl who became sick through prostitution. Carolyn was holding a workshop for HIV positive people on how to heal their bodies and at some point in the lecture, mentioned the dangers of cigarettes to the immune system. During the break, the girl spoke with Carolyn and asked her; “come on Carolyn, how bad can 2 cigarettes a day be?” To which Carolyn had a realization, that if she held the cure for HIV in one hand and cigarettes in another and asked the girl to choose, she would choose the HIV cure but all her energy circuits would go towards the cigarette. While she would want to be well, she would crave and long for the cigarette. Which if she had fleshed out the story, would probably nullify the cure.
Can you relate? Is there something you really long for psychically, spiritually, emotionally, but are energetically drawn to, and let’s say it, addicted to that is keeping you from achieving it? Whether it is cigarettes or food, alcohol, chocolate or a lover, we all to some degree or another have attachments that keep us from living the lives we want. We think it helps us cope but in the end it only destroys who we really are and the dreams of our soul.
In Enlighten Up, the seeker in the film travels the globe and experiences Yoga from the masters, from Sharon Gannon and David Life to Sri Patthabi Jois and BKS Iyengar. He meets spiritual sages and run of the mill yogi’s. And in India, when he is brought to a guru and inquires about the point of Yoga, why Yoga? The Guru tells him that Yoga is about finding out who you really are. Which is a hard thing to know, as any human being can attest. But he goes on to say, before you know what you are, you must first know what you are not. Hmm… Are you ready to admit that you are an addict or is that something that you, the real you, is not? And if that is not you then is it something that you can walk away from in order to find the real you? Because make no mistake, the addiction is there to keep you from finding your truth. The way a neck pain can distract you from an emotional issue that may be too painful to examine closely, addiction is there to keep you from your potential fabulousness.
So I ask you, what are you not? And can you make a commitment today to let it go in order to discover who you really are?
Robert Downey Jr. the actor, has had a very public battle with drug addiction. He was into the hard stuff and there was no rehab or jail time that could help him until he chose to quit. When asked if it was hard to stay sober, he said no, that it was easy. What was hard was deciding. Once the decision was made, the path unfolded. And look at him now. There is no better tale of transformation and manifestation than his.