I am Lavinia.
“When you remove the “I” and the form, you are left with the emptiness=the soul within. That is yoga.” Yogi Arvind, Samyak Yoga School, Mysore, India- notes from philosophy class 300 hours course, April 2016
A couple of months ago while doing my Ashtanga practice, I saw (what I think it was) my Self in its full glory for the first time in my life. I still remember that moment so vivid.
It was one of those “bad practice days” when I didn’t feel like practicing. My body felt heavy. I couldn’t focus. I would have instead just took a nap in Savasana haha
All of a sudden, I see it in front of my eyes. Just like an unfolding movie: the good part (the angel) and the bad part of my personality (the demon) fighting with each other.
The good part was saying: “Hey, take it easy. You don’t have to push yourself so hard today. It’s ok if you are slow and a little tired. Just do a shorter practice. Do what you can. You should maybe stop and go to finishing series. You are enough. It is ok. No need to worry. No need to feel guilty about anything.”
The bad part was like: “No, you need to do more. You can do it. Maybe you are not tired. Maybe you are lazy? Maybe you have a bad focus today? I am sure you can do it. Just keep going. It will get better.”
Between those two was my true Self. It was watching the show.
They were fighting, the good and the bad part. And from all that fighting, my true self was having tears in its eyes. So much suffering for nothing! Why?
My lips were closed, but inside I was screaming: “Please stop! Leave me alone! What need to be fighting so hard?! Why? Please calm down. Let me do my practice. Please stop hurting me!”
Incredible and priceless moment to be able to experience it!
Your true self lies beyond those many chaotic thoughts inside your head. Between those thoughts and feelings of not considering yourself good enough or too good for this planet. Your true self is not worse or better than others. It is simply your Self. Beyond comparison. Beyond your ordinary thinking mind. Beyond the many aspects of your personality. Beyond your attachment to your thoughts, ideas, experiences, memories, beliefs or emotions.
In that balanced state of mind you are simply and happily yourself. What a relief right?
When you are able to see that, you can experience peace, freedom, no suffering. No running after the next thing. You are able to enjoy this human experience and whatever comes at you with an equanimous mind. Freedom lies in the equanimous mind.
Self-esteem is a concept born out of the idea of not thinking you are good enough (low self-esteem) or thinking your are better than others (high self-esteem). I guess we all run between those two extremes most of the time. We are influenced by the family, childhood experiences, environment, things we’ve been brainwashed with. Self-esteem is based on society’s standards. In fact, you true Self it is always good enough and does not compare with others. Your true Self is beyond the fake identification with your personality shaped by external factors. When you are your true Self, you belong. Yoga=Union
When you consider youself worse than others, you do not have the courage to shine your light bright and fulfill whatever human purpose you have in this lifetime and/or make use of the gifts that were given to you.
On the other hand, when you think you are way better that others, your ego grows in such proportions that you might never reach that level when you truly feel happy with who you are. Despite the fact that you want to present that confident side of yours to the people around you, deep inside your need for admiration, acceptance and love does not let you be in peace with who you really are. Chances are you don’t even know yourself so good that you keep saying to yourself and others. Chances are you might be even more lost than you think.
Without humbleness (true humbleness), I don’t think you can catch a glimpse of who you are.
No matter how good you get at something, there will always be someone who will be better than you. You will end up being closed between the walls of that fortress that you have built it yourself out of your limited thoughts for external approval. High self-esteem is born out of the ego’s needs to be separated and better than others.
In this human society, low self-esteem is equal with weakness and high self-esteem is equal with power=controlling the rest.
We are not defined by our thoughts, emotions, likes and dislikes or any other aspects of our human personality.
We are beyond that!
When we truly internalize and understand (not in our rational thinking mind) then we will slowly start to feel real compassion for ourselves and those around us. Compassion is sincere. True compassion is not born out of our egoistic and narcissistic need to feel better than others or the need to pamper ourselves. You know it in your heart when it’s true compassion. It is like coming home to yourself.
When you become truly compassionate, in those magical moments, you will understand that your least mindful actions and the ones of those around you, that create pain in this world, are not made on purpose. They are born out of ignorance. They are born out of the fact we do not make a difference between ourselves and our ego/personality. We are trapped in our ordinary thinking mind.
Teaching self-awareness and meditation is the greatest gift that you can offer someone. If you practice and reach a point of understanding what you are experiencing/talking about, pass that knowledge to others. It is the best you can do.
I truly believe that the future of humanity is mindfulness.
We create so much suffering in and around us out of ignorance. Out of the fake identification with our thoughts. Because we do not know who we truly are. We get lost. Then we become frustrated. We keep and grow that frustration inside ourselves. Then our heart gets more and more closed and hardens. And we become cynical. Angry. In deep sorrow. We expect someone to save us. But true salvation comes always from inside.
When we can control our mind and practice self-awareness, we know ourselves.
Taking responsibility over our own life is the greatest thing we can do. Cultivating patience and discipline will bring the greatest results and make this world a better place one step at the time.
I truly and sincerely believe that.
I believe that when we are truly confident, we stop seeing ourselves separate from others. You know that yoga works when you become a more common person. There is a sense of belonging, of internal peace and happiness. A sweet and honest smile. There is no need of chasing approval from the outside. Or expecting others to save you. Or blaming others for what happens to you. You no longer see yourself better or worse, but in peace with who you truly are.
Because freedom lies within.
And you will enjoy the good and the bad. This life 🙂
Keep practicing! It can only get better.
From my heart to yours,
Join us on November 25th, 4-6 PM for “Backbends for everyone” technique, theory & practice workshop in Gothenburg. More about this event here.
© Unfold Your Mat 2017