In these tough times how do we find our true self? Have we already found it?
In the past few months I am sure we have all found ourselves saying, “this is crazy!” So many questions go through the mind and the mind can get very overwhelmed. It seems like there really isn’t an outlet we can trust. That is where I come in! THIS IS HAPPENING, but instead of creating thoughts in our heads that probably don’t even exist, let’s take this time to find ourselves! Let’s take this time to slow down a bit. The majority of the time we don’t acknowledge what is going on in life because we are so worried or stressed about something else. Most of us are extroverts and now is the time to become an introvert.
Yes, we are all having cabin fever and I totally understand that, I am as well. I am extremely social and love to be around people so this is hard for me. I noticed though a couple weeks in I started to get more creative, started my videos on IG, this blog, and teacher training. These are things that I always wanted to do, but never did as I would be so focused on work and other things in my life. I actually used to get a bit jealous of my friends that were so creative, like I have so many ideas, why can’t I just put the pen to the paper. I started back to my planner which is geared for my headspace (creative but doesn’t know how to make it happen) and spent a lot of time thinking. I opened my planner one morning and the quote said, “Use your alone time wisely. Ask yourself what you really need when you get space, and make it count.” That stuck with me and I knew Yoga was my passion, so picked up my iphone and did my first video. I have always been the type of person that will give you the shirt off my back. I always wanted to help others and now here was my chance. This is my chance to look deep down inside and use all those things for the greater good. Finding who you are as a person can come easily for some, but it very hard for most of us. We get so consumed by stuff. Do I like my job? Can I pay rent? When will I get a promotion? Why am I fighting with my friend? This, my friends is your EGO, it is taking you hostage! It is overwhelming your mind, and when you stress about those very things you are feeding your EGO so it just becomes a reoccurring thing! So this is me telling you to tell you EGO next time to go F*&ck Off! :)
I am currently studying for my yoga certification and have been studying the philosophy of yoga and came across two terms that I want to share with you all.
1. Santosha (one of the 5 Niyamas), which is the practice of contentment. It includes not coveting or desiring the possessions of others and accepting where you are. To practice santosha is to accept what you already have, appreciate what you already have, and move forward from there. The Bhagavad Gita teaches us not to look outside of ourselves for happiness. Many of the things we seek in life cause us to look outside of ourselves for joy (i.e., finding a partner, falling in love, having children, buying a home, buying a car, getting a new job, finishing a degree, getting a promotion). As we jump from goal to goal in life, knocking each goal down for that sense of achievement, satisfaction and "happiness," we find ourselves juggling happiness, sadness, fear, love and loss. Here in the west, we always celebrate those big milestones. We celebrate "the destination," such as a high school or college graduation with ceremonies, gifts and graduation parties. We forget those small steps along the journey, such as pulling a grade up or passing a challenging class. Landing a good job or getting a promotion is celebrated, but the people you meet and the lessons you learn along the journey are not valued. All we need really lies inside of ourselves. We need nothing outside of ourselves to be happy. Santosha is about acceptance and contentment. If you are seeking happiness, you needn't seek any longer because it lies inside of you already.
2. Svadhyaya (one of the 5 Niyamas) which is the practice of self-study. This is about studying yourself deeply to learn your strengths, weaknesses, outwardly desires and innermost desires. It is about learning which desires need to be silenced and what stands between you and contentment. It is about learning about yourself so that you can connect to something greater. The more you realize who you are not, the more you know you who are. The ego will betray you and cause you to take actions and speak words that do not reflect who you really are. There is a part of the self that has a primary goal of survival. This side of the self goes for what it desires in every circumstance, at all costs. There is another part of the self that feeds into judgments and criticisms and constantly causes us to second guess ourselves and undermine what we already know to be true. As we study ourselves and learn more about ourselves, we learn what we need individually to become closer to unity with the universe.
I do believe if you can practice at least one of these Niyamas you will start to see what you want and need in life. The worrying will slightly dissipate and so will the stress. I am not saying we shouldn’t be AWARE of the current situation of COVID-19. We should absolutely be aware and stay safe, but I think we should take this downtime to recharge and find our needs as that is the first step for a better world and a better outcome to what is happening. If we all work together, we can accomplish so much!
Hope everyone is safe!
MUCH LOVE, XOXO
P.S. The Niyama information is from my online yoga school.