Once in a while I encounter some events that carry life changing character. Some events make an impact because people who participate there are inspirational, other events bring up unforgettable emotions and experiences, while next one carry you through expanded states of consciousness. All of these reasons are great catalyst for spiritual evolution, all these factors serve as a stepping stone for maturing emotionally. And all of this together happened for me in sattva yoga teacher training.
In my life I tried and seriously practiced dozens of yoga styles, healing systems and various physical activities like martial arts and circus disciplines. All of these movements influenced growth of my character from within, strengthening will and honing my skills. I felt proficient in many ways of movement that I practiced, but it never brought me happiness. Only more desire to learn and more topics to cover. As hard as I tried to catch happiness as fast it was running away. And every time I felt that I can reach my success it just disappeared and reappeared in another place. I couldn’t understand what is happening, why the bliss of life is quietly running away each time I approach it.
It continued more or less 10 years. Self improvement, and philosophy of success were able to bring only a quick fix, something like a coffee that helps you when eyes are shutting off and leaves you in state of craving next time when energy is down. All the motivational speeches and hard workouts were serving as an energy boost that wears off on the next morning. But the desire to outgrow my struggle was deeply inside and it moved me forward, exploring what else can I learn from this world. Luckily I found yoga.
It was first time in my conscious life when I found strength in relaxation. Before I would just pump my muscles with numbers of repetitive exercises , bring my body to the limits of it’s possibilities by performing extreme jumps and acrobatic movements. All of it was concentrating on what my body represents externally. Yoga was a first guide to show me vast world inside. Mesmerized by new sensations and feelings, I slowed down on all external improvement or accumulation of material goods. Visual and sensual experiences that would arise during or after yoga practice was a sweet bait for me to follow deeper into the teaching. Thoughts were still coming, but now they brought more wisdom and clarity into my life. This practice of breathing and different body positions somehow slowed me down to feel more of life going on in every moment. Teaching felt infinite and I only approached the doorway into new perception. I started to visit more and more spiritual festivals and conscious events to gather the knowledge and collect experience about the path that led me to calm celebration. Everywhere I visited I soaked information like a sponge. Atmosphere of every new place was nurturing my growing desire for spiritual knowledge. Every place and teacher I met gave me valuable understanding of different aspects of life but somehow felt incomplete so I was forced to move on, to complete the quest.
And here I am, in the foothills of Himalayas . It doesn’t feel that quest is completed . But at least it feels that I found the thread that can help me uncover the mystery that was hiding light of my life. I am learning from a man who gave me tools to see my own mistakes. I am adopting discipline that keeps me invincible in war against weakness. Weakness that was arising through life in forms of attachments, and desires for pleasure, self identification through opinions, and lack of respect for others and life itself. This weaknesses have no power over my life any more. I gave all control to love and kindness. Now intelligent desire to evolve is running engine of my daily life. Dramas, fears and aggression cannot decide what I am supposed to do. All the decisions come from clear mind and calm heart. I can catch destructive thoughts or negative acting patterns before they can arise and influence life. Life feels pure, like a fresh gust of air, or sweetness of a spring water. Giving away what I don’t need anymore prepares space to receive presents of every NOW.
These changes are not a result of some magical elixir or a mystical influence of invisible forces. It is a humble gift of a great teacher. A man who doesn’t look or try to look like traditional spiritual teacher. He looks like he is, always moving in service, always present in what is relevant, rooted in core values, and still in the infinite . A man whose words you start to realize fully when life starts to shift. And in his presence it shifts really rapidly. So there is no way back – only to transcend or to perish. To be reborn in grace or to leave all that you are with garbage of yesterday. For the ego it is hell, but it is salvation for the soul.
Teaching comes in many forms, in Gyana – wisdom and personal advice, in practices of asana and pranayama. Through life changing practice of kriya that opens universe inside and through meditation that helps to stop a flock of wild thoughts to see life with clarity. Bhakti or Devotion is a way to be humble so you can enter the greatness. But the most influential gift i’ve got came not from engaging in funny postures or breath exercises but from learning to be accountable and bringing value to the community. To act with a genuine desire to be useful IN and FOR the world around. When one acts positively without intention to get benefit it is called selfless service. It grants the biggest joy. In this service all problems dissolve. When you concentrate on helping others, you see only benefits, value and purpose that you can bring . There is no room for worries, or self destruction. When you think of the world you merge with it and it cannot deal damage to you any more . Only a habit of positive action and presence in abundance consciousness is left in your mind.
If you can not even spend a dollar or a minute to help someone you will live in a mood of lack. But if you can give something it means you have enough. Just give it a try and see how all problems fade away. Just make sure that what you give has relevant value for surrounding. Bringing peace, clarity and sustainable resources is a way to act in order to create harmonious life for yourself and those who share this world with you.
Mood of service was something that I should learn twenty years ago. Sad but true. In the western world everyone strive to rule and command. Ability to serve is not commonly accepted as important quality for a well developed human. Now I see service as a first step of a ladder. For a president or a head of corporation, general or captain of sport team is equally important to learn selfless service. Only when you learn to be useful in simple things it is possible to command in a way that will serve the others.
For me it became available only when i gave up on competing and trying to prove my worth. I found that worthy is what i can give. If i cannot give it or share it for the benefit of surrounding it has no value. All the idea of evaluating something came from a need to exchange the goods and services. So there is no need to waste time for something that has no relevance to society or your personal evolution (that is essential need of all modern societies).
If you will hold a barrel of water for your self it will be very heavy experience. But you can stand in the river enjoying all the water running through you to refresh body and mind. Big joy and abundance works like this river. When we try to hold them they become to heavy to manage. But if we share it, the flow will never cease.
When we struggle from loneliness ,fears, doubt or irritation, it means something. Maybe we hold too much or give too little as well it means that we don’t know our self very well. Downtime is the best opportunity to get to know yourself, find the root of all problems while it is visible and to stop running away from what is painful. We are here to help you. Soothe the pain with loving attention. There is no need to look for happiness outside, because you carry it within, hidden under stories of failure and disbelief, between traumatic experiences and social conditioning. Mindful awareness will clear all that is useless leaving your natural perfection to shine. Yogic practices are developed in a way that can rid you of all struggles and disease through your own effort and dedication. It is a scientific method that works on all systems of your body to purify and gradually liberate mind from worries. You can forget what I said, or believe in these words. But the best way is to give it a try.
It may be an ending of this article, or a beginning of your happy life, it depends only on your viewpoint and desire to take responsibility for what will come. Everything that happens to you, ultimately is happening For You. Make the best out of this chance to live, to live a life of your dreams!