Posted by Bram Levinson on April 25, 2011
As many of you who have taken class with me can attest, I hold a high regard for yoga’s teachings, for the opportunity of self-study with the hope of moving further and further away from what binds us to the physical and tangible and allows us to connect to a place of non-suffering, a place of heightened consciousness and connection to that which is unchanging. Basically, I fully believe in and endorse moving away from the daily events that we find ourselves constantly managing, reacting to, and trying to avoid, while keeping in the forefront of our minds that there’s something greater than all that, a higher energy source that is makes up everything we are. It’s through the connection to the energy that unites us all that I find inspiration to continue exploring not only myself, but all aspects of humanity as well…understanding that the more I learn about myself, the more I learn about humanity, and vice versa. Sometimes it’s way too easy to be completely oblivious to our own habits and behaviors, because we don’t see ourselves moving through our lives the same way we see others…we’re not (hopefully ;-)) holding a mirror up to ourselves to watch our every move and gesticulation, but we can always depend on others to give us more insight into ourselves. The more we know about ourselves, the more we can stand back to a place of equanimity and look at what we need to do to make ourselves be truly seen and heard as we are, as our true selves are. It may sound ridiculously easy, but it has proven to be incredibly tough for many people.
I’m constantly trying to inspire new ways to look at our existence to my students and readers, incorporating the Yoga Sutras and other texts, as well as the insight I have as a result of my experiences…and I’m constantly talking about the impermanence of our energy, of trying to re-connect to the source of that energy and let go of the dramas that are constantly stirred up by our jobs, our relationships, our politics, etc…I firmly believe that when we can identify and relegate most of what we do and live as being temporary, it will allow us to live our lives with more perspective and be able to let what really doesn’t matter pass us by with little or no fallout. I try to ask questions that will provoke thought for those listening to me, in the hope that people will take as much time as they can for some self-study…and in keeping with that ultimate goal, something crossed my mind earlier today that I thought was worth sharing.
I have been defining yoga for years as a tool that allows us to be the clearest version of ourselves, a tool which allows that version to shine through the years of defense mechanisms and masks that we have slapped on in the hopes of being socially accepted and acceptable. Analyzing this led me back to something I once heard about Michelangelo…I remember hearing that when he wanted to sculpt anything, a man, an animal, whatever, he simply started removing the excess marble or other type of rock until his subject was visible. Just like that, like unearthing something that was submerged underground and simply brushing off the dirt. And so bringing it back to ourselves, maybe that’s a different angle from which to approach making ourselves visible…really visible…blindingly visible, maybe for the first time in decades…what do you need to chisel away, what do you need to remove so that you can be truly seen as you truly are to the world around you? We often believe that we have to assume other roles or personae in the aim of being respected and acknowledged, but the contrary is actually true. What make us shine is when we stand out from the crowd and inspire others to feel empowered to do the same. It’s not about being anyone else except yourself.
Living a life in yoga brings many things to mind, one of which is the subject of reincarnation. I’m not sure how many of us believe in reincarnation, and I’m not sure how many of believe we only get one life. But I know that many of us live as if we have unlimited lifetimes ahead of us, affording us the time to coast through life with little regard for our well-being and that of the people and world around us. So I have a(nother) question to throw out to you all: what if we only get one life? What if this is it? If this is the only one we’re offered, and time is a non-renewable resource, what do you need to shed to be able to come closer to the surface of your truest, clearest self? I’ve heard it said that we spend the first half of our lives learning, and the second half unlearning what took years to learn so that we can come back to our natural state of being. What do you need to unlearn? Do you need to shed anything? Think about what you’ve done to make the “right” impressions…and then think about what might need to be undone. You have the chisel and you know the subject. Now it’s time to let us know. Let us see. And step up into the light so we can see you. We’re waiting.
Learn more about YIOM, follow the bloggers participating, and catch up with our twitter feeds at http://theveganasana.com/YIOM.