The more we realize what we are not, the more can we understand what we actually are.
This is the basic idea of Svadhyaya which translates to self-study. “Getting to know you, getting to know all about you…” as Julie Andrews sang.
You as in yourself. Svadhyaya is all about YOU.
How we got here.
Our perceptions of ourselves, of others and of everything that happens in the world around us are all formed by our culture, gender, family history, city we live in and experiences we have.
You’ve heard the term “think outside the box?” In order to discover our true, divine self, we’ll have to do just that. Think outside of all those boxes we’ve wrapped ourselves up in.
By practicing self-study in all situations, we become more aware of the things we do that keep us from knowing our divine selves as well as the things we do that bring us closer to our true reality.
How many people occupy this world? Approximately 7.5 billion.
How many worlds are there? Approximately 7.5 billion.
We are all living our specific perception of what’s happening around us, in our own little world. A world created for us, by us.
It all starts with us.
The world is merely what we make it out to be. We cannot love or hate someone or something unless it is in us to begin with.
Let’s take that all-American pastime of gossip, for example. What we have to say about others is so much more a reflection of ourselves and what’s happening or not happening in our lives than it has anything to do with the other person. The respect we give others is the exact same respect we give ourselves. It all starts with(in) us.
As we become aware of what we tell ourselves about an experience, about ourselves, or about others, we will begin to understand the kinds of boxes our divine self is wrapped in. The good, the bad and the ugly. For better or worse. But once we understand them, we can begin to unwrap them.
“We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are.”
Our reaction is our choice.
Believe it or not. This is a true statement. No one provokes us unless we allow ourselves to be provoked. Everything we like about our world and the people in it can be traced back to us. Just as everything we don’t like about our world and the people in it can be traced back to us. When we place blame and create excuses it’s all us.
People and events don’t disappoint us, our versions of how the story should go is what disappoints us. Every experience life offers us is an opportunity for self-study. Especially the experiences with people we don’t like and situations that challenge our patience. So how do we make the most of these learning opportunities?
- Ask yourself “why am I doing this?” Question your own actions, words and thoughts—about yourself and others. What is shaping these thoughts? Begin to develop awareness. Take a step back and observe your actions.
- Be the fly on the wall. Watch yourself as if you were in a movie. Witness what’s happening during your day. How you interact with others, why you do what you do, etc. Use this awareness to foster change where change needs to happen.
- Your true life plays out on your yoga mat, without fail. How you show up on your mat and in your practice is how you show up in life. Begin to observe the feelings and thoughts each pose brings up and the feelings and thoughts that arise after class is over.
- Try going 24 hours without one, single complaint. If you do complain make a note of it and try to answer why you are complaining in total observation. Make no excuses. Get real with yourself. Yes, it’s hard work. But nothing worth having comes easy.
What’s the point of all this? Living life with the ease and peace that being true to your divine self brings. Be able to be the cause of your life, rather than the effect of your life. It’s a choice.
“Watch your thoughts, they become words;
watch your words, they become actions;
watch your actions, they become habits;
watch your habits, they become character;
watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”