Where does self-exploration begin? Many people start this journey by inquiring what their mission or destiny is. Some people discover their path immediately, for others it remains a secret for a long time. Guidance by other people impedes us from hearing our inner voice. There are many training courses on similar topics that help us recall our mission, which is concealed in childhood memories. “When you were little, what were you most interested in?” This is the most common question asked by experts. But, even remembering our childhood preferences, we cannot be sure that this is our real mission. Can Yoga be the key that unlocks the potential inherent in each of us? We will approach this subject in this article.
We are all products of our childhood
A child’s mind is still pure. Children are closer to the original state of harmony; they feel rather than think. Playing, children get to know themselves and the surrounding world and realize what is more interesting for them and what brings them joy and satisfaction. At various stages, we experience joy in different activities. Only as adults, we gain enough experience to find out the meaning of our life. However, as adults, we tend to forget the state of joy that was driving us in the childhood; we tend to move away from our true Self. Indeed, we get smarter and become more aware, but at the same time we start to have doubts. Perhaps this happens due to the upbringing: for example, our parents insist on us becoming a doctor when we have the talent of a pianist. Or we are influenced by society, where it is prestigious to be a lawyer, a politician or a businessman.
It is important to remember what the true value is: we can be anyone and everything, but if it does not bring us closer to our Self, then we need to continue the search, and not stop on intermediate results. Otherwise, it would be very difficult to achieve the initial happiness, by getting rid of the endless stream of temporary desires.
How to get closer to our higher Self and how to understand what is our goal in life? There is no single universal advice to fit everyone, so we explore and rediscover ourselves independently, each on our own. Yoga is an effective approach to life that helps us realize who we really are. By practicing yoga, we discover the scheme of both the outer and the inner Universe, and we come to understand how to make appropriate choices. By following the recommendations prescribed in Yoga, we can find our own path. Yoga recommends adhering to two principles: firstly, avoid causing harm without utmost necessity and secondly, do not waste resources on trivial things. The path of our destiny lies exactly at the junction of these two principles!
Gaining experience in the process of empirical cognition, through impressions and observations, we define such important things as:
- Our personal values in life (what we always adhere to, internal principles);
- Our talents (what we are best at and what we like to do);
- Our personal characteristics and traits (desires, interests).
It is important to realize what we would like to achieve. The desire to find a mission and purpose in life is inherent in all people. However, not everyone is aware of the difference between their true purpose and indulging their instincts. What is our goal? This is a project to which we are ready to devote ourselves and our whole life.
Perhaps, we are not yet ready to define it now, but gradually we will shift our focus towards this goal. The only true criterion for a properly chosen goal is that it brings joy and satisfaction. If it does not bring joy, then this is certainly not our goal. As soon as we find our lifework, there is a way for us to follow, which at a later stage turns into a Way of Life.
No one can teach us all these important things. We must learn it ourselves: ask ourselves and give ourselves an honest answer. Yoga can establish this inner dialogue with our inner self. First, we need to make friends with our body by means of Hatha Yoga and other physical types of yoga. We learn to control our emotions and thoughts from gross to subtle, by means of mental types of yoga. Finally, through Meditation, we can get closer to our true essence. All this will be possible only if our practice is harmonious, regular and consistent. The combination and the order of the practice can vary: we can first learn only physical types of yoga, then move to mental ones; or, we can combine all these types in one session.
Yoga is a complex system of self-exploration
Since Yoga is a system and not some isolated practices, its effect is also complex. It acts in depth, engaging all aspects of life. The peculiarity of the system is that the individual practices and methods included in it do not just merely work but create effective combinations of outcomes. Layering on each other as in a kaleidoscope, separate practices of yoga reinforce each other. All levels are engaged: physical, psychic and mental. The system of yoga works as fog lights in bad weather — it rains and is dark, but we are moving, the road is illuminated.
A systematic and regular practice is the criterion of success in Yoga and one of the prerequisites for progress in self-exploration. The processes inside the human body are cyclical — uplifts and pitfalls happen, this is natural. But, if we do yoga haphazardly, we will have to start all over again. The regularity of practice leads to the fact that the mind and the body evolve at a quick pace, alternately pulling each other to a new level. At the same time, we discipline our emotional state and learn to control it. Our intuition boosts, and we start knowing without thinking, which means that we perceive ourselves and the world around us directly and immediately.
Yoga only reveals what is already within us
Yoga asserts that our natural inner state is a state of supreme happiness. However, since we consider ourselves in this world as bodies that are ill, grow old and become unwell, these sufferings become major obstacles for the manifestation of our happiness. By practicing yoga, we begin to eliminate our sufferings through various methods. If, after a practice we begin to feel good, it is not Yoga that has granted us this feeling. Through the practice of yoga, we have eliminated those obstacles in the form of physical suffering that prevented our inner happiness from opening up. The source of our happiness is within us. Yoga does not develop anything, but only reveals what is already inherent in us from the beginning.
Interaction with the world
There are people that live their lives helping other living beings to become free from suffering. By following the recommendations of yoga regarding the sequence of adherence to the principles — firstly, Compassion for oneself and others; secondly, Efficiency and not wasting forces on trivial matters, and lastly active aid to others — we will always have enough strength and energy to live. Then the fulfilment of our mission will bring joy and fill our life with meaning and endless happiness.
Yoga is the key to knowing oneself and the world around. In the process of self-exploration we acquire a lot: endless optimism, the ability to be kind, to be calm and balanced, honest and logical. Having understood ourselves, we will certainly understand our place in life, our path. Yoga is a tool for discovering the potential inside us. It does not bring anything new into our lives; it only reveals what is already there! Yoga can enable us to live a rich, creative and joyful life.
Search for your destiny with joy!
Authors: Yulia Namrata
Photo from IOYU archive/ Author of the picture:
Editors: Anna Prema, Xenia Nauli, Evgenia Lakshmi, Olga Belous
Chief editor: Mirra
Project curator: Kerigona
Translators: Nat Satcitananda; Teya Sweet, Alex Vijaya