Egoism the limiting sense of ‘I’results from the individual’s intellect attributing the power of consciousness to itself (2.6 The Yoga Sutras)
This Sutra for me sums ups the Yoga Journey – it is the realisation that our spiritual truth, the consciousness or the soul is distinct from the mind which is a reflection of the soul (phew!!)
Most philosophies recognise that there is a veil that separates the heart from the mind /the soul from the ego or awareness from matter. When we identify our truth and purpose with the size of our house, our car we create an identity of who we are. It is from here – our ego- that we create stories and ideas about the world. From our ego we judge ourselves against the so called standards set by tv, magazine, social media. We associate these perceived standards with happiness and peace. We live in a mindset of blame (your fault/my fault) and judgment (should have, would have, could have). According to yoga philosophy these egoic ideas are illusion, appearances, unreal.
If we live from these appearances, we lose the sense of ourselves from within. Living in the appearances is living in a place where the happiness and answers we seek are impermanent, or illusions because situations, other people and perspectives constantly change initiating reactions of dis-satisfaction in ourselves. We become one thing to ourselves and another thing to others and yet it is from these appearances that our lives are largely built. I try to illustrate this in the above photo. It is not a picture of me or a selfie. It is a screenshot of my reflection of a screenshot of my reflection. It is an appearance of layers. Layers of ego, intellect, judgement, prejudices all influencing the many masks I wear – I am a daughter, a friend, an employee, a manager, yoga teacher, but none of these roles/mask are wholly my truth. My ego/ my mind reflects the limited perception of my real self or the truth of who I really am. In yoga philosophy this is a cause of suffering.
The ego is trying to practice yoga. Oh, what a pity! The ego cannot practice yoga, because the ego is to be destroyed in yoga. So how can it practice yoga (Krishananda)
Yoga, meditation, Reflection and Yoga Nidra are steps in the process of releasing and letting of the ego, the illusions, the habits and thought patterns. For most people the journey to the self begins with stepping on the mat. Breathing and moving. Letting the breath lead the movement and the movement follow the breath. This is the first connection between the inner body and the outer body. Remember the purpose of yoga is union of the body and soul. It is also the union of the reflection with the greater consciousness (the ego with the soul). Here we find self-realisation a state of being beyond waking, dreaming or deep sleep where the observer, observing and observed become one - Samadhi-.
The reality is we are disposed to looking outwards for the answers. Even if we regularly step on the mat, the challenge is to integrate a spiritual practice with how we live today. This why it becomes so important set aside time each day for practice and stillness to connect with ourselves and remember who we are, remember what we have learned and remember that we are enough. Figuring out who we are made to be is hard but developing our own inner awareness can lead us to a deeper understanding of everything so we can align with the the practice, our lives, our bodies and souls. Putting one foot in front of the other, we heal, we fogive, we bless and we create.
This is where my work lies.
The subtle causes of suffering are destroyed when the mind merges back into the unmanifest (2.10 The Yoga Sutras)
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali