Self-reflection (svādhyāyāt) leads to a pure connection (saṁprayogaḥ) with one’s personal (devatā) spiritual path (iṣṭa).
PRACTICAL LIVING Last week we discussed the importance of dedicated practice (tapas). This week, Patañjali brings up tapas’ partner: self-study. Action without reflection is incomplete and vice-versa. In order to know what the most appropriate action or practice is, we need to reflect, we need to ask ourselves what resonates with us on a deep level.
Self-reflection asks us to be continuously curious about ourselves, not our neighbors, partners or family members, but ourselves. It’s through being curious about who we are that we become more self-aware, and therefore are able to make appropriate changes to our lives. A lifetime commitment to curiosity is required on this path. There are many parts of ourselves that could use some shedding light on.
The more light we shed on our ‘unknown’ places, the more we understand ourselves, and the closer we get to our source of light – whatever you may call that. As we go on this exploration, we need honesty to find things that may not be so pleasant to feel, courage to feel them and acceptance to embrace them as part of who we are. Curiosity, honesty, courage and acceptance lead us gradually to experience our divine qualities.
IN THE YOGA WORLD Traditionally, self-reflection occurs through the study of sacred texts and through chanting mantras repeatedly. In modern times, that may work for some. Personally, studying the Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali and some other ancient texts works for me. But having deep conversations with friends, therapists, teachers and grandmas may do the job effectively as well. How we do it is not what matters. What matters is that we’re continuously doing it.
“devatā” could also be translated as ‘deity’. What form does your mind give to your deepest potential? It may be in the form of a religious deity, or it may be related to nature or even a sensation rather than a physical form. Once again, Patañjali is not asking you to visualize a certain image, it is just suggesting that you connect with it in the way that makes sense to you. For some it’s Jesus or Śiva, for others it’s the moon. The point is that you are the only one who knows how to self-study yourself, and that path will lead you to a more intimate connection with the form that represents light to you.
Enjoy your exploration towards light!
INSPIRATIONAL PERSON A seeker, self-explorer, a life-adventurer and love-holder, Marylee has come into my life like a fairy spreading magical dust. Listening to her life story and spending time with her these past few months showed me her thirst for self-study and evolution – it’s beautiful! Her willingness to experience the painful, to look into the deep corners of herself is so courageous. And her desire to keep on growing and celebrating life makes her a joyous and compassionate magnet. I am so truly happy that our paths have met gorgeous woman. Let’s fill the world with divine music! Love you wonderful woman!
Do you have any experiences you would like to share? Please interact as much as you like – everyone will learn from your personal experiences!
Thanks and next week we will discuss the depth of letting go and surrendering!