‘What do you see around you?’, ‘What does this say about you?’ and ‘What opinion do you hold about yourself?’. In the Yoga philosophy they say that what you see around you, is also alive in you, otherwise you could not see it. What you see around yourself is thus a reflection of your inner world. We often don’t what to admit it, but it is true. How can you deal with this? Look within with self discovery questions.
What is alive in you?
Whenever you witness a feeling or emotion in somebody else, turn it around. Don’t look at the other person, but look within. What is alive in you? Ask yourself the following self discovery questions:
- does this say about you?
- is alive in you?
- are you feeling?
- are you thinking?
- do you need?
- will you do with this information?
Self-study is about discovering your own core. In Yoga they talk about seeing your own divinity: ‘We are, at the core, divine consciousness. Around this pure consciousness, we are packed in ‘boxes’ of our experiences, our conditioning and our belief systems’[i].
Nature and nurture
Many of these boxes are filled by the country and city we live in and the culture that we are part of. Also our family and our group of friends have an influence on our behaviour. Eventually the way we live our life is a combination of our genes (our biology) and experiences (biography); thus nature and nurture. This is also often debated: ‘What is influenced by our genes and what by our upbringing and how big of an impact has this on our character?’.
In the book ‘The Yamas and Niyamas, Exploring Yoga’s Ethical Practice’ Deborah Adele advises us to start discovering what boxes we have put around our divine core. Max Strom, known from the book ‘There is no app for happiness’ explains in his book that we have a light that shines deep down inside of us all. Only that we have put so many boxes around it, that we simply can’t see it anymore. Thus it is times to take those ‘walls’ down. Time to tidy up and clear the space around us, so that our inner light can shine through.
Now how do you take those walls down? Yoga and also breath work can support us in taking down those barriers by connecting again with what is alive in us. By using our breath and body and especially by connecting these two great tools, we can begin to feel whole again. We begin to feel alive again by becoming more and more aware of what is present inside of us by doing so. It will help us discover the very parts of ourselves that make up who we are.
Yoga, breath work, meditation are all wonderful tools. What else? I love the exercise from Bija Bennett from her book ‘Emotional Yoga’. She offers us an emotional walkabout. This is an inquiry to support us in finding a way through our questions. What does it come down to? It is about noticing disharmony. When we feel resistance, listen. What is this resistance telling us? What can we learn from this feeling? If we feel judgemental, what do we belief in? Is this our own belief? Is it still our value? If yes, keep it so. If no, throw it out of the window and reassess the situation.
A great example in Deborah’s book is about a conversation between Yogirai and his son when they are standing at the banks of a dirty river. The son asks whether the river is polluted: ‘No the river is only carrying the pollution, the river itself is pure’.
We are that river: we are pure. It is about no longer identifying with what we feel or think. That is just passing through us. We are not our feelings or thoughts. These are only signals of our body to make us more aware of what we need to take care of and what deserves attention. So that eventually our divine light can shine through and we can enjoy life.
How to slow down? Simply take a break and do Yin Yoga.
Sit still. Stretch. Breathe. Continue.
Yin Yoga with Marianne
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© This blog is inspired by a book from Deborah Adele: The Yamas and Niyamas, Exploring Yoga’s Ethical Practice.
[i] Source: The Yamas and Niyamas, Exploring Yoga’s Ethical Practice, Deborah Adele.