I was scheduled to speak at a local Yoga Festival a short while ago but things went sideways on the day so I did not. Shame. Here’s a shortened version – a little Jnana yoga for the soul.
Many of you know that yoga isn’t just about exercise, postures or asanas. The different disciplines of Hatha Yoga were designed to prepare one’s body to sit for long periods of time in meditation. Meditation and contemplation are what’s known as Raja yoga.
From my perspective, meditation is one way to train your brain. The practice helps us release thoughts of the ego… wondering, worrying … to connect with ALL THAT IS.
Bhakti yoga is living a devotional life and surrendering to God. Mantra yoga is to awaken the self with deeper meditation. Karma yoga is the path of unselfish action with personal consequences.
Jnana yoga was to be my topic because it is the wisdom of knowledge and I’m all about self-knowledge and growth. I think it’s the most powerful thing we can for ourselves!
In Jnana yoga, the mind is used to inquire into its own nature. Therefore, it is the path of knowledge or path of self-realization. It is one of several spiritual paths in Hinduism and it pursues knowledge with such light questions such as:
Who am I?
What am I?
Now, I’m not claiming to be any kind of expert of Jnana Yoga. What I do claim is that I have been asking myself these two questions since I was a little girl. At a tender young age, I began the path of self-inquiry. “Why am I here?” I used to ask myself as I stared out my bedroom window looking at the night sky.
There I was, a little speck, in my bedroom, in my house, on my street, in this city, in this country, on earth … just one of many stars and planets I could see. I was fascinated as to why I was here and what did it all mean.
About age 16, I’d spend hours contemplating the meaning of life and talking to anyone about it who I thought was insightful. I voraciously read books such as Be Here Now by Ram Dass, The Tao of Physics by Fritjo Capra and one of my all-time favourites, Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse. I concluded that I was an evolving soul in a physical body. That this life is one of many lifetimes and I’m here for the advancement of my soul through experiences.
Self-inquiry led me to become a self-growth junkie.
A driving force within me was because there was so much dysfunction and pain at home. I wanted to overcome that. I wanted to have a good life, to feel joy and to be successful.
Success is a VALUE that means different things to different people. It’s pretty important that we define SUCCESS for ourselves because if you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there?
After much soul searching and attending a brilliant workshop series shortly after my divorce, I defined my success as this:
“Success to me is growing spiritually living with joy and excitement.”
Believe you me, it took some work to get to my definition! Days actually.
Eventually through my evolution I become fascinated with how the mind works because that is where we live our lives, no matter where we are. Someone once said, “Everywhere you go, there you are.” Yep, no getting away from you.
Even though I have believed for a long time that I am part of ALL THAT IS, and my soul will never die, I’d get caught up in life’s drama. I still do yet I like to think it’s different because of the wisdom of my years. Back then, I found myself re-creating negative drama because that is the pattern I grew up with. I wanted to stop that pattern as it wasn’t serving me anymore.
I have learned to train my brain to go from there to here and I love helping others do the same. All the world is a stage and we can choose our play and who we play with. I choose positive drama now, like travel, skiing, hosting parties, hiking, breaking my own record in the front crawl and creating workshops to transform one’s thinking and influence skills.
In Jnana Yoga, it is believed that knowledge is power. From my point of view, we are all powerful beings. Self-knowledge helps us realize the warrior within and get back in touch with our personal power.
One of the 12 Universal Laws of the ancient Vedas is the Law of Correspondence.
“Your inner reality creates your outer reality. Learn to change your perception in life and focus on what you want to have in your life. Commit to FEEL joy and peace – better emotions.”
A helpful question to ask one’s self when making decisions in life is the following:
‘Am I doing this out of fear OR Am I’m doing this because it feels right for me?’
Fear-based decisions can wreak havoc in our lives. Whereas if it feels right for you, it’s got to be right for you.
This year after further contemplation, I made one change to how I define success.
“Success to me is growing spiritually living with joy and adventure.”
Because it’s about the journey! Thank you for reading! Namaste x