Speaking on The Kleshas – Asmita & Egoism
Published Long Island Yoga Association 2014 Satsang
“I understood that the attachment to myself and my image … was actually taking me away from my Self, away from this wonderful opportunity to just sit, just breathe….When under the sway of this obsession, my mind’s attention was always in the fantasized future, or the idealized or devalued past – never present to the reality of the moment.” ― Stephen Cope
Our Ego is a complicated part of our psyche. On one hand it’s the part of the right brain that allows us to take action, to make plans and to accomplish what we desire in our lifetime. It drives us forward and prompts us to be productive and presentable; to suit up and show up. These are all good things to aspire to. On the other hand, our ego can work subtly, powerfully and insidiously to take us out of the present moment with its insatiable appetite for validation. Lost in the throes of egoism (Asmita), we believe our self-worth relies on temporal things like what we do, what wIn e have, what we look like, or any other misidentification with the true self that inevitably causes great, unnecessary suffering (dukha) because the ego is never satisfied. Asmita is based on our fears, samskaras (deep rooted patterns) or cultural pressures when it begins to whisper “you are not good enough as you are, you need to do more, be more, have more to be whole, content or successful”. This type of fear can scare us into undisciplined action. When our decisions are driven by fear, that are not based in reality, they are usually short sited and filled with anxious energy, manipulation and the need to control things outside ourselves. So in other words, asmita leads to misguided thinking which leads to misguided actions which leads to suffering for ourselves and others.
“You are what your deepest desire is. As is your desire, so is your intention. As is your intention, so is your will. As is your will, so is your deed. As is your deed, so is your destiny.” ― Upanishads
Yogic practices, when done with patience over time, have the ability to resist the ego’s call by yoking us to the present moment where our authentic self lives. Physical practices such as asana and pranayama connect us to our subtle bodies where we can feel into the ever present, intimate connection to life itself. By living our lives ethically through the yamas and niyamas we recognize the need to discipline our thoughts and actions for the good of all to discover what is truly important and lasting in our lives. Meditation helps us to see through “avidya” (spiritual ignorance) by training the mind away from ego driven misperceptions or a core confusion over what is permanent with what is impermanent. In short, by walking a spiritual path we keep our ego in check because these guidelines create inner tranquility and equanimity, we stay in the stream of goodness and out of self-seeking, ego driven rewards.
When something doesn’t feel quite like “you”, check in with your intentions. Is the goal to attain some outer praise, avoid some inner pain or simply satisfy the need to feel validated? Are your actions aligning with your ethical ideals? Is the energy of your decision edgy or indecisive? If so, stop, breathe, align yourself to what is truly important and what it is means to lead a life well lived. Most of all, follow the path that feels true, right and meaningful to you, stepping away from fear and into the light of your amazing, authentic self.
By Amy Perri, eRYT500
Gratitude: A Spiritual Experience
By Amy Perri, eRYT500 / http://www.MyYogaWithAmy.com
“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude” Denise Waitley
We all want to be happy and living with love. grace and gratitude is the direct path. There is always something to be grateful for even on our worst days. Expressing our gratitude leads us to the beautiful practices of Santosha and Aparigraha outlined in the Yoga Sutras as contentment and greedlessness. When we feel grateful, we acknowledge that we have everything we need within and without and come from an attitude of abundance instead of lack. Melody Beatty said that “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of Life”. When we embrace and acknowledge what is dear to us, our hearts are opened, divine light pours in and we are engulfed in feelings of love and grace. A moment like this can transform your entire day from one that is ordinary to one that is full of miracles where we seem to lack nothing.
However, one of the most beautiful gifts about feeling grateful is that it is not easily contained. We must share it, express it and are moved to give back creating a reciprocal flow of goodness.
A practice that will surely cultivate gratitude in your life is to meditate on all those things you hold most precious and dear (write them down if you wish) and simultaneously begin to envision if one or more of those things was suddenly taken away. Spend some time in that space and experience the loss and desire. This is the short road to gratitude. Sometimes it truly does take a loss to find gratitude and understand what something or someone had meant to us, but you don’t have to wait till something is physically gone; you can create those circumstances right now where you are creating the fertile ground for contentment, non-greed and gratitude to grow.
Unfortunately, we have a true loss happening right now as I write one the last articles to be published in the wonderful Satsang! A true gem of information, community and insight is being put to rest. However, we can combat those feelings of sadness by engulfing our hearts in gratitude for all the connections made and the amazing work of the Long Island Yoga Association throughout the years. All things have a life cycle, and nothing lasts forever. SA TA NA MA Wha Hey Guru – Life Death Rebirth Infinity and we look to our inner and outer teacher to guide us through these transitions with gratitude for all that flows in and out of our life knowing that all endings become beginnings.
“Sunrise doesn’t last all morning; a cloudburst doesn’t last all day. Seems my love has up and left without a warning. It’s not always gonna be this grey. All things must pass, all things must away” George Harrison
Look around you and inside you in this moment, the present moment, and see that you lack nothing. Express your gratitude for now for you will never pass by the scenery of today again. You cannot travel to, own or consume happiness but you can encourage it by living every minute you can with love, grace and gratitude.