Yoga and the secret to having it all
Can we really have everything we want, while living from our hearts and being content and fulfilled in life? Is this an unrealistic expectation?
I believe, I know, that it is possible to have everything.
How can this be so? In order to “have everything”, both spiritually and materially, we must undertake some spiritual training.
What is spiritual training?
This simply means practising coming out of your comfort zone and training – like meditation and fasting – help us with our spiritual growth. These practices should always be done under the guidance of a spiritual teacher. The idea of the practices is to observe our feelings and responses and accept them all. If we fight against the practices, we will not get the benefit of them, so acceptance is fundamental. We are training ourselves to deal with adversity. When everything is going well it is easy to navigate life, but we need tools to help us when life is more challenging.
When you meditate for 30 minutes you are teaching yourself to accept discomfort. By making this choice, you are learning about your capacity to sacrifice your comfort for others. This is the first step in training yourself to deny everything if required.
Fasting is another way in which we can go outside of our comfort zone. We are used to eating several times a day and at set times. When we fast, we are making a conscious choice not to eat and we can observe what happens when our body is denied food, and also how complete acceptance of our choice makes the experience so much easier.
Learning to sacrifice ourselves for others is a fundamental part of any relationship and will develop into a deeper, unconditional love.
These practices are designed to be uncomfortable, so that when we have to sacrifice our own comfort for others, we can do it easily. In this way, we can come to understand our own capacity. If we are not used to sacrificing our own comfort, and we sacrifice for others without this training, a part of our mind will resist and we may feel negative emotions such as frustration or resentment.
Our expectations can sabotage us. Thoughts such as ‘if I help others, they should also help me’ may appear. As a result, we may feel disappointed and are therefore not operating from the heart.
This spiritual training prepares us for putting others first, but we also need to learn self-care in addition to understanding our limitations.
Self-care and balance
So, how do we practice self-care and be of service to others?
It is important that we understand our limits. If we don’t respect our limits, then helping others may become a punishment.
Clarity is important here, so we can understand not only our limits, but also our decisions and the consequences of these decisions. Meditation can give us clarity at these times.
If we help from the heart, then we can benefit from giving as much as the other person benefits from receiving.
If we help from the mind and from obligation, then we are punishing both ourselves and the other person. There is no room for doubts. Help wholeheartedly or not at all.
We should always respect our limits and be clear on what we can and cannot do. A mind that is not fully developed has difficulty in establishing priorities and feels that everything is important. This is why regular practice is important. It enables us to connect to the heart and gain the clarity we need in order to determine what is essential and what is optional.
If we live life with clarity, we live life in peace.