Path to the true Self - part three
So here we are at the end of a trilogy, Path to the True Self, and the third instalment is really the big pay-off. Hopefully, by the end of reading this, you’ll sigh a big ‘ol sigh of relief as you come to the understanding that, although sometimes it can feel like it, we are NOT all completely fucked and doomed to a life of suffering and confusion. Which is good news.
In the first two blogs on this subject I talked about the cage in which we find ourselves, that is created from our childhood conditioning. I hope that I conveyed in those offerings that this conditioning isn’t a “wrong” part of our existence. Indeed, it is incredibly important to establish an identity and thereby our unique individual cycles of suffering. Simply because we can not know our true Selves unless we’ve lived the life of our limited smaller self and experience all the triggers and utter shit-storms that come with the desperate clinging to that smaller self. We must experience the opposite to know the truth.
When we choose the Tantrik path of the householder we are choosing to awaken in the world. Otherwise we’d be getting our loincloths on, grabbing our rice bowls, and hitching our way to the nearest mountain cave to dissolve ourselves into the ocean of Infinite Consciousness. Most of us, not willing to do that, will opt for all the deliciousness that comes with everyday life. Things like making money, falling in love, having sex, making families, travelling, and having heated discussions about world events at dinner parties. Thanks to the Tantrik path we can honour ourselves as spiritual beings and equally honour our identity/ego as a major player on our spiritual path, rather than a part of us to be judged or rejected, which can be suggested in other lineages of study and practice.
The Tantrik path is a very liberating and hopeful one. It doesn’t require dramatic gestures that involve the renunciation of ones own life (although deep respect must be given to those who choose such a path). Instead we are invited to immerse ourselves fully in whatever we get offered during this embodiment and use whatever is happening in our daily lives to know ourselves more deeply.
This is more good news. Without our smaller selves we’d be rocking up at places and saying, “Hi everyone, I’m an expression of infinite Conscious, it’s so great to meet you!” And whilst this is technically an accurate statement it doesn’t bode well for meeting new friends or navigating oneself through this plane of reality. I daresay people would be moving themselves away from the ‘freaky deaky’ as quickly as possible. Instead, we can acknowledge that our identities come in handy, but that they are only a part of who we are and not the whole story as our limited thinking minds may have us believe. In short, we cannot escape ourselves as spiritual beings. Because that’s what we ARE. We don’t need to announce it. Our practice is inviting us to simply live it.
What drew me to yoga was that the practice, in its essence, doesn’t revolve around requiring us to believe in anything. Alternatively, it allows us to directly experience who we truly are. The greatest spiritual teacher in the world can tell you that you are pulsating love, joy and wisdom, but without the experience it can feel about as meaningless as telling you that you are a bag of sand. This is because WORDS ARE EMPTY VESSELS WITHOUT EXPERIENCE.
The importance of yoga offering us the taste of who we are, rather than a doctrine that we learn with our intellect, cannot be overlooked. Let’s be honest, we can spend a lot of time arguing about what we believe in and get nowhere fast. Something that I’m constantly reminded of when I have “discussions” with my father. When we are each of us are looking through our “belief” lens it is unlikely we will be persuaded into a different viewpoint without some kind of practice that gives us a felt sense of ourselves away from those beliefs. As a teacher of yoga I try and watch this all the time and have to constantly remind myself, “Aimee, this is not about what you believe. Offer the experience” Which is super great for my ego because that cheeky little minx just loves to be right.
So if we are not just our identity then who the hell are we?
Ooh, that’s a deliciously fabulous question!
Here’s what the teachings would say to that. As mentioned above we are, quite truthfully, an expression of Infinite Consciousness. We are the intelligent pulsation of life itself. We are Brahman, Shiva, Krishna, The Tao, The Body of Truth, The Great Heart, The Unified Field, The Great Goddess or God. Call it whatever you like. You can call it Billy-Bob. It’s doesn’t really matter. What’s important is that we start to experience and acknowledge that it’s there.
Yoga is a science. It’s a science to help us discover that we are an expression of the same creative force of life that opens flowers, moves oceans and paints sunsets. This creative intelligent force is creating (from itself) all the many many varied expressions within this universe. Succinctly put, the One, becomes the many. And there is simply nothing in this existence that its not this force. It is all-pervading. From Mother Teresa, to Donald Trump, to that dickhead in your office that drives you bonkers. We are ALL that.
Now. Can somebody PLEASE give me a “fuck yeah!”
This is exciting information, no? The ramifications of truly embodying such a teaching are HUGE! Through our practice we start to touch into this essence of who we are and slowly it starts to emanate through our individual selves. The ego doesn’t disappear but it shifts into becoming the faithful servant rather than the driving master in our lives. We start to move through the world seeing everyone and everything from that essence; which is pulsating, radiating, wisdom and love. Through the science of yoga we are simply dissolving the bindings and rigidity that we hold within our body/minds that prevent this essence from coming through us… as us! (and that’s another fuck yeah needed right there people!)
I think it’s important to mention that if you’ve just begun to practice yoga and can’t relate to this experience please know that is very normal. At first we don’t feel very much of this at all. In fact, at the beginning we are going to meet a lot of our own shit, and that shit will hurt. This is an unavoidable part of the process. However, the task of awakening is like walking through a mist; you don’t feel a lot along the journey but eventually you’re soaking wet.
Over time you will begin to feel more free, more embodied, more in your heart, more in life and definitely more in love. So then you can look at that challenging person in your life and see yourself in them, and them in you. You can afford them some compassion with the understanding that, just like yourself, they are doing the best that they can to make themselves happy in the only way they know how. That you are both the SAME.
So lastly, as I mentioned above, we are not all completely fucked and doomed to suffering and confusion. Quite the contrary. We have at our disposal these incredible practices that have been handed down to us by the ancients. They are there to help us heal and navigate our way towards wellbeing as individuals and as a collective.
I think it’s all summed up so beautifully in the two words that make up the word Tantra. The first one in Tanoti, which means to expand, open, and build the light within. And the second one is Trayati, meaning take it out into the world.
It’s just so simple..
Build the light. Offer it to the world.
Yours in Yoga,