Tuesday June 5, 2018 NYC
Often times we might feel that we want freedom from our mind. Wherever we go, our mind follows. How can we be free? Herein lies the beauty of Yoga, because it deals directly with our mind so that we can be free of it. Nowadays, many people may see Yoga as the practice of asana, meant to relieve daily stress or to get exercise. But Yoga is actually for the purpose of coming to know our real and pure Self. And Yoga teaches that if we still the waves of our mind, the real and pure Self emerges alone. But then how do we do this? Indeed, asana practice is one of the practices that will prepare our mind to become calmer so that we can meditate in stillness. Yet many of us might have experienced that it is not so easy to still the mind, even though we try to sit for meditation. Why? Our mind is constantly, or if not constantly, it is at least more often than not caught up by daily situations and matters—our mind moves so easily. That is where the actual practice of Yoga in daily life comes into play as a way to deal with our own mind. Don’t we want to free ourselves from that?
It is always helpful to know how other people are trying to practice. Therefore, we are going to share some stories from around the world that allow a glimpse into the daily practice of Shri Mahayogi’s sangha. One of the purposes of sangha is to support one another to understand the teachings and go closer for ourselves to the pure Self. Following is the first of these stories.
Actual Practice of Yoga in Everyday Life:
1. To Offer Myself
A while back, Shri Mahayogi said, “In order to remove all sanskara, you will need devotion equal to the cost of exchanging your life.” I looked up the definition of “devotion” in the dictionary and it said, “Devotion is giving one’s own self; to devote yourself [to something] regardless of your own benefit.”
Some years ago, there was someone who said tactless things around people, and one day this person looked at my fingernail (the nail on my thumb only grows halfway, which is the way I was born) and said, “Your nail is half broken, how disgusting.” I reacted to this person’s attitude of saying such things freely without concern for my feelings, became enraged and remained disturbed for some time.
Before going to sleep that day, I was thinking about this incident, and I started to think about why this person said such things. What really was the deeper intention behind this person’s words? Then, when I thought about the state of this person, I began to see that this person was in a state of isolation, without much communication with others, and although this person actually tried to communicate with me, because of this person’s straightforward character the words came out in such a way.
I realized that the reason why I felt unpleasant about it was because when I was in elementary school, the boys in my class made fun of me by saying something similar, and so I was looking at things through that filter of a sad impression. When I applied the Truth to it—that this body is not who I am, that it is the tool of God; and it has nothing to do with my true Self—then I felt that no matter what anyone says, there is no need for me to feel hurt.
From the next day on, each time I had the opportunity to speak with that person, I faced this person with the determination of offering everything of myself. As I concentrated fully on the thoughts that were behind this person’s words each time I encountered this opportunity, I began to be able to understand this person’s feelings that had been unknown to me before, and I established a relationship in which this person began to open up to me more honestly.
Several years later, the same person mentioned my nail again. But this time, I had no feeling of animosity. Not only did I start to understand this person’s character, I also recognized that I was seeing my body merely as a material object. I could even joke around, and say, “I was born this way, but doesn’t this nail look unique and cool?”
Looking back, I thought, “Had I not had this opportunity, would I still be seeing my body just as a material object?” Right when you want to run away from something, when the mind moves in reaction to something, this is a very precious moment in which we have the opportunity to remove our sanskara (impressions from past experiences). I will continue to tackle this until I feel only Joy, no matter where I am or in what situation.
Translation from the Mahayogi Mission-Kyoto Blog on April 24, 2018