Living aligned with values and truth is not always easy and, even less so, when you feel pressure to compete in order to survive. With the recent explosion of all things related to wellness and health, yoga is feeling the pressure too. The proliferation of yoga has attracted a lot more resources than it has in the past, making yoga a more attractive commodity. However, dovetailing on this popularity is “bottom line” thinking needed to survive in what has become, to me, a cut throat market. This in turn, compromises yoga’s very foundation as a spiritual practice.
I believe yoga is spirituality and spirituality is yoga- they are one. Spirituality is in the realm of the soul and resides in the loving heart. It is not possible, in my humble opinion, that spirituality is connected to something other than true love. That to me, is just not spirituality. Running a business, on the other hand, happens with the help of the ego in the head. Inevitably the ego will but heads (excuse the pun 🙂 with your Spirit. So what can you do, as a student of yoga to keep your ego in check so it does not stand in the way of your spiritual growth?
- Commit to your spiritual growth. One of the many Universal laws that govern life states that if you are not growing you are shrinking. Therefore, in my opinion, when you commit to your spirituality you are also committing to growing spiritually. Spiritual growth cannot happen unless your spirit is running the show so your ego needs to take a back seat. There is a steep learning curve here and it doesn’t take long before realizing that moving your ego from the front seat to the back takes work and then getting it to stay there takes time.
- Understand growth is out of your control. Growth does not happen in a vacuum. Your Spirit is unbounded and limitless and cannot be contained. There are many components to spiritual growth. First of all the three dimensions of Body/Mind/ and Spirit need to expand. Sometimes the three grow in unison and sometimes they don’t. Furthermore your B/M/Spirit needs to keep pace, without getting too far ahead or too far behind, with the growth of others around you. This further gets complicated by the fact that every living thing has a consciousness that vibrates differently and is seeking others that vibrate at the same speed. Growth seems to have a mind of its own so all you can do is learn to flow with the river. Like a flowing river, at times the flow is strong, at others it is weak and then at others it appears stagnant.
- Notice the role your ego is playing. Your ego will want to keep you trapped in fear where you will be worried about your “safety”- lacking in financial resources, in danger or isolated somehow. This fear will push you to be in a constant state of wanting more- To fortify your fort and stockpile resources, as it were. This need for more is what keeps you trapped in stress and anxiety until you realize that you will only feel safe when you connect to your true nature. Nothing outside of you will ever provide true safety. No amount of money, status, friends, job will ever be able to create the “safety” you are looking for. Greed and waste are the bi-products of the ego chasing after what it thinks it needs to be safe rather than what it truly desires to be free. The ego is never happy with what is. Spirituality is all about dwelling in the perfection of the present moment.
- Notice the role your soul is playing. When you experience love, peace, trust and are in a place of oneness with all there is, you are living in your soul and being guided by your inner wisdom. This wisdom wants you to remember your soul and connect to its perfection. In Oneness there can be no competition only cooperation. How can you compete with yourself? Does your hand compete with your foot? No they both work together, honouring the different roles they each play. Likewise, how can you compete with your neighbour who is part of the same whole as you ?
- Notice attachments and practice detachment. Notice what you are attached to: money, spouse, friends, family, children, pets, home, status, health, job, addictions, youth…Detaching from your attachments does not necessarily mean letting them go, it means realizing that your “happiness” does not depend on them. Like everything in life, the magic happens when you begin to accept. Namaste,
Nicole Rolland is the author of “Stepping into Consciousness- A Guide to Living a Life of Joy, Meaning, and Abundance” and the owner of Nicole Rolland Yoga & Meditation (NRYM)