For many years of my life, I seemed to go through life by rote. To keep myself on an even keel, I made it my responsibility to keep others happy and content. While I was good at taking care of others, I was missing the inner joy.
When you make others into your reason for living, you are in your small-s self. Yes, you will always be an individual who needs to enjoy, experience and live in the external world. This is so important. But yoga promises that you will know you are also Divine — your own capital-S Self — which is already inside, just waiting for you to find it. Everyone has the Self inside.
Why do you have the friends you have today? Probably because they make you feel good — they let you know you are special. They like being with you, sharing a common bond. Yet have you ever felt alone, even in this loving, sharing group? I remember feeling this: it seemed everyone was interacting except me. That evening I opened a book on yoga at a random page. It explained why I felt that way. I had lost my Self — my inner knowingness. Feeling needy, greedy, scared and alone are indications that you need to do more yoga.
You ask, “How do I find my Self?” The easiest gateway inside is by repeating mantra, especially the mantra you get from a Master. Such a mantra is called “enlivened,” vibrating with the power of revealing your own capital-S Self. It will take you deeply into meditation. Mantra and meditation are the tools to finding your own Divine Self.
Once you find your Self, you become consistent in your internal knowingness of your Self. Once you know you are divine, you may still have the same friends and accomplish the same things — but you do it from a very different level within.
Swami Nirmalananda translates Shiva Sutra #1.18:
A yogi who knows the Self experiences the sweet bliss of the Self in every location and situation, and shares it with others.
Certain yoga poses specialize in developing your physical sense of balance. Once you begin to meditate, yoga provides you with an inner balance as well. The goal of yoga’s practices is to make you one with Self. Your inner Self is found in the deep center of your being, which is the source of balance.
Yoga changed me. When I started doing yoga poses, listening to yoga chants (especially the Guru Gita), and started meditating, I began to enjoy doing everything. Yoga changed my mind. When my mind became under the influence of the Self, I changed. When I changed, so did my respect for and interactions with others. A diligent yoga practice did this and made me appreciate being a yogi who knows her inner Self.
Life changed — I began to feel joy in doing things in my daily life. When I am secure in knowing my inner Divinity, my joy is contagious. I want to share the sweet bliss of the Self in every location and situation with others.
OM svaroopa svasvabhava namo nama.h
To your inherent Divinity, again and again I bow.