By Gurudevi Nirmalananda
I confess that I get it all mixed up. The Fourth of July means so much to me because I associate it with yoga’s promise of freedom. The original date was all about political freedom, I understand. But the word “freedom” makes me think of yogic freedom, which is so much more.
Yogic freedom ends the inner burdens that weigh you down: your thoughts, memories, desires and fears. Dissolving these delusions makes you able to breath freely, laugh and love all. You give from the depth of your being and revel in the bliss that is ever arising within.
When the fireworks go off in the sky, I associate them with the inner fireworks that deep meditation can provide. The light inside is so much brighter than anything that shines outside! You’re living in the dark when you’re always looking outward for happiness. Look inward and discover who you really are. Your essence is Divine and always has been. Now, finally, it is the time to know. You have waited lifetimes for this opportunity.
I realize that I am extraordinarily fortunate. The events of 1776 laid the foundation for a society that gives me access to education and travel, as well as opportunities and lifestyle choices few people in the world enjoy. Having taken full advantage of these freedoms, I am grateful for them all. Yet I found them unfulfilling.
No matter how many classes I took or books I read, I was still intellectually unsatisfied. No matter how many destinations to which I traveled, I never felt that I belonged, not there and not even at home. The many opportunities turned into many successful endeavors, but I was still unsatisfied. I wanted more.
My yearning, along with the angst of my post-war generation, called my Baba to America. He was one of many spiritual greats who brought the yogic tradition to us. I didn’t know enough to go looking for him, so he came and found me. Beyond merely fortunate, I am saturated with Divine Grace. Grace fills my life and my being. I’m so full that it overflows, which makes me want to share it with you.
That’s why I teach. That’s why I write. That’s why I get up in the morning, the purpose of my life, a Divine Purpose to which I am able to dedicate myself. I am so fortunate. Freedom is the gift I received from my Guru, which is why I love July 4. It’s all about being free on the inside.
Freedom is your destiny. All you have to do is want it. Then act on that holy desire. Do more yoga.