Yoga - A Path to the True Self
“May I live like the lotus, at ease in muddy waters.” ~unknown
The lotus flower has long been a symbol in yoga representing transformation. To a yogi, the Lotus flower symbolizes the expansion of the soul and spiritual awakening. The roots of a lotus are grounded in the mud (earth/materialism). The stem grows up through the water (growth/life experience) and blooms above the water, in the sunlight (awakening/enlightenment).
The path toward yoga's goal of self realization is not an easy one. We must be willing to move through "the muck" of our own fears, insecurities, old stories, ruminating thoughts of unworthiness, reactionary behaviors, anger and resentment, and more, to bloom into the beauty of our true self.
How can yoga guide us on the path to enlightenment (samadhi)? We often think we are human beings having spiritual experiences. When in fact, we are spiritual beings having a human experience. Ayurveda's (the sister science to yoga) perspective understands that forgetting our true nature as spirit is the cause of all dis-ease within.
Our spirit, or true Self (the atman), never changes. Some refer to this as the soul. It's the place of truth, love and light that connects us all. It's the fluctuations of the mind (citta vritti), emotions and patterns of behavior that are constantly changing. We tend to identify with the ego, or the "small self" as the lense to view the world. Yoga compares this to the brightly shining sun, which is ever radiant but periodically hidden from our view with dark shifting clouds.
Yoga helps us to remove all obstructing (mental) clouds, so we can enjoy the sunshine within. It's a physical and psychological discipline that helps us learn to live in the light of our own true nature. It encourages us to delve into our shadow self, to bring the light of awareness. Even the smallest flicker of light, can brighten a whole room. Only when we discover the true beauty within can we live in peace, harmony and happiness in this world.
“Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self.” The Bhagavad Gita.