13 Feb Spiritual Muscles
Embracing a yogic lifestyle and a meditation practice doesn’t mean that your will be happy ever after… Sadly there are some modern yogis and seekers who cling to their practice to provide them with a false sense of security, a guarantee that they will look good, feel young, and have a slender and a healthy body forever.
The healing power of Yoga is recognized widely nowadays. There is little doubt that our life changes considerably when we embrace a yogic lifestyle and spiritual practice. As Yoga works in a holistic way, it addresses the whole body and improves the entire system.
Just as we go to school and refine our intellectual skills, while we practice of yoga and meditation, we sensitize ourselves to the subtler aspects of the mind, psyche and energy. Acquiring a yoga and a spiritual practice allows us to live consciously. It teaches us how to harness our mental, emotional and physical energies and consequently affects not only the physical body but the mental, emotional and spiritual bodies. Yoga is a form a spiritual development that teaches us how to connect with the spirit within and that consciousness exists in every cell of our body.
The purpose of spiritual development is not to shield us from life’s disruption. Doing asanas, practicing meditation, being a vegetarian, chanting japas, etc, will not spare us from suffering. Life is as such, sometimes it flows like a quiet river and at other times we sustain loss, damages, a relationship comes to an end, our plans go wrong, our source of supply is cut off or we get sick. This is the ebb and flow of life.
There is a Zen saying that I like that goes: “Before enlightenment, chop wood and carry water, after enlightenment: chop wood and carry water.” Yes, life just goes on.
In my work, I sometimes meet yogis and spiritual seekers that are or have been challenged by illness. Sometimes, in their suffering, they isolate themselves because they feel ashamed. There is no shame of being sick. Being sick is not a sign of weakness and lack of spirituality. There is absolutely no connection between our physical and mental health and our spirituality.
While going through trying times do not get embarrassed. Embrace your spiritual challenges not as punishment but as a necessary passage for your growth and a rerouting opportunity. Changes will occur in the divine timing. Trust your own process.
As a young yogini, I use to practice yoga and meditation only when I was going through a difficult patch. When I was feeling happy I would forget all about. I know now that I need to train my physical muscles as well as my spiritual muscles to be at peace even in eye of the storm. I am very grateful to my spiritual muscles especially when life challenges me. It is when I go through hardships that I truly appreciate having a practice.
My yogic and spiritual practices have taught me how to cultivate a state of detachment from my mind and my senses. I have learned to not identify myself with my mind and I now recognize that my mind is just an instrument that processes information received through the prism of my senses. As the witness of my thoughts and emotions, I understand that my emotions always begin in my mind. Being conscious of my mind allows me to observe my responses to people and situations. I understand that the sensation in my body and the emotions within me are created by my mind.
I use my yoga and meditation practice to prevent the waves of emotions arising in my mind to overwhelm me. When life challenges me, I put my trust in spirit as my source, my supply, support and success. I know that I am not my body, my emotions, my senses nor am I my mind. I am consciousness. Soham. I am that.
Be discipline and practice yoga and meditation to train your physical as well as spiritual muscles. Cultivate the witness within that will guide you. But above all be compassionate for yourself and don’t put too much high expectation on your self, the rest will follow.