Having only been at Rishikesh Yog Peeth for a mere two weeks, I cannot pretend that I have a firm grasp on all Yogic philosophy. I still have a huge amount to learn and have barely begun to delve further beneath the surface. However, from what Roshan has taught us; how our yoga teachers present themselves; and witnessing how they respond to a tragedy, I feel as though I have had a very special and personal insight into their methods and mind set.
Yogic philosophy, here, revolves around three main terms – perfection in action; effortlessness; and understanding. None can be achieved without the other. As people, we strive for perfection, whether it be through our looks, our work, our family, or our relationships. We expect this perfection to come effortlessly and when it doesn’t, we find ourselves frustrated and downhearted but we rarely take full responsibility and link it to our own lack of understanding.
Let me attempt to explain this further.
Understanding is the key to effortlessness and perfection in action. It is the key to a healthy and happy life. Without understanding, we cannot expect to effortlessly proceed through existence and achieve all we set our minds to. Understanding, as explained by Roshan, is like the roots of a flower which gives seed to effortlessness and in whole allows love to bloom.
The common and universal issues facing the standard individual nowadays, usually revolve around work, relationships and health. These areas link with our own individual perceptions and attitudes toward desire, anger, arrogance, greed, attachment and jealousy – to name but a few. Our perception effects our thoughts, and our thoughts are one of the human organism’s main enemies. Thoughts predominantly dwell on pain from the past; find conflict within the present; or worry about the future. Thoughts can plague the mind, leading to anxiety or even depression. Thoughts are both the problem and the solution. Thoughts are nothing but questions we create and yet our thoughts can also provide the answer to those questions. Once more, it boils down to our own understanding. We must understand our thoughts in order to prevent being plagued by them and in turn, learn to change our perception to one of positivity and acceptance.
In essence, yoga starts with the self. In order to find peace and love within yourself, you must understand it. By understanding, you can reach self-realisation which can enable you to bring light into other people’s lives. This does not mean that yoga or your great viewpoint on things should be forced down people’s throats! Instead, you will find that you subtly influence and help others through your own persona – by encompassing yoga through its beliefs and energy. Yoga encourages selfishness! You must focus on understanding yourself, on forming the healthiest and happiest version of you and from this your health, happiness and understanding will effortlessly influence others – Perfection. In. Action.
That is not to say that focussing on the self is all fun and games! It does also demand a sense of responsibility. There is no one to blame for your shortcomings or problems. The responsibility of your decisions and your path rests solely on your shoulders. You must allow and train the Self to rule the ego, rather than the other way round. By accepting your own issues and understanding why they have affected you, allows you to move on much faster – and in the process you feel about a thousand times lighter!
A story which Roshan told us, particularly resonated with me. For me, it encapsulated a vast amount of what we have been learning and demonstrated what the yogic lifestyle is all about.
One day, the Sun decided that he wanted a holiday, his job had gotten too much. He began to ask if anyone would stand in for him and take up his job whilst he went on holiday. However, no one was willing to take on this huge responsibility, even if it was just for a short period of time. They claimed that the Sun’s job was too big, too pressurised and they were not able to fulfil it. Soon, the Sun began to lose hope, he had asked nearly everyone possible. All who was left to ask was one small lamp. The Sun, not expecting much, decided to ask regardless. The small lamp, paused as he thought over his request and finally responded: ‘I can’t take over your job, as I am unable to fulfil your everyday task but I will make you this promise, I will make sure that everything surrounding me will be in light by the time you return.’
The moral of the tale is short, sweet and simple. We don’t have to change the world but we can change the lives of those surrounding us. By understanding the capabilities of our own organism and the effect of our own aura and energy, we can make a huge difference – even though it may seem small, it can have an enormous reach. We can even link this back to the extremely prominent topic of Donald Trump’s new job role. Rather than lash out continuously with hate and anger, bring it back to the self, find positivity in yourself, bring understanding into the situation. By taking the time to understand the situation, solutions will come and these will affect your family, your friends, their friends, the community and slowly this understanding will take hold. Rather than looking at the giant chaotic whole of a situation, ensure that the small world surrounding you is one of light and one that you want to be a part of.
Knowledge IS power. By understanding the body, we can take better care of it. By understanding the mind, we can take better care of it. By understanding society, the environment, the world, we can take better care of them. Until it becomes effortless, and, (one can dream!) until we all embody perfection in action! The large scale seems impossible, for sure, but by starting with the self it is possible to make that change begin.
So, for now, as each of the teachers instructs us at the end of each lesson – appreciate yourself, enjoy yourself and take the very best care of yourself.