Lately, the universe has been shouting at me. Although I heard it as a whisper years ago, I hear it again today and the day before that, continually getting louder. Each time it has called me to look at my tendencies, the habits which create the self. Each time I have responded by re-evaluating my life, looking deeply at the habitual patterns which create my day to day experience.
This has seemed to others like I am continually recreating myself, my wants, my aspirations. Last year a coworker told me he couldn’t figure me out, ‘A vegan who owns a gun? A yogi who has past addictions to alcohol and tobacco,’.‘You chewed?!’ he asked me. It is easier to label someone, putting them into a box, than to see them fresh, renewed, each day.
Realizing, then revising our patterns is what we must do to heal, to relieve ourselves from the pain which occurs when our life is controlled by knee-jerk reactions and ill suited patterns. We must re-evaluate, take inventory and unroot the habitual patterns which are no longer serving us.
When I did this, I saw these patterns weren’t actually part of who I am. I did not have to keep relationships with others solely because society told me I should. I did not have to continue to damage my body by running because I labeled myself as a runner. Finally, I saw with clarity, I didn’t have to do something today just because I did it yesterday.
Although necessary, weeding out the ill suited patterns which create the self is difficult. As Bhavani Maki puts it, ‘Yoga is a hero’s path..The mistaken aspects of the self and personality with which we have identified, along with our opinions and beliefs are all subject to review’ (The Yogi’s Roadmap, 113). Only after doing this work have I begun to uncover my true self.
I encourage you to look at your own life. Take inventory. Ask yourself, ‘What is supporting me on my journey? What is acting as a weight, slowing me down from achieving my best self?’. Once realized, you may find yourself on the ‘Hero’s Path’.
See you there.