Saturday, June 4, 2016

Siddhartha: A Yoga Therapy Perspective, The True Self

Now I have moved on to question C in my Yoga Therapy Assignments on Siddhartha.

Siddhartha gained an insight beyond concepts or descriptions. This is given as the final “goal” in most spiritual paths. From a yoga therapy perspective, this insight into one’s true nature is the essence of healing. Once it is achieved, health at all other levels of being often occurs spontaneously. To what extent can you guide your yoga therapy students and clients to a perception of their true Self while creating a space of comfort in which they can continue their everyday lives?

“The Buddha taught that our true nature is emptiness- a lack of a permanent Self- and when this true nature is realized, the divine states of the Brahma-viharas - loving-kindness, compassion, empathetic joy, and equanimity- emerge. There is also a state of mind and heart known as bodhichitta that leads one to completely dedicate oneself to the liberation of all beings from suffering. In the teachings of the great yoga masters, our true nature is Brahman, the universal soul, of which the individual soul is simply a part. When this is realized there is satchidananda, the awareness of bliss, from the knowing that pure awareness is our ultimate nature.” - Philip Moffit

The name Siddhartha means “one who has accomplished a goal.” Siddha from the Sanskrit meaning goal and Artha meaning accomplished. The spiritual goal can be called Nirvana, Enlightenment, Moksha, Samadhi, Union, Bliss, Joy, True Self, Insight, Inner Peace, Ease, True Nature . . . I would share with my students that self-acceptance and self-exploration are the tools for Self-Realization.

No one can gives us happiness or health we have to find it for ourselves and in ourselves.  We can have everything we “need”  but without  understanding of the true Self we are not at peace.

“That was how everybody loved Siddhartha. He delighted and made everybody happy. But Siddhartha was not happy. Wandering along the rosy paths of the fig gardens, sitting in contemplation in the bluish shade of the grove, washing his limbs in the daily baths of atonement  . . there was yet no joy in his own heart. . . Dream and restless  thoughts came flowing in him  . . . Dreams and restlessness of the soul came to him.” Herman Hesse

I would encourage my students to use their yoga and meditation practice to explore questions like: Who are you? What is your true nature? What brings meaning to your life? Who and how do you love?

“Truly, nothing in the world has so occupied my thoughts as this I, this riddle, the fact I am alive, that I am separated and isolated from all others, that I am Siddhartha! And about nothing in the world do I know less about than me, about Siddhartha!. . . I will learn from myself, be my own pupil; I will learn from myself the secret of Siddhartha.” Herman Hesse

 Challenges that bring people to Yoga Therapy can be the catalyst for exploration and transformation.  When  everything is going well their is usually is a lack of interest in self-discovery,  It is with life challenges and misfortune that we begin to endeavor  to learn how to respond to pain, suffering  and confusion and act from our true Self.

“...the commitment to find your true nature is often lost in the ordinariness of life; there is less inspiration, and you are beguiled by the tyranny of routine and the collective humdrum of all those around you seeking material advantage.” PM. 

Deepak Chopra lists some qualities of the true Self I would share with my students.
1) The True Self is certain and clear about things.  (The everyday self gets influenced by countless outside influences).
2) The True Self is stable.  (The everyday self shifts constantly).
3) The True Self is driven by a deep sense of truth. (The everyday self is driven by the ego and always uses words like I, me, mine.)
4) The True Self is love.  (The everyday self seeks love from outside sources.)

I would recommend practices like Karma Yoga (Service to Others), Coherent Breathing, Restorative Yoga, Morning Pages, Directed Journaling, Yoga Nidra and Meditation (Mindfulness, Walking and Mantra) to connect with the True Self.  I would attempt to make this investigation comfortable for the students by stressing there is not right or wrong with any of these practices. I would also talk to them about understanding of the true Self might not be verbal, it can be a feeling, or an ease in the mind or body. I would emphasize that all these investigations should come from a place of self-love and self-compassion leaving out judgment and competition.

". . . having compassion for yourself is most important. Instead of calling yourself unkind names, take a moment to speak sweetly as if to a child." - Nischala Joy Devi

“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.” – The Buddha