FINDING THE SELF - YIN YOGA THEMES
It is said that the source of unhappiness in our lives comes from our identification with the body and the mind. We can only be happy if we stop the identification with the body and the mind, believing that is who we are.
If I am experiencing an emotion or mental sensation that is unpleasant or a physical pain or disease, as long as I believe that is who I am, it will make unhappy. That is also what happens when our body changes or does not look like we would like it or how it used to look.
We need to learn to keep things were they belong: what is in the body stays in the body, what is in the mind stays in the mind. When I realise that I am not that, nothing can affect me. I realise I am the observer that is aware of the body and the mind, but is none of them. That observer is always at peace. Always Safe.
A practice that can serve to develop understanding of the self is Neti Neti Meditation. Neti Neti means “not this, nor that”. To practice Neti Neti, you first become aware of any label you have used to describe yourself and then wilfully drop it, bringing realisation that is not what you are.
What are the identities or roles you identify yourself with?
Identify everything that comes, anything you can name. And drop all of that. Anything that can be given a name is exactly that, It can't be you. Bring all the words that you used to describe you and that seems like that's who you are and negate all of them. If I can name it. That can't be you.
There is a Zen story about a man that goes to the Zen master and tells him “Master, I am lost, desperate, I don’t know who I am, please help me, show me my true self” The Zen master looked away without responding. The man asked again but the master didn’t respond. The man finally gave up and walked away in frustration. The Master then called him by his name. “Yes!”, the man said as he turned around”. “There it is”, exclaimed the Master.
When I share this story, I ask my students to notice any sensation, any intuition arising. How do you feel this? No need of words. Stay in the sensation of being, of awareness. Of noticing.
I love this story because it really shows the nature of our being and shows us our true self: The observer of the experience, the awareness. When we realise who we are, we no longer strive to “become” something or someone else. Realisation of the self is the path to enlightenment and everlasting happiness.
We uncover the truth by dropping anything that is blocking it, stopping the identification with names, roles, stories. I am the awareness. The one that experience being. Like the man in the story. I am that one that notices I am.
Suffering occurs when we identify with what we are not. Body and Mind will constantly change. If we identify with them we become attached to the way we look, our intellect, the way we think, beliefs, stories, roles. When anything of that changes (and it will, for sure) we struggle to let go, we feel lost. That attachment and identification with something we are not is what prevent us from real happiness. To be happy, we must become aware of who we are not, so we can realise who we are.
Nisargadatta Maharaj says: “Saying I am is enough. Even before we say I am. You already are”.
“What is the truests thing you can say
Stay as this I am
And don't let it connect
With single thought
Marinate in this intuition
And find freedom”
He also says:
“On the state of non being-ness, beingness as the I am as occurred, who that is, is not important, the I am is important, stay there.”
"What is it in you that understand this knowledge “I am” without a name, tittle or word? Sink in that innermost center and witness the knowledge “I am”
Finding yourself is not about becoming, is about the realisation you already are complete, full, uncovering. The clarity of who you are under all the covers. Removing the covers.
I invite you to stay in that space as much and as often as you can. Yoga will certainly help you to do that.
I hope this brings reflection and inspire your practice.