Awakening: What is the most important moment of your life?
As we continue our journey of self-discovery, in addition to recognizing that yoga is helped by an attitude of curiosity, it is very useful to understand that yoga is practice. The practice of continuously returning to the present moment. Of course, if we are already fully rooted in being continuously present, there is no need for practice. However, many of us are not fully present in our lives. Possibly due to our opinions and beliefs.
When you keep repeating the same beliefs and opinions over and over and over, you eventually convince yourself that those thoughts, feelings, and views are facts, that your viewpoint is actually, unarguably the truth. Acting from that perspective may lead you to seek only others with similar opinions or impel you to be hostile to those who do not share your beliefs. History is laden with examples of dogmatic ideologies serving as tools of oppression and violence. In yoga, liberation is your conscious decision to relinquish your beliefs and opinions so that you can experience your life directly, perceiving what is happening with as much clarity as possible, without the interference of your preconceived ideas. Liberation also refers to freeing yourself from your attachments and your constant inner commentary. Yogic practice provides ways to uncover these unhelpful, often obstructive patterns. A deep understanding of yourself leads you to recognize patterns in your ways of thinking, and allows you to see tendencies in your emotions, with the ultimate goal of removing these inefficiencies and restrictions. As you free yourself from ways of being that weigh you down, you’ll notice changes to your inner life and to the ways you participate in everything you do.
Do you want to wake up? Awakening is realizing that this moment is unique because it has never happened before, and it will not be repeated ever again. Regardless of how much you want to be in a different moment, you can only be in this moment, right here and now. Indeed, this moment is the culmination of your whole life up until now. At the same time, this moment is the starting point for the rest of your life. By being in this unique moment you are experiencing the effects of all your previous actions while also planting the seeds for your own future. This moment is all that you have and the only moment in which you can act. Awakening is to recognize that you have never been in yesterday or in tomorrow, and that you are always, only in today. Awakening to that simple and irrefutable fact can be all the motivation you need to show up and do the best you can – instead of living in your head, in the what if, what used to be, and what could have been. This realization urges you to make your presence in the world matter today. The opposite of awakening is continuing to go through your life as though sleepwalking. Awakening is the recognition that the present moment is the most important moment of your life. Are you open to experiencing directly what awakening feels like?
I invite you to wake up to the truth that this, right here and now, is the most important moment of your life. Are you curious to know what happens when you choose to be in whatever moment you are with the desire and motivation that result from knowing that everything that has happened in your life has led you to the moment where you are? And that whatever you do, regardless of you doing it consciously or unconsciously, will have effects that may influence the rest of your life?
As you engage with this practice, be aware that we may be stuck in the past, by wanting things to be as they used to be, or for ourselves to be as we used to be. We may also be stuck in not making peace with some parts of our past. Yes, unless you are a true saint, you have made mistakes. Can you see those previous actions from a deeper perspective? Have you learned from those mistakes? Can you make peace with yourself for those mistakes?
Something else that may happen is that we may be caught in our made-up ideas about the future. We may be caught up in thinking that we can predict what will happen. Remember, you and I are improvising, just like everybody else.
So, as you contemplate the idea that this moment is the most important moment of your life, notice that you will get distracted. That is normal. That is OK. Remember, without strain, struggle or self-judgment notice that you got distracted, then say to yourself: “This is the most important moment of my life. What do I want to do? Or, can my participation enhance the quality of this moment?” Be curious to find out what happens when you try this. Let me know what obstacles you find along the way. Also, I would appreciate it if you shared your discoveries with me.
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This is an excerpt from the book Unravel the thread: Applying the ancient wisdom of yoga to live a happy life
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