We get a lot of messages from a lot of sources about who we’re supposed to be; we hear it from family, significant others, friends, employers, society at large, highfalutin' yoga instructors, etc. It can be a lot of expectations to live up to. Now don’t get me wrong, we all have responsibilities and things we must do, so please do not neglect your responsibilities. Perform your duties as only you can, not as anyone else, nor what anyone else, expects you to be. In the Baghadvad Gita, Lord Krishna tells Arjuna that it is preferable to perform one's own duty imperfectly than another’s duty perfectly. It’s clichéd but true - be yourself - everyone else is already taken. Or in the words of the great philosopher Theodor Geisel (known more commonly as Dr. Seuss), “Today you are YOU, that is truer than true. There is NO ONE alive who is YOUER than YOU!” Also summed up a bit in his quote, “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”
Be true to who you are in all that you do. This is the tricky part - determining what the true Self is. Oftentimes “self” is conflated with the sense of ego or other roles that one may identify with. So many practices can help you to better understanding your true Self and your truth. Getting there isn’t the same for everyone, but from reports I’ve heard and things I’ve experienced, your truth isn’t hard or challenging; it feels natural and easy not burdensome. It will energize you. Of course that doesn’t mean that discovering it (or remembering it) isn’t without its challenges, or that all difficulties fall away when you discover it.
Observing your “self” can help you to discover your Self
Observation is the greatest tool of any scientist or yogi. The ability to reflect allows for a perspective that is not always available in the moment or in past events. Asana can help in this observation or reflection, particularly when poses are sustained. The focus of pranayama or breathing exercises can also lend itself to reflection as the breath is made to come in or go out in different rhythms. In fact, anytime there is a conscious return to the breath reflection and observation capabilities increase many fold. Other tools and practices such as mediation, journaling, and even gratitude allow for these kinds of insights.
It’s not always easy to take the time to step back and observe. If it’s a challenge to find one of these practices regularly, start small - just a few minutes a day, perhaps two or three. As the practice becomes consistent, see if it can increase to five minutes daily. As you take a more time to observe and reflect the image of who you really are becomes much clearer, much more in focus. As another teacher of mine often says, “Be the witness.”
At Be Here Now one part of our mission is to help everyone we encounter discover their truth. So if you’re working on that and you’re not sure where to start, just stop, take a beat, take a breath. Reset and resume. If anything ever feels unnatural, forced, not right, just pause for a moment, just a few breaths and ask yourself, your true Self, am I doing what I need to be doing in this moment?
A calm, undisturbed mind helps in this process as well, but to get there it helps to just start with the breath. So breathe, and be your Self.
We’ll see the true YOU at the studio.