The teachings of yoga tell us that at our core, we are good. Actually, we are better than good. At our core, our true nature is divine. So why do we so often feel like we are lacking some essential ingredient for happiness? One more raise, or home, or yoga pose, and then we’ll be happy.
Let us begin by acknowledging that probably all who read this blog are blessed to have free time that is not spent simply on survival. Spiritual seeking is a privilege for those of us who take food, clothing, and shelter for granted. Certainly there are rare souls who find enlightenment amidst the direst of circumstances, but I am well aware that my audience is mostly one of privilege.
Even among the riches of our culture, where obesity is a greater danger to our lives than starvation, we still often feel like we are lacking. This fear of not having enough comes from looking to the outside world for our abundance, rather than the inside.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not vilifying material comforts. I like my ipod, nice yoga clothes, and good food to name a few. It is the focus on these exterior things as a gateway to happiness that I believe is the root of much unhappiness and suffering.
It is my experience that most of the time that we spend a lot of time and energy wanting something, when we finally get it our satisfaction is fleeting, soon replaced by wanting something else. Exterior abundance is transitory in nature. None of it will last, all of it can be taken away in a moment.
The irony is that while our wanting of material things can never be satiated, our desire for internal connection needs only the recognition that we already have what we want. When we acknowledge our innate abundance, then things begin to fall into place. It is my experience that when we focus on all our gifts (rather than what we lack) more and more of these blessings fall into our laps. So to create more abundance in our lives, we need only to recognize all that we already have.
When we are able to make a connection to the beauty and light that resides inside each of us, it is our duty and our joy to share it with others. This richness that we have inside cannot be depleted. The more we share it with others, the more we are able to feel it within ourselves.
So next time you are feeling as if you do not have all that you need in order to be happy, give to someone else. Remember that yoga happens on the inside. Even the joys of asana are external and fleeting. Yoga is not about advanced poses (though they can be fun) It is about connecting with our true nature, and our true nature is divine. Offer a smile, or a helping hand, or a hug. Connect with another by giving of yourself. That is yoga.