With the uncertainty of COVID-19, social injustice, and economic insecurity turning our world upside down, we are being called to take a look at how we have been living and what we are putting forth into our society. As we realize what no longer serves us and what is no longer relevant to our lives today, we must ask ourselves, how do we change?
Aristotle says, “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom”.
In the midst of this current storm, we are being asked to open our eyes, to pause and re-evaluate. The practice of Svadhaya, or self-study, is to build awareness even with the storm that is swirling around us.
Are we accepting who we are? How do we become empowered, in spite of our wounds, to create the space we need to choose love and to forgive?
Svadhaya is about peeling away the accumulation of layers from years of conditioning that may have lead us to believe things about ourselves and others that aren’t necessarily true. It’s the heaviness of this weight that darkens the light of our authenticity and keeps us from experiencing true peace. Sometimes leading us to seek outside of ourselves for comfort with the use of drugs, alcohol, food, and material things.
Yoga and meditation practices offer a path of getting to know ourselves by discovering our protective, self-created layers and examining them. We get to know our body as it moves and we get to know our true nature as we rest in stillness. We search for the inner truth without judging or analyzing, notice the harsh voice inside our heads and move the mind away from toxic or unhelpful areas to self-appreciation and gratitude.
There’s a story about Michelangelo who, when asked how he came to create such a beautiful statue in David, replied that he merely carved away everything that was not David. In Svadhaya we find David, or “me” in our own block of marble.
When we chip away the marble, underneath all the false beliefs and self-sabotage, we find our true nature; a spiritual being yearning to express our highest self to the world!
BKS Iyengar says,” When the mind is still, the beauty of the self, or soul, is seen reflected in it.”