As I go deeper into my yogic journey, I realize that the most powerful aspect is devotion. When our practice moves from discipline to devotion a huge shift of energy and intention takes place. We experience more energy as we have less resistance. We have greater intention, as our heart is clear and free from doubt.
The essence of devotion is surrender, humility and reverence. We become aware of the unseen force that unites us all. It emerges when we align with our inner self and we then become conduits for this higher power.
Western culture teaches us to bow to an external force, yet the yoga tradition categorically states that the same force that created the universe and all in it is within us, Ek Ong Kar. There is one creative consciousness manifesting through all. Everything we do in yoga is designed to attune us to this inner intelligence, Sat Nam -Our True Identity. Then we can experience and express the bliss of unity, Wahe Guru.
So how do you move from having to do something to wanting to do something, to loving to do something? How does a musician go from having to practice scales to learning to play complex and beautiful pieces by heart? It comes through Abhyassa, or steady, devoted practice done consistently over time. It comes from an inner commitment to really learn something, or, embody a quality that we admire. It comes from an inherent faith in the process that we gain from examples of others, and finally from our own direct experience.
In our love of practice, it becomes sustainable and attractive, it becomes a core force in our lives: both a refuge and a place for on-going refinement.
When I am asked what fuelled my devotion at the beginning of my yogic path, without question they are:
- My teachers. I see in them something I can be. Qualities like: contentment, clarity, presence, wisdom, radiance. My trust in them inspired faith to persevere, even when I fell prey to self-doubt or confusion.
- My desire to evolve and move beyond suffering. As soon as I gained the self-awareness to see that I was creating the pain and circumstances of my life I knew that only I could change that. The yogic teachings have provided me with a toolbox to directly transform my pain, confusion, and self-condemning beliefs.
- Little victories. These are moments of SELF-awareness, insight, shift in perception, receptivity and ultimately GRACE. Each little victory serves to build our confidence in the unseen; it helps us orient our attention more successfully into the inner workings of our mind and heart.
- Community. I have gained a lot of power and inspiration by being around like-minded individuals who share my passion to know myself at the deepest level, to awaken more creativity and potential.
I have deep respect and gratitude for the practices of yoga and all of my teachers. I am grateful for the unseen force of light that inspires my choices, and fuels my interactions with love.
May we all be fortunate enough to find ourselves in front of people whose very presence we are inspired to make the most out of life, to cultivate the highest possible qualities.