How to achieve self realization and a Yogic lifestyle, right where you are.
The path of self- realization is extremely transformative but you dont have to leave everything and go to an ashram. You can do it right where you are and achieve everything materially and spiritually at the same time. Yes but if you think that you will stay the same and self-realize at the same time, you are in for a surprise or many suprises. This transformation is necessary to achieve your short term and long-term goals on this path and in life. This can be a slightly bumpy road sometimes but with the right lifestyle and tools it can get much easier. Yoga is not a practice, it’s a lifestyle. Why is that? Because by consistent practice of any kind of yoga, be it physical or pranayama or meditative, you will change slowly and subtly and become a really different person than when you started. Let’s discuss the necessary tools that can help us to make this ride a smooth one.
1) DEVOTION: Self-realization without unconditional devotion to your path is like going on a nature trail but refusing to enjoy the scenery. This devotion can be to your GOD, your GURU, becoming a better person, your life purpose, to even yourself through self-love or all of them. Even loving yourself unconditionally and in the right manner can cause immense self-realization.
“Not only are we in the Universe, but the Universe is also in us, I don’t know of any spiritual feeling than what that brings upon me”
So devotion is the tool that will keep you steadfast always on your path of self-realization. Its only devotion that you will be able to form a routine and be consistent in the long run, so you will give up halfway. As per my opinion it is one of the first things that we need to develop as it can assist us so much on this long road. Like when I am bone tired on a long day, its only my devotion to my spiritual practice that can make me still sit in dhyana, otherwise I might not do it.
2) SELF WORK/ SELF ANALYSIS: The most effective tool and also the most difficult to practice consistently is Self-work or self-analysis, Swadhayan. If you practice it consistently you can grow immensely in a noticeably short time. Easier said than done, I have to constantly remind myself to do it. It means whatever happens, you look only inside and analyze why is it happening to you. I would like to share three basic rules of self-work that I practice. These are made by me as per my experience, there is no rule book as such. You can go about it in any manner really. Till the time you are doing it, it works. My rules go like below
@) Everything is your fault: Whatever happens to you even if the other person is bringing it onto you, it is your fault. E.g. if you are being disrespected, certainly you are disrespectful yourself. Whenever you ae in a place of humility after your self-work, you will find everything boils down to you every time. Every single time.
b) Every judgement is a projection of yourself. So always look within when you judge someone because it is your projection and judgement about yourself mostly. If you don’t judge yourself, you never judge another.
c) Everything in your life is a mirror of which vibration you are at. If you feel that angry or jealous people are walking into your life, you are also vibrating at the same level. The moment you change your vibration to peaceful and happy, the people around you will change or leave. So always strive to be better and vibe higher.
3) SURRENDER: If we do not use this tool, we can never find the time to self-realize as our mind will always keep us busy. We will be worrying about future or overthinking about each small aspect of our life. It is a really important tool on this journey, because if you do not learn to surrender however tough or easy the life situation is, you are basically diverting all your energy towards the nitty gritty of life. Without surrender you are always in the mind, analyzing and thinking and getting tired for no reason at all usually. Why I say no reason because life rarely turns out the way we think, we have such little control. The only control we have is on self and our spiritual journey, but in an effort to control everything, we lose that too. That is where surrender comes in, when you do your best and still can surrender your life situations to the GOD/ GURU/ UNIVERSE, you can finally focus on yourself. By actually doing that, you can change yourself and your situations to your advantage most of the time. This shift from mind to heart is essentially surrender and it works every single time. If you are always engaged otherwise trying to use your mind to solve your problems, then when will you find the time to self- realize. Never.
4) SILENCE: People who are always conversing internally or externally, its difficult for them to engage in any realization. When my emotions are balanced, I am tranquil, I like to be quiet. I can already hear protest while you read this. Because I have protested this a lot myself, we all do. I love talking, I love people, but this is the kind of person I am, I have said all this too. But Silence is necessary, internal or external. They say in Silence you can hear God, yes that is true. God is only going to talk to us through our own inner voice which we can only hear when we are silent. The chatter has to go. We use the chatter to mask our emotions, our real self, our fears and a lot more. You can do it slowly. Practice Silence every day for some time and you will feel the difference in yourself.
5) CONNECTION WITH MOTHER EARTH OR YOUR PLANET: I always think of earth as my mother because of the immense generosity she has bestowed upon us. Do you know she has already given us every solution to our problem? Every plant, rock, crystal, spice is healing for the human body. In this process of self-realization, your bond with earth will deepen and you will realize how to act in sync with nature. Over consumerism and materialism will shift and you will find yourself thinking of how to tread lightly on this planet and/ or give back, it is bound to happen at some point. Treasure this connection as it is a really powerful tool as when you have this, help will come to you in droves. You will have to experience it to know it. I cannot write or explain this one. It will change you as a person and many of your beliefs and it will be beautiful and magical. Also will immensely help you in this journey of self-realization as you will realize the oneness you are here to experience and futility of so many things like comparison and competition.
6) EXERCISE & 7 ) DIET : I have combined these two, though they are separate and equally essential , I think of them as your connection with your body which is the physical vehicle you have been given to actually come on this planet and grow as a person. If you ignore your own body, any kind of realization is not possible. This whole process takes time so do not get intimidated. Taking care of your body through exercise and right kind of sattvic food is essential. At what pace you would like to do that is essentially your choice, but it will not be a forced process but will happen automatically from inside, I say that by personal experience. You will be more in tune with your body and will be able to intuitively listen to it and treat it well.
8) MEDITATION /SAMADHI: Why are we even doing the above? so that we can finally reach Samadhi, a state of deep meditation. It is in samadhi, where you can access higher consciousness and it is the final tool which will actually result in higher realization . For that you have to meditate consistently so that you can reach this state of super consciousness. When you reach Samadhi by your meditative practice, this is the single most powerful tool to have for all your needs. We are readying out mind, body and soul to ultimately achieve this state of bliss consciousness.
So, these are the eight essential tools as per me which can make your journey seamless and smooth and make this process joyful and achievable. And finally, you can reach your goals of contentment, inner peace and also all others you might have. Hope reading this helps you in some way and you are able to develop all these tools and have an amazing journey ahead!