In these times of me me me we can see how self-obsessed many people have become with our selfie generation, people aspiring to be seen in the most glamourous clothes and the coolest places. People actually idolising and wanting the lifestyle of celebrities who appear to have no other notoriety than being famous. A superficiality has become almost normal driven by a lack in many people's lives.
The good news is, once we embark on a path of yoga - whether that is simply a couple of classes a week to get a bit bendier, or a more intense period of study designed to challenge your lifestyle and beliefs - the "me" turns to "we". Even though we did not know this would happen when we started, we have become part of a community.
Once we become more conscious of a collective - and we can feel this very simply in just attending a regular yoga class - we find we can no longer deny a wider sense of belonging. Our efforts turn to thinking and doing things that will help more people or beings because we want those souls to also enjoy a feeling of oneness with all. Its a snowball effect. We begin to feel a sense of being part of something bigger, and feeling an ease with our selves that perhaps had been missing. Consequently we feel the need to (for want of a better expression) spread the love.
Yoga focuses so much on bringing us back to ourselves, but through the work to move more inward and to understand what makes us tick, we begin to acknowledge non-duality. In fact that is this realisation that gives us one of those "ah-ha" moments. Through looking in and working though all the myriad physical stickyness, emotional limitations and habits we have formed over the years that we thought we needed to survive this worldly realm, without even knowing how we got there, we come to a deeper understanding. That understanding is purely, simply and beautifully that we are not separate. Its a relief to be honest. It is a joyous truth that insists on shining out of us and touching all of those around us near and far. It is there in our group interactions, in our alone times and especially in our times of communicating with nature. In fact these moments are indeed the most sacred and satisfying. Because the realisation of not being separate extends not just to sentient beings but to all that is vibrant and alive and pulsates out of every rock, plant, tree, body of water, animal, insect, everything. Every Thing!
Once we emit this truth we start to transmit a vibration that is in line with nature and with aliveness. This actually cannot help but burst out from us. Those of us who have been practising yoga (or other disciplines of a connective nature) might find that some people feel awkward around us. Even blinded by an undeniable light. It sounds a little over dramatic but, honestly, the people who are not ready to change and move towards a lighter brighter, more knowledgeable self, may even have to shrink back from you. Or you may yourself feel a need to move away from dark, negative though patterns and people that, albeit unknowingly, desire to cast shade over your light.
So to get back to the title of this piece. Is it selfish to work on yourself and to take time out from a busy working, family existence to be with yourself and others who want to continue this journey to self? No. Of course not. By separating ourselves from a day to day existence from time to time, whether that is with an afternoon workshop or a yoga holiday, and being around a group of people, a community of sadhakas (seekers after truth) you are, in fact being incredibly non-selfish. Through these small acts of self-development and self-empowerment the collective spreads. You may find yourself moving away from some people and habits, but equally you will find how so many people will be drawn towards you. Drawn towards a person who is suddenly at ease. The person that seems to be a little lighter. The person who despite the swirling dervish of chaos that surrounds us all in our day-to-day existence, seems to be anchored in peace. You owe it to yourself to be that person. To find that peace. To spread the light.
If you feel so inclined to find a little bit of time out, then do join me in Ibiza, the whitest and lightest of islands, for a personal journey to the self. www.lotuspadyoga.com