There is a little story of how a man goes to a dentist and asks ‘Do I need to floss between my teeth every day?’ the dentist replies ‘only between the ones that you want to keep’. And it’s a bit like this with living our spiritual life, ‘ what days should I practice yoga/being a good person?’ …’only on the days you want to be happy’.
Cleaning our teeth is a habit drummed into us from early childhood. We would never not consider doing it. Unfortunately the practices of recognising your true nature are not seen as something that we need to have drummed into us. Therefore we often skirt around the edges of being a good person. But just like teeth if we don’t practice or clean our the bits that don’t serve us then parts of us will decay.
Richard Millar writes our true nature is the following;
Loving, Kindness, Presence, Unconditional, Peaceful, Friendliness, Unattached, Happy, Joyfulness, Faith, Trusting, Transparency, Mindfulness, Responsive, Purity, Truthfulness, Contentment, Luminous, Powerful, Knowing, Full, Empty, Tender, Spontaneous, Authentic, Creative, Intimate, Complete, Aware.
These are our natural qualities, that are always there waiting for us to discover. To access them or make them come alive we have to clean away the parts of us that cover them up, like washing the windows. When the dirt comes off we can see our true nature. To make ourselves more aware that we have these qualities we need to access them by practice. We can do this when we practice yoga asana by performing our practice with awareness, mindfulness and truthfulness about what our needs are. We can practice this in meditation through techniques such as loving kindness meditation. We can practice this at work by being responsive rather than reactive, creative, present. We can practice it with our partners by being intimate, trusting, happy, joyful and tender. And we can practice it with ourselves by being content, creative, spontaneous and unattached.
There are many ways to unveil our hidden gems and many ways to practice.
Practice for today: Choose one of the qualities that you would like to build strength in today and floss that part of you until it’s shiny clean.