According to the cheery Buddhists life is suffering. Once we accept that and realise we are all in the same boat then life doesn’t seem so bad does it? Luckily, Patanjali, who was attributed with writing the yoga Sutras gave us some advice as to how to lessen the suffering in our life or how to become liberated. The good news is that the goal of yoga is not to become something that you are not, but to try to loosen the grip, or remove the obstacles on our path to liberation thereby discovering all your hidden goodness.
One of the obstacles that cover up our goodness is Asmita or Ego, often referred to as the ‘I am’ affliction. Any time you label, judge, compare, then you are being driven by the ego. Here are some ways you may do it.
1) Questions about what you do. I’m a …..
2) Comparing yourself to others around you. I’m better than x, I’m not as good as x at….
3) Labeling a situation as good or bad. This yoga class is too hard, too easy, boring…
4) Judging yourself and others around you.
5) Expecting people to do what you want them to or expecting them to act how you think they should act.
6) Labeling your emotions, I am angry, happy, sad, useless, in love….
How often do you label yourself or judge yourself or others? How often do you see something as good or bad? The real problem is how we identify with our own labels. Anything you put after I am and you believe, will cause you suffering at some point. If you want to remove the obstacle that is preventing you from finding out who you really are you need to stop being so gripped by the desires of your ego. The first stage is just to realise that you do this. You can start by noting down how many times during the day you judge or label yourself or others.
Practice for today: Become aware of how much your life revolves around who you think you are. I am busy, I am important, I am in charge, I am a doctor and how this affects how you judge yourself and those around you. You are none of these things in reality, you are the big, wide, blue, open sky, everything else is just your commentary.