It occurs to me gradually. All the practices I have been engaging in over the last 20 years have been for a reason. This reason is dynamic, shifting over time as I continue to engage in them. Lately that reason appears to be space.
Yoga, meditation, pranayama, sattvic contemplation (sitting and reflecting on principles that encourage a level of detachment and light around subjects, such as forgiveness, gratitude and humility)—all of these practices do something to a human that others can’t quite penetrate.
They somehow pull you into yourself in a way that creates a conscious distance between your identity as you always knew it and your energy as an eternal being. The later is a very powerful position, and as you engage in practices, your ability to see it for what it is and manage it grows.
It’s kind of like since the moment you were conceived you have been in a river that flows a certain way. You can get stronger and swim and learn all about how the water flows and feels in your river (upbringing, all kinds of behavioral patterns, genetics, inclinations and responses to life itself). But somehow you never quite step out of it unless you step deep enough into yourself to break through the barrier of external conditioning and find a peaceful, timeless “zone” of space.
When you do reach that zone, you develop a contrast. It’s a contrast that is very subtle at first but, over time and with continuous practice, it grows to offer you a sense of perspective and responsibility over more and more facets of your life. You really begin developing a part of yourself that can bravely look at what you are doing and devise strategies around what isn’t working well and carry them through.
There’s just something about removing yourself from the stream of the way you have always been—the reactions you have always been held captive by, the insistence on your own identity, the wounds you wear like badges, the “that’s just how I am” phrases you utter to yourself and in your own defense—long enough to reflect on your holistic life from a good distance.
What you might experience is a series of spontaneous epiphanies heralding the fact that your mindset and your automatic-since-childhood settings create unnecessary suffering. Yes, with enough space, you have a chance to see how you create every, single circumstance in your life via your mindset, attitude and subsequent behaviors.
Other people do this too. When you interact with others, you may be tempted to say they do things “to you.” In reality, we are all adults and we simply do things. Full stop. So it’s your choice who is close to you and why. It’s your choice how you treat others and allow yourself to be treated. With every action, it’s your choice. And when you have developed a sense of space and reflection as a habit, you gain power to make keen choices.
This requires space as well as the strength to actually admit warped patterns, grieve over the lost time, clean up your vision and do something about it without getting stuck in who you once were. Nobody wants you there. Nobody needs you there. It’s just you. So what do you want?
What I have found, having gone through cycles of cleaning out my stuff with these practices, is that if you just keep practicing, you keep clearing. They say yoga ruins your life, and it does. It destroys the life you automatically default to living and opens space to creating a life that serves your soul.
Are you ready to explore inner space?
That feeling at the end of a good yoga class is the doorway opening. With deeper and more consistent practice, you might find yourself stepping right through.