RYS 200, 300, 500 in Rishikesh
“What is yoga?” that was the question we all had to answer on the first day of our TTC. My answer six weeks ago was that “yoga is the union of mind, body and soul”… but during this course I have realized that it is so much more than that!
It somehow feels as if none of the languages spoken nowadays can rightfully describe yog and certainly not the essence of it. As modern people, easterners and westerners alike, we do our best to interpret the ancient wisdom and one step at a time get closer to the well kept secret of fully understanding life and why we act, think and feel as we do.
The word that I from now on will associate with yoga, more than any other, will be transformation. Transformation of mind, body and soul back to the core, peeling off layer by layer of what we have been raised to believe that we are; gender, nationality, religion, education, and political preference… the list could be made long. Breath by breath, mantra by mantra, inhaling and exhaling in warrior, cobra and downward facing dog it seems as if we are actually changing on cellular level…erasing and rewinding, modifying and perfecting. Maybe we are even changing on DNA level? I would not be surprised.
Yoga offers us the chance to lay all the labels aside and return to just being human, which is all that is asked of us and all that ever was asked of us. Yet somewhere in our ancient past we were lured away from the knowledge that we already are everything, already know everything and instead we started imposing shame, guilt, possessiveness, pride and ego on ourselves and each other. To me yoga lovingly brings us back to ourselves and takes us home to heart again.
In my eyes (and I humbly acknowledge my own limited understanding), the philosophical theories – entertaining as they may be – are merely a way to flirt with the mind and convince the left side of the brain of what the right side have always known. We have for so long lived during an era that has been governed by the left hemisphere and the western world, where listening to the heart and intuition has been ridiculed and pitiful. We have raised intellectual logic, sensibility and rationality to the skies but thereby lost half of our human potential. Now the tide is changing as humanity reclaims its potential and interesting times are awaiting us, as we enter into a new level of consciousness where hopefully the balance between left and right brain hemisphere and the east and west sides of the world are in perfect equilibrium.
Life is not complicated, we just need to tune into our own vibrational frequency and take what our heart is whispering seriously. The truth is always there, but too seldom we have the courage to listen. No wonder! All of us, easterners and westerners alike, have for millenniums been whipped into fear of the potential which dwells in humanity and for what reason I do not know? Desire to control, most probably. Whatever the reason, it is imprinted in us to believe that we are insufficient from the moment we open our eyes and draw our first breath – the inheritance of sin in Christianity - and that we must change, better ourselves and adjust no matter if the goal is to enter the doors of heaven or being reincarnated as something better in the next life. Hate is not the antagonist to love – fear is. And how can we have the courage to listen to our heart when we live in constant fear of not being good enough? We are perfect beings of light, each of every one of us and it is our imperfections that make us perfect. Yoga sheds light on the path back to ourselves and helps us reclaim the love we are born with from the fear we have been raised to believe we must fear.
The six weeks I have spent here in Rishikesh have without exaggeration been some of the best in my life and if I was to be asked why I could probably not point out the exact reason. But it has been a unique experience perfectly planned by divine order. It has been a journey of exceptional meetings and profound insights in surroundings that I believe brought out the best in all of us.
You teachers have been wonderful; two very special and characteristic men with a lot of wisdom which you have generously shared with us and I am so thankful for having met you both. But I’m not only thankful to you and the other RYP-teachers, but also to the disguised teachers I have seen in all people and animal here; from the old man with his bent back at The Office, making chai masala, to the happy woman at the beauty salon who is always laughing and saying that “India is a great country because once married all problems become husbands problems” (which I admit gave the feminist in me a hiccup the first time she said it! J), to the animals and beggars on the streets and last but not least the other students, making me realize how ridiculously complicated we make life in the west and that we are all the same. We are all looking for love, peace, happiness and the answers to why we are here on earth and what we should do with that precious time.
I also realized that here in Rishikesh, where the energy frequency is literally moving at a higher speed, things manifest physically with the speed of light. The space and time between thought and its physical manifestation is much less and for me it has been a bit of a personal miracle to witness that. One of my masters said that: “The less weight you have… the less time you have to wait for things to manifest” and I see that happening in Rishikesh day after day. Forgive me if I am being ignorant, but it seems to me that people here don’t carry the same emotional and mental weights as westerners, maybe because their lives are different and perhaps easier in one way though a lot tougher from a materialistic perspective and their wonderful attitude and constant affirmation “OK, no problem…” seem to have a profound impact on how they relate to things. It seems that where we westerners see problems, easterners see the solution.
But I have also realized how privileged I am to live the life I do at home and that I am born with a freedom that is not granted everybody which makes me quite sad in a way. I have gained perspective on the west and am able to see what the west is indeed lacking, but also what I genuinely like in the west that the east doesn’t have and that I somehow am raised to take for granted and in my daily life don’t think much of.
I think that both westerners and easterners need to put the ego aside and admit that both west and east are needed for the world balance. If the whole world functioned like India it would be a disaster and if the whole world functioned like the west it would be a dead planet. We need both and we need to learn from each other and stop being so attached to our countries and cultures. How can we call ourselves enlightened and unattached if we are not ready to let go of the attachment of country, culture and religion? As long as we are attached to that we cannot state that we are free without being hypocrites. One of my Masters said (hmmm…wonder who that could be?!): “Never give up… and always let go” so that is what I’ll be doing, leaving Rishikesh. I will never give up my dream but I will let go… and see what happens! It is not until you are free in the air that you know if you are falling… or flying! So let’s see!
My most heartfelt thank you to you, Sanjay and Roshan, for making my stay so wonderful and for sharing your wisdom, with all of us…
Jenny Wickman, May 2012