The True Self - Atman or Brahman?

Although many people has tried to explain the answer to the question "Who am I?" with ideas such as religion, science, philosophy and what not. Rather, the goal of practice - indeed of the Yogic journey - involves dissolving our clinging, greediness, and aggression, which arise from our ignorance; together they cause so much of our unhappiness and dissatisfaction.

Furthermore, one can cultivate looking inwards, withdrawing from external stimuli, concentrating on single-pointed focus, surrendering to the Higher Power and using one's body and mind in synchronicity to practice the release from our suffering. 

So who is the real me - is that the "I-ness" - the ego? According to Patanjili, the author of Yoga Sutra,  the first four paths introduce Yoga as the process by which we rest and quiet the mind  from our constant chattering.

If we are wise enough to realize that there is suffering everywhere, even in the experiences we enjoy and yearn for. There is no ultimate happiness to be found in external, impermanent things. For every transitory delight we can know, a painful attachment arises. Furthermore, nature's constant transformations  are subliminally stressful, relentlessly challenging the self's idea of itself as an enduring entity. And at any time, latent impressions can become activated and emerge as wanting, fear anger, or sorrow.

Passionately, the sage insists that we can break its cycle of cause and effect (karma) by yoking (practicing eight-limb yoga) our attention to its source: failure to see the true nature of pure awareness and its independence from the phenomenal world.

The True Self is not a "thing" but rather is said to be clear, pure, unchanging , luminous, and non-dual consciousness marked by feelings of bliss, freedom, joy, and love that cannot be fully described - a indescribable, momentarily total experience. 

For the new asana student, Yoga is an opportunity to begin that transformative process by increasing openness and flexibility while strengthening determination and love. In class, synchronization of our minds and bodies through asana and pranayama is a foundation for practices leading to realization of the True Self.

Yoga means finding the Truth about ourselves without fear, fantasy, or distortion. Is this not more important than learning to stand upside down or what the yoga industry has affected our perceptions of what is important? If we are serious about walking down this path, we must cultivate that which will fuel the entire process of our transformation - namely, the open heart.


Watch your thoughts; they become words,

Watch your words; they become actions,

Watch your actions; they become your character,

Watch your character; for it becomes your destiny.

                                                             ____ Upanishads


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