And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud

was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. ~ Anaïs Nin


Duality. Me and you. Light and dark. Bad and good. Love and fear. Pleasure and joy. Blame and acceptance. Ultimately, yoga is the merging of these dualities. This requires recognition of the great Both/And; extinguishing labels by acknowledging them.

To merge dualities, you must first be willing to step outside of the norm of your day-to-day perspectives. By doing so, you finally recognize your life is not your own and you are a participant in a story. Most of your perspectives were taught to you. You then agreed to emulate these teachings or you rebelled against them. Regardless, a pattern was formed and the repetition of this pattern, this samskara, caused your limited definition of Self. You react with impotence rather than respond with empowerment. 

Yoga empowers you with a conscious response rather than an unconscious reaction. A reaction is coming from a head-based emotional perspective. Emotion spins you deep into a story, entrapping you in a pattern. A myriad of these patterns comprises your perspective of life. Patterns are emotions that may be felt internally. You may experience butterflies, a sinking feeling, a void. 

The Universe invites you to grow by pushing the boundaries of your comfort zones. Your internal friction is your subconscious self that desires freedom. But freedom into what? That is yours to discover but it takes risk. Anaïs Nin phrased it perfectly. “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” 

To expand the consciousness of Truth, you must first recognize what is happening internally and be willing to explore your depths. This is the Brave New World. This is the Hero’s Journey. This is dissolving who you thought you were so you can become who you truly are. When you usurp the power-hold of your patterned emotional state, when you inquire into the why, you are engaged in your own liberation. You are claiming Consciousness.

Feelings arise from the heart, not the emotional head, and they are in line with Consciousness. Freedom from your emotional reactions allows a life of Divine Play. Consciousness allows you to be a curious witness to a story, not a character within one. When you express your feeling in the moment, you allow energy to flow through you organically. You are well versed in your feelings, you are engaged in situations, you are an active participant in the world, but you don’t allow roots of dis-ease to grow. You do not allow emotional stagnation to rut you into a predictable pattern of behavior. You choose to express rather than repress. 

A mantra from the Buddhist Tradition states, “Who am I? I don’t know.” This mantra is a gateway to Consciousness and beckons internal and external peace. It allows you to claim space that exists outside of your normal pattern. This alone invokes Truth, liberation, moksha, from self to Self. 

When Truth is tasted it becomes an elixir of change. Once experienced, a Seeker is born. The quest is then to merge the Seeker with the Sought regardless of an ever-changing outer landscape fraught with friction. It is initially imperative for a Seeker to welcome friction of inner and outer bombardments to refine, renew, uncover, and discover Truth. Without disturbances, how can you better know your Self?  Without distractions, how can you deepen your mediation? Being a full participant in the world is key, with one eye out and one eye in. Here, you become familiar with duality, and only through duality can you amplify Inner Stillness. Only through Duality, can you recognize Truth.  Jivanmuktas, those liberated while living, are active, expressive, and conscious world participants. Consciousness is Truth.

There is another perspective – a higher perspective. What if the Universe loved you so much that life happens for you, not to you. What if events unfold for your benefit, not your ruin? What would happen if you floated down River Divine rather than try to control her currents?

This inquiry is your Yoga.

Lily Kessler