"When we look at modern man, we have to face the fact...that modern man suffers from a kind of poverty of the spirit, which stands in glaring contrast to his scientific and technological abundance; We've learned to fly the air like birds, we've learned to swim the seas like fish, and yet we haven't learned to walk the Earth as brothers and sisters..."
When it comes to the lessons in life we are our best teachers. Once we pass through the dependent years of our adolescence the world becomes our own reality to shape. Although we can still find guides through life like parents, friends, teachers, and role models, at the end of the day, we make that final leap or discision that leads us to how we define ourselves.
In sanskrt, 'ahaṃ' represtents the self or 'I' and 'kāra' refers to the concept 'to create'. In the the most simple explanation I can possibly give, ahaṃkāra, is how the ego repesents our identity. This is the illusion that we are what we do and we are what we have. This is something that we should all take time to check in with.
I often relate to the ocean. We coast along, living life, and experienceing the waves as the tides flow high and low. Without a doubt, storms come crashing in and we experience some serious turbulent flow. For some of us... we take it in stride. We make it out, letting go and moving on. As for the others... it might not be as easy. We lose buoyancy, 'hit rock bottom'. And if our will is there, we look up and eventually, make our way back to the top. Coasting or cruising along. The waves rolling as we settle in for another ride.
No matter what wave you are riding there might always come a time where you have to realize your idenity. Thankfully, if you are doing any personal work there is never a bad time to start.
For myself the understanding of ahaṃkāra first developed during my time in India. Unconsciously, I was dealing with an identity crisis. The questions of 'Who am I' and 'What is my purpose(A whole other topic I would love to talk about later, Dharma)' were buzzing in my brain cells.
We are often afraid to ask ourselves these things but when you travel across the globe to study yoga it is somewhat assumed you are doing some sort of soul searching. Regardless of whether or not you realize that before or after you purchase your plane ticket.
At the time, I was riding a high tide in my life with a great job, a wonderful boyfriend, a beautiful home to return to but somehow there was this emptiness that I think alot of people can relate to. I had come a long way at this point in life and I was looking to just feel better on the inside.
We spent an evening with a lecture completely dedicate to Ahamkara and it was then that I realized what it is to 'find yourself'.
Now I will not claim that I have the miracle combination to being the happiest version of you but I will share two concepts that really resonated with me.
You Are No More Yourself Than The Day You Were Born.
We come into this world as blissed out babies. Hopefully, we are born healthy and if not it does not make us any less of a perfect human being. We are born without knowing what is considered right or wrong. We are born without knowing what is fashionable or whether we will be apart of the cool clique. We are born without a culture fascinated around uniqueness, dominance, or success. We are simply born with the principles of nature. We are born self aware and we do what seems natural. We breathe.
From that point on, we begin to discover more of the science of being human. Then, even with our parents' best efforts(or not), we become cultured to act, think, and live a particular way which suits the always changing societal factors we exist in.
These impressions build us up or tear us down, pulling us away from the simplicities of our natural science. The fact that we are human beings created with the beauty of the cosmos. Organic creatures built to experience the divine, whatever that is to you. Here to experience our true selves. Reminding us that we were once without impression and simply blissed out babies!
You Are Not Unique.
That seems kind of harsh doesn't it? It seems harsh because maybe at some point in life you were told you were unique. That you were the best, the most special, or considered the favourite. Then you go to an ashram in India and all those things that you thought made you different from everyone else were all just a facade.
Now, if you wish to continue to think you are unique. That's okay because for some of us that's what makes us really happy. However, maybe one day that uniqueness gets taken away from you. Maybe one day you are not the fastest runner, or maybe one day you don't have the best presentation, or you're no longer that somebody's favourite person or you simply don't measure up. Then what!?
Accepting that I was no more unique than anyone else was, at first, a hard pill to swallow. I really did feel unique but after taking some time to think about it I realized the bigger picture. Not only am I no more myself than the day I was born but I am also no different than anybody else. The ego plays a big role in how we view ourselves and when we let go of that ego, we are able to become more in tune with what it means to love ourselves fully.
The basic scientific principles of life apply just the same to me as everyone else in the world. Our true identity does not lie in what we are capable of but that we are able to live in a place of compassion. Finding our true identity within our sameness because ultimately it is not about being more unique, it is about being united. Finding harmony within our humanity.
So here I am, riding the waves. Enjoying life because I no longer feel like I have something to prove to anyone. Rather than viewing things from an egotistic perspective I choose to find gratitude for all things. Taking away emphasis on what we have or the career that we pursue because those things do not define us. Instead celebrating everyday because that is what we are here to do. Enjoy life. Experience absolutely everything we can. Ride those waves of life discovering beauty, wonder, sadness, grief and all the other emotions that connect us to the fact we are all human.
Now, if someone were to ask me who I am... I would tell them I am a reflection of you. I am human. I am here to experience life and to share and connect to as much light and love as I possibly can. And when the water gets rocky and the clouds start rolling in... I will turn to the billions of brothers and sisters I have in this world. Because I am here. I am present. And we are not alone in this.
. Ayla . @missaylanova .