I just went hiking in Runyon. It is a beautiful day outside. The sky is clear. It’s warm, but not too warm. I opted off my mat to practice presence in the outdoors.
After the divine dance of finding a parking space (and if you have been to Runyon on a Sunday you understand), I embarked on my hike. Did I mention what a lovely day it was? It’s hard not to smile on days like this. As I began my ascent, however I began to notice that there were more dogs smiling than people. People were engaged in intense conversations or intense activity.
In my active contemplation it was hard not to observe how much time we spend focused on our external landscape. This is different from the natural landscape around us (Not many people were taking time to look at that). People were literally enraptured with the visual of their physical being. As I started to encounter more happy animals I began to wonder why we are so wrapped up in looking good that we have overlooked feeling good…
You may be thinking “but Eka, you’re a yoga teacher. Isn't that all about the physical body?” Yes and no. Asana, the physical postures, is just one chapter in a larger book. We are missing out on the immenseness of the moment, as we are immersed in the veil of avidya(ignorance). When we look into a mirror, it’s not a true representation. We believe that what we see with our eyes is real, when our outer world is simply a reflection. There is a whole beautiful landscape inside of us that is aching to be nurtured, weeded and remembered.
Whether in nature, solitude, traffic, etc the divine is always speaking to us. We need to take the time to bask in our inner wisdom. Often there are overgrown vines of unhealthy patterns we need to take a machete and cut away. These patterns or samskaras can continue to play out unconsciously in our daily experience until we make the effort to change them. Making time for introspection can give us the opportunity to hear our sacred voice, and nurture our souls.
If we don’t take the time to cultivate what is inside of us, it doesn’t matter if you have 12-pack abs, an 8 figure back account, are a perfect size 6, or can do a handstand in the middle of the room. We will continually be at the mercy of all that changes without being rooted in the truth and boundlessness of who we truly are.
If we could spend half as much time cultivating our inner world, as we do what is external to us, I do believe the world would be a much brighter place.