II.18 That which is knowable has the nature of illumination, activity, and inertia (sattva, rajas, and tamas). It consists of the senses and the elements and exists for the purpose of (providing) either liberation or experience (to purusa).
Growth is a very broad topic. Jodi touched on how challenging personal growth can be in her introduction to our newsletter. As I began to research for this article, I kept moving away from the “pain” of personal growth. There are many articles about that particular topic, and I understand why. It is incredibly challenging to look at yourself raw and unpolished and make a conscious choice to move from the status quo of your life.
I had the privilege of overhearing a conversation recently between two people who were involved in growth journeys. That conversation helped me hone in on what my Growth Blog would be about - and it had nothing to do the with pain of true growth. This month, I would like to highlight the pride, joy and encouragement one feels when a person is steeped in the journey of self growth!
In the sutra above, the word purusa (pronounced purrroosha) refers to your truest self - the part of you that’s pure and untouched - untouched by things like resentment, destructive patterns, anger, hate, self-defamation, and self-protection. I find it interesting that the original yogis framed our life patterns as experience or liberation of purusa. In other words, as we grow and have experiences, we are shaped by them. The thing is, often the shaping takes us farther away from who we really are, the true nature of our soul. What we would prefer is that our experiences bring us closer to who we are authentically. When we can be closer to our true self, we live in peace more often. The ultimate goal, of course, is to live in peace all the time and be true to ourselves all the time. Thus, the work some choose to do.
Going back to the conversation I referenced earlier, I’d like to highlight the pride and self confidence one can gain as a person moves to a new place mentally, emotionally, intellectually and metaphysically. The two people happened to have met unexpectedly in their therapist's waiting room. They were surprised to see each other there, but their voices revealed pride in being there. They were both working on self-actualization using a book series and again, there was such enthusiasm in their shared new knowledge. It was such an uplifting conversation, and it made me smile!
Recently, I have been working with a student who decided that many of her physical ailments had emotional and metaphysical aspects which needed healing. It is so wonderful to begin teaching a student who has already committed to the change needed to live a healthier life. Why? Because a lot of the work she is doing is really tough - uncovering memories and emotions which have been festering in her body for years. These memories and emotions have led to much physical pain which have only been managed with chiropractic care and medicine. Her chiropractor suggested she spend time with someone who could work on strengthening her physical body and remove some of the stress she was holding. She embarked on a yoga practice with physical movements to strengthen her back and hip muscles, two different breathing patterns (pranayama), and meditation at the end. The goal has been to work all aspects of her vessel and give her a safe space to work through pain. She shares with me that every morning when she is done with her practice, she feels better. How awesome is that? To feel a tiny bit better and a tiny bit moved in the direction set forth in her intention. So cool! We begin her yoga session by checking on her emotional and physical progress. There are many tears and lots of realizations, and then we work on her practice. It is so medicinal to MOVE the garbage that is brought up! Every time her session is finished, she feels good. She is so proud of herself and is such a light, and I am so blessed to be a part of her journey. I feel humbled and honored to be a guide on her path. She does the work while I encourage and teach avenues of release. It is a beautiful partnership. Ultimately, the goal is for her to take all I teach and all she has learned and move forward without me. It’s an exciting time for both of us. Whenever I am able to look at a student and say, “You are good. No need to come back. Just keep doing your practice and listening to your body.” it’s a good day!