Who Are You?

In the post, It’s About Time, I wrote about the importance of following your own dharma, your own life path.

Sadly, many of us have built our lives around external expectations, doing anything to avoid that dreaded feeling of rejection, of not feeling accepted for who we really are. The irony of course is that when we live behind masks and facades, it’s almost impossible to authentically love or be loved.

Mahatma Gandhi once said, “What you do may not seem important to you, but it is very important that you do it.”

A beautiful story from the Jewish tradition highlights this point.  One of the students of Rabbi Zusha came to the Rabbi’s home one morning and found the Rabbi in tears. Bewildered, the student asked the Rabbi why he was crying. The Rabbi then shared that during his evening prayers he had a vision of God.

The student was awestruck that his Rabbi had experienced a vision of God and asked the Rabbi how such an awesome event could bring such sadness.

The Rabbi answered:

“All my life I have tried to be a good Jew. I have striven to be like Abraham, like Issac, like Moses. But last night, when I spoke with God,  he asked me why I had wanted to be other than as he created me to be. He wanted to know why I had not striven to be like Zusha. And as Zusha is someone I had never really loved, I realize that I have been failing in my spiritual life.  This is why I cry.”

How many of us have spent our lives striving to be anyone but ourselves!  And, just as Rabbi Zusha, one morning we wake up and realize we’ve been living someone else’s life. And, while this is a moment of sadness, it’s also a sacred moment of birth and rediscovery.

The beauty and the power of yoga is that it demands that we step into our bodies, our minds, and our lives.  There’s something about the physical aspect of putting your feet on the mat, about turning your attention to your breath, that helps clear away the fog of our lives.

Yoga, if practiced with sincerity and commitment, brings us HOME — home to ourselves and to our life paths.

How about you?  Where has yoga taken you? What masks have softened and transformed through your yoga practice?

** Masks photo by exfordy