This is the story of how we begin to remember –Paul Simon, “Under African Skies”
And that is a story of yoga.
So many of the myths, stories, and teachings of yoga center around the theme of forgetting and remembering, time and time again. Life pulls us in all different directions, and we get distracted, disconnecting from our deepest center of Self, forgetting the Truth of who we are. We get distracted by our fears and by our desires. We get caught up in trying to push away and resist the things we don’t like, and in chasing after things we think we do want and need to finally find happiness, success, etc, and we forget. We forget about the bigger picture, the big, expansive sense of Self that resides within us.
With our practices, though, we can begin to remember. We can move inward to reconnect to our center. One of the simplest and most profound practices we can do to move inward is to bring our attention to and to follow our breath. Closing our eyes, we follow our inhales and exhales as they enter and leave our bodies, and in that time, we can pull back to our center, back to the greater sense of Self. And we remember, even if for an instant, that everything we seek is already within us. Love, compassion, contentment, happiness, abundance, a deep abiding sense of worth and success—it is all within us already. We just need to remember.
Sometimes, as we move through the pulsation of remembering and forgetting, and we recognize that we’d forgotten, we can get down on ourselves. Feeling disappointed, frustrated, even angry with ourselves that we had forgotten, that we had fallen back into a habitual response or reaction, that we had stumbled. This is when we need to find and call upon deep compassion for ourselves. It’s all a journey, and there will be times when the road is easy, and other times when we will trip, stumble, and even fall. Instead of beating ourselves up when we recognize the trips, falls, and stumbles, we can see them as opportunities to learn. And when we see those moments as teachers, we move more towards remembering. More light is shed into the corners and shadows within us, we gain more clarity, we step more into our Truth and our Self.
Let us first remember that it is a journey, that it is life. And we will get distracted, we will forget, we will be pulled away from center. But, that we will also have opportunity upon opportunity to remember, to reconnect, to step more towards and into our most expansive Self. And that each time we remember, we come back with a greater sense of recognition.