Not Enlightened Yet?

Life is not perfect, you already know. The ups and downs continue but if you were enlightened, they wouldn’t bother you. It’s the botheration that is the problem. It sabotages your happiness but, worse, it sabotages your ability to deal with what’s happening.

Of course, your yoga practice has improved your ability to flow with life’s changes. How much improvement can you get? Yoga promises enlightenment, not just health and peace. How are you coming on that process? It’s time for a realistic assessment of your progress toward the ultimate goal or, if that’s not your goal, simply assess how you’re doing with being happy in the midst of life.

Assessment is simply your first step toward New Year’s resolutions. Because if you don’t make a resolution, then you’re not going to make progress toward what you want, especially if it is enlightenment. If your goal is more practical, like to do yoga every day, to lose weight, to keep your cool in the midst of the storm, to learn to meditate, or any of the other things you know you need, you still need to resolve to do it.

Setting an intention is not enough. There’s a big difference between “resolution” and “intention.” With intention, you decide you want something and then you wait for it to happen on its own. With a resolution, you draw on your resolve, your ability to stick to it even when you aren’t having fun.

You already know how to do this. You cannot stay in relationship unless you stick through the tough stuff. Going to school, holding a job, and even owning or rent a home requires that you apply yourself to the process. Patanjali calls this “abhyasa,” best translated as sticktotiveness. He says you have to cultivate consistency and to put your heart in it (1.13-14). That means you’re doing it because you care.

I recommend a one-word resolution, like “lighter.” That could mean you’re lightening up your body mass, or that you’re prioritizing things that bring light into your life, or that you’re lightening up on the people around you. Or “consistency,” to help you apply your energies toward the direction you want to go. Maybe you want to become more “expressive,” or you might benefit from being more “reflective.”

Now you’ve resolved to be in a process, rather than achieving a specific goal. Of course the process will bring results, but after the results, the process continues. When do you want to stop being “understanding” or “resolute?” These are traits that improve your life, improve your relationships, improve your state of mind and heart – and even take you toward enlightenment.

OM svaroopa svasvabhava namo nama.h

Again and again I bow to your inherent Divinity.

Swami Nirmalananda Saraswati leads Downingtown Yoga & Meditation Center and Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram in Downingtown PA. An American yogi, she is an inspiring teacher with a loving manner and a great sense of humor. Before becoming a swami (yoga monk), as Rama Berch, she served the yoga community as the founding president of Yoga Alliance. Traveling and teaching nationally and internationally, she is authorized to initiate people into deep meditation through Shaktipat, as did Swami Muktananda, her own Guru. The Ashram website features extensive Freebies, including articles and audio recordings on the principles of consciousness as taught by the sages of India, as well as how to apply them in your life today.

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