Who Am I?
Who Am I? We often find ourselves asking this question as one year closes and another begins. For many of us altering behaviors, adopting new practices or simply taking time to reflect is triggered as we embark on another year. As I talked about in my first blog post, the “niyamas” (which this blog is aptly named after) represent the observances or rules of yoga. According to The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali there are five niyamas – cleanliness, contentment, discipline, self-study and surrender. Therefore, in yoga taking this important time to self-study and reflect on oneself is an important component to a successful practice.
So much of what we do, at any age, is an exercise in self-study. This realization hit me just a couple weeks ago when my son’s beta fish died. Being only five, he has never had to deal with death before or for that matter, anything leaving his world without returning again. Not only was the fish that he’d cared for gone, but his friend, who he had woken up next to every morning was no longer there. This was quite a realization for him; who was he going to say good morning to first if it wasn’t his fish? What was obvious to us and he now realizes is that whether his fish is there to greet him in the morning he still wakes up and moves forward, it just happens in a new way; a way he may at times like and at other times he may not always appreciate. This experience while difficult, presented a great opportunity for someone so young to see his place in the world progress despite the changes going on around him.
So how do you self-study? Given the many interests and life pursuits we all have, how we learn about ourselves can differ. What is more, any given person’s way of self-reflection may change depending on where they are in their life’s journey. Using myself as an example, when I was in college and through my mid-twenties I found self-reflection in travel. Taking myself out of my comfort level and visiting new places, gave me the time to learn more about the role I wanted to play in this world. However, as I have gotten older and created a family, my most insightful self-study comes from parenting and seeing the behaviors my children have adopted as a direct result of my actions.
What remains most important about self-study is choosing an activity that allows you the opportunity to learn a little more about yourself by seeing it through to the end. The length, outcome and experience itself are ultimately up to you. Just as my son learned a couple weeks ago, it’s often the roughest experiences in which we have the largest growth in realizing who we are and if we are lucky give us a glimpse at why we are here…
~The divine in me salutes the divine in you, Namaste~