“We became beggars and dependent on others to be happy.”
It was like a flashback. I heard this quote from my instructor in the raj yoga meditation course, one of my New Year’s Resolutions. Raj yoga is considered the king of all yogas, and this course has been my spiritual path to know my self.
For years I looked for happiness outside. Everything seemed to go well in my life until all the reasons of my happiness disappeared. I lost my dad. Then, my mom. And my grandpas. My world collapsed and my ego (false sense of self) was challenged.
Last week, my yoga instructor told me that unhappiness derives from five vices — attachment, lust, greed, ego and anger. Bingo! I suffered because of attachment and was angry at the world because few could understand my pain.
Now I’m learning to use every opportunity to fight my vices. Our relationships are the easiest way to practice — easy because they’re many, not because they’re simple. The author Eckhart Tolle, who will be in Vancouver this Saturday, wrote about it in The Power of Now.
“Whenever your relationship is not working […] be glad […] if you accept that the relationship is here to make you conscious instead of happy, it will offer you salvation.”
Being happy, in raj yoga, means there’s a balance of seven virtues (knowledge, purity, peace, love, happiness, bliss and power) and five elements (fire, water, earth, space and air).
“If they’re all there,” my instructor said, “your ego won’t be.”
What if we’re doing everything right to achieve our goals at work, in life, in our relationships, and nothing goes well? “Be happy with whatever you have and ask yourself if you deserve what you’re asking for,” she said, referring to karma.
Brahma Kumaris, where I take my course, states that karma is a spiritual principle that governs our interactions. It’s equivalent to Newton’s Third Law of Motion: for every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction. So whatever emotion we caused will become our own future experience.
This concept is even more powerful when we learn that raj yoga acknowledges birth and rebirth. Everyone we meet is not only part of our present journey, but also of our previous ones. So if one relationship doesn’t go well, there may be a reason in another lifetime. Let’s not dwell on it.
If you hurt someone and are able to apologize, do it. If you can’t, for any reason, send them good vibrations. Ask forgiveness in your meditation.
If people criticize you when you’re doing your best, don’t take their words blindly. “If someone offers you rotten food, will you eat?” my instructor asked me. “It’s in your hands to be happy. But remember to accept karma.”
We have no control over our pasts, but we do over our future. That’s why it’s vital to have good thoughts and actions now. Being present, wrote Eckhart Tolle, is an essential condition for inner peace. “[…] the more you are able to honor and accept the Now, the more you are free of pain.” And free of your ego.
Know that we’re able to reduce or increase our bad karma on three levels: intellect, words and deeds. Positive attitudes can reduce bad karma, so we must observe ourselves to prevent more.
Now, before asking myself why someone is behaving poorly towards me, I remember it’s all because of me. But I don’t put myself in a fragile spot, as it may suggest. Acknowledging that it’s my responsibility gives me control over my emotions and actions.
Karma is going to reach us in any existence. What about using meditation to vibrate positively and reduce our debts? Constant practice of raj yoga increases our power and connection with the Supreme.
Photo credit: © Moyan Brenn via Flickr