March 19, 2012
Svadhyaya ~ Self-Study
Let’s explore Svadhyaya more closely. Like all Yamas and Niyamas, at first they seem pretty self-explanatory, but with a more intimate exploration we discover that these ethical teachings of Yoga are quite complex. Self-Study is no exception.
We can study through engaging our intellect gaining knowledge through reading books, scriptures, inspirational quotes and they will surely give us information about ourselves.
Through this aspect of Svadhyaya, we are understanding that our perceptions, and how we believe what we see, is actually the world reflecting back to us what we are seeing. Our perceptions about the world are telling us about ourselves, not necessarily about the world.
Self-study means not hiding from, or shutting out the uncomfortable, hidden, unpleasant parts of ourselves. It teaches us to carry these feelings with kindness, compassion and acceptance, knowing that Divinity lives there too.
When we maintain having a beginner’s mind, establishing the knowledge that we don’t really know…we learn more about our inner Self. We can allow time and space simply for observation, with no agenda, no expectations, no judgments and suddenly we are shown reality. This is a practice for every moment of our lives.
When we see reality, we understand that our true nature is pure, Divine, perhaps you call it your God-Self, or Ultimate Truth. The ego falls away, no longer asking for recognition as “I” or “me”. Being with and observing this inner Self, is practicing Svadhyaya.