The Search for Meaning through Yoga by Kino MacGregor
The skylike nature of mind is balanced by the oceanic depths of the unconscious. The practice of yoga is like a deep sea dive to the bottom of the ocean floor that brings the sunken, hidden wrecks of the past up to be revealed in the clear light of day. Teaching yoga means keeping the sacred heart of the spiritual practice burning within and sharing that inspirational light with every sincere seeker. Sometimes practicing yoga in the midst of crazy life situations feels like you are carrying a golden baton through a muddy swamp. You hold onto it because it is the only thing that will keep you from drowning.
The practice of yoga is a sacred torch that gives meaning to every aspect of life and gives a purpose to all the pleasure and pain that fills our daily lives. In moments of darkness it is the light that comes when no other light can possibly come to illuminate the arduous path that would otherwise not be walked. Yoga is the golden heart that shines through with strength and vigor when all other sources of strength are gone, used up and depleted. Yoga is the last home for the weary traveler, the hiding place where comfort still exists in a barren, brazen world. It is the last and only refuge for those who have tasted the agony and the ecstasy of life. When everything else and all others have quit the promise of the spiritual path of yoga is that it will never quit or give up on you until all the lessons are learned, the heart is healed and total freedom is experienced. Yoga is eternal so it does not matter how it long it takes. Yoga will always be there for you, every step of the way. Even in moments when your doubts resurface the simplicity and integrity of the practice is there to believe for you.
In order to bear the burden of suffering that inevitably comes while we are here on Earth we must find meaning for all that we go through. There are things that will bring us pain that stem from sources far outside the realm of what we can control. Our friends and family members will suffer, get sick and sometimes die in ways that will break our hearts. The practice of yoga gives you a concrete narrative to infuse even the most painful moments of your life with the rich meaning of final and ultimate liberation. This carefully constructed story is your personal hero myth. In this valiant story you play the brave leader who emerges from epic struggles as a brighter, more complete being. But the practice of yoga is not just a fictional metaphor, it is real every time you find yourself in the midst of a very challenging period of your life.
Depression is one the greatest trials of the success of the spiritual path. Anyone who has either experienced it themselves or watched a loved one try to dig themselves out of that dark hole knows just how insurmountable that task can be. Just when you think there is a small, dim light that leads out of the tunnel a crack in the floor gives in and drops even deeper into the abyss. Clinical depression is one of the psychological disorders with the lowest effective treatment and recovery rates. Even if you only go through low periods rather than full on clinical depression it is important to note that many more people than we realize are affected by varying levels of depression. Yoga offers a unique message to everyone caught in cycles of sadness. Instead of just being lost these times are meant to evoke deeper layers of compassion and make you a more complete human being. In other words the more you suffer the more compassion you will experience. By ripping your heart out of your chest you see just how strong and powerful your heart really is. The practice of yoga gives you the tools to recast the experience of pain as one that will one day lead to a final and lasting victory over the source of all suffering.
Whatever small woes that overwhelm us from time to time we also know that there is someone somewhere in the world who surely has it worse off than we do. The accolade of the world’s most suffering person changes every day and even if you really can lay claim to that title it will not last too long. But whatever triggers a downward spiral for you is no less extraordinary than the giant atrocities that are committed around the world every day. You have a right to your experience of suffering even if it is just a small thing that brought you down that day. The key is to cast the experience in the light of learning so that no matter how far down the rabbit hole you descend you remain committed to finding and fighting your way out again, no matter how long it takes.
The search for meaning in today’s sometimes meaningless world is a long, hard battle. With more information about everything readily available through a quick google search it is almost as though the very meaning we seek has been breached by the endless amount of words written on the wildly proliferating about of internet sites, Twitter feeds and Facebook updates. Victor Frankl wrote a book called Man’s Search for Meaning after suffering the Twenty-Century’s greatest atrocity where he described the search for meaning as humanity’s last freedom. He was a holocaust survivor who found that the people who made it through were the ones who were able to find meaning in their suffering. It was the search for meaning more than luck, physical prowess, intelligence or any other thing that was the deciding factor of survival in Fankl’s view. The meaning that he held onto every day of that tortuous cycle of his life was that he wanted to live to tell the story of what happened and help people find meaning in their lives. We are all searching for meaning in the desperation of our lives, however, in all likelihood we are embarking on our search in dramatically less dire circumstances than Frankl. It does not make our own personal story any less valiant. In the search for purpose we may find the thread that pulls us out of years of depression, hopelessness, helplessness and a general sense of nihilism and fatalism. At the best we may find true inspiration for life.
The search for meaning in life is the essence of the spiritual path of yoga. You do not need to invent your own narrative, you can receive it from the timeless words of the divine within yourself. You can uncover the hidden message of your life and find the reason you are here with authenticity, integrity and inspiration. As you see through layers of illusion through the practice of yoga you reveal the true essence of your own inner power and break through the endless cycle of meaningless fatigue. Every experience will be rich with the meaning of spiritual liberation, every moment ripe with the fruit of liberation. With this powerful torch burning within the answers to the search for meaning will be evident in every breath of your life.