Hello after a long long time! 🙂
I must admit I haven’t been very consistent with my writing. The life of a flight attendant is hard to describe to people that have never experienced anything like that. To make a long story short I would say the lack of routine and extreme tiredness make you really really lazy. I had many ideas, I just never took the time to write them down. But yesterday I had a really nice long inspiring talk with someone who encouraged me to write again. And here I am 🙂
So what happened in all this time? I went from being a flight attendant to teaching yoga 🙂 I spent 3 months in India learning about yoga and spirituality. I came back fresh and full of ideas. I started teaching yoga straight away and I feel I’m on the right path.
I will not say that India is a magical place where you miraculously solve all your problems, but it was just what I needed after 2 years of materialistic life in Dubai. I felt like I lost the connection with myself, like I didn’t really know myself anymore. Also, flying affects your hormones, your mood and the way you view the world around you. I don’t want to blame flying for everything. Some people are able to overcome all these difficulties and remain healthy and happy with such a lifestyle. I guess I wasn’t strong enough. So I felt it was time to leave and fulfill a wish that I had for many years – to go to India, alone, for three months and go deeper into yoga.
I will not write in detail about my experience there (but I will be happy to answer any of your questions, just leave them in the comments below). Let’s just say I found much more than I was looking for. With the help of all the great people I met there I got to know myself better and got a clearer idea of what I should do in my life. And this idea is getting clearer and clearer every day. As I follow my heart and do what I really like, I get all these signs that tell me I’m on the right path.
The myth of spirituality
The most important thing I learned in India was that spirituality is not something reserved for some special people, but is one of the simplest and most practical things that anyone can have in their everyday life. I always had this idea about spirituality that was blocking me from becoming more spiritual. And I think a lot of Western people have the same problem. We think that spirituality is only meditation, rituals, something so abstract and impossible to grasp. A state of mind that only people, whose lives are dedicated to the pursuit of it, can achieve. In India spirituality is easy and simple – anyone can be spiritual, you just need to work on it. Five thousand years ago we were given all these very simple and practical “instructions” that help us become enlightened. But of course we had to complicate everything. What is enlightenment really? It’s just knowing our true selves. How do we get to know ourselves? By observing and being aware. This should be the easiest thing in the world, but somehow with our way of living it became the hardest. But again, there are techniques, 5000 years old techniques, that tell us step by step how to achieve that. It’s not going to happen in one day and we will have to work on it, but isn’t it the most important thing in our lives?
“I don’t have time”
People will always have excuses why not to work on themselves and the most common excuse is lack of time. I think I don’t need to explain how bizarre this excuse is, in a world where we spend hours looking at our phones, checking Facebook, watching TV, or find other ways to waste our time. These are only distractions that prevent us from truly being with ourselves.
I always like to recommend a book that shows well how we can be spiritual even if we are not dedicating our lives to yoga and meditation and we have jobs, children, responsibilities… It’s Judith Lasater’s book Living your yoga – Finding the spiritual in everyday life. Lasater is a yoga teacher, author of many books about yoga and a mother of three children. In her book Living your yoga she mentions an interesting metaphor about spiritual seeking. She compares our efforts towards self-awareness with the work of a sculptor. When he is carving the stone, he removes everything that is not the stone. He is not adding anything to create the sculpture, just removing what is unnecessary. “The art of revealing beauty lies in removing what conceals it.” We all have this beauty within, the beauty is our essence, our true self. Our work is to remove anything that is concealing it, anything that is not necessary. I believe that when we are born our essence is there, not covered by anything, it just is. But as the years pass, we are influenced by our parents, our culture, education and experiences. So we accumulate all these ideas, fears, traumas, all these things that cover our true self, so we loose the connection with it. Our spiritual practice is nothing else than removing all these obstructions, in order to find our true self again. And how do we do it? With practicing awareness.
Most of us live our lives convinced we know who we are, but the moment we start bringing some awareness in our lives we realize we don’t know ourselves at all. In order to really get to know our true selves we need to practice awareness in our body, our thoughts and our actions. It sounds easy, but we have so many outer distractions that we don’t know how to do this simple action of turning inwards anymore. Yoga can help a lot. I’m not saying yoga is the only way to attain this but I believe it’s the best way. It’s been working for more than 5000 years so there must be something about it 🙂
Yoga is not an exercise
The most common perception of yoga in the West is that of a mere physical exercise. But yoga is so much more than that. Patanjali, the man who wrote about yoga for the first time, 5000 years ago, talks about the 8 limbs of yoga. The practice of yoga poses is only one of them. By following all the steps one can achieve Samadhi – enlightenment.
Of course the way there is long, which makes people quit before they even start it. What’s the point of going after enlightenment if we may die before we achieve it, right? Well, if we leave the philosophy of reincarnation aside, there’s one more reason why we should definitely go after it. Even if we don’t achieve enlightenment, even if we do not get to know ourselves completely, just being in the process, just doing something for ourselves, will make our lives fuller, better, easier. I mean easier in the context of suffering. It will reduce our suffering and bring more happiness, but it will not come easy. If we want anything in our lives we have to work for it. And being spiritual only means working hard to get more from life. And all the rest will follow, I promise you that.
This doesn’t mean that we have to make huge and extreme changes in our lives. By making small steps and being consistent we can achieve anything. Really anything!
I challenge you to bring more awareness in your everyday life. Slowly it will bring a greater understanding of yourself, the people around you, the world and other living beings. We are all one 🙂
Namaste and thank you for reading! 🙂