One of the greatest blessings of being around a newborn child is that inevitably you begin to reflect back on yourself in a way that you normally would not do.
Naturally, once you become a parent, you only want the very best for the child that you have been given custodianship over. The innocence and the purity of that newly born being in your midst stir deep desires and passions to provide the very best conditions and environment for them to grow up in.
As a result, you begin to look a lot more closely at your own self. You begin to reflect back on yourself a lot more critically. You begin to ask questions of yourself that maybe you have not asked of yourself in a very long time (maybe never?).
This is why raising a young child has some parallels with yoga practice. The essence of yoga practice is self-reflection. Yoga practice is all about looking deep within your self, getting to know your self, examining parts of yourself that might otherwise go overlooked.
Newborn children, because of their relative purity, are wide-open fields of possibility, especially when compared to the way that most of us normally see ourselves. We can see and imagine that the way that we treat them now, the energy that we surround them when they are young, will influence and affect them for years to come. A harsh word or action here or there can have negative consequences on them in some very deep ways. There is even the possibility that our thoughts and unseen habits may affect them positively or negatively.
So, naturally, we begin to examine ourselves in a much more careful and detailed manner. We can ask ourselves, "what habits or thoughts do I have that I am unaware of that might have an unexpected affect on this child?" Or, I can ask, "what can I do differently in my life that will ultimately benefit the quality of life for this child?"
Now, I have started out here putting these questions in the context of being a parent. However, whether you are a parent or not, it is important as yoga practitioners to reflect back on ourselves precisely in this way. Without this kind of self-reflection. Without these kinds of questions directed back at our selves, our yoga practice can become relatively empty and flat.
The real power, the real "juice" of any yoga practice lies in our capacity to reflect back on our selves in a way that begins to awaken a deeper awareness of our own self. What creates real energy in our lives is our ability to uncover the habits and blockages that have gone unexamined in our selves.
The true Self is pure energy, creativity, joy and love. We lack access to that deeper Self when we go through our lives with unexamined habits and conditioned mental and emotional patterns. These habits and patterns act as blinds to our true nature and to the awesome power of the true Self. The only way that these habits and patterns remain in place and keep us from our true potential is if we get lazy and overlook them.
We all need to turn the light of our own awareness on ourselves. We all need to awaken our passion for knowing the Self. We all need to wake up and stop taking ourselves for granted.
So, whether you are a parent or not, begin asking yourself some seriously honest and penetrating questions. What areas of yourself or your life are you taking for granted? Where in your life have you become lethargic or even lazy? What positive change can you begin to implement right away that you have been making excuses about? What positive habits can you begin to build today?
As parents, the well-being and future of our children spur us on. But again, whether you are a parent or not, why not be spurred on by the well-being and the future of your self, for your loved ones, or even for the future and well-being of the entire world?
Nearly every single one of us underestimates our own power and what is really possible when we put our minds to something. We all take ourselves for granted in some way or another. We allow a kind of mental and emotional fog to roll over us and to take away our power. And yet, to pierce this seemingly impenetrable fog, we need only to awaken our passion to know ourselves, to ask ourselves some very honest and very deep questions.
I encourage you all to grab a hold of your own self today and reflect back on yourself in this way, with passion and with great vigor. You will be surprised at just how much you will see and with how much can actually change in your life in a very short time.