Part of living an undivided life is not being divided from our inner self, not being separated from our spirit, not being disconnected from the essence of who we are. The question is, how much time, if any, do we spend getting to know that self, that spirit? Are we even acknowledging its existence, or are we sometimes just going through the motions of existing while not really living?
In yoga the word “dharma” means both life purpose and essence; this overlap of definition can point to how there cannot be unity, oneness, or wholeness if who we are and what we do are separate.
We begin by understand the facets of our essence: what nourishes us and conversely exhausts us; what enlivens and upholds us or diminishes us.
This is the inner work, the spiritual work.
Our meditation can be very productive if we notice the things that keep coming up in it—what continues to knock on our door, or “disturbs our peace”. If something keeps making itself known to us because there is something to be known about it in us. This is helpful, it isn’t negative or meant to be critical. We can simply use our meditation to become quiet and still enough to hear those messages, receive guidance. Our awareness is awakened, then expanded, so whatever needs attention can be understood and then integrated.
When we ask ourselves, “Who am I? What do I need to be nourished, whole, undivided? Am I aware of and paying attention to the things that take from me, deplete me, ask to much of me, or ask me to be or do something that I cannot or am not?” we begin to get to the core of ourselves, our Soul. These questions are the stepping stones of the undivided, authentic life, in whatever way that is defined by us. We are all on our own path. That path has to be felt, known sensed, understood to be guided by our inner truth. It doesn’t matter what everyone else is doing. If something is calling to us, it should be explored and examined. If somethings goes against our core truth, we should rethink it. This is deep work. Realizing where we unbalanced or inauthentic speaks to something that is knocking at the door of our soul and spirit to be acknowledged and understood; there is something that needs to be fed, healed or resolved. Once it is made right again we are whole once more. In the yoga practice, a true practice, we learn about ourselves in this way. We peel away the superficial and external layers in order to connect to our essence that needs to be seen, wants to be heard, and deserves to be honored. We get to know ourselves and connect to the essence of who we are, and hopefully learn to appreciate ourselves as a result.
Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” It begins by getting to know ourselves first.