One of the major aspects of a Yoga practice is the journey from ‘darkness’ or ‘ignorance’, to ‘light’ or ‘realisation’. The transformation from believing all we are is a body and a brain full of whirling thoughts, to knowing that we are infinitely more and that there’s so much more to life than we often give ourselves space to remember….
This journey isn’t always straightforward – in fact it rarely is…. If something is really worth doing, it’s never going to be too easy, and at times it might seem like an unrelenting obstacle course. Indeed, shining light into the dark, shadowy places doesn’t always reveal something we actually wanted to find. Which is why – if you do want to change anything – self-acceptance really has to come before self-transformation.
If we’re not aware of what and why we want to change, how will we be able to change at all? We can liken this to cleaning…..
When the light is dimmed, or when it’s dark entirely, we cannot see the dust particles, the stains and the dirt that needs sweeping off the floor; it’s only when we decide to open the curtains or turn on the lights that we become aware of the amount of mess that needs clearing up. It might not be pretty, but revealing the work that needs to be done allows us to begin moving towards creating a clearer space and somewhere that feels a whole lot better to live in. Think of the mind in this way – if we don’t take time or have the inclination to look inside and explore exactly why we tick the way we tick, then we will never know how much ‘mess’ is up there to deal with. It’s only when we start to ask the questions, to open up and attempt to turn on the lights up there that we see the thousands of dust-particle thoughts whirling around, the habits stained into our being, and the thin veil of dirt that stops us from seeing things clearly….
When we begin to explore why we are the way we are, it’s important to do so with an open heart and an open mind, and an intention to accept – not judge – whatever we find. Easier said than done of course, but the first step towards changing something is to accept that it exists in the first place.
To be vulnerable takes courage; to see things as they truly are requires us to remove the safety goggles; and in order to move from darkness to light, we have to be open to revealing the parts of ourselves we may have been brushing under the carpet for a long time.