Ever heard of the term ‘Actualizing Tendency’? It sounded like the name of a fancy physics theory to me at first, but it is actually a term used in psychology to describe the desire present in all living things that pushes the organism towards growth. Have you ever left a potato in your kitchen with very minimal sunlight for a few days, only to discover later that it has grown little white nubs? Or seen flowers shoot up between the cracks in concrete walls?
We can see this desire to lean towards growth in every organism! In the case of humans, we all want to express ourselves freely and reach our full potential. How many of us really recognize that this is our true nature? No matter who you are, it’s easy to get caught up in the infinite web of worldly affairs or ‘Maya’ which we are so familiar with and choose to remain deluded and ignorant about our true self.
So, it’s simple: ‘If the problem is ignorance, the answer is obviously Knowledge!’
This knowledge is nothing but an understanding of the essence of the self. This is exactly what Yoga is about. Contrary to popular belief, twisting your body in insane shapes or doing funky breathing practices is not what Yoga is about. These practices are merely an aid to bring the body, mind and spirit in sync.
It has been scientifically proven that our feelings are not determined by things that happen but what we happen to make of it in our head. The perfect example for this is to consider how someone suffering from depression can fail to find joy in things he/she used to love. This is proof enough that it is not the situation, it is not the things or even the people around you causing your misery but what YOU choose to make of it yourself. It is just a shift we need to make in our perspective and thoughts with the understanding that you cannot fix everything and everyone around you, but you can always fix yourself in such a way that no matter what happens, you are alright.
Since we all operate at different levels of individuality, there are essentially 4 paths of yoga for each kind of individual: Karma Yoga – the yoga of action and selfless service, Bhakti Yoga – the yoga of devotion, Raja Yoga – the yoga of meditation and, Jnana Yoga – the yoga of will, intellect and knowledge.
The beauty of it all is that irrespective of the path you choose, your destination is one and the same. However, it is clearly not going to happen overnight. It is going to take an investment. An investment of your time and effort. We need to recognize that every single day is an opportunity to learn more, think better, do better, be better. Not better than someone else, just better than you were yesterday. Just like an application gets upgraded to newer versions, it is up to us to invest effort in upgrading ourselves, no matter how small the step may seem. It is always about the little things in life: a small thank you note to your loved ones, an honest compliment to a stranger, a small positive anonymous note or sometimes just being there to listen to someone! They may seem like just a small gesture for you, but for them it would be the reason to brighten up their entire day.
It is about creating a life for yourself that feels good inside and not just looks good on the outside.
So, what are you waiting for? Get your upgrade soon!