Sat Naam and Happy New Year!
While 2020 was a very intense year with a lot of challenges and frustrations and adaptations, I hope and pray that you have been able to maintain your sense of Self. Sometimes the pace and scope of change can force us to question our identity. When the outer world has changed so dramatically, who we thought we were may not fit in any more, or may not be as successful in helping us navigate through our lives.
Kundalini Yoga comes from a tradition that believes we have a True Self, a Sat Naam, that is beyond all temporary or limited sense of who we are. We always have a choice in how we respond to challenges, including the rapid changes all around us. We can cling ever more tightly to our old identities. Or we can use it as an opportunity to go deeper and identify more strongly with our highest Self.
Letting go of a limiting identification is hard and scary enough. But it’s made all the more difficult because we often rationalize our way into not recognizing the limiting identity as such! Even our yogic practices and beliefs can become fanaticism if the means (the yoga practices) get confused with the desired outcome (the union of the limited self with the universal Self). When faced with an opportunity to let go of a limited identity, we sometimes come up with all sorts of high-sounding reasons to cling tightly to it. It is fundamentally a case of confirmation-bias. We don’t see the world as it truly is, but we interpret everything through the lens of our pre-existing beliefs.
How can we tell the difference between a standard we should be holding fast to, and a limiting belief that we should be letting go of? How can we know if we should choose the warrior persona, fighting for what is right, or the saint persona, relaxing and going with the flow? For me, I try to ask myself some questions such as, “Am I acting with love and compassion?” “Is my heart open and my vision expansive, or am I shrinking under stress and fear?” These are more important questions than how many minutes you meditated this morning or how many day unbroken your sadhana has been.
As glad as I am to see the year 2020 in the rear-view mirror, I am also grateful for how it has pushed me to dig deeper within myself. The challenges and stresses of this year have given me the opportunities to rediscover love, compassion and connection – within myself first so I can (try to) share them with others.
I truly hope that you have also been able to use whatever challenges you’ve faced this past year to deepen and renew your connection with your True Self. May your year of 2021 be full of peace, joy, health and prosperity. And may all of your intentions for this new year come to pass.