The goal of life
is to be a vehicle
for something higher…
to make your heartbeat
match the beat of the universe,
to match your nature with Nature.
The return is seeing
the radiance everywhere.
The focus of the month at my yoga studio is tat tvam asi (translated as “thou art that”). When we see ourselves as separate from others and the world around us, we create opposition, we create sides, we encourage religious wars, racism, sexism, homophobia: all the things that stack one thing up as better then another. Yesterday, my yoga teacher told us to think about someone in our life that we hold to such high esteem that we find them “godly” in some way. Then he asked us to dig deep and realize that what we see in them we already have in ourselves. Similarly, Joseph Campbell teaches that in understanding our internal nature, we can understand the world and those around us in a more meaningful way. Tat tvam asi, thou art that. He encourages us to follow the guide within, to follow what makes us happy internally, even if that means going against the grain and disappointing a whole lot of people around us. In order to match our beat with the universe, we have to follow our voice and trust it is leading us exactly where we should be. But we have to genuinely trust it. We can’t follow anther’s path, because that path is their path. Campbell shares a fantastic story in The Art of Living (which I highly recommend). The story is about Sir Galahad and his knights who agree to go on a quest. They felt it would be a “disgrace” to go on the quest together so they split up and enter the forest on their own. They are meant to follow their intuition and understand that if they find a pathway, it belongs to someone who has already traversed there and as a result, they ought to look for another way. Campbell says, “all you get on your life’s way are little clues. In that wonderful story, when any knight sees the trail of another, thinks he’s getting there, and starts to follow the other’s track, he goes astray entirely.” So what do we learn? We first learn to destroy any mentality of “us vs them” or “me vs you” and see the “potential for godliness” in everyone and everything, including ourselves. Then, in the midst of this universality, we have to individuate (as Carl Jung says) and follow our own voice in order to find our own true adventure. That is when our beat will be in tandem with the universe and we will begin, as Campbell says, to see the radiance everywhere.
* All photos from Nepal, May 2013 *