Niyama (4): Swadhyaya |


Niyama (4): Swadhyaya

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We may study a whole range of things in our lifetimes but ultimately the most important subject of study is our Self.

This is not psychoanalysis even though as we penetrate through the different layers or koshas of our existence, physical, energetic, mental, emotional we may have some insights into our mental/emotional state; but if we conduct our examination, our study, as an Observer, when we become the Observer, noticing what is happening in our bodies, our minds, our emotions, then we are the Self. This is Self with a capital S, the soul, the atman in Sanskrit, the true Self not the self that we are most familiar with...our bodies, thoughts, emotions, behaviours, identities...our ego.

To help us in our studies we can turn to the scriptures, the Bible, the Quran, the Vedas, the Bhagavad Gita and many other sacred texts all of which help us to gain greater insight into our true nature.

Our other yoga practices, postures, sequences, breath work, relaxations, mudras, mantras and different aspects of meditation will all help us to access the Self, the glorious inner being that we all truly are.

Why bother?
Well, take it from me that the more we become aware of our mortality, the more important it is to connect to that part of us, which in the words of the Bhagavad Gita...
“... is not born and does not die at any time. Unborn, eternal and ancient, the Self does not die when the body dies.” Chapter 2, sloka 20
To know with certainty that we are not our bodies, our thoughts, our emotions but that we are an eternal soul deeply connected to the Divine is hugely important.

In addition to studying the scriptures it helps to follow their advice and to work on connecting to that inner Self as often as possible whether that be through quiet contemplation or through a whole host of other ways which you are hopefully familiar with.

And the more we connect to and discover about our true Self the more likely we are to recognize and become aware of the Self in other beings.

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