Yoga and the Quest for the True Self

By Stephen Cope

Hundreds of thousands of usa citizens recognize yoga as a good kind of workout and as a effective resource of calm in our stress-filled lives. a long way fewer are conscious of the whole promise of yoga as a 4,000-year-old sensible direction of liberation—a direction that matches the wishes of recent Western seekers with startling precision. Now Stephen Cope, a Western-trained psychotherapist who has lived and taught for greater than ten years on the greatest yoga middle in the USA, bargains this marvelously full of life and irreverent "pilgrim's development" for trendy international. He demystifies the philosophy, psychology, and perform of yoga, and exhibits the way it applies to our such a lot human dilemmas: from loss, sadness, and habit, to the everlasting conflicts round intercourse and dating. And he indicates us that during yoga, "liberation" doesn't require us to go away our daily lives for a few transcendent non secular plane—life itself is the trail. notably, Cope exhibits how yoga can heal the discomfort of self-estrangement that pervades our society, top us to a brand new experience of goal and to a deeper, extra fulfilling existence on the earth.

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She requested. "How are you aware who you're? " first and foremost I pretended i did not proportion her adventure, savoring a second of superiority with my dual, whom I constantly notion smarter and higher than me. The eager for the comfort of self-revelation ultimately received out, even though. I informed her I shared an identical worry and confusion. And sure, I, too, proposal i used to be the one person who had those emotions. For a few cause, we had either assumed so much every person else skilled an internal authenticity approximately which shall we merely dream. a lot later, i found to my profound aid that this was once now not so. And this day, after a long time of either mental and religious perform and coaching, i do know that the questions "How do i do know my actual self? " and "Am I aligned with my truest self instantly? " will hang-out my fife, all of our lives, on many various degrees around the complete trajectory of our years. many folks bear in mind the event of rising interiority in ado lescence—the start of the introspective self with which Sandy and that i have been wrestling that afternoon within the library. without warning, in our young people, we are drawn right into a thoroughly unexplored internal international. we commence to fight with the reality of our fact at a extra inner point than ever ahead of. Who am I, particularly? who's this internal "me" that i am researching? How do those strategies, fantasies, needs, thoughts, all healthy jointly to make a congruent feel of an entire individual? there's for the 1st time a unique apprehension of a self—a self as an lively agent on the planet. We make discoveries of sizeable value approximately who we're, and we may perhaps turn into, for it slow, exhilarated with a brand new feel of which means and objective in our lives. yet there's additionally a shadow part to this glorious new potential for introspection. For from the first actual awakening of this introspective self, there arises a feeling of hysteria and misery, and a deep obstacle approximately authenticity. Who am i actually? How do i do know evidently? The unsettling fact is that the self as item can't be came upon any the place. 2 It can't be noticeable. It can't be without delay skilled. It can't be positioned in any concrete experience. And this is often deeply disconcerting. "Introspection," psychologist Michael Washburn says, "reveals merely innovations, emotions, pictures and never the topic that's assumed to experi ence those contents. The . . . topic is, then, inaccessible to intro spection, and this inaccessibility—this absence—is as irritating to the 82 YOGA AND the hunt FOR the genuine SELF adolescent because the self-certainty of introspection is comforting. "3 The underbelly of this new experience of self, then, is the very fact of no-self and its harbinger, the nervousness of nothingness. whilst my sister got here to talk with me that day in highschool she truly had her hands below the sides of a profound existential fact: the self can't be identified without delay. it may well purely be recognized obliquely, mirrored within the reflect of our relations with our exterior global and the connection we stock on with it in our personal inner dialogues. this can be the fear into which we emerge in formative years.

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