Last summer, as I spent long weekends completing yoga teacher training, Trace Sahaja described the idea of ‘oneness’ during a philosophy discussion. She explained to us that we could view the world like the ocean; a body of water that is all one large entity but has many individual waves. We are all essentially one, just merely individual expressions of that one. The metaphor has resonated with me ever since, as I find it to be one of the clearest ways to describe the idea that we are all connected and the same, while still being so different from one another.
In yoga, one is taught that underneath all of our whims and material items, emotions and past experiences, is an Inner Self. We attempt to tap into this internal consciousness, as it’s believed to hold the answers to all of our problems. The Self knows what we really want and how to obtain it, understands why we make certain decisions and allows us to live life to the fullest. Why? Well, because it is our self, in the truest and most balanced form, unwavering from variables in our daily lives.
It’s hard to believe that everything we need lies just within us but I’ve always been a firm believer in that we create who we are. We do not find ourselves hitchhiking along the road, waiting to be claimed. We choose our friends, our hobbies, our reactions, everything. Even down to the food we eat and the clothes we wear, it all reflects our personal tastes or comforts. Just as we can cultivate a life of love, we can create a monster and lead ourselves to destruction. Yoga was not designed to give us toned bodies, although that is a benefit, but rather provide a holistic approach to life and ourselves.
After all, what good is a healthy body without an equally healthy mind and soul?
The reason I chose to express my thoughts on creating our identity is because as college students, we are at a point in life where we have so many opportunities while still being so young. We have a clean slate and plenty of energy to take our lives essentially anywhere we’d like at this point. Yet many of us just drown in confusion, going through the daily routine of class work and part-time jobs, graduating with still no clue of what to do next.
One of the largest obstacles I’ve struggled with is not only creating my identity but also discovering what exactly separates me from the 11,000 other College of Charleston students, or rather everyone else in the world. Which is why I always turn back to the metaphor of the waves in the ocean, reminding myself that we are all a little different. You can see the same concept play out in a yoga class, as the teacher guides the class into Warrior II yet every student looks different in the pose. Same asana, but different expressions.
So what is the answer and how do we find out what we truly want? Hell if I know but maybe this yoga thing could help. Or just spending a few moments to evaluate what it is that you love doing, then think outside the box to make something of that passion. Learn to trust your instincts and don’t be afraid to pursue your wildest dreams.