Svadhyaya – Self-study: study of the Self, study of the self, study of oneself, study by oneself
Svadhyaya 3 ~ Forget the Self
When the Buddha gave his first sermon, he said that the things he realized would be difficult, even for the wise, to hear. He continued that this is because “people love, delight and revel in their place.”
Take suffering – we all have our own particular brand of suffering – when we feel put upon, slighted, ignored, unwanted/loved, taken for granted, taken advantage of, etc. – and at this point in many of our lives, we have gotten that suffering to be so sweet. I know this was true for me, and still is sometimes. It’s such a unique form of sweetness, that you don’t realize it for quite awhile.
We also have our flavor of delight – in being someone who loves/hates/enjoys/dislikes wine, coffee, beer, horoscopes, vampires, politics, yoga, gym yoga, green, curly hair, etc. We can get so solid in those, just reveling in that in us, in the structure that we’ve established of us. But there’s also the us behind that structure. That would still be there if that structure crumbled.
You can see where this is going – they all prevent us from being in touch with our svarupa – our true selves (Tada drastuh svarupe vasthanam). So we study our place, our self, in order to let go and make room for the Self.
Or as Dogen says: To study the Way is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be enlightened by all things of the universe.
Or as the Tao 48 says: In the pursuit of knowledge, every day something is added. In the practice of the Tao, every day something is dropped.
The next time you practice asana, let your intention be to practice in possibility – not the structure of reveling you have already established. Whenever “I always…” “My ___ can’t…” “This is the way it is” or “I’m the exception” show up notice that this is the structure of the self, and see if you can loosen it enough to identify with the Self behind it all.
Recommended listening: Ram Dass’s “Here We All Are” minutes 1:42:21-1:45:12.
Recommended meditation practice: Neti Neti (not this, not this)