Ryan took Mila to a music class today and felt passionately against what was being taught. "Criss-cross applesauce," the teacher told Mila, "don't sit like that, cross your legs." Why did the teacher say that? Mila was sitting in virasana, hero pose. That is perfect. That is what she chose to do in the moment. That is what her body guided her to do. And, we, the adult, the teacher, society, think we know better. We instill seeds in her young mind to not follow the wisdom of her body. ah!
May we be sensitive to the ways we begin to turn our children away from their nature. I would like to catch myself in these moments. The Celtic philosophers say "to be spiritual is to be in rhythm." Here we are, adult yogis and spiritual aspirants around the world, doing practices to get back into our natural rhythm. May we be aware of how we get off of our rhythms in the first place and how we move our children away from theirs.
The key - not only to our health - but to our ability to thrive and lead meaningful lives, is to stay connected to the wisdom within. May we not turn our children away from theirs. May we encourage them to believe in their inner guidance. May our words and actions not lead them to grow up insecure, confused and to follow outer authority rather than follow their heart's inclinations. "The teacher is within," says the Buddha. The only authority of your life is yourself. May we teach our children that they are perfect as they are and encourage them to move through life with integrity.
Seeing a child move with freedom can inspire us to look at our own lives. The timeless wisdom of the Bhagavad Gita encourages us to ask ourselves: is our outer life (svadharma) a refection of our inner world (svabhaga)? Are we living with integrity? The Gita teaches us that submission to external authority can move us away from self-integrity. The yoga teachings encourage us to develop our inner nature, relate to the world in ever new ways and thus grow into freedom where the integrity of the self is never compromised.
"Live not by the discipline of external authority, but the discipline of listening inwards." - Bhagavad Gita
Inquiries to explore:
- What external authority do you submit to? Who do you give away your power to? A specific person? A culture? A society? Media?
- What can you do so that your outer life is a clearer reflection of your inner world?
- What do you do, say and think that does not honor your or other children's innate wisdom and perfection? (No judgement here, we are all a product of so much outside influence...the purpose of these inquiries is not to judge ourselves or others, but to cultivate awareness.)
- What do we do as a society that does not nurture our children's innate wisdom?
Thank you for joining,