“As within, so without,” was one of my teacher, Sri Durga Devi’s, favourite teachings. The implications of this statement are far-reaching and it took me many years to realise the importance of her statement so many times in our yoga classes and still today I sometimes find it hard to apply this concept in my life.
When you are on the yoga path, the need for introspection becomes very apparent soon after you have started your first yoga class. Yoga has this wonderful ability to stir things up in you and soon you are confronted with old issues that you might have thought was something of the past. An old friend or foe out of your past suddenly appears again in your life and your first reaction might be disdain for this person and the situation or you may take a deep breath and start to look in the mirror this person is holding up and ask yourself what is it that I have to learn about my Self?
To look in the mirror that is being held up by the other person is not easy. To search for closure or to find that which you have to pay attention to might be an arduous path and one that we would not always like to go down. However, if we do the work we need to, if we look at the reflection in that mirror and start to work on that reflection, we may soon find that we find a fine balance and that balance brings closure with the person or the situation.
Another aspect of this process is to ask yourself constantly who is the doer/witness in this whole process. Let me explain, have you ever had an issue with a person, say a good friend, the two of you talk about it, but you go home and in your mind you are still fighting that friend. You develop arguments, you formulate questions you should have posed to this person and then you also give your answer and so it goes on and on. The other person is not even there, has no interest in this process you are going through and doesn’t even witness this whole fight you have in your mind with him or her. So who is the witness and who is the doer in this whole process?
Most of the time we are the doer and we have to remind ourselves that I am not the doer and that I am just moving among objects in this illusion which we call the world. By observing this aspect, by diserning with the intellect this fine line between doer and witness, we train the mind to become the silent witness and to let go of our attachments to those emotions and people. We become more mindful of what we are doing, why we are doing it and as such living in the moment becomes much easier than we thought.
So next time somebody holds that mirror up, look at the reflection and instead of attaching to it, just be the “Switzerland” of your mind, impartially disern what is happening around you without placing any judgement card on that which you observe. The reflection in the mirror is an opportunity for growth, if we learn to see the reflection and learn from it.