Lately, I’ve been thinking…(said like the intro for a segment on Chelsea Lately) about battles and the ones we choose to fight, and don’t. The other day at work one of my suggestions wasn’t taken about a quote I was uncomfortable about submitting for a news release…in my opinion not worth fighting for. A few hours later I noticed a fight in my head about whether or not to go to yoga class. How do you know which ones are and which ones aren’t? I would think the answer would have to do with your intention. If wanting to prove someone else wrong or be right or look good…the answer is obvious. What about the really big battles. I’m referring to the one yoga identifies and the one discussed in the Bhagavad Gita (similar to the Christian bible).
To make a long story short – literally (it’s a book!) and figuratively – Arjuna, a warrior and possible heir to a throne, must fight a war with several relatives and consults with Krishna (a male form of God) for help. He doesn’t want to fight the battle or kill. People have discussed for years whether or not this is a true story or just that, a story with nothing more than to make a point. What struck me the most wasn’t what he was fighting, but if he should fight at all.
Krishna says he must, it’s a part of his path and therefore he must move forward, he offers him some “weapons.” Conquering the lower self (ego, attachments, mind thinking) is about first choosing to even fight the battle. Krishna tells Arjuna to use yoga as a “skill in action” to conquer and master selfish desires. Yoga will provide the “evenness” of mind necessary to move forward. I like that he doesn’t tell him to renounce life and become a monk, instead it is about having the journey in life with the struggle and still moving forward.
This story is everyone’s life. A part I really related to was in the beginning when Arjuna hesitates to join the war. Fighting in this battle of self-mastery, a part of us must die and no longer exist. To some extent that concept can be very scary, especially if we identify ourselves with certain aspects of us. Even though those aspects aren’t our identity, the mind makes it feel that way. Being on this spiritual path and fighting the noble fight requires devotion and faith. It’s so beautiful we get to decide which path to take. Love seems to be our most valuable weapon. I certainly have the same concerns of death and fear Arjuna has. I must overcome my passion and ambition and release from attachment to reach the ultimate phase of samsara (cycle of lives) – the unmanifested, where Krishna, and my true self, resides.
Once choosing this battle, there’s no going back…that’s where the resistance lies for me. I have the weapons needed and armour…all that’s left is putting up my dukes.
Today I’m grateful for sun sets, notes, and clean kitchen.