Years ago, I had this job where I was on call. If the product we launched encountered problems, I'd get calls even when it's midnight or I'm on vacation. I left that job because I felt that given I wasn't saving lives, it did not feel like what I was supposed to do, slaving away for the mere purpose of making rich people even richer.
As yogis, we are very privileged. To be able to practice yoga at this time means we have the time and money and the space to search for ourselves. It means we have the luxury of pondering these questions: What am I here for? Am I here just to work and pay rent and buy new gadgets? Or could there be something more?
This exercise that we will try today is inspired by a friend who asked me the same questions. Imagine that your being born was your choice, that you had looked at the world as it is and chose to be human again because there is something you needed to do. You had a purpose. You came here for a specific reason. You are a warrior with a mission. What then is that purpose, that reason, that mission? What speaks to you? What thugs at your heart? What is it about the world that fascinates you or captures you or breaks you or frustrates you? Your emotional response could be remnants of those memories of your purpose.
You had a purpose. But then, when you were born, that purpose was forgotten. And then you grew up and you got distracted by the shiny things called money and wealth and material comforts. Is that all life has to offer? Is that enough? The work now then is to remember. Remember why you are here. Remember what it is that you need to heal in the world. Remember that you are the one who claimed you can do something about it. Then do something about it.
We practice yoga to build awareness of everything that is around us, so that we could be fully conscious and alert. Practice taking it all in. Practice seeing everything as they are. Practice not running away. If you find discomfort in a pose, do not give up. Giving up may give you temporary relief, but takes away from you that chance to grow. In the same way, if you see someone suffering, do not turn away. Turning away does not change the suffering of that being, and robs you of that opportunity to connect with the deepest part of yourself you may have forgotten. If we want to find our purpose, then it is necessary that we confront all of life, even the difficulties, especially perhaps the difficulties, because therein may lie the reasons as to why we chose to be here.
If you believe you are a soul, is it not logical that your purpose is in some way to alleviate the difficulty of others, to bring joy, to make life worth living, to bring freedom to all? How that folds out and what you do to make it happen become secondary when you remember your purpose. It has always been there-- this reason why you are here. All you need to do is remember.