On this path of life, the movement away from pain towards freedom is practice. That is your yoga. Or if it speaks more to you: the stilling of the monkey mind takes effort. It does not happen by itself and it will demand Satkara, your commitment. Last night, Swamiji dedicated his teachings to developing Yatnah Abhyasa : how there is an effort to the practice. It is not just doing, repeating. You apply yourself, it is a conscious effort. It is not a question of developing a skill. That is not why we practice over and over again. It is because we get disturbed on the way.
Constantly. Like when you’re on the way to realize something, make something clear to you and your attention is drawn to something that is going on around you. “I was just about to understand something…”
So we need to do it again and again. This practice is building a strong platform for you, a foundation that you can stand on to reach the stage of no thoughts. The question came of how long we have to practice to reach this enlightenment. But the fact of asking that is an answer in itself. If you are concerned about measuring the time of the practice, then you need to go back, start again by asking why you are practicing. It is not about how long it takes. There is no definition of time. When you are spending time with the one you love, time flies and when you are bored, the same amount of time seems like an eternity. The Abhyasa is the goal. If you practice for the sake of achieving a state, for the promise of enlightenment, then it only means that your road to travel is rather long. Like we were told on our very first class of this course, if yoga is physical practice to you, then that is where you are at with yourself. On a physical level.
If the idea of Abhyasa (the practice), Yathan (the effort) and Satkara (the devotion to it) is a means to an end, to achieve a goal, then that is where you are at on your journey. The goal is your object. In time, you will come to understand that there is no goal because it is through this journey that your mind will clear up, that the reason you’re doing all of this is so that you can peel off layer after layer of those decorations you have collected throughout your life. Call this whatever you want.
Actually, call it your life.
This is also why there is no use to try to justify yourself, to prove yourself or to convince anyone else. They will only understand what their spot on the path is showing them. So if they can’t see that their anxiety, the restlessness, boredom, need of approval or whichever form the suffering is taking in life are signals of one same struggle that is really going on inside, then they will not feel the desire to move towards a deeper knowledge of themselves. They will see no need of it.