As a yoga student or teacher, I bet you’ve heard a lot about detachment. You’ve probably heard a lot about finding happiness within and rising above the ever peaking and skyrocketing highs and lows of happiness derived from material things. True enough. Well said. Fair play.
But is the emphasis on detachment and living a spiritually abundant life at the expense of financial abundance really the point?
What about God? The G-word? Aka Om, cosmic energy, the universe, or the source. Isn’t the whole point of yoga to have an intimate understanding of this concept? They don’t call Patanjali’s Sutras ‘How to Know God’ for nothin’.
When we start to get straight to the point of yoga and other spiritual practices, the ‘Stop buying stuff you like’ emphasis falls apart. Because nothin’ is more abundant than Om.
Samadhi. Ananda. Bliss. They all refer to a state of being that basically translates to the greatest, deepest, abundant love we’ll ever experience. And entering into that state is no small thing. It’s life changing. It’s the biggest experience we’ll ever have.
And yup, it comes from within. We carry Om in our soul. Like Rumi says, “You are not just the drop in the ocean. You are the mighty ocean in the drop.” We carry the ocean in our physical self, within our spirit.
Our deepest, greatest happiness comes from that place. It’s uplifting, it’s anchoring, and it’s affirming. It’s a light within that will guide the way when we can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. And no material thing will do that for us.
But yoga is no longer practiced exclusively by men who want to spend most of their time in caves. It’s evolved. And it’s evolved for a reason. I don’t know for sure, but I believe it’s because it was simply time. It was time for yoga to make a bigger difference, and enter into today’s cultures in a way that makes sense.
We’re not living in caves. We’re living in apartments, condos, and homes in the suburbs. We’re not living on our own. We’re part of communities, families and colleagues. We make money. We contribute. We seek out enjoyment.
And why not? What if your drop the mighty ocean exists in is meant to live out abundance in the material world. After all, this is where we live, where we are incarnated.
It only makes a tiny glimmer of sense to say ‘no’ to abundance in the material world as a way to begin to experience the happiness and ever-lasting abundance of the soul within. But once you’ve got that? Don’t opt for struggle. Don’t opt for sacrifice. Choose love.
When you operate from that place, abundance will naturally follow. Don’t feel guilty or shameful. It’s not a reflection of your lack of spirit—it’s a reflection of your spirit.
Photo credit: Camillia Lee (check out her other great photos on Facebook)