The Yoga Of Finding Your Way Back Home

For most of your life, you live out your existence here in the middle of the chain of human experience where everything is normal and reassuring and regular, but failure catapults you abruptly way out over here into the blinding darkness of disappointment. Success catapults you just as abruptly but just as far way out over here into the equally blinding glare of fame and recognition and praise. And one of these fates is objectively seen by the world as bad, and the other one is objectively seen by the world as good, but your subconscious is completely incapable of discerning the difference between bad and good. The only thing that it is capable of feeling is the absolute value of this emotional equation, the exact distance that you have been flung from yourself. And there’s a real equal danger in both cases of getting lost out there in the hinterlands of the psyche.

But in both cases, it turns out that there is also the same remedy for self-restoration, and that is that you have got to find your way back home again as swiftly and smoothly as you can, and if you’re wondering what your home is, here’s a hint: Your home is whatever in this world you love more than you love yourself. So that might be creativity, it might be family, it might be invention, adventure, faith, service, it might be raising corgis, I don’t know, your home is that thing to which you can dedicate your energies with such singular devotion that the ultimate results become inconsequential.Many of what you do will fail, and some of them might succeed, but you will always be safe from the random hurricanes of outcome as long as you never forget where you rightfully live.

The only trick is that you’ve got to identify the best, worthiest thing that you love most, and then build your house right on top of it and don’t budge from it. And if you should someday, somehow get vaulted out of your home by either great failure or great success, then your job is to fight your way back to that home the only way that it has ever been done, by putting your head down and performing with diligence and devotion and respect and reverence whatever the task is that love is calling forth from you next. You just do that, and keep doing that again and again and again, and I can absolutely promise you, from long personal experience in every direction, I can assure you that it’s all going to be okay.

Elizabeth Gilbert in TED

When I listened to this talk, I felt that this was a great way of putting what yoga really means in daily life. To do what you do with no thought of success or failure, to be equanimous. The Bhagavad Gita told these things aeons back but sometimes a interpretation which is current and by people who we can identify with makes the meaning clearer. Look at what Bhagavad Gita says:

You have a right to perform your prescribed duty, but you are not entitled to the fruits of action. Never consider yourself the cause of the results of your activities, and never be attached to not doing your duty.Perform your duty equipoised, O Arjuna, abandoning all attachment to success or failure. Such equanimity is called yoga. One who is not disturbed in mind even amidst the threefold miseries or elated when there is happiness, and who is free from attachment, fear and anger, is called a sage of steady mind.In the material world, one who is unaffected by whatever good or evil he may obtain, neither praising it nor despising it, is firmly fixed in perfect knowledge.A person who is not disturbed by the incessant flow of desires — that enter like rivers into the ocean, which is ever being filled but is always still — can alone achieve peace, and not the man who strives to satisfy such desires.A person who has given up all desires for sense gratification, who lives free from desires, who has given up all sense of proprietorship and is devoid of false ego — he alone can attain real peace.That is the way of the spiritual and godly life, after attaining which a man is not bewildered. If one is thus situated even at the hour of death, one can enter into the kingdom of God.

Elizabeth talks about finding something that you truly love and doing that irrespective of failure or success. Sometimes we may not know what we truly love or be engaged in other things than that we truly love. No matter what, the principles that the Bhagavad Gita teaches can guide us to that state of peace which we call yoga. All life is Yoga in a way, as Sri Aurobindo says. We have to aspire to live this life to fulfill our real nature.

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