The Dance of Destruction
As we are reaching the halfway point of our year, it is a great time to review how we have been doing with the hopes and dreams that were with us as we kicked off this year. In January, we likely had goals of who we hoped to become during the course of this year. Even if we didn't write down the goals, we had an image of habits we wished to continue and habits we hoped we could get rid of. However, we don't often hear of people sticking with their goals past February, nonetheless in July. This post is meant to be give hope to anyone who has ever felt like the victim to their goals. Here, we re-empower ourselves to know that we can become something more.
In Hinduism, there is a sort of "trinity" of Gods in charge of the proceedings of this Earth. Brahma is the God of Creation, Vishnu is the Preserver, and Shiva is the God of Destruction. When he is depicted such as in the image above, it is a part of his Dance of Destruction. Interestingly, Shiva is also the being called the God of Yoga. We don't often think about it, but yoga is meant to be a force of destruction in our lives.
People don't always like hearing about this side of yoga because of the negative connotation we've associated with the word "destruction". We'd rather hear that yoga is about peace, love, connection, compassion, and joy. It is true that yoga can bring one into these more pleasant states of life because these are qualities that naturally arise with union. However, we cannot ignore the destructive powers of yoga.
What does yoga destroy? Here is a list of 3 of them, among many others:
1. Yoga helps destroy the ego.
The ego is the part of us that makes us seem different than others. In order to navigate through a job and other life skills, we have to be able to work with an ego. However, in terms of spiritual progress, the ego holds us back. So long as the ego is allowed to completely run the show, people are able to justify war, lying, cheating, stealing, and violence toward others. Instead, when we realize that in hurting others, we are only hurting ourself, we begin to connect to the deeper meaning of yoga.
2. Yoga destroys the habits that hold us back from connecting with our soul.
In others and in myself, I see so much numbing going on constantly. We numb by overeating, drinking alcohol, checking our phones and social media constantly, running through marathons of watching shows on Netflix, and any number of other activities. These activities take up our time so that we don't have to think about what we are missing out on in our lives. Yoga gives us special time specifically dedicated to letting yourself move through the body, breathe, stretch, and be present with what is going on. In these quiet, connected moments, the voice of our soul can begin to speak to us. It can begin to tell us what is hurting it and what is healing it. The soul feels all levels from physical to energetic to the enlighement available to the soul. As we listen to its words, we naturally begin to feel more at union with ourselves and with others.
3. Yoga destroys what we've always conceived of as our past and future to create more room for the ever present now.
The past is only as real as the stories we keep telling ourselves of it. Interestingly, though, everyone remembers the past differently. The future is only as real as the steps we take today to head toward a certain direction of our choosing. The only thing that actually exists is this moment right now. Yoga teaches us how to be present right here and right now in this moment. It teaches us how to breathe in this and every moment. It teaches us to to check in with ourselves on emotional and physical levels. It teaches us how to listen to our intuition.
There is much more that yoga destroys for us. Curiously, we've traditionally had a bad attitude towards destruction. In fact, we got so good at preventing destruction that we stopped allowing forest firest to happen. Eventually, this began to kill forests, which require occasional fires in order to receive much of the carbon and nutrients they need to thrive. Some seeds even require fire to germinate. For instance the Online Britannica describes how, "the lodgepole pine, Eucalyptus, and Banksia, have serotinous cones or fruits that are completely sealed with resin. These cones/fruits can only open to release their seeds after the heat of a fire has physically melted the resin." Because of this problem to forests, controlled fires began to be administered so that the natural processes could still occur as they needed to without as much destruction to property and life.
Perhaps we can take a few minutes today to meditate on what sorts of controlled fires we'd like to have yoga run through our lives to help us transform into the highest and best version of ourselves.
What does yoga mean to you? What has yoga helped to destroy in your life? Let us know in the comments below!