Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure and heart, for they shall see, God.”- Matthew 5:8.
“Everywhere looking, God seeing” -Pattabi Jois
You know that feeling you have when you start something new? When something is just pure possibility? You are excited and full of energy, anticipation and joy. That is the feeling of a pure heart. That is the feeling of a heart that has not been beaten down by expectations, comparison and disappointment. That is the heart that yoga is looking to uncover;the spiritual heart.
Up to a certain age, children naturally exist in this realm. My grand baby is so excited about the world that he cannot stay in one place for more than a few minutes. He wants to play, touch and explore. Nothing is off limits. He reaches for a grubby shoe and a shiny new toy with equal enthusiasm. I remember being excited to go anywhere with my mom. Even if it was the same grocery store or church service I had been to hundreds of times. It felt like an adventure. Children naturally experience life through a pure heart. When our hearts are pure, we see all the wonders of this earth. We naturally see God.
As we grow, we start collecting what the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali calls “vrittis”, stories and ideas that dirty our vision and stain the spiritual heart. We no longer see God. We look out at the world and see our past pains, expectations, judgments, failures and disappointments. We move through the world as if we already know what is going to happen. We live out these self fulfilling prophecies not realizing that the universe has infinite possibilities that we have shut ourselves off from because we can no longer see God.
The Yoga Sutras of Patanajli gives many tools to wipe away the stains on the spiritual heart. One of these methods is though a combination of practice and non attachment. Practice is defined as “effort towards steadiness of mind.” We also have to untangle, detach, ourselves from all the stuff that sits negatively on our hearts. Another practice is forgiveness. Forgiving ourselves and forgiving others lightens the load on our hearts and sets our eyes back on God or joy.
Shanna Small has been practicing Ashtanga Yoga and studying the Yoga Sutras since 2001. She has studied in Mysore with Sharath Jois and is the Director of AYS Charlotte, a school for traditional Ashtanga in Charlotte NC. She has written for Yoga International and the Ashtanga Dispatch. Go here for more information on AYS Charlotte. For information on workshops, please e-mail email@example.com.