The other day I had an anxiety dream: the kind of dream that played with my sense of worth by exposing me to a form of public shame. In my dream I was searching for ways to make me look reputable to other people. This anxiety dream clung to my skin reminding me that I must confront, release, or come to accept something occurring in my life. The practice of yoga is a practice of letting go. Yoga teaches us that everything, including you and me, is moving, changing, transforming. Change is inevitable yet most of us still cling to the past thinking it's the solution to all our current discomforts. We get stuck in old ideas, old identities, traumas of the past, and self-judgment. We also cling to past joys – think of the friend who won’t leave a dead relationship because of the memories of when the relationship was good. No matter if we hold onto good or bad memories, we are closing the door to our own personal growth by layering dust over our innermost light. When we refuse to let go of past traumas and joys we stop valuing who we are TODAY.
The night of my dream, while preparing for my classes, I spent time drifting onto other people’s facebook pages and Instragram accounts. As most anyone in this decade knows, facebook stalking is a recipe for ego annihilation. People put their best face forward on social media and while sitting in my own self-judgment, I saw that everyone else appeared happy, successful, and always beautiful.
Our thoughts are energy and what we think about ourselves, positive or negative, will manifest on the conscious and subconscious level. Yoga teaches us that everything we need to grow is already within us. We carry within us are absolute true Self, our Atman. In the Brihadaranvaka Upanishad, the Atman is defined as “that in which everything exists, which is of the highest value, which permeates everything, which is the essence of all, bliss and beyond description.” When we no longer know our value in this world and look to the outside world for happiness, we have lost the connection to our inner Self.
Each of us is a mirror. When we act from our highest Self we radiate and shine opening the path for others to connect to their highest Self. When you connect to your inner Self and become happy with who you are, you not only lift yourself higher but create the space for all those around you to lift themselves higher too.
My dream forced me to look at my need for approval from others. To do this I had to quiet down and listen to my thoughts. The external world was not undervaluing me but rather I was stunted by own limiting beliefs. I realized that I can only bolster self-worth from within. When each of us connects to our Inner Self, our Atman, we turn on a bright light that shines inside us and lights up our connection with all of humanity.