Life Itself, Our Greatest Teacher

Don’t make the mistake of overlooking the crux of what’s happening in everyday life. Don’t discount the relevance of the everyday, ordinary moments.

Life itself has a massive capacity to show us truth, to wake us up. And yet, many of us avoid this thing called life, after all, life is designed to push our buttons and bring up all the areas within us that remain blocked.

Many of us are using spirituality as a way to avoid life’s difficult and challenging aspects, to avoid seeing what we really need to see, to avoid being confronted with our own illusions and our own pain.

At a certain point, a wise spiritual aspirant may realize that avoiding the difficult aspects of life and seeking the blissful, joyful ones through spiritual means is really no different from a worldly person seeking happiness through money, success or relationship. It is the same process, simply dressed up in spiritual attire. If we can recognize this fact, then we may be open to a deeper recognition of exactly how this spiritual journey works.

It is very important to realize that life itself is our greatest teacher, and if we allow it, life will give us exactly what we need to dissolve our inner blockages. This is exactly how nature was designed to work. In the yogic tradition there's a term for the inner blockages that prevent us from experiencing the natural peace and joy inherent within us; they are called samskaras.

Our true nature is constantly trying to flush out all of our samskaras so that undiluted happiness can flow into our experience. Unfortunately, most of us are doing everything we can to keep the lid on.

When a situation triggers our samskaras, and the uncomfortable feelings begin to resurface, it is our natural reaction to recoil from them just as it is our tendency to recoil from pain of any sort. Our samskaras hurt when they went in and so they hurt when they come out.

As long as we are either unaware or unwilling to experience these hidden feelings, our lives will be ones of continued avoidance. And no amount of spiritual techniques or practices will save us.

The real spiritual work begins when we no longer resist the difficult, challenging aspects of life, but instead embrace it. We realize that life is not against us, but is in fact doing everything it can to free us. If we want to be free and happy in life, we must remove the inner blockages within us and life itself provides a vehicle to do so.

And so, in those everyday, ordinary moments when the uncomfortable feelings arise, when we become worried, angry, sad or fearful, when we meet our own pain—if we reverse the habit to resist and push away, and replace it with the habit of openness, and the willingness to face it, our inner blockages will be given all that they need to dissolve. Essentially, this is the practice of Shoshin Yoga.

As we release more and more of our inner blockages, we will at some point realize that more and more truth and happiness is seeping into our lives. Because the illusions and blockages have been removed, there is no longer anything left to distort the experience of our natural state and its qualities of peace, happiness and love.

Ayla Sarnoff