If you want to put your spiritual progress or personal development to the test, just wait for the people closest to you (and usually the ones you love the most) to annoy you. It won’t happen in the honeymoon period as with newborn children or newlyweds, but just give it time.
This morning my dear husband informed me (as Dame Edna would say, ‘in the most caring way’) that he thought “my fuse was getting shorter”. It’s not fair taking the statement out of context, but nevertheless, he gave me pause for thought. I think what he meant was that at times I was showing up with grumpy old person behaviour. I’m pretty sure that’s what he meant.
Among the collection of yoga precepts, there’s one that is specifically meant to help counteract being irascible or reactive by fostering a greater degree of self-awareness, and that is svadhyaha – self study.
Self-study is not really study of oneself, according to Australian Sutra commentator Vyn Bailey. He describes it as:
….study I myself get involved in. I don’t just listen to teachers – I do my homework, perhaps working harder than the teachers do. Personal study expresses this concept better.
This kind of detailed study of the entire structure of one’s personality leads to the perception of the self and one’s consciousness.
Daniel held up a mirror today and gave me an opportunity to own the pettiness that I am capable of. The very act of ownership of all of my humanity implies there is a bigger part of me that can accommodate it. Is this the Self?
The practice of Yoga must reduce both physical and mental impurities. It must develop our capacity for self examination and help us to understand that, in the final analysis, we are not the masters of everything we do.*
*Patanjali’s Yogasutras, translation and commentary by T.K.V. Desikachar.