Your Freedom is Hidden in Your Shadow

We spend our entire lives trying to find a permanent kind of security (emotional or material). We’re striving to (finally) be “at peace”. We’re striving to eliminate the sense of anxiety/fear/lack in the background of our everyday experience. And we assume that this anxiety/fear/lack will disappear for good once we’ve obtained the job/money/love/fame, etc.. Then, we think, will be “at peace”.

Your desire to find this permanent kind of security actually reinforces the basic sense of lack/anxiety that you’re trying to eliminate. In other words, the very quest for permanent freedom from your personal problems might be the very thing keeping you from your deepest fulfillment. Your personal problems are a product of the habits you’ve inherited and developed in the process of avoiding (and trying to eliminate) the anxiety/lack/fear (and other painful/difficult emotions).

The practices of yoga are intended to release awareness from the compulsions and anxieties of the habitual self. These practices create the conditions for habits (or ‘karmas’ or ‘memories’) to disclose themselves, making explicit what had become implicit and habitual. These habits—which are inscribed in the body—have ancient and ancestral roots; they are memories that dwell deeper than any specific memory. In fact, these habits are expressions of ancient, ancestral, social, familial, and cultural histories, commitments, compulsions and anxieties, etc., all of which are rooted in a most primitive grasping for unconditional security. This desire for unconditioned security manifests as grasping for unlimited recognition, a bulletproof ego—for whatever will resolve, once and for all, every sense of lack/anxiety, of dis-ease.