In order to connect to people who are feeling limited by the daily confusion of this rapidly changing world, I like to share my own personal journey to self-realization. It began in prison, which, like in society, often does not provide any real incentive to grow. When I was doing time, the consensus was that prisoners were incapable of changing their lives. As far as the correctional institution was concerned, that was the end of the story.
In order to take my life back from the countless unproductive choices that I had made, I had to ask myself, “Why do I keep making decisions that don’t improve the quality of my life?”
As I continued to practice self-inquiry and reflection, I received amazing clarity into my own hidden motivations and self-limiting beliefs that had caused me to channel my energy into wrong actions. I had made these unproductive decisions despite the efforts of the police, my family and my so-called friends to convince me to stop. I came to understand that in a similar way, nothing could be able to stop me from achieving whatever I envisioned for my life.
At first, I had doubts as to the legitimacy of my insights, but time after time, the outer circumstances of my life confirmed my new realizations, including people whom I respected as mentors and books that I came across in the prison library. I grew more and more determined to make productive decisions and focused my will on becoming a successful person on my own terms. That is definition of freedom as far as yoga is concerned, and whether you are in a literal prison or a figurative one, it may apply to you as well.
The first book that I read in prison that began to free my mind from self-limiting thinking and belief systems was the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. My initial reaction was, “Why didn’t I learn this important wisdom in school?” Many more books would follow, but that book was particularly important because it validated my person experience of higher states of consciousness. Soon after reading it I wrote to the publishers of the book and was visited by two monks who taught me a simple meditation technique. They told me, “Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it.” That would not be my last encounter with monks.
I did not stick to a mediation practice in the beginning. I know now that I’m a conceptual person and I didn’t have enough knowledge of the science of meditation to stay consistent with it. However, the practical approach did teach me that self-discovery and awakening is a systematic process. The experience also motivated me to keep pursuing my interest in the understanding of higher states of consciousness. As I gained more knowledge and new insights into the nature of consciousness, the next question I sought to find an answer for was, “What is really going on with my life?”
According to the Yoga Sutras, we are all doing time in the prison of self-limiting thinking and belief systems. The Yoga Psychology of Patanjali teaches that within your own being, there is the capacity to build the reality that you want to experience. To accomplish this requires, first of all, a commitment to the process of self-discovery. Over the many years of practicing the principles of yoga psychology, I have come to realize that when we are not committed to growth and personal fulfillment, feelings of limitation and confusion emerge out of our lack of clarity, purpose and direction. These feeling constitute our personal prison.
In the process of being released from the self- limiting belief system that imprisoned, not only my mind, but my body as well, there were numerous mental, emotional and physical adjustments that I had to make. I began to better adapt to change and the unpredictable elements of life. The one thing that has remained consistent is my dedication to discovery.
Eventually I did learn a meditation technique that I continued to practice faithfully. I also used yogic self-development skills that further enhanced my ability to take productive actions toward achieving specific goals. I no longer define my life by referring to the limitations of race, economics, social class or any other value imposed on me by society. My passion for mentoring and coaching others in the yogic path comes from my own experiences and successes.
If you are feeling imprisoned by confusion, limitations or obstacles, and are interested in discovering a way to gain greater clarity, purpose and direction in your life, I invite you to connect with me, and embark on the path of freedom, awareness and mastery.