To All You Great Beings (Yes, You)Oct 18, 2023
At the end of my retreats, I always conclude by offering a blessing to the group. It’s inspired by the themes we’ve explored and the unique synergy of the participants.
During a recent retreat, the sentiments that surfaced included a wish to “honor the inner wisdom that’s guiding you toward the great beings you are becoming.”
To my surprise, the group responded with a collective chuckle as if to say, Me? A great being?
The truth was, I wasn’t joking. When I looked at our circle, I saw people dedicated to becoming the most expanded versions of themselves. making their lives meaningful beyond self-interest. and contributing to the greater good. From my perspective, they were on the path toward becoming extraordinary individuals, each in their own way.
I understand that there are many reasons why it can feel uncomfortable to view ourselves as “great beings in the making.” It can seem egotistical or self-important, especially in the yoga community, where many of us might rather be seen as humble and unassuming.
Yet does it really benefit us, and the world, to limit ourselves?
One of the most vital aspects of an introspective yoga practice is that it reconnects us with our innate goodness. In doing so, it invites us to open to the possibility of our greatness, not to inflate our ego, but to step into our true nature as seen by yoga.
Through meditation and contemplative practices, we awaken and cultivate what's known in the Buddhist tradition as our Bodhichitta. This is the soul’s desire to act for the welfare of all beings, the impulse that motivates us to gain wisdom and deepen compassion - what Joanna Macy refers to as “the mind of love.”
In yoga, this inclination is seen as a natural outcome of connecting with our inner Self, the core of pure consciousness residing within us as our deepest essence, which is of the nature of love.
At a time when many of us are faced with questions that have no easy answer, the willingness to embrace our inner greatness can be the starting point for sitting with pain, confusion, sadness, anger, and heartbreak. It can bring the clarity from which we can examine the conditioned responses that block its benevolent expression with honesty and courage.
By doing so, we see that yoga isn’t about escaping from the complexities of these times, but rather a way to fortify ourselves to face the challenges.
From this perspective, stepping into our greatness isn’t so much about who we are as individuals, but how we can bring our best to the world.