Svadhyaya – स्वाध्यायादिष्टदेवतासंप्रयोगः॥

   Long, long ago….before a student was permitted to study with a master, they needed to demonstrate their understanding of the first limb of Patanjali’s 8-limbed Yoga, the Niyama’s and the Yamas.   Svadhyaya , is the 4th of the five Niyama’s 

स्वाध्यायादिष्टदेवतासंप्रयोगः॥     Study the self, discover the divine.   Patanjali’s Yogasutra, II.44

Patanjali, and others,  point us towards self-development using introspection as well as inquiry, awareness and self-reflection.  He challenges us to be present in each and every moment with our breath, sensation, thought, emotion, and divine connection.  We are asked to look at ourselves, clearly, without prejudice, bias, fear or favor. It’s a challenging task and requires constant practice and discipline to maintain.  Yoga trains us well for this task.

According to Swami Kripalu,  self-judgement is the underlying impulse for much of our woes.  It’s so painful that we continuously dismiss it to our unconscious.    At the end of his life, Swami Kripalu stated that “self-observation, without judgement” is the source of all progress on the spiritual path.

Self-inquiry encourages one to first recognize and then drop the social mask (also known as the persona, personality, or ascendant) and practice authenticity rather than productivity, or some other external goal.  In, The Path with Heart  Jack Kornfield describes a Buddhist practice of sitting quietly and repeatedly path with heartasking yourself, “Who am I?” until you reach a point where a subtle shift in consciousness happens. It’s one of those things that you have to experience and hard to describe.  This seemingly easy practice then morphed into other ways to find that true voice. The Enlightenment Intensive technique was part of many Kripalu Yoga trainings and programs that I facilitated and participated in.  Yoga helps smooth out the obstacles, minimize the ego drives and approach life’s challenges in peace.

Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves is the Fourth Step of various 12-Step Recovery programs.  It asks members to do an inventory of  ‘character defects’ and to stop looking at others.  It encourages self-reflection with support.  It has helped millions towards developing more self-awareness.

Astrology is another tool that helps us understand know ourselves better.  Natal astrology can offer reams of information regarding the characteristics of personality, ego, unconscious motivations and impulses.  It can show the nature and timing of obstacles that impede our path towards self acceptance, self-realization and higher consciousness. Astrology provides us with the nature of the ever-changing present moment so that we can go with the flow and not try to hold back the river.

There are as many ways of doing self-inquiry as there are minds to dream it up.  Still, the practices from the ancient masters remain useful and 100% relevant today.

My intention  is to  create a safe container and optimal conditions for you to experience whatever your divine self has in store for you.  Transformation, healing, and enlightenment are possible side effects.