Yoga as a Buffet Lunch
Yoga is a process of self-improvement, a process by which we become better than we are now. It may be expected that this is something we are all interested in. But improvement involves change, and change is something we resist, even if it is a change for the better. It is interesting that we all want to get better, but do not want to change. Further, yoga involves not a small change; it involves a change in human nature itself. That is why, the resistance to the change required for the practice of yoga is all the greater. That is the reason why yoga needs personal effort as well as divine grace. The personal effort is called sadhana. In the integral yoga of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, the three pillars ofsadhana are aspiration, rejection and surrender. That makes it similar to a buffet lunch. We go for the buffet because we wish to have a good meal: that is aspiration. While going through the variety of dishes on offer, we accept the ones we like, and reject the rest: that is rejection. Further, we may find that some of the dishes that we would have liked are not on the menu. We have no choice but to reconcile to what is available: that is surrender. Similarly, starting on yoga needs a desire to improve. This desire is called aspiration, because a desirable desire is an aspiration. The aspiration should be sincere, intense and persistent, but not impatient. Then come the obstacles such as our attachment to relationships and possessions, and innumerable distractions, temptations and obligations. All the obstacles on the path of self-improvement have to be rejected. The progress may still not be as fast as we like, and there may be periods when there may seem to be no progress at all. That makes it necessary to surrender to the divine will. One can enjoy the game of yoga only if we concentrate on the game, and let the Divine take care of the scoreboard. Enjoy the journey, leave the destination to the Divine. Enjoy the feast, leave the menu to the Divine.