Svadhyaya – Turning towards self

Can you have a spiritual practice with yourself?  I believe this is exactly what the niyama, or observance, svadhyaya is expounding.

In “Practicing the Power of Now” Eckhart Tolle has a section titled “Relationships as Spiritual Practice” and writes about how relationship problems can take us “out of the now”, or a peaceful internal state.  But I believe it is the relationship that we have with ourselves that allows an individual to maintain a balanced and steady state of being, so that we can be at peace and therefore be peaceful within any relationship or situation.

How can turning in and really looking at ourselves, at our truth, not be the beginning of our spiritual endeavor?  When we confront our fears and our ego-created delusions we begin to question who we are, we begin to loose our identity.  We are no longer able to live as before, we do not know or trust ourselves and begin to feel lost, afraid and alone, terrified of failing at life, of not being enough for who we are.  It is here that the ego can take over and closes the heart and mind.  What we begin to seek is the experience of an infant who experiences without expectations.  Developing intellectually and emotionally without judgement.  This is the spiritual practice with and within ourselves.

To me svadhyaya is surrendering to this beginner mind and heart.  Having compassion for myself on the journey of acceptance.  Listening to my heart and my truth and understanding why I have chosen this path.  It is very calming to know I am alive.