On svadhyaya, self awareness as interconnected transformation
One of the core tenets of yoga practice and philosophy is Svadhyaya, self-study, the idea being that through committed inquiry, whether via scripture, poetry, Taoist verse or any other philosophical-spiritual medium (defined as beyond the materialistic realm) we delve into the depths of our being.
This cultivation of awareness, of our selves, who we are, what shapes us, why we do the things we do and the ripple effects of our various ways, starts from the vantage point that is closest - our individual selves.
And then it ripples outwards because inwardly directed contemplation, if viewed through any number of lenses that encourage us to cultivate our place in the world as responsible, active agents of interconnected transformation, isn't mere solpsistic navel gazing. It's about realising that every thought, communication and action leaves a trace and possibly a stain.
The current state of the world makes that conspicuously, shamefully clear. The choices we make, from what to wear, to what to eat to where and how we travel, through to the words we choose via the emotions we feel and then how and towards whom we direct them, it's an interminable wave of energetic release. And sadly, sometimes pollution of mind and planet.
It's what the Stoics call the "circle of concern". That circle has us, the individual, as the dot in the centre of concentric circles, expanding into family and friends, community, society, the world, the universe.
Developing our sense of awareness, then, enables us to be in the world and part of the various circles we inhabit with care and attention for all. Without necessarily overthinking (because as Bruce Lee said, "If you spend too much time thinking about a thing you'll never get it done") but certainly with enough consciousness and conscientiousness to realise the nature of cause and effect. Which starts from here, where we are, how we think, where we stand, how we move forward.
From small acorns, as the aphorism goes. Or, from thoughts, grow words, become deeds, become...what?
What thoughts will you cultivate? What seeds will you plant? What impact do you want to have, how might you lessen your impact in some ways and expand in others?