Another primary part of the ancient scriptures teaches us that the material world is ultimately one of illusion, or maya. It’s not the Absolute Reality. If we get stuck in this illusory world, we will suffer and we will continue to repeat unhealthy habits and behaviors, staying stuck in negative ruts, or samsara, for many, many lifetimes. And why would we want that?
So, the ancient scriptures provide us with methods and stories about how to free ourselves from samsara in order to gain enlightened awareness, and to liberate ourselves from human suffering. (Learn about The Roots of Suffering.)
We do this by practicing non-attachment from the material world. We let go of our desires because they are impermanent. They are constantly coming and going and, once we attain them, we want yet another. It’s an endless state of “I want this” or “I don’t want that.” The teachings of yoga tells us that we can get beyond this level of consciousness and ultimately experience a deep contentment, or santosha, that never wavers and never goes away.
The scriptures also teach us that we can attain freedom from suffering when we master the art of surrendering to the Divine, or Ishvara. We can place our trust in a higher power and we can also come to feel connected to it. We’re given all sorts of tools; meditation, mantra, asana, mudra, pranayama and other teachings that help us get there. Eventually, we will come to a point of realization that not only is there a higher power, but that we are the higher power. We are the Universe and the Universe is within us. We are connected to the highest level of Consciousness and can ultimately live from that place. This is the heart of yoga
By Aimee Hughes
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