I understand the concept of restraint and thoughtfulness, but the yamas and the yoga sutras of Patanjali appear to me at this point to be more about negation. I don’t want to negate myself and my body, I want to live more fully into myself and my body. I want to be alive. And I can’t imagine that sense of aliveness by negating everything around me—my senses, my mind. Why be alive?
Yes, I understand from the yogic perspective that there is no “me” to live into. But I am not sure I quite buy into that. I whole-heartedly agree and try hard to live by the philosophy that we are all more similar than we are different, and that we are connected to the wider world and universe in ways that are hard to explain. But at the same time, we are all created physically distinct from one another with a wide variety of skills and talents that we can use to make the world a better place. Those skills and talents make us unique creations. So while I don’t believe in a strong “I” as completely separate from everyone and everything else in the world, there is an “I” that has unique gifts to bring to the world.
Maybe I am just struggling with the approach of the yoga sutras that feels more focused on what separates us and how we are not to live. I would rather approach life searching for ways that we are connected and how we are to live. Connections are the things that matter, they are what unite us and bring us together. In fact, most of my life has been striving to find those connections rather than looking at what separates us. Maybe my mind set is just not appropriate for the classical yoga of Patanjali. Maybe I am just a tantric yogi at heart.