When a Yogi Feels Envy
Lately, my yoga practice has caused me to be very aware of my day-to-day reactions. Last night, as I listened to a friend talk about his creative pursuits, I felt a twinge of ugliness rising up. In the past, I probably would have dismissed the feeling as unimportant. But this time, I chose to take note:
Envy. I was feeling envy!
Envy is our indication that we feel lack in a certain area of our lives. It can signal a strong desire to which we've become attached, or it can point to an aspect of our authentic selves we are failing to express—as I’m sure was the case for me in this instance with my prolific friend.
To me, yoga is about observing our reactions, examining the reasons behind them, and then acting fearlessly from the knowledge gained in that process. So when I felt jealousy over a friend’s creative pursuits, I looked within to conclude there are still ways I am creatively unfulfilled. To me, the implication there is to follow my inner voice to more fully pursue my passions.
Though the ego may balk at such a risky implication (it fears failure and rejection), we yogis have tools to overcome the ego. We can choose to bravely leap into what we discover about ourselves along the path to self-knowing, trusting our inner guidance as divine wisdom.
(Side note: I often wonder if what I am experiencing is the actual process of self-knowledge outlined in ancient yoga philosophy. It always seemed like such an abstract concept to me; to feel it so entwined in my everyday life is not exactly what I expected.)
Sometimes I fear if I live out all of my passions, I will no longer fit the “mold” of what it means to be a serious Ashtangi or yoga teacher. I’m afraid I won’t be accepted for all I am. To me, this is a test. A chance to practice the deeper lessons of yoga, just like those asanas we struggle to master. Can I transcend the fear that arises from my ego? Can I humble myself enough to heed my inner guidance and accept my callings? As time passes, there are more instances where I get to say “yes” to these questions. I think I am learning something here… and I think this yoga stuff just might be working.