Four Chapters on Freedom: Chapter 1 - Samadhi Pada
Life energy is limited, if you go on using it in absurd, undirected ways, you will not reach anywhere.
Osho ~ Yoga: The Science of the Soul
Yoga is said to be a path to enlightenment…but what exactly does “enlightenment” mean? One of my teachers, Sharon Gannon, describes it as the realisation that we are connected to every thing and every being. I think this is true and I have even had fleeting moments of experiencing deep feelings of connectedness, mere glimpses into what it might be like to truly embody this idea. I do not expect that I will experience Samadhi in this lifetime (nor in the next several lifetimes!), however I have experienced the benefit of directing more of my life energy into exploring yogic philosophy in depth and in attempting to embody that philosophy into my day to day life.
Over the past two years I have been subconsciously, and at times consciously, turning my life upside down. I left London to go travelling. A pause in my life to dedicate some time to studying, practicing and teaching yoga. That journey took me from India to Bali, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama and Colombia. When I returned to London I was unable to hit start again on the life I used to enjoy there. I felt like I needed more time in the yogic world, so I packed up and went to Berlin. On the surface Berlin probably appears to be a fairly random answer to my desire for for a deeper yogic experience. The catalyst behind that choice of location was an inspiring teacher I had met whilst I was doing my Jivamukti teacher training in Costa Rica. That teacher lived in Berlin, so I decided to move there and apprentice with her in order to dive into all of the aspects of yoga that I loved and attempt to surrender into all of the aspects of yoga that I had previously tried to avoid.
6 weeks into life in Berlin, I faced an unexpected dilemma. My plan had been to complete my apprenticeship in 3 months and move to Colombia, the vibrant South American country that had stolen my heart whilst I was travelling. But here I was in the cold, grey European city of Berlin, which on a surface level was not that dissimilar to London…and I loved it. I loved it because finally I had a place where I felt like I was directing my energy. Here in Berlin, I had unexpectedly found a community that I resonated with strongly. A group of honest, flawed, yet conscious individuals who helped me see my strengths, whilst also holding a mirror up so I could see some of my bullshit. Desire and ambition pulled me towards Colombia but curiosity as to where this yogic experience might take me was grounding me in Berlin. I went back to India, using the time away to reflect on what felt like the right decision in this moment of my life. When I returned 3 months later I had decided to stay in Berlin.
At this stage in my life Samadhi seems like a lofty ideal, but “connectedness” is more tangible, it’s an experience I can measure more clearly. I felt a deep sense of connection often whilst I was travelling, it is easier to become present to it when you are in beautiful and remote locations close to nature. But I also feel that sense of connection in Berlin. And so in this concrete jungle in the East of Germany I have began to assimilate all of my experiences from the last two years. Prioritising this feeling of connection is now my guiding principle. And whenever it starts to fade I know that it is a sign that something needs to change either in what I’m doing, where I’m doing it, or both. Because it’s true what Osho says, this life energy is limited. And I would like to attempt to use it in a more direct and conscious way.