Pausing and breathing to allow a sense of peace to arise in a quiet moment is a beautiful step toward liberation. Bringing more compassion into an interaction in line at the store or in heavy traffic is a genuine stride in spiritual growth. Taking the time to be fully present and experience the joy of playing with children or listening deeply to a friend who needs to talk are enlightened choices. These are examples of how spiritual realization is pursued in each moment that we act while holding in our hearts a clear vision of what matters most to us.
We’ve all heard of enlightenment or God realization and we may have some vague idea of what that means – some state of perfection that arises from deep meditation. I think it can be more relevant to us as an active response to life, as a way embodying the qualities we associate with our spiritual nature: compassion, peace, joy, etc. The process of awakening is not something that happens in isolation for us, meditating in a cave. It takes place as a product of both our Yoga practice and our conscious choices in relationship to each other and our environment.
If we understand that our daily actions are the moment to moment expression of the intentions we hold in our hearts, we transform our lives, bringing meaning to everything we do. For example, every choice we make can be guided by either a “me-centered” or “we-centered” mindset. If we hold a vision for a more peaceful world, we can do our best to bring peace into each interaction.
A meaningful intention is a clear expression of the intended purpose for our actions. Ask yourself, “What effect do I want my behavior to have?” or “What virtues do I want to serve as guiding principles for how I show up in the world?” The clearer we are about our intention, the easier it is to find ways to live it. Actions performed with genuine care for others are healing for our hearts, and we find joy in giving rather than looking for a reward or outcome. This is how we really bring our Yoga practice to life.