At a satsang in New York I raised the question, “What matters most to you?” I spoke about the importance of clarifying what we value and reflecting on the ultimate purpose of our lives. Speaking to a group of yogis, I was not surprised that someone suggested right away that Moksha or spiritual liberation was most important.
We all might understand liberation, or self-realization, to be the goal of Yoga, but what does that really mean to us? It remains a vague and distant goal that may have little relevance to our daily lives. It may be better understood as bringing to life or embodying the qualities we associate with our spiritual nature: compassion, peace, joy, etc.
We often think of realization as something passive that happens by quieting the mind, as the Yoga sutras imply, but it is better understood as an active response to life. True awakening is not something that happens in isolation. It takes place as a product of both our Yoga practice and our conscious choices in relationship to each other and our environment.
Imagine the spiritual Self being as tangible and active as the body and mind while pursuing our goals. Every time we are fully present to life and act with mindfulness, we take a step toward this. Our true nature is expressed each time we recognize with gratitude all the ways we are blessed, and allow that sense of abundance to overflow as generosity with others.
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 and allowing ourselves to fully experience the joy of playing with children are genuine strides in spiritual growth. 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.