By Myra Lewin
I have a client who first began her journey with Ayurveda in the mid 1990s. Over the years, she experienced many changes in her relationship to this science. During times of stress, she sometimes put Ayurveda aside. She would return to old habits of snacking and keeping an irregular schedule, and then rely on Western medicine for a quick fix. Yet she kept coming back to the principles of Ayurveda. They made sense to her and she felt much better and more balanced with Ayurveda as the foundation for her life. After many years of breaking up her Ayurvedic lifestyle with other systems, she found herself facing a full-blown disease. After two years of no progress with Western medicine, she remembered the healing power of Ayurveda, and chose that as her medicine. By stepping fully into the practices, she reversed the disease process and eliminated pain and medications from her life. Now she is enjoying her Ayurvedic diet and lifestyle and her health continues to improve.
Finding the path
Many people experience an initial awakening to Ayurveda and Yoga, but then they sometimes become distracted. They may test limits or try that old habit one more time just to be sure it was truly causing them pain, that there is a connection. But the old ways will inevitably let them down. And when they do, people often feel that they have failed in their commitment to Ayurveda or Yoga. But perhaps this “failure” is what they needed to take the next step toward living in a holistic, balanced way.
The journey to an awakened state is unique for each person. How you have gotten to this point is not the same as me, nor is it the same as any of the clients or students who come through Hale Pule. But no matter what your journey looks like, you are always on your path. You may experience detours of many varieties and lengths of time, but the direction of life will always lead you toward knowing yourself as eternal spirit.
In this way, there is only one path. There are many points of entry, many possible diversions and many lifetimes to walk it, but we are all on it together.
How to stay on your path
As you walk your path toward self-realization, you become more and more awake. Once you wake up, you don’t go back to sleep. Certainly you can numb yourself or choose not to deal with the truth and falsehoods that are now clear to you, but you will never go back to the same state you once were in. You are forever changed.
This continued awakening is part of the experience of life. I was guided by my teachers and the Yogic texts to walk my path with consistency, determination and persistence over a long period of time. We learn a little bit, then integrate it into our experience, then learn a little more. Then some days we take a great big step. The path is never-ending in this way. As long as you stay in a body, there will be something to clear as you remember who you are beyond the physical experience of life. Welcome it, accept each experience as an opportunity to grow.
For those times when you find yourself taking a detour, the way back is simple: Turn around and look for a direction back to where you came from. Guidance is available when you ask. Work with a trusted teacher who is farther along on their path or seek counsel from the teacher within.
When you feel lost, admit that you are lost. Know that the ego will defend its position, even if doing so means losing joy and peace. Use the practices to let go of the ego’s resistance and you’ll begin moving toward life rather than away. With Ayurveda and Yoga as your foundation, even being lost can come with a sense of ease and even joy.
Your true self has an enormous depth, and it may take many lifetimes and many awakenings to see. Be gentle with yourself and remember that your journey here is unique. There may be only one path, but there is only one you walking it.