We work hard to attain peace of mind and lasting happiness. This is the reason we do yoga. However, we often get so caught up with the physical aspect of yoga that we lose sight of the psychological.
Physically, the reason we practice asanas is to correct body alignment and increase flexibility. When body alignment is correct, the flow of prana, the vital life force energy, is improved. This flow assists the functioning of the physical, mental, and subtle body.
Psychologically, with increased physical flexibility, we are able to be more adaptable in life; we acclimate better to a constantly changing environment, and are more capable of changing habit patterns.
The more flexible the body, the more flexible the mind is.
The better the flow of prana, the stronger and more balanced the mind will be. These attributes are necessary for liberating the self from the conditioned mind to find peace and happiness.
The mind creates suffering through false identification, aversion, and desire.
It is false identification that blinds us from seeing our true identity. We identify with many thoughts that do nothing for us except inhibit awareness and cause suffering. These thoughts can be simple, or manifest more complexly in the form of concepts.
The ego is a great example of false identification with thoughts. What is the ego, but just a collection of thoughts that you use to define who you think you are. These thoughts impact your life in every way and are an obstacle to self-awareness and lasting happiness.
Our Relationship With Ideas And Concepts
It isn’t thoughts alone that cause problems, but it is our relationship with the ideas and concepts that they represent. We have a particular expectation of how something should be based on past experiences, and then we create an attitude toward it.
Whether our attitude toward the thought is one of like or dislike, it creates an attachment in the form of desire or aversion.
Sometimes we catch ourselves with these limiting thought patterns and attempt to change them. We see that we have a negative view of something and then try to replace it with a positive one. Yet, judgment prevents true understanding, whether it is positive or negative. Furthermore, when we have a desired attitude toward some concept, we are creating an attachment.
How do we become truly free from these thoughts that create suffering?
Habitually, we attempt to replace one way of thinking with another. We think that this will make us free. However, instead of trying to replace a thought, why not eliminate the root of the thought? If we can eliminate the concept that the thoughts are based around we don’t have to have any feelings toward it.
The Concept of Home
We have sayings such as "home is where the heart is." Or, “wherever I am is home.” We think by repeating these mantras and thinking this way, we are "being free." This is just as bad, or even worse than saying some places are home while others are not.
At least with that, you are open enough for two possibilities, while the other you are attached to only one. Either way, they are both attachments and judgments.
What does it really mean to “feel at home”? Not in the physical sense, but conceptually. Why do you need this concept? Why do you find it necessary to put definitions to how you feel? They are limiting in every sense.
I say the concept of home doesn't exist.
This is not to say don't have a home, but to let go of the concept, thoughts, and feelings of what home means. Why do you need to define, label, classify, and ultimately judge things that only create distance, restrictions, and attachments to interacting with them?
Our Judgment and Attachment To Concepts
There are so many concepts we identify with. Even if we have a "positive" outlook toward a particular concept, we have an "attitude" toward it; we have an attachment and judgment. Even if we say we are neutral, we are creating a balancing act of judgment.
Why not let go of some concepts entirely? They are manmade. Why do you have to allow them to exist? Why are they necessary? What do they do for you besides create attachment to thoughts that result in suffering?
Think about all the silly concepts that generate attachments to a way of thinking and feeling. Forget about changing a thought, go to the root and let go of the concept.
What concepts can you eliminate?