When I was little and I was too invested in what someone thought of me, or what someone else did in comparison to myself, my mother would say “Just worry about you.”
Often, this was said when I was concerned that my brother had an extra Oreo or was able to get away with something I previously hadn’t, but the saying still plays out in my mind — often.
If I catch myself pontificating about why someone isn’t meeting an expectation, I parrot her words to myself, “Just worry about yourself.” We are the only ones we can control after all, and even that is questionable. We can control our own actions and how we respond to situations, but not the situation itself (unless directly caused by our actions). As Thich Nhat Hanh once said, “My actions are my only true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground on which I stand.”
It might initially sound very ‘un-yoga’ to suggest that you worry about yourself, but I’m not talking about becoming self-centered, without regard for others. But, rather focus on knowing your Self by acting with love for others, and not allowing your mind or ego dictate your worth.
The Bhagavad Gita talks, in length, about the “Self,” particularly about getting to know the infinite self — the self that is beyond thought, beyond change. Through meditation and living a sattvic life (a life of goodness and purity), we will know the self that transcends manifestation and destruction.
Sounds ethereal and unattainable, but I like to break it down into individual moments. How can I know myself? I can become aware of my emotions, actions and reactions. I can attempt to observe these actions as a witness. I can do my best to act with purity of heart.
We can also become aware of when we experience ‘want’ and compare ourselves to others. On the yoga mat, for example, worry about yourself — really. Don’t worry about what your neighbor is doing or what you think your practice should be. Just focus on your breath, your SELF.
I came upon a YouTube video recently that reminded me how much I use this method of quelling desire. It’s of a little girl named August who’s trying to get her seat belt buckled all by herself. It’s hilarious. You’ll watch it over and over like I did.
When we truly know our own ‘Self’, we transcend reaction and suffering. And, we become infinite.
Your Charmed Yogi
(Photo: Uplifted Vibrations)