5. Yoga and liberation
Why should we do yoga? We should do yoga to achieve moksha or liberation. Without liberation we cannot experience ourselves as one with the universe.
But liberation from what? What is preventing us from being free? Let’s try to understand it.
Imagine you are walking on the street in the morning and you see a man approaching you. This man insulted you yesterday night. The moment you see his face, fear, anger and hatred rise in your mind. As a result, you might avoid him or behave in a hostile manner.
But why do you hate him today when he did not do anything bad to you today? You hate him today because he did something bad to you yesterday. Your action at the present moment is based on the memory of yesterday. Maybe you don’t need to be hostile to him today, but you cannot help it.
Similarly you love somebody today based on past memories. If you think carefully, almost everything you do is determined by the memory of your past experiences.
Now, there is nothing wrong with having memories. They prevent us from repeating the same mistakes. They guide us to do things better today.
But there is a problem. The mind, that deals with the memory, has a small conscious part and a large and powerful unconscious part. Most of the time the conscious part sleeps and the unconscious part decides our actions based on the past memories.
What does that mean? It means that most of the time we are not conscious of ourselves. Reason, rationality and free will can be applied only when we are consciousness, awake. But, in a way, most of the time we are sleeping. If past memory is the only thing that decides our action at the present moment, we are in an autopilot mode. This is similar to living the life of an animal.
So our lives can be described as cycles. Memories decide the actions and the actions create new memories. We are basically slaves of these cycles.
The memory-action cycles are there because of a reason. They are very useful for our survival. But they come with a cost. Many of the sufferings in our lives are related to it.
If you want to just survive, you are well equipped for it. But if you want to liberate yourself from these vicious cycles, you have a tool at your disposal: Yoga.