The path of yoga takes the seeker from a fragmented and isolated understanding of reality to a cohesive and integrated understanding of reality. The context expands from the individual to the familial to the universal.
The simplest truth of matter is that all is one. The dogmas of many spiritual disciplines will argue this. The dogma of science will argue this as well. Since I am not partial to any one dogma, I shall begin with science. We are composed of atoms. Atoms combine to form molecules that combine to form cells and tissues and eventually us, and all life and all matter. On a physical level these atoms are regularly exchanged with our environment, through metabolism. What we claim to be unique to ourselves is essentially recycled material. On a deeper level, these atoms are mostly, if not entirely, energy. (The dogma of science gets blurry here, something to do with a cat, it seems.) Energy cannot be created or destroyed, only transformed. This is one of the most heralded laws of Science. So our energy is also recycled. Through this verifiable exchange of matter and energy we, as individual human beings are united, with each other, with our air and water, with our rocks and soils, with all living organisms, with our planet, our solar system and our galaxy. If there are such things as “Facts,” this is certainly one of them. We are all one. We are one with all.
What is the one? This is the question that humanity has argued since the dawn of time. It is my intention to move beyond this question. Simply recognizing that all is one relinquishes the necessity to define it. Words are not capable of describing the fullness of the one. Stories and metaphors are useful in a heuristic sense, but they are not defensible to the point of a knife.
Can’t we all just get along? No, at least, not yet! Like a large soap bubble that moves to achieve a uniform surface tension, but never does; life seeks harmony and balance. Through these fluctuations and adjustments we arrive at questions and conflicts as a matter of course in the development of our understanding of ourselves, circumstances, and our relationships. Conflict is necessary; confrontation is required in order to establish boundaries, membranes. Life and death co-create. Bikram’s yoga embraces this confrontational aspect of life. The mirror forces us to confront ourselves. The environment is confrontational and unforgiving. We learn to accept and forgive ourselves. We learn that being is not static, we are not the same person we were yesterday, yester-moment for that “matter.” As we wrestle the inner conflicts through a regular practice we discover that the outer conflicts are far less burdensome. This is the path of peace. Peace cannot be taught, as the euphemistic bumper-sticker crowd may suggest. Peace must be realized from the inside out.