Journey to India: From the Outside In.

Via on Mar 30, 2012

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Part 2: Cultivating Trust.

Reading back through my journal from a recent trip to India, it is incredible to see how the entries transition from the external to the internal as the trip progressed. It was not so obvious as one day, pining for a Prada purse, only to sell all my belongings upon returning home.

Yet, there was a clear shift of focus from trying to achieve things outside of myself in order to find happiness toward seeking contentment inwardly by cultivating a sense of trust, both in myself and in a greater plan.

I left for India with universal inquiries: what can I do in my career to be more successful? How can I make my body fitter for my practice? Am I living in the right place? Do I want to have a relationship? The deeper I traveled into India, the deeper I delved into myself.

I realized the misdirection of my quest. I was looking to acquire things outside of myself to find true happiness. And I was looking to do more, as if what I was currently doing was not enough. By the last leg of the trip, I was able to strip my existential crises even further, as I realized that at the core of all of this was one missing ingredient. I lacked trust. Trust in myself and trust in a greater plan.

Indians like to say that it always works out in the end and if it is not working out, then it’s not yet the end.

To the untrained eye, the country may appear fast moving and chaotic, particularly in the streets of Old Delhi. But the further you go into your travels, the more you can remove the Western lens with which you view the world, the better able you can see the undercurrent of letting go that pervades the Indian way of life.

You are able to differentiate that a mad rush to get on the train is because people need to survive versus being greedy or pushy; and that, once on the train, the energy shifts back to a state of calm. Things move at a much slower and more relaxed pace. There is a cool confidence that things will get done and work out and when you are traveling in India, they always amazingly do.

Isvara pranidhani—surrendering to the divine—is the last niyama, or ethical observance of Patanjali’s progressive eight-limb path to yoga. In this way, yoga is woven into the very being of the Indian people rather than shapes one makes with the body a few times a week.

Surrendering to a higher power is not the same as settling. This does not mean we sit on the couch and G*d (or whichever higher power you ascribe to) takes care of the rest. Isvara pranidhani must also go hand-in-hand with tapas, self-discipline and svadhyaya, self-study.

It is extraordinarily comforting, this idea that something greater than myself is aiding me along my path. I am still an agent of change in my life. G*d gave me free will to make decisions and to forge my future, but as I fumble through this world, I am reassured by the omnipresent safety net beneath me.

Despite having failed and suffered many times over in my life, I have always been taken care of in the end. The darker experiences only brought me closer to the right path. When we don’t believe in ourselves or in a greater plan, we become hindrances to our own development. Just as we can cultivate positivity, we can also attract negativity and self-destruct.

By believing and most importantly trusting that things will work out, they often do.

Maybe not tomorrow, maybe not in this lifetime, but the plan is set into motion.

It is incredible to me that without my actively trying, India brought me that much deeper into my yoga practice. Since I have been home, my students ask me what cool poses I learned over there and I simply reply, “trust”.

 

~

Editor: Andrea Balt

 

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About Sarah Ezrin

Sarah Ezrin , E-RYT-500, is an energetic and humorous yoga teacher and writer based in Los Angeles. With a profound love of travel, Sarah runs around the world teaching and doing yoga. For Sarah, yoga is not about the tricks or the postures; it is about connecting to one’s center and living from your greatest truth. She believes that life is short and that it should be spent laughing, with the people and animals we love, and doing the things we most enjoy, like yoga! For more information on Sarah please visit: here.

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11 Responses to “Journey to India: From the Outside In.”

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  2. Andrea Balt Andréa Balt says:

    Thanks Erin, for another beautiful episode.

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  3. [...] I close my eyes and breathe. [...]

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  7. Liked your post and wanted to comment! So hi…..I've been to India myself 13 times…..so I understand the question. I LOVE your answer…re: trust.

    It is not about getting 'new' stuff…it is actually just as you say, "going deep"….and 'deeper". Having lived in Korea for a few year, I learned then about the Western lens…and it is challenging for us…..but India is different….and offers a lot for us to be grateful for. I think just coming home and turning on your tap is a big deal! How many people in India DO NOT have those luxuries.

    As for greed, well, there are also other sides in India too….so neither the poverty, chaos or noise vs. the luxury and great wealth which does abide in India should be made into something romantic.

    Life is really tough…and to me…India just shows that right in your face…people peeing on the road, dying, eating, shitting….life is really raw. In the West we cover that up…we cannot stand something that smells…In India…well, good luck!

    Thank you for writing. Here's a link to a couple of pieces i wrote…more on the lighter side of things….re: how to travel there…and tips… .http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-4333/6-India-Travel-Myths-Debunked.html
    and http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-4334/6-Travel-Trut

  8. [...] anger and revenge. We all knew that they had been introduced to the various pickpockets that roam the streets of India. And what would the old-timers, like myself, often tell these newbies? We would deliver a version [...]

  9. [...] in part by the Speaking Tree. As a 56-year-old Western spiritual teacher who originally came to Mother India in 1984 seeking enlightenment, I find myself in an interesting position when I return. I come back [...]

  10. [...] divine in those who visit from without. But I think it is a mistake for us Westerners to drop in on India for a short while, return home to our regular comforts, and then romanticize the hardships of those [...]

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