Experience, with no judgement of good nor bad, in action, and at rest, is a valuable teacher.
It allows us to discern truths from untruths by developing knowledge of ourselves and the world. And it allows us to understand, with the depth of our being, whether we are, or are not, on the best path for us in every given moment.
It also simultaneously has the potential to make us brand new as well depending on the depth of our understanding of our experience itself, and our state/level of conscious awareness.
Every new experience that you have in life, from a graduation to a divorce, to a moment where understanding takes place, ushers in a transformation. And with every new experience that you have from within, you are reborn with a new opportunity to be something new and different, or even, if you are “lucky” and do the “hard work,” something true…your true self in it’s full, unattached and untethered, expression, connected to, and through, all things.
In every new moment, you live a new life…until you are finally reborn, in consciousness into your true self, free from your past selves and identities that were simply a product of your ego.
Even though most people would say, “this is madness, I still look the same and have made very little progress since a second ago,” everything is different now and these people can be free, if they were to simply free themselves from their calcified ego expression and truly just be…anything, and any way that they choose (shifting into a new Asana position for a tangible example), or be nothing, or everything all at once (in their mind and in their being).
But, most people do not choose, or understand, or accept, or even have the slightest awareness that they have choice to be, because they have tied themselves to a history and a fate, an identity, and to the figment of their imagination of the probabilities of the future (often only due to their fear of death), instead of connecting themselves to the endless possibilities that are present to them in the now-moment as eternal life exists within them and in every moment. This clinging to ego-trappings in the form of “identity,” histories, stories, biases, hates, likes, dislikes, opinions, etc., in the external world, only keeps humans trapped in a perpetual cycle of suffering that is known as the 4 Noble Truths.
But there is hope (hooray), those who have studied, and strove, to come up with a solution to the problem before us have declared, and the research shows that, according to them (which I am currently testing out through experience of my own), the pathway is Eightfold, concluding with Samadhi, which marks an end to this cycle of suffering, and an end to our rebirth into maya (or what I call, different ego expressions that come from attachment in/to the physical world).
Before one can reach Samadhi, however, we learn through experience gained in Yoga practice, one must perform an internal cleansing process of massive (or light, depending on your starting point) proportions, vomiting up all of one’s delusions of identity, cutting ties to all attachments to false expressions, learning to sit in peace, in honor, of life in all of its expressions, and so forth, before, in meditation, he/she can simply be present. And in that moment of full receptivity and presence (being outside of one’s selves and coming in one’s true self), she/he can be reborn for the last time, graduate (if you will), into the now moment in time, transformed internally and “realized,” with the clear eyes of a purified mind and consciousness. Here, he/she gains connection with her/his divinity and expresses it fully in the world.
Getting to this point frees humans from the perpetual cycle of suffering caused by attachment to ego and all of its delusions and illusions.
Sometimes though, even Yogis temporarily forgot that everything that is external in the world (and most certainly anything that is physically expressed in it) is ever-changing, coming and going, being born and dying, and that this cycle of birth and rebirth only occurs because he/she is not fully connected to, and expressing, their full and true self in the world. A self that is, though it is manifested in the world in numerous different ways, free and separate from all false constructs, and free from the bondage of suffering caused by the attachments to the ego.
Your last birth of self, your final rebirth, I feel, is entering a state of consciousness that liberates you from suffering and gifts you with eternal life (for a lack of a better analogy).
When most humans are born into physical form (through a process that is often painful and filled with suffering, but does not have to be), they develop an ego and somehow forget themselves with time. As a person grows, they change in accordance with their constructed “identity,” in society, where they continually “die” from one stage of ego-identity into another, until they expire altogether in physical form, often never freeing themselves from the perceptual cycle of suffering that comes from only living from, and for, their physical expression due to their disconnection with all that they truly are.
But, we know, because many have written this down and passed it on, that if you purify yourself of your false selves and their external clingings, and you practice your practice, and study yourself (in more ways that one), you can, in one moment, if your vessel is open and prepared enough (though mental, emotional, social, and physical conditioning), “realize” your true self again, and gain liberation from the perpetual cycle of suffering that is the collective karmic creation of our species (actions leading to cause and effect).
Once one has gained connection with his/her true self (which is the same as all of our true “self” if we look to the essence of what we are discussing here), there will be no more births of the ego and a person can die (physically) peacefully, having merged with, and lived as, an expression of, her/his true self in physical form on Earth.
This is the result of Samadhi: through sickness, health, happiness, and good times, and while existing on this Earth each day, we can be connected to our true self, unattached, and free internally, externally, and eternally, in the world.
There is no magic here, just awareness, and choice (or no choice), and non-attachment to physical expression, which brings inner-peace and freedom that may or may not come with a smiley face or a sweet gentle voice, but always comes from a place of purity, clarity, truth, and goodness. Yoga, as one of my teachers have said, ‘is about true honest living’ at its finest (or something to that verbiage), when practiced sincerely and in its intended form.
I had an amusing thought today (after attending a virtual class at my Yoga training school) about what our modern cultural example of connected living would look like if the carpenter, reborn as Jesus Christ, would have lived beyond the age that he died at on the day of his crucifixion.
Aside from being curious about the everyday practices of this great teacher, I wondered: What more examples could he have set through his being and service to make it so that more of his followers would have seen him as an example of what/who they were capable of being (in their own expression) instead of just worshiping his form as an idol? Was it five more miracles, and then a class on magic? Maybe he could walk on water again while giving a demonstration and that would be enough…
I expanded the imagine of that great exemplifier of goodness magically “coming back” into physical form in my imagination (like those stories that are often told about what he will do in the future). And then I asked myself, like I often heard in childhood, “what would Jesus do?” If Jesus, hypothetically, came back from the dead, in spirit, or in body, and saw how the religion built under his name was being played out, what would he do?”
Would he kick over the statues and monuments erected in honor of his physical death like he did with the betting tables of those loan sharks, or would he simply extend his compassion out into the world for how strongly the ego has taken a hold on our species, even today with free access to information and laws on freedom of thought?
I, because I like the image of Jesus honorably kicking over some tables when he has had enough, imagine that he would most likely kick over a few tables to prove his point (like a great Martial Artist) before extending compassion to drive his message home. After all, I think, the people of his time were not much different than the ones in existence today, and although he may be disappointed at the progress our species has made since he “died for our sins,” he would also see that many tried and that charity was done in his name too, but mostly, I imagine, he would clearly “see” why his followers suffer, and he would use his unshakable faith in their wholeness, to try again, to lead them to the light because of his eternal commitment to love.
It is often agreed upon that the example of Jesus was of a person who obtained liberation due to his connection to/with the “holy spirit,” or his true self (if we want to use more secular words). And we know that it is this connection, and the love that heals all things through it, including the disease of the ego that everyone has access to heal no matter whether they are rich, poor, fat, skinny, white, black, young, old, sick, physically dirty, crippled, blind, or have lived their whole life being full of “themselves,” that humans can free themselves from suffering.
Our last rebirth, as Sutra 19 reminds us, is a coming into our true self by choice, commitment, and right preparation. After this is accomplished, we are free from ego death, and from the pain that comes from grieving its continuous loss and reconstruction within our physical expression.
Upon this final rebirth, we are liberated from the pain of being “trapped” in the illusions that accompany physical form, and are free to live as our true self, expressed fully, without attachment, in the world.