How can you embrace change like a Yogi? In Hinduism, there are four main paths by which a follower can reach liberation. These paths are:
Gnana – the path of knowledge and surrendering to what you know and don’t know;
Bhakti – the path of devotion and feeling love for all;
Karma – the path of selfless service being joyful in any activity; and
Raja – the royal path of meditation including kriya for awareness of prana and the mechanics of life.
These are the four ways to engage with life. Each requires commitment and intentionally living your life a certain way. Each requires making choices about how you are going to live your life, which habits you will pursue, and which changes you will make.
There is a story describing what happens if you are willing to engage on all four paths.
“Four people pursuing different paths to enlightenment were walking in the forest. The first was a gnana yogi, the second was a bhakti yogi, the third was a karma yogi, and the fourth was a kriya yogi. Each was devoted to their path of choice and unable to fully appreciate the benefits of the other options.
Suddenly, a storm broke out. It grew very intense and began raining heavily. They started running and came upon each other looking for shelter.
The bhakti yogi, knowing the places of devotion, said, “Let’s take this path to find shelter at an ancient temple.”
They all ran along the path and came to the ancient temple. All the walls had crumbled and only the roof and four columns remained. They rushed into the temple to escape the rain. In the center, there was a deity, but not feeling comfortable with each other they moved towards it, but maintained the space between them.
The storm increased in intensity. The wind was driving the rain inside from every direction. The only option for protection from the buffeting was to let go of their resistance, cling to the deity, and touch and appreciate each other.
In this instance, there was a huge fifth presence as God appeared.
In all their four minds the same question arose: “Why now and not from our previous commitment to our paths?”
For one moment their paths became aligned. Instead of thinking one way, feeling another, applying physical energy somewhere else, and energy somewhere else, they merged to a singular focus.
Embrace change to become more loving
Each of these paths is a way to become aware of resistance to love. Each would require letting go of how we do things in favor of greater alignment to love. Most people resist change even in one avenue let alone four.
Not changing gives an illusion of stability and safety. However, resilience stems from embracing the change and even actively looking for where to make change. Each of these paths presents options for life design. These are not things we do for a temporary amount of time, but that we commit to as part of our lifestyle.
This means with any goal that you set for yourself you can tackle making changes according to these four paths. For example, if you want to lose weight and keep it off. 1) Look at your mindset and understanding to think about it in the most nurturing way possible. 2) Witness how you feel about it to find ways that it is inspiring and fun. 3) Identify actions that are in loving service to your goal. 4) Lastly, meditate on the outcomes such that what you imagine is revitalizing.
In other words, it is likely that you will have to make permanent changes to your mindsets around being thinner and how you identify with your body. You will have to relax and find ways to reduce stress and self-judgment by tapping into and adjusting how you feel. You will have to shift how you use your body physically and what you choose to consume and, finally, you will have a shift in faith and compassion for yourself in this undertaking.