Being and Becoming

The BuddhaOne day a yogini sat with two of her students in meditation. Eventually she opened her eyes and asked, “To my two brilliant students, what IS yoga? Do either of you two seasoned veterans want to try at an answer?”
“It would be my honor,” answered the student on the left.

“As well as mine,” answered the student on the right.

“I love your bravery,” said the yogini, smiling, understanding how daunting the question was. “But there is one requirement: I do not want you repeat what other scholars think yoga is, but rather, what you think it is.” Both students chuckled, knowing this additional twist made their task infinitely harder.

After a few moments, the student on the left chimed in. “Yoga for me is the practice of being, where I seek to live free from illusion and personal desires so that each moment is as clear and complete as it can be.”

The second student reflected and eventually took his turn. “I see yoga as the practice of becoming, where my journey is the earnest consistent work of achieving that clarity of mind we call Buddhi. It is to develop the gift of sight so that we can see how to harmonize ourselves with the universe.”

The yogini bowed her head and smiled. “I must admit, I am enthralled by just how beautiful your statements are. How far we all have come. I cannot remember when students gave such brilliant half answers.”

“What?” said both students simultaneously, but with grins forming as they looked at each other.

“We honor each other’s journey, knowing it is different for each of us. But yoga is the practice of both being AND becoming. To achieve Buddhi, we must both venture outwards into the world and inwards into our selves. They are as critical to each other as day and night, and our practice works to hold them in balance.”

They all looked at each other with profound gratitude for each other’s insights, and at that moment the air in the room miraculously warmed with a strange sense of peace and quiet. They sensed Nirvana; all three felt they had floated above the earth they lived on.

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