Svadhyaya – A Most Excellent Adventure

Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure was totally righteous and a great introduction to this week’s blog.

If you haven’t seen it (you should), the story chronicles two teenagers as they travel through history via a time machine. Stay with me. The future selves of these crazy kids are the ones who convince the present Bill and Ted to step into the phone booth time machine and begin the mind-bendin’ journey in the first place.

Svadhyaya is the Niyama about self study. Svadhyaya invites every human to take a most excellent adventure into the final frontier. The difference between Bill and Ted and Svadhyaya (well, one of the differences) is Bill and Ted went into the historical past and Svadhyay journeys into the present, a present that is currently hidden from view until we decide to jump into the time-machine of yoga and take a wild walk of discovery into the essence of our very souls.

We tend to think of Self Study as sorting our beliefs and determining the reason behind how we act. That is a piece of it. But the deeper aspect of Svadhyaya is about getting past our skin and bone identity into the truth about what we really are.

Does that sound a little crazy to anyone other than me? It’s kind of like time travel, a really cool idea that our logical mind justifies as the stuff of an overactive imagination. It might have been how our grandparents would felt when someone talked about going to the moon… oh yeah… we did that.

So here’s the thing.

Patanjali, the guy who wrote the Yoga Sutras, knew that we would need certain resources if we were to weather the challenges of this kind of journey. Therefore, he outlines four things that we will need for the journey.

Sraddha = faith/conviction that our commitment to our journey will bear fruit in its own time if we remain patient, devoted and steady

Virya = courage to move forward and release our fear and insecurities

Prajna = flashes of insight and wisdom that result from our practice

Smriti = memory or a holding on to the insights, especially when we encounter challenges like doubt and resistance along the way.

I am encouraged. This falls inline with my experience (as well as Bill’s and Ted’s) that anything I have ever accomplished has taken these same resources: Faith that my goal is achievable even though it is something that I have never done before; the Courage to go for it with full-throttled passion; keeping my eyes open along the way for Insights, so that I don’t miss things that I could never have expected or planned for; and a willingness to focus on and Remember the small victories rather than the numerous set-backs, nay-sayers and challenges along the way.

So here is my invitation. I am looking for a few hearty souls that are passionate about exploring the unknown, a territory that may hold dangers and discoveries beyond your wildest imagination. It will take the courage of a lion, the belief of a saint, the stamina of an ox, and the tenacity of a bulldog. If you survive, your life will never be the same and most likely no one will believe the tales you tell of your most excellent adventure.

So who wants to join me?

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