yoga teacher certificationBy Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

What is inner harmony? Many spiritual seekers claim to be searching for this thing we call harmony, but how can they attain something if they do not truly know what it is?

Harmony is a vague word, but in truth, no word is completely understood because mental perceptions of language differ from person to person. Generally, harmony is viewed as a state without suffering and strife.  States of inner harmony happen when we feel happy or when life is good.  Is there a way to make inner harmony happen more frequently?

Inner harmony is the non-dualistic state that can only be reached through the dissolution of the ego. The ego is the single greatest obstacle to reaching this blessed state of happiness. Meditation and Yoga silence the ego and allow the practitioner to experience periods of harmony, or non-dualistic consciousness.

Why does a lack of ego lead to harmony? The reason is simple – once the ego is fully understood. The ego is the self a person comes to think they are; the ego’s self-image consists of labels and beliefs about one’s self. Status, beliefs, political affiliations, social and business roles, favorite colors and foods, musical and film preferences – these are all labels. They are all forms of attachment. Dislikes are also labels we apply to ourselves, since they are also attachments – attachment, in its negative form, which is as strong, if not stronger, than positive attachments.

These mental labels form rigid boxes around everything a person does, and this leads to opportunities for life to go against these preconceived ideas. Life starts to work against the individual, rather than for them, because they have fully identified with their mind. In their distorted perception, they are simply a collection of mental labels; and if those labels and ideas are not honored, their very existence is threatened. So, of course, one must get angry during a traffic jam or while waiting in line. If one has identified with the label of a ‘Person Whose Time Must Not Be Wasted,’ this is more than just an inconvenience – this is a deeply unsettling event.

These labels and preferences are by their very nature isolating and dividing; they automatically create an “us-and-them” mentality that leads to a sense of being alone in the world.

This mindset is chaos, pure and simple. The ego is unable to deal with all of its problems, real or imagined, because the ego is essentially powerless. The ego is not real; only the being behind the ego has any real power. The ego can only make distinctions; it can never see that, in the end, all that is in this world is one.

Inner harmony involves taking control from the ego and observing the world as it is without all those labels. Where there is no conflict, there is harmony automatically. What could be more self-destructive than refusing to accept what already exists in this present moment?  Struggle and strife, which come from non-acceptance, is the opposite of harmony.

Making Yoga or meditation a daily practice, allows a higher level of consciousness to come into the picture. It starts with small glimpses, but gains momentum until complete non-resistance becomes the normal state of consciousness.

Many people are resistant to happiness, when they fully understand how Yoga and meditation work. They view it as weakness and passivity to accept that which is. They feel like it is strong and morally right to fight against that which meets their disapproval in the world. Unfortunately, some people have misunderstood the very essence of acceptance. The first step in making a difference in this world is to accept that which is. Only then can a conscious decision to make a change, or find a rational solution, happen.

Action rooted in present moment awareness and acceptance of all that is has a harmonious quality to it. This inner sense of harmony cannot be threatened by any outside force. Life and people cannot help but work with you, even if they are consciously trying to oppose you.

In this sense, reaching states of inner harmony is a powerful tool for success. However, do not let this be the driving force of the practice. Once egotistic pursuits for power and control enter the picture, all true inner transformation is lost.

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