“Are you a scientist?”, he asked me.
“No,” I replied. “I’m a small animal veterinarian.”
And we went on to talk a about his own little dog, as he signed my copies of his two books.
I’ve been observing myself (aka “the rat”) a lot over the last two years, since I started practicing yoga (my lab). It’s similar to how I’d approach an animal with a limp or a dog with behavioural issues. I take a step back, try to look at the problem from a distance and then determine what it was that I actually saw.
Observing myself is part of my off-the-mat inquiry into svadhyaya or self-study. In this niyama, Deborah Adele talks about how the True Self is hidden underneath layers of beliefs and conditioning that have been created over a lifetime of experiences. Somewhere, deep within, there hides an “Authentic Me”. Analyzing all those layers of thought requires accessing a Witness, an observer that brings everything into the light of reality.
There are moments when I suspect I’m getting glimpses of my True Self. At those times, what I’m doing feels absolutely right for me. I’m not being influenced by my expectations and assumptions. But I have questions. How do I know that I am not creating some weird alter ego instead of finding this Authentic Me? Is it possible for the Witness to turn out to be some manifestation of a multiple personality disorder? (I’m thinking “Sybil” the movie here.)
Yoga school starts tomorrow and lasts 7 months, with a little break in December for the holidays. That’s a lot of time for self-exploration in my yoga lab. What else will I discover about myself?