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"I am not"

Footprints in the snow.

"I am not. Nothing is mine. I don’t exist with qualities.” Nasmi, name, naham.

The above quote caught me. I was in the middle of a yoga sutras class taught by Brynn. I’ve been taught to visualize what I want, take actions to make it happen, and release the fruits of the action.

Well, this seemed to oppose this viewpoint. "Nasmi name naham." Or translated from Sanskrit, "I am not. Nothing is mine. I don’t exist with qualities."

I thought more about this statement. Every time I visualize something, carry action into it, manifest it in some way, it seems like the moment of fulfillment and peace never really exists.

In deeper levels of consciousness, it is more true to say "I am not" rather than "I am." The ego rises up when we start to identify with things outside of our essence, such as "I am happy", "I am an executive", "I am a mother".

The question may arise, "How practical is this notion of unidentification?" I think it depends. The ego has to be built up in some people. This was and is true for me today. I continue to build positive qualities in myself. I continue to put a lot of attention on building, growing, and sustaining our yoga studio. I identify as a partner, student, teacher, male, brother, son, etc.

For the renounced yogi, identification with the world brings pain. The work of the yogi is to dive deep into the Self and detach from all tendencies, attachments, thoughts, and actions. For them, the thought of "I am not" propels them inward to connect with themselves and as a result, connect to all life.

The statement "I am not" aids me to continue to detach from egoic thoughts and actions. To know, "I am the seer and not the doer" is hard. Practicing yoga in Fort Worth, TX is a full time gig for me. Not only is it practicing yoga postures, breathing techniques, pranayama, or one-pointed concentration, it is how I interact with people, nature, and the world. Am I bringing my best to each experience? Am I around people who uplift me or bring me down?

I'm curious to hear if anyone has used this statement as a mantra or discipline in their life. What effects did the practice have on you?

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