Freed from Ego
KOSHER SUTRA ‘God killed every firstborn’ (Ex 12:29)
SOUL SOLUTION Corpse/Shabbat Pose/Sarvasana
BIBLIYOGA POSE Freedom from Ego
BODY BENEFITS Deeper relaxation
There is something satisfying about being a firstborn. We are the children that our parents desperately wanted (or in some cases, the happy accident). We met our parents at the moment they first became parents and we made them figure out how to ‘do’ parenting. An hour after my sister was brought home from the hospital, I spoke up as a precocious three year-old: ‘Can we take her back to the hopital now? I’m bored’. As a child, we have to learn how to make room for others.
Pharoah was a firstborn who refused to adjust. Pharaoh’s identity is shattered to pieces. He thought his country ruled the world forever. He thought his land was endlessly fertile. He thought his wealth was immutable. Instead he watched everything he thought he knew collapse.
“The causes of suffering are not seeing things as they are, the sense of ‘I’, attachment, aversion and clinging to life…Attachment is a residue of pleasant experience (Yoga Sutras, 2: 3&8, Chip Hartranft translation). Our physical yoga practice makes us face harsh realities in our body. We can get upset for a number of reasons, and every one of them is futile and self-inflicted. Rather, we do what we can and let go of attachment to the result.
Although we can’t control the outcomes, we still need to begin things. Try our best. “You are not responsible for creating the result” said the rabbis, “but neither are you free to resist from starting the job” (Ethics of the Fathers). We begin tasks, we work hard, but we cannot force the outcome. Attachment brings misery.
What are you attaching yourself to, today?
Where are you creating pain through fixating on a result?
Where are you trying to force something to happen?
What can you let go of?
We plant seeds and have high hopes that they will grow. As Deepak Chopra points out, there is no use in planting a seed and then digging it up five days later to see if it’s growing - Just as I couldn’t take my sister back to the hospital…We do what we can, whether it is building a career, relationship, or trying a new yoga posture. And then we have to let go.
Firstborn or not, we all have a fixed idea of who we are. When we can let go of it, stop telling stories that inflict self-pressure, and just focus on our moment-to-moment tasks, we can truly know what it means to be free.
[Thanks to Sam Glazer for sharing the 'firstborn/Pharaoh' idea with me]