Caught in the Middle
In the push and pull of life, we find meaning and purpose
Q. I work long hours and have earned big promotions and generous salary increases. I enjoy my work but it seems selfish. Even though I feel like I should be serving my fellow man and studying yoga, I keep climbing the corporate ladder. What’s wrong with me?
A. Yoga doesn’t tell you not to climb the corporate ladder. Yoga provides the vision and strength to climb both the worldly and the spiritual ladder. The truth is you are trying to understand the basic principles of life itself. You are trying to find meaning and purpose and to succeed without getting caught in the net of your own success.
The key to understanding life lies in realizing that two seemingly opposing forces are constantly working in concert with one another. Without darkness, there can be no sense of light; without pain, no awareness of happiness. Similarly, we all have within us a fulfilled part and an unfulfilled part. Each of us is a combination of a fully awakened consciousness and an almost inert aspect of consciousness. Both parts are constantly trying to join hands.
Once you understand this, you will begin to understand yourself. Part of us is in bondage—and feels that bondage—while part of us knows it is not in bondage. Yoga is the path of union at every level of our existence. The beautiful part of us knows life is beautiful; at the same time, the painful part of us is fully aware of the pain inside us and outside us. This dichotomy is what life is all about. One part of you wants to put your best energy and attention into rising on the corporate ladder, while another part whispers that life is short and rising on the corporate ladder is merely a tool to give you the freedom to do something meaningful with your life.
This push and pull goes on constantly. At this moment you are caught between good and bad, pain and pleasure, success and failure, and it seems that one is more desirable than the other. When you try to understand if this is really true, you will come to see that these two seemingly opposing forces have a common goal: fulfillment and freedom. If you didn’t already have some degree of understanding, you wouldn’t have asked this question. Putting that understanding into practice will enable the bright part of you to help the other part of you find its path. Have patience—you will find your way.
Spiritual head of the Himalayan Institute, Pandit Tigunait is the successor of Swami Rama of the Himalayas. Lecturing and teaching worldwide for more than a quarter of a century, he is the author of fourteen books, including his recently-released The Secret of the Yoga Sutra, and his autobiography Touched by Fire: The Ongoing Journey of a Spiritual Seeker. Pandit Tigunait holds two doctorates: one in Sanskrit from the University of Allahabad in India, and another in Oriental Studies from the... Read more>>