Although not everybody is consciously aware of it, most people experience a sense that something is missing in their lives, that something doesn’t fit right… usually manifesting as a sense of emptiness together with a sense of insecurity (independently of their financial situation). The way we often deal with these feelings is by trying to have more money, more comfort, more trips, more sex; by building bigger houses, acquiring more property, getting married, having children, looking for the right profession, changing relationships, moving to a new location, etc. Of course there are several reasons (some more essential than others) why we do any of these things, but behind any reason there is often the belief that the sense of emptiness or insecurity will go away. And in some cases it does, but only for a short while.
We are continuously trying to take hold of our life, to take control, to grasp it, but sooner or later we see that’s like trying to grasp water… it just keep slipping through our fingers. We keep trying over and over and over to grab it, to feel secure, to feel safe, to finally feel that we can ‘rest now’, but the more we try, the more it seems to keep getting away from us.
I am talking about this because I was recently reminded about the word ‘world’ in Sanskrit. For us, the word ‘world’ doesn’t have any other meaning apart for world. In Sanskrit, the word for ‘world’ is ‘Jagat’, which is composed of ‘Ja’ and ‘Gat’. ‘Ja’ means ‘what is born’ and Gat means ‘what dies’. So the meaning of the word ‘Jagat’ is ‘everything that is born and dies’, ‘everything that passes’, ‘what does not stay’, ‘what changes’.
Keeping this in mind, what is interesting to me is that everything we do to deal with this shared sense of emptiness and insecurity is to try to grasp things from the world, from Jagat. We depend on money or relationships or power or fame or profession, or on our body… but all these things ARE the world. They are Jagat. My body is the world, money is the world, fame is the world, power is the world, and the world is ‘what is born, and what dies’, what doesn’t stay, what keeps passing, what is not graspable, what is continuously changing. It’s what never stays the same.
Think of the body. Until we are 30 we don’t even notice that we are changing… and when we do, we are actually very happy that it does. But after 30 most people want to make it stop and try many different ways to do it, including diets, surgeries, chemicals, and what not… but of course it does not really work; the body keeps changing.
It is the same with the mind. It is never the same from one minute…one second!…to the next. We put our hopes in our relationships but it doesn’t work because we are changing and because the other persons are also continuously changing. We put our hopes in our jobs, in our professions, but in the long run it doesn’t completely work. We keep all our hopes and desires in Jagat… but how much hope can we have in what doesn’t last?
So, what is there besides the world? What is there besides Jagat? There is this moment, this space of now that is independent of Jagat. In this space of presence I become independent of the world, I become independent even of my own body—it is the only place where that sense of emptiness or insecurity does not enter. In that space it doesn’t matter what happens to the world, it doesn’t matter what happens to the body.
The body has its own life, and that’s fine. It is fine for a baby to be a baby and for an old person to be an old person. Of course, if you ARE an old person, then probably it will not be fine, but if instead you ARE that space of presence, then it’s fine to be young or old.
Why is it fine? Because that’s the way things are. It’s fine that other people change, that we change, that the world changes. But we need to be in that space; we need to BE that space. The second we leave it, we are in Jagat, and to be in Jagat—in the world—is to depend on it, is to try to grasp the ungraspable. That’s why there is so much unhappiness in our society. Because we keep looking for ways to escape Jagat, and we try to escape Jagat through Jagat. And that is no way out.
In the Yogilates classes, the movements, the exercises, are Jagat. We take care of the body and we take care of the mind, which are part of Jagat. But part of the class is also finding for ourselves that space of presence. What is this space? What does it mean? What is presence? The class is like a laboratory where, while working on Jagat, we can have our own ‘aha!’ moments. We can discover for ourselves our own space of presence.