If you know: Tapas
If you know, you know.
Before the pandemic, leggings and day time freedom were the domain of the unfettered, the people who had never seen the inside of an office, or had sidestepped that lifestyle.
We blend in now, the free spirited. The world has moved towards us: everyone lives in sweatpants, goes to the grocery store midday, and believes in invisible energy charging the air with what cannot be seen until it is felt.
But the yogi moves through without fear, untroubled by the solitude that enhances our practices, which keep us steady, centered, strong. Staying focused on the inner practice makes the yogi resilient to changes, self-sufficient in knowledge and health care, constantly connected to the positive potential of the invisible.
If you don’t know, you don’t know.
The easiest way to tell when someone doesn’t practice yoga is their belief that yoga is easy.
The practiced ease of the yogi is never what it appears: the peace, love, chill-vibes-only are earned, as all things are, through strength of will, unwavering intention, whole hearted devotion to living the sweet life. When we are young, this is called discipline: an outside entity or inside voice telling you to do something “good for you”.
But when the drive is internal, when the fire burns within, it is no longer discipline, it is the heat of passion, of ambition, of the spirit colliding with the material.
What is ambition? The desire to be, to become. It requires time, the ever-moving starting point of Now, and a clear vision of where we work the transformation.
Where we aim depends on what we see. We can narrow our gaze to career ladders and bank accounts; we can expand our minds to consider enlightenment.
To expand, there must be space.
Like fire, like any appetite, the hunger of ambition requires perception room to grow, to expand, to do. And in that space we need fuel for an always-burning fire: tapas.
Patanjali puts tapas central in the yogi lifestyle: along with living with ease and devotion, the yogi needs the will to work, to burn the inner fire.
Fire is the act of combustion, of substance becoming the intangible. A fire can be explosive, violent, or steady, nurturing. It can be smoky, or it can be clear. Ambition can be driven by a nervous desire to perform, to soothe self-doubts, to prove self- worth; these are smoky fires that often harm those in its way.
A clean burning fire requires fuel that inspires creation, that allows the destruction of what prevents the path forward into positive transformation. Tapas is the kind of ambition without competition or ownership: a freedom of self.
One you step onto the path fueled by clear burning passion, there is no other life. It is a devotion without alternative, without discipline, but with vision.
If you know, you know. And if you know, you recognize one another, and burn brighter together.