The inability to accept oneself is a fundamental cause of disease. Lack of self-acceptance results not only in mental disturbances, but also physical ailments. Mental dissatisfaction leads to a reflection and manifestation in the physical body.
Anger is widely regarded as a fault, but anger is actually a safety valve for all pent-up feelings. But many moralistic systems and codes say: 'do not be angry' or 'anger is a sin'. Because of this, many people suppress their anger but the driving force behind the anger has to express itself somehow. It is rechan-nelled. If the suppression of anger is great enough and for prolonged periods of time it results in high blood pressure, or heart attack and so many other prevalent diseases. So we urge you to express your anger, if it is possible (sometimes circumstances make it difficult). Don't feel any pangs of guilt about your anger. Be angry, for it is better to express it openly than to transform it into disease at a later date. But when you feel angry be aware and in time the anger will disappear.
Consider another example. Every person has some desires. These are natural, they are part of man's innate nature. Without desire there would be no motivating force in life, children would not be produced and so forth. Yet many moralistic codes say that desire is bad. How can this be so? How can such natural feelings as desire be bad? Because of these unnatural codes, many people feel deep unhappiness and guilt about their desires. A person feels sexual desires, but because society says it is wrong and sinful, that person becomes very unhappy and suppresses his desires. This mental suppression eventually expresses itself in disruption of the physical body, especially in the form of malfunctioning of the sexual organs. So accept your desires; they are perfectly natural. Don't listen to narrow-minded moralistic codes. Whether you express your desires or not is, however, your business. When you have strong desires, let the thoughts come. Feel them. Be aware of them. In time they can be transcended.
The same applies with food. Many people feel that their eating habits are wrong. Well this is probably true, for gone are the days when primitive man only took food when he was hungry; now we have food, generally too much and too rich, at fixed times during the day, whether there is hunger or not. But if you feel the need for a lot of food, it is better to indulge than to suppress. Suppression or guilt regarding one's eating habits will never solve anything. Many aspirants feel such guilt about their eating that they develop a neurosis and suppress their desire for food. The result is that the physical organs begin to malfunction in turn according to the abnormal needs of the mind. Of course, overindulgence in food can also lead to malfunctioning of the digestive organs, but it is likely to be much less destructive and serious. Accept your eating habits, but be aware. This is the way to whittle away unnatural food habits.
We could go on giving so many other examples, but by now you should clearly see the pattern: lack of self-acceptance leads to disease. Don't try to over discipline the mind, saying that it should be this or that it should act in accordance with a certain code, for this will only lead to suppression. Let the mind be free to do its own thing. But be aware. Don't suppress your thoughts for this will eventually lead to disease and unhappiness. Accept your thoughts, but with awareness. In time all disharmonious tendencies will slowly wither away through greater understanding.
Every person is fit to tread the yogic path An important step in yoga is to accept your nature as much as you are able. If you can accept your nature, then we can also. Your purpose for wanting to do yoga is not important; your religion or non-religion is not important; and your lifestyle is also not important. The main thing is that you have started to practise yoga with a degree of sincerity. Your nature is unimportant; all faults are unimportant. Your present personality is the starting point. Yoga and daily life experiences will be the means to refine your being and eventually bring equilibrium. Everyone has the ability to contact elevated states of awareness. The potential lies within. It is not made or created, but at present this potential does not express itself because of imbalance and conditioning of the mind. These blocks are only superficial superimpositions on your nature. Each of us has the same potential. There is not one person in the world who is unfit to tread the path of yoga. If you make the effort then you will start to tune in with yourself. But first of all accept your faults as being merely superficial aspects of your being.
Accept your nature, whether it is 'bad' or 'good'. Don't feel guilt. Accept your character for what it is: a product of circumstances. Acceptance will lead to acceptance of others. Don't suppress thoughts, whatever their nature. Accept that there are unruly traits and desires within you and eventually these disturbing traits will drop away. Let the hidden aspects of your subconscious mind rise to the surface. Don't fight them and don't be ashamed of them. Let them arise and face them. If you suppress them they will still influence your whole life, but from the murky depths of the subconscious mind. So you might as well let them bubble to the surface where you can become familiar with them. Eventually you will lose interest in them. They will fade away and no longer disturb your life, in the same way that water evaporates from a damp cloth placed in the hot sun. The evaporation occurs without the slightest effort.
The aim of man should be to find his natural role in life and stick to it. This is the basis of the spiritual path. Most people are on the path of adharma (in opposition to their natural inclinations). But you can never find and tread the path of dharma if you are in conflict with yourself. Non-acceptance only leads to neurosis and suppression. Accept your faults, but with awareness. This is the way to find your dharma. This is the way to harmonize your life and eventually transcend all faults and personality problems.
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