So many voices in our heads. So many “yeses”, “noses”, “maybes” at the same time. Desires, whims, restrictions, principles, habits at the same time. Of all these who are we? In yoga, as in other hindu traditions there are the chakras. Overly simplifying, they are energy centres, which nature and effect is interpreted in many ways. Each of the chakras is related to different dimensions of our being – our connection with the Earth, sexuality, creativity, ego, love, imagination, divinity, etc. These we may say affect our behaviour. What we eventually do may be closely related with the state of these chakras, that is, with how the energy is channeled along them. So it is said that when our more terrenal whims for food or sex are dominating us it is because the lower chakras are unbalanced with the rest, dominating, for example, our connection with love or ethical principles. As when someone prefers to eat the last piece instead of giving it to someone else, or sex takes only place completely separated from its close connection with love or even divinity – both happening just for the direct pleasure to the ego.
Who are we then? I believe we are all and one. The chakras are all connected, thus the balance or unbalance. We are not one or all, but all and one. We’re and we’re not the person that eats the last piece of cake. For on the one hand we have eaten it, but on the other if given the chance of awareness of the consequences of eating it – for example, a person that has eaten less will feel given an unfair part of the cake – we may probably stop eating it and give it to that person.
Understanding our being as only being one of them, that is the one who eats the piece of cake, can give place to what is often felt as unfair judgement of the person – “you ARE so selfish, for you ate much more cake than others did”. Understanding our being as all of them, can give place to the impossibility of judging behaviour – “never mind he ate the last piece of cake, it is not HIS fault, he didn’t realise others didn’t eat as much.” Understanding our being as one and all at the same time allows to a non-judgement of the person and evaluation of the behaviour, and therefore to the possibility of its future correction by us – “It was a bad thing that he ate the last piece of cake, I hope that now he knows the consequence of it, others didn’t eat as much, I am sure next time he will think about it”. We are not our behaviours, or even our thoughts of it. They form part of us, but they are not us.
We are responsible of the decisions we take, deciding for the “yes” instead of the “no”, but those decisions are not us, any person judging our being for our behaviour is, I believe, making a mistake. That doesn’t mean he is stupid, he is just making a mistake that can be corrected if given the opportunity to do so.