Niralambaia is the concept of self-reliance, the idea of existence without the need for external support. When I first learned about niralambaia, I was so confused. How could I not need support?
But recently, I have begun to understand. Although I often enjoy being with other people, there are times when being in groups leaves me feeling drained. More often than not, I find myself choosing to be alone, practicing yoga and meditation by myself rather than going to class. This is not to say that people or teachers are bad, but I do believe that periods of seclusion are healthy and lead to growth.
I feel very strongly that we all reach a time in our lives when teachers cannot lead the way. When we look outside of ourselves for support, we will not always find it. It is during these times that we must look deep inside of ourselves to find the support we are seeking.
In times of crisis, I used to think that an angel came into my life to help me, and then left when I was back on my feet. But now I realize that angel was really my inner voice. I'm grateful to hear it, and I feel humble in its presence. It helps me to overcome fear and doubt. It has taught me how to love myself and to keep myself company, to find the light and energy within.
I do believe that everyone should make time to find that inner, angelic voice and to develop a relationship with it. The process will be difficult at first. Uncomfortable feelings like sadness, confusion and loneliness will inevitably come up. But it's important to remember that these feelings are only like a pile of trash hiding something valuable underneath: a space of freedom, love and courage.
It is difficult to contemplate the profound knowledge that no one is there for you except yourself. I'm still grieving my old idea that another person - a soulmate or a soul-friend - might arrive to save me. But now I know that the person I've been searching for is inside me. It's inside each one of us. This is the same lesson taught by Golda Meir, the wise teacher and fourth prime minister of Israel. "Trust yourself," she said. "Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life."
Don't get me wrong, I think it's great to meet other people and to work together towards a common goal. Especially during times of strife -- Sept. 11 or even now, with Israel at war -- it is important to remember that we are all interconnected. Friends and family can provide a huge support during difficult circumstances, and I've been lucky to have many amazing friends throughout my life.
But there will be times when friends and family are not able to support you in the way you need, and your inner voice is the only one you can turn to. On the other hand, there will be times when your friends or family need support from you. Embedded within the concept of niralambaia is the acknowledgement of relationships, of the need to maintain inner strength so that you can be a rock for others to lean on.
Understanding the truths of niralambaia has ushered in a new beginning for me. For now I'm honoring that clarity and truth, and I feel really happy and honest with myself.
With love and light,
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