“It’s a luxury to be understood.” Ralph Waldo Emerson. A mission to understand. Know thyself.
The paths of yoga each suit an individual’s temper- ament differently, and everyone experiences some element of each of the aspects no matter what their personal nature makes them lean toward. For some, using the channel of love and devotion that our social circuits use just doesn’t engage them fully and leaves them uneasy.
One example of being out of synch with the devotional path would be the difference between someone naturally inclined toward the karma path versus one inclined to the devotional. For a follower of bhakti yoga, the celebrational aspect of the practices is absolutely necessary though it doesn’t exclude other concerns. For the one called to karma yoga though, those celebrations can leave them feeling restless and confused. They would ask a bhakti aligned teacher a question along the lines of, “Yeah, but what do I DO?”
Like the person who wants to celebrate milestones vs. the person who just wants to get on with the next thing? Exactly, and karma yoga being the yoga of action they understand the divine and the spiritual path, any sense of personal growth, as patterns of action, whereas the natural student of bhakti, or devotion, understands these same things as an experience of feeling, emotion, even ecstasy, experience through the heart. Their heart driven view doesn’t block them from taking meaningful and timely action, but they would feel rushed if they couldn’t feel the personal presence or impact in it. They would lose touch with their own internal wisdom, whereas the karma follower gets in touch with it through action, action and consequence. Action and reaction put them in touch with their inner wisdom.
Is it possible for both to reside in one individual? All sides reside in everyone, but just as you have to start walking with one foot, you will start any process in your life with your primary aspect. The karma student who excludes any consideration of the heart winds up understanding nothing. The bhakti student who excludes any consideration of actually acting on their feelings fails to grow in their feelings.
The reason yoga has the three paths stems from a simple realization. All paths lead to the truth, and someone who “fails’ on one path may achieve enlightenment as deep and profound as anyone else on another path. They each come to the same understanding in the end.
Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.