Spiritual liberation is not possible unless you lay a good, solid foundation in your daily life – building character and taking responsibility for yourself. Daydreaming will not lead to liberation. You have to take action. You have to take your life very firmly into your own hands.
How can we become aware? Where should we begin? Again, we want to be practical. Look at your habits. Look into those mechanical reactions, things that you do over and over again with little change. Keep a daily diary in which you write your reflections on your daily actions and become aware of how mechanical, almost robot-like you have become. Observe how difficult it is to drop your grudges and negative thinking. Not only do we have to undo the selfishness from this life, but we also have an accumulation of karma from many lives. Life is the battleground. Wherever you are, you battle your own selfishness, you battle your own many personality aspects and you battle your illusions.
As you work on yourself ask, “Have I changed? What have I accomplished in my attempts towards self-mastery?” When you begin to clearly see your self-made prisons and limitations, then you will slowly start to understand what the word ‘liberation’ means. Usually we have a theoretical understanding. We intellectualize very cleverly about all these things but do not necessarily accomplish anything.
So we have to be clear. Tell yourself the truth about yourself – that you are just starting out on the path. The liberation that you’re aiming for will come by degrees, and so will meditation. Without the ability to concentrate, there is very little possibility of results. Making the mind a blank is not meditation. Triggering yourself into a state of trance is not meditation. Meditation comes when the mind is calm, and that calmness comes only when you stop scheming to fulfill selfish desires.
Yoga is a path of liberation, and liberation has to begin in the here and now of our daily lives. We have to liberate ourselves from our own self-made prisons. These are prisons of attachments, concepts and habits, and the compelling forces of mechanical reactions and untested beliefs. Always remember you have the power of choice, which is often not recognized. You even have the power to make changes if you discover that your original choices did not meet your expectations.