kṛtārthaṃ prati naṣṭamapyanaṣṭaṃ tadanyasādhāraṇatvāt
For the liberated one, the Seen ceases to be manifest yet continues to manifest for those still in bondage.
Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra II.22
Any long time practitioner of yoga would agree that the result of doing the practice is a deeper understanding of who we are and what we are not — that there is something within us that has a purpose which will ultimately free us from the limitations of the body and mind. We approach the practice from many different angles and entry points so that we arrive with a thorough understanding of this. If our work pays off, then we free ourselves from the bondage that life inherently creates. But what comes next?
It would make sense that when one comes to an awakening, that reality would fall away. That everything we thought was real, turns out to be nothing more than smoke and mirrors. This is partly why the ancient rishis renounced worldly desire and took refuge in the forests and caves. But it is important that we do not follow this course and fade into the distance.
We cannot because we have purpose to support those who have not come to this realization yet. We are still friends, family, loved ones, students and teachers. We still have roles to fill for others’ lives that disappearing would disrupt. Our path is not a one lane road. We must remember the importance of supporting others on their spiritual path.