From baby to child, child to youth, youth to adult (hopefully), adult to elder. Throughout one’s life, a constant state of transformation takes place. One most often experiences these transformations as taking place gradually. Other times – through grace or effort, experiences of tragedy or joy, interactions with spaces of revelation – we transcend from one stage of transformation to another in a moment.
Swami Krishnananda says: “Effort from outside, you may say, is grace. Effort from within the individual is effort.”
After immediate transformation occurs, one finds it difficult to explain the change that has taken place. Part of the explanation is found in the Yoga Sutra of Pantajali.
Heya ksina prajna: that which should be discarded is discarded
A metaphor: You are preparing a meal and begin with an onion. You discard the peel and begin to cut and chop the vegetable. Just as you finish this task, a friend comes into the kitchen and asks you to describe the onion peel. “The onion peel?” you ask. Despite the fact you have only recently discarded the skin, it no longer serves you to remember its description.
In other words, don’t cry because the peel is gone.
As the onion grows below the Earth, the peel protects the onion from the poisons, rocks and insects. When the onion is picked, Its purpose has been served.
While one grows and transforms, our peels – the mental, verbal or physical habits that make up our current state – serve the purpose of teaching whatever lesson we need at that time – protecting us. The moment you overcome a lower habit for an higher one, discard the peel. The peel no longer serves you and you can freely discard it knowing it has served its purpose, yet no longer requires any of your mental, emotional, physical or spiritual energy.