two birds in a tree

I wasn’t planning on choosing a word for this year, but one has been showing up in my thoughts and dreams. As always, it is what is behind and beyond the word itself that makes it impactful – how we bring the word into our lives.

Let me explain a little more.

In December I was at Kripalu for a training and retreat. It was a wonderful educational and enlightening experience taught by Yoganand Michael Carroll. We stepped lightly into the history of yoga and then took a deep dive into yoga philosophy and renunciate nivritti practices.

Throughout this intensive and powerful experience I felt a reassuring and familiar presence. I have noticed this awareness growing over the past few years, and have come to call it the Witness or Presence.

I shared the Vedic parable of the two birds in an earlier post, which describes how there are essentially two parts of ourselves. There is the doer, the part that is active in the world and has a sense of my family, my work, my children and so on. This is also called the I-maker or ego. The other part is a conscious witness within us, at a deeper level.

I believe that we can touch this deeper part of ourselves when we are still and turn our attention inwards. When we Find our Middle Ground.

Now I see that being still is a way to get to know it, but we can experience this deeper level of being in the world and can bring it into our every day.

When you have integrated the witness into your being, there is no need to wait to go to yoga or to sit and meditate. It is always present, and is always there to give you wisdom and guidance. This is the knowing, higher part of yourself who sees through the stories and the everyday actions and distractions of the doer.

This higher discriminating intellect, in the Samkhya tradition (before the time of Buddha), is called Buddhi.*

Whenever we notice the doer getting caught up in reacting to the world and being distracted by senses, desires and fears, we can call on Buddhi.

Buddhi doesn’t judge and make us wrong, it simply guides us into a higher state of being and brings clarity and balance. It brings us closer to the state of consciousness or divine.

So, how does this affect us?

As humans we are all doers. And as doers we have to protect our things and our selves, we need to feel safe and we have minds that make up stories to make sense of what happens to us and to make things right. We have our senses and feelings that constantly pull at us.

donuts and bagel display
Photo by Igor Ovsyannykov on

So….. As I think about what to choose for dessert, or begin to open a new bag of cookies, or sit back on the sofa with a glass of wine and turn on the tv, I will ask: What would Buddhi do? 

As I find myself avoiding taking the next step towards something important and making up stories about why I can’t do that right now, I will ask: What is Buddhi’s insight here?

When I notice that I feel anxious and fearful about the unknown future or am drawn into regrets of the past, I will ask: What would Buddhi tell me?

When I notice myself judging others and being critical, I will say: I need you now Buddhi!

* Buddhi Definition from Yogapedia:

Buddhi is a Sanskrit term derived from the root, budh, which means “to know” or “to be awake.” Therefore, buddhi refers to intellect, wisdom and the power of the mind to understand, analyze, discriminate and decide.




About Val Boyko

Val Boyko is originally from Scotland and came to the United States over 25 years ago. At "Find Your Middle Ground" Val brings together her experience as a life coach, yoga teacher and mentor, to inspire awakening to the light and inspiration within us all. This blog is a place of exploration and discovery as we all explore finding harmony and peace, in the highs and lows of life 💛

24 comments on “Val’s Word for 2020

  1. I appreciate your authenticity Val…and how you make reflective turns…🤓 have you ever gone to a retreat in Japan? Thanks for sharing 🙏 smiles Hedy

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Hedy 💕 Retreat in Japan … sounds entrancing. Love the attention to detail of their minds and appreciation of simplicity that brings stillness and new perspectives .

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for sharing your insight and your great advice, dear Val.
    I will try this out next time I stand in a situation and need support.
    Much love to you ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I like your word or phrases. Very thoughtful and unusual. Thanks for sharing all the history of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This was, as always, wonderful- but even a step beyond! perfect for today. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Buddhi… what a helpful concept. Twice in my life I felt myself briefly separated—like an out of body experience except I was in my body. Some part of me was hearing and “watching” another part of me talking and interacting with a familiar stranger. It was like that chatty, external part was on autopilot. I never had words to describe what happened.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I found this so interesting, and personally enlightening, Val. I like the way you’ve described the meaning and intention of Buddhi, and I’m going to contemplate that further. What a perfect word for the new year!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Buddhi seems to be a very wise and active word.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Good choice, Val.

    ”What are you ~ a god, an angel, a saint?”
    “No,” replied The Buddha, “I am A-W-A-K-E.”

    Liked by 1 person

  9. A perfect word for 2020 Val! The year of our heart chakra!


  10. I like all the ways that Buddhi can help.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Thank you, Val…this is very helpful.

    Liked by 1 person

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