The Inspirational Moment
Some people experience the touch of grace and wake up out of the total identification with the mind and its habits instantaneously. Most of us start by grinding at the grindstone. We practice the 8 limbs of Ashtanga Yoga with the aim of Liberation or Peace. What do we want liberation from? WHO finds Peace and Truth? WHO is the One experiencing Peace? What is Truth? Does peace come and go or does it actually underlie everything that comes and goes?
It is important to remember not to be obsessed with the ‘goal’. That obsession keeps us from Being in the moment where the treasure always IS. We need to make space in our noisy lives and minds for the Self or Divine to emerge. By watching our thoughts and our relationship to them, we come to recognize that the attitudes / concepts that shape our lives are simply habitual thoughts. Nothing more. Once we let go of the power we give them through constant attention, then there is the Space to BE. In that Space, non-attachment and dispassion are natural, not forced. By asking poignant questions and deeply contemplating and learning to resonate with them from a deep place within, the Truth has space to blossom. On our mat and in our lives. Then yoga becomes not just a practice for an hour or so a day, but our lives become YOGA.
What is the answer when you ask yourself – WHO is doing the asanas/meditation? Are YOU any different standing on your head or in a spinal twist? When you are in the triangle pose, are YOU different than when you were in the cow’s head? Have YOU changed? The body has changed its’ shape, but have YOU? What is the space between the in and out breath and the out and in breath? Life situations come and go, do YOU? The body is born, grows up, gets old and dies. WHO inside of you watches this process? Does the WHO change or is it affected?
Sutra 47 in the 2nd book of the Patanjali yoga sutras states: “Posture becomes firm and relaxed through control of the natural tendencies of the body, and through meditation on the Infinite.” i When in an asana that is comfortable for you, can you simply rest in it. Rest in the Infinite. Go for the Truth that is inside, underneath the body, emotional self and the mind. When practicing asanas for example, simply notice the stillness inside the breath moving the body in the pose. Be in that stillness and YOU will become the stillness as it expands and loosens the contraction in the body and heart. Eckhart Tolle writes in his book, Stillness Speaks,
“Feel the energy of your inner body. Immediately mental noise slows down or ceases. Feel it in your hands, feet, your abdomen, your chest. Feel the life that you are, the life that animates the body. The body then becomes a doorway, so to speak, into the deeper sense of aliveness underneath the fluctuating emotions and underneath your thinking.”
Learn to be absolutely inside the asana. Feel inside the body. Don’t always be obsessed with how it looks on the outside, going for the perfect pose. That is simply one level, the external form of the asana. GO DEEPER. Let the breath move the asana from the inside. Don’t force poses on the body with the mind. Learn to move your consciousness to different areas of the body and feel the aliveness that is present inside. Be inside whatever you are doing. Whether it be yoga poses, working, or playing with your children. A sense of wonder, awe and joy can blossom inside if you give it space. For example, if you notice the mind judging your body for being stiff, feel the tightness of that thought. A negative thought has the tendency to create stress in the whole human part of you. If the body is stiff, the body is simply stiff. Asanas will help the body to be healthy and happy. You don’t need to have a relationship with the stiffness. Our reaction to the stiffness makes it worse. Learn to Rest in the stiffness and the simply quiet breathing, without tension in the head, in the thoughts, and in the brain.
Isherwoods’ commentary on the Sutra 48ii says, “Such complete mastery of the body does not, of course, come through posture alone. It arises from a state of absorption in the consciousness of God.”
Ok, so where is IT, where is this Peace, Joy, Liberation, we may ask? What does ‘one’s true nature’ etc. mean? What does ‘consciousness of God’ mean to YOU?
Inside you this moment is everything you need to realize peace, truth, light. Do you believe me? Probably not. The mind and its thoughts keep us in the world of pleasure and pain. The ego loves drama and wants us to feel separate. Pain feeds the human part of us. You think you need to become a better person, learn more facts about this or that, read another 108 books, memorize 400 more concepts. If l do 108 million hours of asanas and meditation, then I’ll be GOOD ENOUGH to get enlightened. Your mental picture of yourself, all your ideas, labels and concepts are what’s keeping you from the hidden treasure within. Our thoughts, feelings and especially our attitudes and relationships with our bodies and our selves stop us from being totally present and really Living.
Don’t do a practice for the end result of obtaining some future goal, because if you do you’ll be missing the Divinity of the moment and what you are seeking is in that moment. Through practice you will get the physical benefits and perhaps a calmer mind, but don’t stop there. If you choose to practice asanas, pranayam and or meditation, simply Be in the practice.
Liberation or enlightenment are not in some future life waiting for you to be a better person. The truth of your Being is here inside of you right now, this second.
“When the mind is free from all past memories and imaginary cognitions about the future, it is in the present where there is perfect peace.” -B.H.D.
Stop…….RIGHT NOW and tune in to your Self. Deep inside, the space between the in breath and the out breath. Be Present in whatever Pose in life you assume. IT is waiting patiently for recognition. The yogis say IT, the Divine, Peace, Self, Truth, Light, Essence, God, Space, however you want to label it, is within every human being. And that means, it is in you.
Stop thinking and let IT BE.
i Pg. 160, How to know God The Yoga Ahpohorisms of Patanjalli. Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood. Vedanta Press, California, 1981.
ii “thereafter one is no longer troubled by the dualities of sense experience.” Sutra 48. Patanjali. Ibid.
For further reading, check out my articles
Yoga 101 and Yoga is Everywhere.