Posted by Ancient's Best on August 31, 2014 in Yoga.
So long as we are living with the understanding that we are the body and mind, so long will the concept of Duality exist.
Good, bad, right, wrong, positive, negative, hot, cold, pain, pleasure and the lists goes on. All of the above can be considered ‘real’ insofar as the experiences of the body and mind is concerned. But are we this body and mind? The latter is a temporary necessity to allow Karma to fulfil its functions, otherwise unnecessary.
By changing our clothes, the essence that is us, or rather the ‘I’ does not change. It remains the same throughout, irrespective of what we are dressed in or whether we are dressed at all! By changing our name or our physical form through cosmetic surgery, do you think we become someone else?! No, as the essence of what is ‘I’ remains unchanged.
In our experience, we sense that the nature of duality affects us one way or rather. But at the same time we understand that the body and mind is not ‘real’ as it is there for only a period of time. But just as in deep sleep, where there is still awareness and consciousness, even though there is no awareness and consciousness of the body and mind, similarly awareness and consciousness is still available, even when we are not in the form of the body and mind. The latter state is what constitutes as ‘Real’ as it remains the same throughout the period of time, i.e; past , present and future.
Change does affect the body and mind as recognised in the science of Ayurveda. Methods to manage this, is taught by this system of this Yoga of Life. It becomes imperative to keep the body and mind as pacified and as calm as possible, so as to allow us the ‘quiet and stillness’ to experience our True Nature as in the state of Yoga or Samadhi. This is the sole and only purpose of our life.
Our body/mind is equated to that of the wave. Though appearing to have its own form, is nothing but the Ocean. Before the wave became a wave, it was the Ocean. While it was in the form of the wave, it is still the Ocean. And when it eventually returns to the Ocean, it remains as the Ocean. Never has the wave not been the Ocean. Similarly, the essence that we are, call it Soul or Atman or God, it does not matter, does not change, in spite of having numerous temporary forms of a different body and mind. Realising this unchanging reality is spiritual evolution.
Posted by Ancient's Best on October 30, 2013 in Yoga.
Often times the matter of Prana and especially of its qualities are repeatedly discussed, sadly with the erroneous idea that Prana has qualities! When a matter as subtle as Prana permeates every and anything in all the universes, how could it have any kind of quality? The problem lies not in Prana but in our understanding of it and its nature. Quality only exists when there are ‘two’ things about it; meaning the concept of Duality. When ‘All’ is ‘That’, where and how can there be any quality!
This idea of different qualities, as said earlier, arises from mistaken thinking, misunderstanding and misinterpreting the individual’s ability or rather the inability to absorb Prana fully or correctly, thereby causing ill heath due to the disturbed Dosha. Before we proceed, we need to emphasise that Prana is not Oxygen though it uses Oxygen as a medium of transport. Like eating correct food, which also carries Prana but travelling in the essence of Food. We have heard people say that Prana is ‘good or bad’ in certain environments, or they say there is more or less Prana in a certain environment. For instance in an environment which is highly polluted, one may say that ‘Prana is bad or there is less of it’! Or in a ‘green or natural’ environment, one may say that Prana is good or that there is more of it available.
Just as the percentages of the major gases in the atmosphere like Hydrogen, Carbon Dioxide, Oxygen etc do not become altered due to other polluting gasses, like Carbon monoxide etc, becoming mixed in the atmosphere but what happens is that it makes it more difficult for any system depending on natural gases to filter and absorb the required natural gases easily or rapidly, thus causing problems and disturbances. Similarly the quality of Prana does not become affected positively or negatively due to the environment but in our capacity to absorb Prana effectively and correctly.
Our human body may lack the tools or filters necessary to filter out all such pollutants, thus causing poor absorption of oxygen and therefore Prana. Certain high speed engines like the gas turbine requires clean air in order for the fuel to burn efficiently and effectively so as to obtain the optimum power required for it to function accordingly but such engines have as additional equipment that helps in providing supercharged air; meaning sending high volumes of air at high speeds and high temperatures into the engine as a means of compensating for the ‘poorer’ quality of air. Likewise the human body is endowed with a certain tool which could help in such a situation. Our mind can be trained to effectively filter out such incorrect thinking thus allowing for the body to become more stable and vibrant. Correct thinking comes from Knowledge and incorrect thinking is due to ignorance.
The mind creates a negative situation by convincing itself that Prana is adversely affected by the less than ideal environment. Due to this kind of thinking the mind is poisoning the body and negatively affecting the absorption and flow of Prana. So this ability to absorb Prana is in fact first and foremost influenced by our thoughts. This comes back to the explanation or rules of Pranayama, that thoughts can be regulated to affect the absorption of Prana.
For example, certain teachers prefer to conduct classes in natural settings such as near the beach or in a quiet forest or by a lake etc. They tell their students there is a lot more prana there. In fact they do put a positive thought into the student which may indeed enable them to better absorb Prana. However, they could explain it differently and more correctly by telling them the environment is quiet and clean and in that place the mind is more easily able to be controlled and quietened thus allowing better absorption of Prana.
Similarly when the environment is noisy and polluted, this doesn’t necessarily mean the person is unable to relax and be focussed and just as easily regulate the thoughts and thus influence the absorption of Prana. So we can see it is not the Prana itself affected by the environment but our very thoughts and attitude.
Posted by Ancient's Best on in Yoga.
This is the story of the Ocean and the Wave. It is story about Truth so we could call it a True story! And like all stories, we need to be quiet and listen to them, to feel them, and to allow them to weave their magic. Otherwise, we lose what it is they are telling us.
Here it is:
The Ocean and the Wave
Imagine a vast Ocean, endless and eternal. In places it has different names, the Pacific, the Atlantic, the Indian, and so on. But it is all One Ocean.
It may be calm or rough, deep or shallow, warm or cold, aqua green, blue or even black. There may be ripples on the top, or it may be still, or it may be stormy and filled with roaring breaking waves. But it is all One Sea.
Think about a calm and quiet day with the Ocean totally still and flat. Then the wind or tide brings a small rise in the water and a wave is formed. Here and there other waves form. All over the Ocean waves start to rise and fall.
Imagine that each of these Waves is a human birth. So each Wave (or child) comes and what do we do? We give him/her a name! We tell it that it is separate and special. We warn it to be careful about others in case they take what it has away. We give that Wave (or child) an ego (or untrue belief it is only the individual wave) that says it is different. Suddenly all the boundaries and limitations of this birth are experienced.
So what happens then?
The child experiences many things that are not helpful for a human. They become inhuman! Maybe a little or maybe a lot. Things like greed, selfishness, possessiveness, loneliness, and especially fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of what we do not understand, fear of losing what we have, fear of failure, and fear of all the shortcoming we have. And we are reminded all the time of these fears!
Why do we experience these fears and limitations?
Because we have identified ourselves with the Wave, with the body and mind, we think this is who we are. We think this is all there is and that scares us and we feel very alone. We know this body and mind has many limitations.
Think about the Ocean and the Wave for a bit. When the Wave was still in the Ocean it was the Ocean. When the Wave raised its head and was given a name, what was it? It was still the Ocean. And when it returned to the Ocean what was it then? Of course it was the Ocean also.
It was always the Ocean…
So why the fear and limitation and selfishness of the Wave?
It is because it forgot it was the Ocean.
This is the sadness of being human. The nature of the human is to give, to love, to be considerate, to be disciplined, to respect, and to share. Our nature is to do to others what we would like others to do to us. To always give freely.
So why should we love others and share and give to them? Because we are ALL the Ocean – the other Wave (or person) is us. Even the Wave that is far away is our very Self. But first we can start by caring for those Waves closest to us.
This understanding is what is meant by Yoga. It is simple yet profound. Other names we might use for Yoga include Truth, Oneness, Moksham, Nirvana, Self Realisation, Enlightenment, God, and so on. The Truth is beyond Name and Form.
It is important not to get too caught up in the physical practices of Hatha Yoga etc and consider this to be Yoga – these are simply a means to help prepare the body and mind to attain Yoga. They help to develop discipline and self awareness to have the stability to sit in meditation and gain one pointed concentration. In yogic practice this is considered “preparing the field”. What is the field? Our Body and Mind.
We have never been separate. But we have FORGOTTEN the Truth.
We limit ourselves by identifying with the limited body and mind. We forget this is an instrument given to us for a specific purpose. This idea of separation, this ignorance of the Truth that we are the unlimited Ocean, is what creates all suffering. The way to remove suffering is through knowledge, the removal of ignorance.
There are many paths all leading to Yoga and each one is correct. And in fact there is nowhere to go. We simply need to remove that which is preventing us from seeing the whole. All that is Truth is essentially very simple. It is not mystical! We will feel it and experience in our own way.
Do not seek anything or think there is something you have lost or somewhere you need to go – just remember you are the eternal Ocean.
Read more about Yoga.