Monday, August 28, 2017

Work In Progress : 2 Yoga As A Prelude

Today once again I realised how important certain progressions are and the series in which they must be practiced. Let me explain but for that I need to describe last evening a little. Recently I have made some lovely company in two beautiful souls. They are beautiful in their inner and outer essence. In their company, I feel complete and so nourished. The three of us have a lot in common apart from the repartee, the search for knowledge, love and constant encouragement for each other.  We did our first movie night together and they both watched a movie in a language very alien to them and yet we shared a bond through the food, the space and the experiences we shared.  Time was well spent through the evening and the date slipped into this morning. We parted to our own homes to get our rest, as we all knew we had our share of things to do when the sun rises.
The sun rose and I was up before it did. I could not do my usual physical routine due to the lack of a few hours of sleep. Yet the body was craving a deep rest. I did my practice of Sudarshan Kriya. I was initiated to this ten years ago, which is my daily tonic. (To read more about it I shall put some links below for you read up). After which I did a guided meditation. (My morning flows like this. Selfishly the first two hours of the day I give to myself; so, I can give much more of me to others once I feel nourished). Today the meditation was nice and relaxing however it was not deep like yesterday. We are constantly told not to expect and not to compare our experiences with another or with our earlier experiences. Each meditation is different.
However, I have already told you the Mind is the boss. So, compare it will. The reason I ramble so much about this is that to bring home the point that there is a distinct difference between not having a physical activity, namely yoga (or it could be any other form of physical activity of your choice), prior to meditating. There is a method or formula to everything. Some of it can be tweaked, adapted to your convenience but this progression should be accepted in its true form.
To explain it better, Yoga in classical Indian thought refers to a way of spiritual practice. It suggests to us characteristic ways of asanas, mantra, pranayama and sadhana (meditation). Yoga has five basic elements to it:
Jnana Yoga (Using Knowledge for self- realisation, namely meditation)
Bhakti Yoga (Devotion seeking union with the Divine)
Karma Yoga (The service to living beings)
Raja Yoga (Higher techniques of mantra and meditation)
Hatha Yoga (Techniques of asanas and pranayama)
While some schools of thoughts practice only follow some of these I have been taught to follow all five. There is a pattern and first is basically a sound body to house a sound mind. To put it simply Hatha yoga is the first step and then follows the others. To come back to my point that yoga should be followed by meditation. It is used by the western world who refute the Vedic existence of yoga to just focus on a sound body. Or a more desirable body. Even for arguments sake If we do focus on a more desirable body that focuses on the Kundalini method of yoga, that too has a purpose. Which is to make the kundalini rise from the second chakra to the head chakra. Alas, the reverse happens and very often their form of yoga remains a way to get fixated on the momentary pleasure of the second chakra. An incomplete process of just yoga without meditation will result from falling out of practice as they after a while will not see the true reason for physical element of yoga.
Meditation is the result. Yoga is the prelude. The mind needs to feel balanced just as much as the body. This is beautifully explained in the first chapter of the Patanjali Yogasutra, where the basic principle of yoga is to restrict the mind stuff from taking various forms or distortions. Hence relating to the first point established yesterday of what Sri Sri often calls the “The Monkey Mind”.
So yes, friends focus on that body. Make it beautiful. Do your asanas with dedication and zest. And after you have sculpted that perfect body through yoga or whatever other form of exercise of your choice, sit. Sit and relax and breathe. Observe, that Boss Mind. Through sheer observation meditation will happen. Trust me sooner or later it will. And some of the days when you have late night which become early mornings you can slack on the yoga but don’t slack on the meditation J
Yes, as a disclaimer I am a work in progress and even after ten years I have good days and not so good day but I take it all in my stride. After all I need a sound mind to create. And that you will know If you have been following this blog, is also key to my mental wellbeing.

Links to some things mentioned in the above piece

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Work In Progress : 1 Mind Over Matter

Mind over matter something we hear all the time. But what does it mean. To put it simply; through the day, there is a lot that your mind, does get bothered over. Rather your mind makes you feel a myriad of sensations by making you believe that this matters to you.
Just think about it……a person says something or acts in a way disagreeable to you, at the first level you feel unhappy and from there on a string of different sensations and feelings arise within you. Then comes the next step were discussion of this makes the “matter” fester even more. The real funny part is, that the main cast to this entire drama, is oblivious to this screenplay that is being directed in your thoughts. And yes, who is the great director to this drama that is unfolding in you? None other than the omniscient Director, The Mind. Hence goes the saying Mind over Matter.

Now that we have established the Mind is over the matter, let us acknowledge this fact even more. Taking the same scenario as we discussed earlier, say for example a remark that was not very agreeable to the self, let us just see how the situation can be altered. The thought occurs that the statement was not a compliment but a disapproval of sorts. The best is to drop it then and there. However, we all know that the Director calls the shots. So there goes your mind thinking about the whys, how’s and when’s. From there begins evaluation and that results in a simultaneous feeling of anger, jealousy and so many other feelings. These feelings then are going to create at the weakest level a head ache and at a deeper level and with constant surrender to the minds prowess, a downward spiral resulting in various bodily discomforts and illness. There is a way to tackle this pattern. Since the Mind is over Matter through a simple process one can use and alter the process. Just observe your mind in this mode. Yes, that simple. Wither sheer observation the entire pattern just dissipates. Suddenly the folly of exaggeration and delving into a useless thought pattern seems fool hardy. The moment this realisation dawns a certain growth happens. Yes, you have learnt to tame your Mind too. Observation being the real Key. Notice even in this process of reading this short essay your mind created so many obstacles. Yet if you have persevered and managed to agree with me that every day and so many times a day we fight huge battles and wars and every day we create epics and entire soap operas all through the power of our mind. The mind is the Maya. It controls the matter. But what if you knew how to control it. Stay tuned for the next part of Work in Progress.  

Work In Progress is a series that I wish to write about myself. I am my biggest creation and with progressing life and expereinces I realised there is so much that I need to learn and work on. This is not a prescribed formula here. I am just listing my own positive experinces and sharing those with anyone who feels they can benfit from reading these lines.