24 January 2020

obstacles

PATANJALI"S SUTRAS:
obstacles

Image result for sufi quote on obstacles

sutra 29: from the practice of Aum, we go past our obstacles, towards attaining our Highest realisations

As someone who has done mantra meditation for decades, and at times used different mantras for specific purposes, I can truly say that yes, meditation usng Aum is indeed very powerful in dealing with disturbances. 

Here, Patanjali is talking about disturbances in meditation: mental and emotional, which can be difficult hurdles to deal with. How can we reach the sublime states when we have the restless mind and fluctuating emotions to deal with? Remembering that these Higher States of Being are first achieved whilst we are practicing meditation, and it is from being established in these states during our sadhana (spiritual practices)  that they start to become a reality in our waking life.

Do we all have to deal with obstacles? Yes, we do. As we build up our pranic (life force) reserves, so much of our impressions, this life and past lives, become revealed.  Many people believe that this is to do with "blockages" in our chakras. However, it is the subtle body which is having it's contents "shaken". In particular, the pranamaya kosha (pranic sheath) and the manomaya kosha (mind sheath), which along with the Vigyanamaya kosha (astral sheath), form the subtle body. They are awakening, and whatever is blocking them, our mental, emotional and physical impressions, is coming into our conscious awareness. 

First as restlessness. Which may manifest on the physical, emotional, or mental, levels. Then as pictures, patterns, symbols. This is just the way that we are.

sutra 30: the nine obstacles are:

  • illness
  • apathy
  • doubt
  • procrastination
  • laziness
  • craving (indulgence)
  • wrong thinking (delusion)
  • lack of progress
  • instability (irregularity with the practices)

These are common to us all. 

illness: within our blueprint for a lifetime, are tendencies towards particular illnesses, generally depending on what has come down through our DNA line. And also from our personal incarnations. These can manifest as fever as in a burning- out of the root causes of the illness, and they will then disappear into the ether. But sometimes we are destined to undergo particular illnesses in a lifetime, and in many cases, but definitely not all, these can be lessened somewhat by the practice of meditation. As the spiritual energy builds up inside of us, these fevers can and do happen. It is called purification.

apathy: this is like a type of indifference. Again, this sensation is deep within us, and this is another sensation which can arise. It will manifest as not caring about the Inner Life, but also as a dull uncaring state whilst living one's life. 

It is very difficult to pinpoint exactly where these obstacles are from. They can be from:

  • trauma in this lifetime. Sometimes, and very often, we need to do other things than meditation to deal with this. 
  • within our dna. Truly, this is an area which can be lessened
  • past lives. Here we can get into a lot of fantasy trying to pinpoint which lifetime a particular obstacle is from
We will continue with these obstacles







17 January 2020

continuing with Ishwara

Patanjali and Ishwara

sutras 23 -28


why does Ishwara matter

purity

Anything which is greater than oneself, is by it's very nature, going to be more pure than a human being. In this I would include the deities of the unseen realms. So we are looking at: 

  • angels
  • archangels
  • Gods and Goddesses
  • and the Supreme Entity: God

the descent 

From the Supreme Being, is a descent. Like a lineage:

  • the Supreme Being of All that is, manifest and unmanifest
  • Gods and Goddesses 
  • demi - Gods and Goddessess
  • Archangels: there are a male and a female archangel for eleven of the twelve heavens. The twelfth is the home of God
  • Angels: to do with The Reincarnation Realm
  • human beings

Each of these has their own place in creation. And their own realms.

As you can see, we are quite far down the list! 

And, we are of The Earthly Plane during an incarnation.  On this plane we experience the human condition: the highs and the lows. We also "forget" our experiences in The Heavens where we go between incarnations. 

And it is these two factors which create barriers between oneself and enlightenment. 

In a way, we can do a lot of "whittling" of our own human conditions that we carry, by: 

  • our devotion to Ishwara
  • meditation on Ishwara
  • chanting the Divine sound of Aum

These are some of the most important ways to experience bliss, true love, and sublime states of being. 

And on the way, we come to experience the realities of those Other divine beings as well.





11 January 2020

Patanjali and Ishwara

Sutras 23 - 28

Ishwara and enlightenment         Image result for patanjali quote on devotion to god

      We are such unknowing creatures. We start the spiritual odyssey with great hope and tons of concepts. This hope can and does turn into amazement, gratitude and eagerness as we progressively come into the spiritual realities. 

And along the way, those tons of concepts disappear. Sometimes one at a time, sometimes in a Big Experience. We become Knowing on the spiritual planes. 

And one of the ways that Patanjali recommends is by meditation upon Ishwara, the God within creation. Another method he suggests is by using the sound of God, which is Aum.

Aum chanting

Using Aum as a mantra is indeed profound. On the one hand it works as all mantras do:
  • as we chant our cares and worries recede in that moment. Immediately? I think not. Now it takes me just one Aum, but for many years, after the twenty-seventh Aum, I would notice that I had moved into a different state. One which is highly energised and with a very clear state of mind. More spiritual than the everyday. 
  • as we are undergoing the process of mantra, new neural pathways (nerve impulses) are being created. With each session (of whatever mantra you consistently use) these pathways become strengthened so that gradually they start to supersede our everyday agitated brain wave state. In this manner our meditation states starts to become our everyday state also. At first bit-by-bit, in moments here and there, and then those moments start to get bigger and bigger, until our entire state of being changes in such a profound way. 

samadhi is a process

Personally, I do not think that it's enough to do a bit of meditation here and there, or even just a tiny bit to start with, to achieve samadhi. It truly is a process of unfolding the True Inner nature within. A gradual process. And meditation, consistent meditation, is the major tool.

Aum The Divine Sound

Years ago I met a wonderful man who had a Near Death Experience when he attempted suicide after a very difficult life. He went into a realm where he could hear an amazing sound. This lead him to journey to India to find this beautiful sound. It was Aum. 

Aum is The Divine Sound. And, according to The Ancient Lore of The Whare Wananga (the spiritual house of learning), Divine Sound sound comes forth in one of the uppermost Heavens. There are twelve heavens. 

why Ishwara? why Aum?

Aum and devotional to the Great Divine, Great Spirit, whatever one wishes to call "god" are incredible vessels for ascension.  Ascending the layers of Being, of Samadhi. 

But there are other reasons too.


29 December 2019

Patanjali's sutras 23-28

Patanjali's Sutras

Pearls of wisdom for the spiritual journey

   


sutras 23 - 28 are about Ishwara:

  • 23: by devotion to Ishwara, samadhi (enlightenment) can         be achieved
  • 24: Ishwara, God, is completely pure and free from any             afflictions
  • 25: within God, there is the seed of All
  • 26: the ancient knowledge is from God
  • 27: the sacred sound, Aum, came forth from God
  • 28: by repeating the sacred sound (in meditation), we               come to understand it's meaning

Who or what is Ishwara? Ishwara is God, the Supreme Being, within Creation. A somewhat awe inspiring aspect to ponder. Why is it mentioned here, in Patanjali's sutras? 

one of the main methods to enlightenment

Remembering that these sutras are about the spiritual journey and attainment of the fruits of this journey, it seems that devotion to something far more majestic than oneself, is one of the main methods that we can use. This does not belong just to yoga, but to all spiritual systems and forms the basis of all religions. Interestingly, it is also one of the main world wide recovery systems, Alcoholics Anonymous. Finding a source greater than oneself and surrendering to it, with AA and NA (Narcotics Anonymous) has brought solace, recovery and peace to millions. 

All of these point to a basic human need for devotion to something Divine. And the spiritual odyssey is no different.

an inner journey 

Even if we start the inner journey with no belief in Ishwara, if we sincerely keep on the Path, we will discover that there are many realms far greater than oneself. On the Inner Level, and with The Heavens. We find that each realm that we experience is more majestic than the previous. We come to realise that there is a Mighty Force of energy and consciousness behind everything, from the smallest particle through to the unknown universes. 

As our own inner angst dissolves into the ether through the practice of meditation, and our reserves of prana (life force) and spiritual energy, increase through spiritual practices, we come to live within a reality than is, indeed, far greater than oneself.

Whatever one desires to call it.

And this in itself, brings incredible inner peace and acceptance of Life's journey. We experience being part of a whole. We realise the Divinity within everything, and everyone. Truly, this is humbling. I know that there are horrible people within every spiritual system and for me, they have not had these same realisations. Therefore, for me, they would not be as highly evolved as they make out themselves to be.

But there are millions more, in many deep spiritual systems who do come to deep and meaningful aspects of The Divine, who will understand what I am writing. 

the great ones

Why do the Great Realised Ones, past and present, talk or write about The Supreme Being in whatever form? Why do they look beautifully happy and serene? It is because they are living in Divinity, in the consciousness and energy of Divinity. So it is knowing, and vibration. And that vibration is the Love vibration, which we could also call bliss, or samadhi.

but what about us?

A person does not just arrive suddenly in this state. It is a process whereby one's whole vibration slowly changes whilst Life keeps happening. Our own understandings undergo a metamorphis as we become clearer within our karmic situation. 

We will look further into this.




22 December 2019

more about degrees of intensity

Image result for sufi quote on practice
(why do I always use Sufi quotes when I'm talking about yoga? It's because I just love the deep beauty of them)

Because so many refer to Patanjali's sutra 1:22 as being degrees of intensity of practice, I have decided to look at this sutra from that angle. I have already looked at it regarding eagerness.

The degrees of intensity are:
  • mild 
  • medium
  • intense

and of course these can all be applied to our practice. Most definitely, using the correct practices and having them intense techniques, practiced almost everyday an hour or more, gives amazing results.

This, combined with earnest desire is without a doubt, the quickest way to traverse the spiritual realms and have strong spiritual experiences. Of course, it's not rocket science, just common sense.

I did this for years. And, it is quite easy to do if you have to get up at 3.30 or 4.30 before dawn, have a cold shower, do cleansing practices, chanting, an hour's asanas, strong and lengthy pranayama and meditation, before breakfast. I say it's easy, because you have no choice.

What isn't so easy, is when we do have choices about whether or not to get up hours before anyone else, do these lengthy practices which give such amazing results, and carry on daily life in society. Especially if there is a family involved. What do we do then? How can we keep on progressing? 

We can keep progressing. Our degree of eagerness, or intensity of desire, for spiritual growth, that amazing journey, is a strong fuel. So are strong and lengthy practices, but, when we do not have the situation for this, eagerness will and does carry us on The Journey. I am talking from personal experience here.

Nevertheless, some practice is important. Undoubtedly, without continued practice, we will always retain our own inner knowledge. But we don’t maintain the levels of energy, prana and kundalini, which we had previously attained. We stop living in the energy and consciousness levels which our intense practices had produced. It takes about three months for them to diminish. What then? What usually happens is that people then go back into those same advanced practices to retrieve what they are missing. 

Herein lies a problem. Without having maintained our previous elevated levels, our entire system goes into a sort of shock. Our nervous system, emotions and thoughts get “shaken up”, we cannot manage this and we become a mess. So we stop. But, because we truly believe in doing our practices, we start the same advanced methods. We still cannot maintain, get back to where we had been. I have seen this go on for many years with some people. Stop, start again with strong practices, spin out, stop…  and so on.

The trick is to start again at a lesser, more maintainable level, And then carefully work back to a more agreeable level.  A level that does not shake up all of us: nerves, emotions, mind, the five sheaths, all of the hidden realms. 

I can tell you that eventually you won’t need to do this, that you will just be able to close your eyes, and you will be in a High Spiritual state. But. Doing some daily practices will enable you to actually live those states of being, to be those states, on every level.

No matter what spiritual system you are immersed in.