2 November 2013

the intelligence of the physical body

We have another mind. The mind of the physical body! Yes! Who would have thought so? Those of us who have too much thinking mind, or too much feeling mind, we are so removed from the physical body-mind.

The intelligence of the physical body, it has it's own area in the brain. When we are connected to this mind, we have awareness of our body's needs, & we are less governed by our thoughts, &/or feelings, in this area. So, our gut also has a connection to body intelligence, but this mind of the physical body that I'm now referring to, it's mooladhara, base chakra, & it's in what's called the 'reptilian' brain. It governs so much of how the body works, it's usually on an unconscious level, but we can tap into it.

We can awaken this mind. This will bring much happiness. We are supposed to have our bodies functioning properly, it's one of the everyday ways that we can be happy, this area of the psyche actually has a strong base of happiness, & we can also experience the profound sensation of bliss through mooladhara chakra.

In spiritual life, we can get stuck on the physical level & develop a rational aspect to the yogic understandings & levels....not true knowledge this, but it frequently happens. Or, some of us race through all the layers & realms & chakras etc etc ...& leave the benefits of mooladhara, & on an everyday level the physical body, we leave all this behind!! ......And have to go back & sort it out.

Some of us relate completely to this physical body/mind complex. This has it's own pitfalls, just as it's too unbalanced to be 'lost' in the thinking mind, or 'lost' in emotions. We can get 'lost' in action/reaction, in the area of psyche where we relate completely to our own sense of survival, & selfish wants. It's a part of the body-mind. Very useful when one is in danger, but it's very difficult for others to live with someone like this.

Mooladhara chakra is directly linked to Anahata (heart) chakra, & also to Ajna (3rd eye). This suggests to me that we need to be balanced between body/mooladhara, heart/anahata, & mind/ajna. Our Higher Mind resides in Ajna, so we are bringing in the element of a stronger sense of self, through the body's mind, & through the heart/feelings. plus through the more discerning mind/ajna.

It has been found that dancers have this area of the brain quite small in comparison to many of us. So, I would assume that many other sports people, & ashtanga physical yoga people have so, too. Could it be that in some of us it's enlarged, like having an enlarged, sick heart? Could it be that this area of the brain, this aspect of mind, needs to be 'used' as in physical exercise, to keep it healthy?




play of consciousness

So, we have this Higher Mind inside of us, always waiting to be discovered, built up, strengthened & awakened. And we have what some call the Lower Mind, or, everyday thinking mind. Plus, physiologically, we have the mind of the gut, & the mind of the heart. There is an energy flow (nadi) with links anahata, our heart chakra, with Sahasrara, crown chakra. From this, we can assume that within our brain, we are connected to the mind of the heart.

There is so much confusion & so many concepts about these all of these minds. Maybe we could look at them all in a way that is easier to understand.

We have our thinking mind which interacts & reacts 24/7.  Most of us identify with this aspect of mind: we believe that this is 100% of who we are. What we think & believe.

 Others identify more with our emotional feelings, from the mind of the heart. I feel that this is harder, as our emotions can be so intense that they can over ride everything especially logic & reason. These people, though, have the plus side, a richness of emotion & caring which can be channeled into a life with great purpose & meaning. These are the people whose hearts can be directed towards a deep inner fulfillment. Of course, we all have some aspect of this, but some are more this way than others are.

The mind of the gut is also to do with feelings, & thoughts. This mind controls the digestive system, & on a spiritual level, it relates to Manipura chakra, the seat of prana, life-force, in the body. It is a powerful step in the start of the Dawning of the Higher Mind. Sometimes we loose communication between the gut mind & our feeling mind, & we can lose a lot of everyday intelligence when this happens. This intelligence is often reaction, you know: 'gut feelings', but also is a connection to the body-mind complex, & we function so much better when this connection, this knowledge of what's good/bad for us, particularly through digestion, is operating well. For those of us who are too governed by our thoughts, or those of us who are too governed by our feelings, re-establishing a strong link to the body via the gut, will help balance our psyche & give us a stronger sense of self. For the overly thinking, it will bring in an element of feeling, & for the heart based person, it will bring them back a bit more into the body. It's all about balance.

We have an unconscious mind too, or, an area of the mind complex which is called the unconscious mind. Often confused with the subconscious. The unconscious is very deep, very visual, & when very deeply buried aspects of us are in this area of mind (& this applies to us all!!) these aspects are beyond our rational understanding. These very deep aspects cannot be psycho-analysed etc. We have to traverse our Inner Realms in meditation to access them....& when we do, it's a big surprise. Nothing in this area of mind is what we think!! I truly believe that this aspect of us also needs everyday expression. Not everyone meditates. But you can do other things to allow the play of the unconscious mind. Go to the ocean. This area of mind......it will just flow, & you will feel wonderful. Allow some time each day to let the mind flow like a daydream.....some of it will be from the other minds, but when your mind goes far away, when you come to, you will have had a short mental holiday for the unconscious mind. And make sure you get good sleep.....for many of us, this is when we are truly in the unconscious mind!




26 October 2013

Higher Mind

The yoga techniques, they are all about bringing us closer to our real self, at whatever level we are ready for. That readiness is always a balance of consciousness & energy, a moment in time of perfect equilibrium of these 2, which in turn allows a 3rd factor: spiritual energy & spiritual consciousness, both flowing side by side, & to come into play. Sometimes life's events bring us to this moment, sometimes it's in meditation or yoga nidra...sometimes we have an inner experience, an awakening & an Higher Understanding emerges, along with a corresponding Higher level of spiritual energy.

When it's life's experiences, we come to more clarity, more growth, & deep seated tension is released. We become happier, stronger mentally & emotionally.

When it's from the spirituality, the same happens, except the spiritual energy & consciousness also come up to a higher level. For these spiritual awakenings, we need our energy levels to grow, so we need to build up our nervous system on the physical level...with postures, cleansing practices & pranayama, & also our prana, which is on another level, in another body sheath other than the physical body. We always have a physical correspondence for the spiritual elements, & our prana has this relationship with the nervous system. When prana is the main fuel for our body & brain, the spiritual development takes off like a rocket.

Another factor is management of one's pranic reserves. Much harder to do in society, as our attention, & prana, is always being pulled this way & that way. The prana becomes scattered. The spiritual aspirant really needs their prana to be strong, & 'together'. so to speak. When we are always dealing with friends, family, work, travel, bills, food, sleep patterns, our wants & desires, etc, etc....our minds have to quickly focus on 1 thing, intensely, then another...it depletes the prana. What we eat, our habits, our intentions, they all affect the prana too.

The yamas & niyamas, one of their purposes is to make the prana strong, & stop our prana from dissipating. In turn, we are gradually building up the spiritual energy & spiritual consciousness.

The heightened states can initially be confused with an emotional 'up' state of being revved up, excited, like being 'high' on energy, or 'high' on elation. . Because this is not a real spiritual 'awakening', but more an emotional release, &, actually, this can also happen as the result of an awakening, but, often, the energy drops soon after. One of the learnings with spirituality is that the Higher states have an Inner calmness behind them. Because there is a spiritual calmness within us all, another of the hidden qualities.

24 October 2013

more yamas

So, within the yamas, we have ahimsa: non-violence; satya: truth; asteya: honesty, non-stealing; & there is a similar yama called aparigraha:non-possessive, plus a mysterious 5th yama.  Each, of course, ties in with the other.

We can start working with the yamas by consciously aiming to not be violent in speech, action & deed, & do something about our own inherent violent thoughts. That something is simply done with meditation & yoga nidra as they both help clear the internal brain clutter & they promote the alpha brain wave pattern which is peaceful, harmonious.

 But there is also a special Dharana, or concentration, technique called Antar Mouna: Inner Silence. It's revised from the ancient Tantric texts.  I feel that it's a 'must' for the spiritual seeker.  It teaches us about the intensity of the inner feelings, & gives us a clear practice for dealing with them. Part of this practice can be utilised in daily life, as a tool for managing the emotions.

There is nothing wrong with emotion, happy emotions do so much for us all! But, one of the definitions of yoga is : to manage the mental fluctuations. Not get rid of them, we can't do that, no...they are too embedded within us. We can, however, start to learn how to manage the more disturbing mental fluctuations. Antar Mouna is a very direct tool for this, it 'gives us a break' mentally, emotionally on this level & leads us into a very real Inner Peace....amazing. It won't be whatever you think it is, it's way more profound than whatever we can conceptionalise.

And, it definitely helps us with the yamas. It helps us on our quest for satya, asteya, it helps us learn action & reaction without having to always psycho-analyse things. It helps to relieve the guilt of not being perfect, the guilt from feeling that we are 'bad' for having very human feelings, reactions. The yamas are because we all have these things inside us. I simply do not believe those who say they don't.

One of the ways that that Antar Mouna  helps with the yamas is that we experience something beyond our known level of experience, something that takes us beyond the usual pangs of being human. And that something.....it makes us eager for more, it is so lovely. You, myself, & everyone else, we all have this inner loveliness, hidden underneath the human experience.


25 September 2013

more on ahimsa

I saw a quote by Amma, Meenakshi Devi Bhavanani, from Ananda Ashram in Pondicherry, on the occasion of her 70th birthday. She said that: Ahimsa involves protecting oneness against unconsciousness, the one and only enemy.

Becoming conscious is one of Yoga's treasures. With a yogic attitude & consistent yoga sadhana, the inner consciousness will grow. We start to develop an awareness of life, of what's 'right' & what's 'wrong'. With this a stronger sense of one's self begins also to become stronger. We start to 'walk our path', fall more into line with our destiny. We develop our voice to learn to talk with truth.

We move into not only a sense of our own one-ness, but also the sense & sensation of being one with all, even if we are not going to be/do what 'all' are doing. We begin to feel the deep essence of ourselves, & of others, & connections between ourself & others become more real.

There is another aspect to this oneness. It's at a Higher level of consciousness, in an area of mind that we can find & develop. This Higher consciousness can only be maintained if a person is true to walking a spiritual path, true to being a good person, true to living, as best as is possible, ahimsa, non-violence. Because this Higher consciousness exists in that realm of ahimsa.

But, we start of course, at the level of the everyday awareness, ahamkara, the sense of identity which we can & do, identify with. This ahamkara is such a strong part of our make-up, &, as such, needs nurturing just as much as a deeper spiritual aspect. With ahamkara, we can develop our conscience. Which in turn guides us. Our conscience is close to our heart, it develops the heart's emotions, helps purify the karmas, & is one of the keys to being present in our Higher Consciousness.

Higher Consciousness leads us to one-ness

16 June 2013

more asteya

so, if satya is truth, & asteya is honesty, what is the difference? Both indicate that we need to be truthful, & honest. Truthful is when we are being honest, or, what is truthful, & honest, to us at a particular time.

Honesty has a clarity, like a sparkling gem. And, it is also a gem. When that honesty shines through, that clarity, a person is in no doubt as to the truth of a person, a situation, a truth, etc. We just know.

This knowing, this honesty, makes it very difficult for us, at some point of our spiritual evolution, to stay with anything, anyone, that is dishonest. A concept, doing something, saying something, being somewhere, on any level where we feel the dishonesty, we will come to a point whereby we cannot excuse nor condone that which is dishonest.

We then have a spiritual jump. We go up a notch. And we feel much better inside of ourselves, our mind is less tormented, we get less sick, & because we are operating within spiritual guidelines, whether it's yoga, a religion, an atheist, it doesn't matter........we find our life just gets better.

For anyone with children, wanting their children to 'do yoga' etc....do this: live in honesty, be truthful, find ways to not have grudges. Your children will think that this is the way we're supposed to be, & they will be that way also. They will have better lives, be happier, be healthier.


15 June 2013

asteya: honesty

the next yama is asteya, honesty. And of course it works in tandem with satya, truthfulness.

Often when we think about dishonesty, we associate it with taking something material which doesn't belong to us (stealing). Or, by doing something which is like 'taking' from another. However, asteya goes deeper than this: we can steal in other ways: by implication ie implying false harmful hints about someone, thereby stealing their mana, their personal power. Or we can imply that we have special abilities, did something special that we didn't actually do, make promises we won't/don't keep......blatant dishonesty about ourselves.

We can say & do mean things about & to people, causing stealing of their perceived integrity, their dignity. We can take credit for something good that someone else did, we can 'befriend' someone to reap the benefits that a 'friendship' would offer. The list goes on!!

The thing to remember is that the yamas are for your own benefit. Each time we knowingly do something that fits negatively into the yamas, it's like passing a shadow over the heart: over the heart of the victim & especially over one's own heart. This is not good for health, & it's definitely not good for one's state of mind.

Yoga is management of the mental fluctuations, the non-stop thoughts. How can we manage our mind when we do not manage our actions?? How can we have mental & emotional health when we do things that create turmoil in our heart & mind?

We can't. Doing this sort of behaviour, especially when acting spiritual & virtuous on the outside whilst teeming with inner turmoil, leads to conflict in our brains, & our minds. The mind races, always keeping track of poisonous behaviours, in this instance. We are not managing ourselves.

But, we do have an integrated personality & inner peace when we consciously aim to follow asteya. And developing the conscious aspect of ourselves is so important for the spiritual seeker. It's how we start to wake up spiritually. We start to become conscious in a real way. With this we develop hindsight: we realise what we have done (good, bad, or otherwise) & we see the repercussions. We start to notice how we justify grudges, non-truths, dishonesty...& we notice how these things truly make us feel. We also begin to appreciate the fruits of ahimsa, satya, ashteya. We realise how much easier it is to observe them, to become them.

If you want to sleep well at night....use the yamas, with intent. Intent is very powerful, very important. When we are intentionally dishonest, the effects for us don't seem to be as bad as when we consciously, deliberately do it. And to be able to sleep well, with a clear conscience, is a wonderful boon. We can do this when we consciously apply techniques such as the yamas.

Asteya is said to develop clairvoyance. Because we are not so cluttered within (heart, mind), & the Higher Faculties can therefore present themselves.


17 April 2013

advanced spiritual techniques

There are quite a few individual people & yoga schools that get hold of, sell, & promote books with advanced spiritual practices, from other sources.

I once had a big 'animated talk' (!) with someone who was doing just that: using someone else's books in their teacher training course, with no understanding of how to actually use them. Plus, handing out other intellectual knowledge of chakras & such, that were, well, laughable.

The problem with freely including, & nilly-willy practicing, the techniques in these books, is that, unless you have actually been trained how to use & apply these techniques by practicing them in a structured & methodical manner...you, or the teacher, don't really know what they're doing. These techniques are usually practiced in a safe environment, like a proper ashram that has the authority to do so. Or with a highly trained & knowledgeable teacher who has a strong sense of what to teach a person, & when.

And this is the important part:......the teacher knows what to teach, how to teach, what to have the student do, to get to the stage of the beginning advanced practices. A volatile person, for example, is definitely not going to suit techniques that stir up the internal energy to a point whereby that person is not able to handle their temper. And, someone who has not practiced meditation, simple mantra, & has not started the gentle release of the immense number of thoughts that everyone has inside them, can become a bit unstable emotionally with the very advanced techniques.

The most advanced techniques are working on the very deep contents of mind....not just those superficial layers, and, those superficial layers need some release before the advanced yoga is taught. This is generally not understood, but is a most important point. Start at the beginning. Become conscious first, tidy up your body, & emotions, work on the subconscious via meditation....then when the time is right, find an experienced teacher for working on the unconscious realms, for the advanced spiritual yoga practices are working on the unconscious mind. This part of the mind is beyond intellectual or emotional analysis, & a process is used to access & traverse it....and, guess what??  ....that knowledge is not in books.

Do not neglect a small daily practice (sadhana) for it will strengthen your body systems, and, there is a correlation between body & mind. For example, the chakras have a relationship with the endocrine system, the spiritual energy channels (nadis) have a relationship with the nervous system. Build up & harmonise these before attempting the glamorous advanced yoga. That's what the physical aspects, the postures (asanas) & shat karmas (body cleansing practices) are really for. And, the correct pranayama will build up & harmonise a part of the nervous system: this in turn will bring in the spiritual energy, via another part of the nervous system.


15 April 2013

yoga, & emotions

I went to a talk recently whereby the speaker was saying that the purpose of yoga was to 'let out' the emotions. This was the main message. That our emotions were too withdrawn, we need to express them.

Generally, in the yogic scriptures, the message is, that 'yoga is the management of the mind'; 'the cessation of the mental fluctuations is yoga'.....& other similar sayings. Included in this, is management of the emotions. When we are practicing the yoga that suits us best, we will be happier. The yoga practices should be doing this. If not, then there is something that we need to manage, or sort out, in our life. The other probability is that we are doing the wrong yoga practices for ourselves.

A small daily sadhana (sadhana means spiritual practice), & adhering as best as possible to yoga principles & guidelines, such as the yamas & niyamas, will change your life beyond most people's expectations. When we start to feel good from the yoga, we start to let go of things in our lives that are making us not feel good. Messy emotional situations are included here. We start to want to be away from difficult emotional situations, & that includes emotionally difficult friends, teachers...anyone. It is unrealistic to assume that just because a person is seen as a spiritual teacher, that they are perfect, knowing beings. If you come across a yoga teacher who is not emotionally stable, or who likes to point out your failings......run!! They are not 'the real deal' & will create inner conflict for you.

When you are doing the practices that make you feel good, & stable, you will have found a valuable tool. A  good yoga teacher can definitely assist you with this, creating a good daily practice for you.

The postures: moving poses release blocked energy, still poses create calm. Moving poses create the energy, still poses bring us to a point of equilibrium. Pranayama (breathing practices) produces deep relaxation in the brain, as do meditation & deep relaxation. All rewire the nervous system, & brain. We get new pathways in the brain, & each time that we do our daily practice, these pathways get strengthened, & they start to become stronger than the stressed, emotionally unstable pathways, so an integrated practice definitely will up your happiness quota. You won't need to 'express' blocked emotions. Singing is a wonderful outlet. If we think of emotions as an energy, we can release that pent-up energy with music, dance, kirtana (yoga singing). It will absolutely lift your spirits.

Usually when we have blocked emotions, they are emotions such as anger, fear, trauma etc. Underneath them, are the happy emotions. And, when you do deeper spiritual practices, such as working with the chakras, you will discover a source of bliss inside of you. You will experience sublime happiness.

12 April 2013

Satya.....truth

The next yama is satya, which means truth, &, like ahimsa, it's a self - restraint. We are restraining, actually, from being un-truthful, & instead we are working on being truthful, living our truth, keeping away from being dishonest & avoiding dishonest people & situations.

Sounds like a tall order. But, a lot of behaviour is involved, & rather than  pontificating about truth, we are attempting to be it. And, although with the deeper more esoteric aspects of life, spirituality, & our psyche, we continually discover, on the spiritual path, that truth is an evolving process, we really do need to live a live whereby we are aligned in thought, emotion, and deed, moment by moment, day by day: 24/7.

When we are in a situation where we get a strong feel in the gut, or heart, or just a strong knowing, that we should not be in this situation, we should not be supporting it. We know (thought), our gut tells us (feeling) & we keep away (deed). That's how we do it. We don't have to justify....(couldn't find any justification in Patanjali's Sutras, one of the definitive yogic scriptures!!) But, of course, we are all so human.....how can we do this?? Might we hurt someone??? Should we say something??? Isn't that part of truth too??? Sometimes, we would not be believed, so we keep quiet....but you know, for the spiritual seeker, truth always finds a way of wriggling out into the open.

 In situations whereby we are in situations that are not in accordance with truth, or we come face to face with a dishonest, or malevolent person, we can simply remove ourselves. If we personally want to have peace of mind, we need to, where possible, avoid people or situations, that cause us mental, emotional, or physical distress or distrust. That will reduce our stress levels, & make us feel better about ourselves.

And how do we talk truthfully? Well, we probably don't need to run around blurting everything, but we can 'be pleasant'. So, if we have to communicate where/when we are feeling upset in any way, just can just aim to state clearly & honestly, without harm or hate, & you will find it easier to have a truthful voice.

To live in truth, we must consciously avoid harm, to ourselves, or to others. We need to walk our talk, rather than appear to be one way, but secretly be a less truthful way. We don't have to be perfect, we just need to live some principles in a way that we can live with oneself. We can sleep easy at nights without having to scheme to cover any dishonesty.

For the sincere spiritual aspirant, truth is something that cannot be avoided. To embrace truth with an open heart will give you great rewards. You will also like yourself.

7 April 2013

the 5 yamas

Yamas are self-restraints. We therefore need to restrain ourselves, & where it's applied is restraining ourselves from doing things like...... himsa/violence, by practicing ahimsa/non-violence. The other yamas are truthfulness/satya, honesty/asteya, sensual abstinence/brahmacharya, & being non-possessive/aparigraha. Initially, these are all concepts, we 'think', 'believe', that we are doing these yamas. We intellectualise, justify, the yamas, according to our own inner make-up. And let's be clear.....we are all fairly similar, we all have samskaras (hidden impressions which cover the true nature, & which cause us to do/be/say a certain way), & sometimes these samskaras can cause us to believe that we are fulfilling the yamas when we actually are not. But finally, we get past being controlled by the hidden forces within us, these samskaras, & we come to realising with complete honesty, even without reading the ancient scriptures, or listening to a teacher, that we need to be a nice, decent person.

We start to make decisions, based on these  yamas. We decide to be a certain way, never to do certain things, & of course it's a learning process, a journey of discovery. It doesn't happen all at once. And a genuine spiritual seeker will come to earnestly working at fulfilling these self-restraints, even without knowing what they are. This indicates that they are incredibly important on the spiritual journey, & an important part of revealing our true nature. They are considered to be Great Disciplines.

To this day, I can remember every single detail when I made those choices: where I was, how I felt, what brought me to it, the utter complete resolution inside me about it all. Nearly 3 decades ago. But of course, one (in this case, me!!) keeps making mistakes, saying, doing the 'wrong' thing. After all, we are so very human. But, I realised, in that moment, that a mighty power was inside me, & always growing. Well, it wasn't all my own power & energy, most of it was guru. But I was definitely the guardian of it whilst it was with me! I knew that I could use it to get my own way, promote myself, use others to my own advantage. I didn't want to ever do that, not ever, I did not want to be such a person, & I resolutely decided to be another way. I took The High Road. It's actually the easier way.

Over the decades living the yogic life, earnestly I might add, I have seen people fall by the wayside, when they would not embrace the yamas into their lives. But, if you do work at living the yamas, mental & emotional fluctuations will subside. A wonderful way to start the journey to inner peace.


 

18 March 2013

more on ahimsa/non-violence

So, having ascertained that ahimsa, non-violence, is the 1st step in yoga, what does that mean, how can we start??

We start with ourselves. This is crucial, for, when we try to impose ahimsa onto someone else else, we are using force, & this is himsa, violence, the opposite of ahimsa. We need to start by being non-violent to ourselves, be kind to yourself. And, we also need to not allow others to be violent, or mean, in any way or form, to us. We need to find ways to stop holding grudges, or resentment. This is not only violence to others, but also we are then being violent to ourself.

When we have grudges a lovely technique (not a yoga one!) is to, each day or evening, write out that you wish that........(add person/s name/s) never has ............(whatever they said/did to you that is causing the resentment) happen to him/her/them. I did it once for 2 weeks. 2 weeks!!! morning & night. At the end of that period, the person who gave me the technique, a lovely Narcotics Anonymous success, asked if I still had resentment. "No!" I answered. "I'm angry!" His reply: "That's great. It's about not holding resentment, not about not being angry." Wise words. Resentment, grudges, are often internalising situations...they cause us to seethe. the grudge grows. But when we progress to being angry about whatever caused the situation, we move into a more externalising mode, & are more likely to do something about the problem.

In the meantime, you can learn what it feels like when you are non-violent to yourself. Sit, eyes closed, body still, & allow yourself to relax & quieten. Become aware of the gentle & rhythmic breath moving inside the body, relaxing with each exhale.....continue. Move into the non-physical space (hridayakasha) of the spiritual heart. The spiritual heart is the heart chakra, anahata. Notice how the heart space gently expands on the inhale, & relaxes back to it's physical size on the exhale.....silently repeating 'so' on the inhale, 'ham' on the exhale.....continue..... Let go of expanding/relaxing the heart space, let go of so-ham, stay with the heart space....... Deep within this space we come close to the true essence of ourself.....allow the feeling of caring & goodness, goodwill come from the centre of the heart space & travel through your body/mind.........come to being aware of what this feels like..........withdraw the awareness from the heart space; now come to being aware of your whole body & slowly open the eyes.

This is a beautiful way to learn what the feeling & vibration of non-violence is like.

17 March 2013

the fast track in spirituality

Sometimes we meet someone who soars high, spiritually, faster & seemingly easier than others. What are their magic gifts?

According to the great yoga sage Patanjali (who lived long ago), there is only 1 big quality that you need, and this is it: the quality of earnestness. A person who is earnest in their spiritual journey has the correct attribute. We don't have to be smarter, richer, better looking, we just have to be earnest about what we are doing.

This, of course, applies to everything in life. Whatever you are earnest about, is easier to accomplish. We awake eager to fulfill whatever we have to do, when we are earnest about something. We find ways to make whatever we are earnest about, to work.

And, when we are earnest, as opposed to just desiring or being determined, we do whatever we can to stay on track. And this brings us to other attributes that we do, in order to keep going in the best way that we can.

One of these is constant practice (abhyasa), or, we keep doing our practices, we keep being earnest, and we come to realise that we need to do other things as well.

We need to be a decent person, who has integrity. We decide never to use the spiritual power that we have built up ourselves and also the power that we have received, in a harmful way. We decide not to hurt others (ahimsa is non-violence).

Although earnestness is a quality, and abhyasa and ahimsa are also definitely a quality, ahimsa is actually the 1st step in yoga. Non-violence is the 1st step according to Patanjali. Most of us have to come to this step, but I have met people who consciously aim to never hurt, hold grudges.

This single step is crucial, for one cannot truly grow spiritually when one does mean things to others, tell lies about others, steal.... these are all other steps we need to move away from and they all stem from himsa, which is violence.

When you come across someone who professes to be spiritual, or Highly Evolved, or a self-proclaimed guru, watch, listen carefully. Do they genuinely practice ahimsa?

9 February 2013

Biography...and how I came to enter the realms of the chakras

In the early 1970s I had a debilitating muscle/organ problem, and in desperation I tried 'keep fit' to help correct it....hated it. My mother, a very intuitive woman, suggested I went to yoga. Neither of us knew what yoga was, but off I trotted.

Stood in the doorway of a hall, and felt that whatever yoga was, this was 'it' for life. And so it has been. Lucky for me, the teacher, Swami Karmayogi Saraswati was a western swami (whatever that was!!), who taught asanas, pranayamas, yoga nidra, kriyas. It was most fortunate to meet and learn from him. At the end of that first year, I had my first chakra experience, but of course didn't know what it all meant, nor did I realise what had actually happened, but, I was acutely aware that I was never the same after. Nor were the people close to me.

Chakra power for achieving goals

At the start of a new year, we often set up goals...which often don't manifest. We tend to use "should do", 'determination', or 'want' to decide our goals, and none of these have staying power, because they are not in alignment with our destiny, nor with how our psyche actually works.

28 January 2013

SWAN Technique

One of the yogic paths is called jnana yoga: the yoga of self-inquiry. The yoga whereby we investigate ourselves, as a path leading to enlightenment, although for most of us, it would be a path of learning about oneself. Often utilising the question of "who am I"? The idea being that with this question always being asked, one delves deeper and deeper into the pysche to discover who one actually is, peeling away the layers of maya, illusion.

For most of us, this is very difficult, especially as, without guidance, we tend to go deeper and deeper into fancy. Fancy is considered by sage Patanajali to be 1 of the incorrect sources of knowledge. So, what else can we do, what can we do that is more immediate, & practical? And, which satisfies a very important part of our make-up: the intellectual mind, and also goes past fancy (make-believe) into something more realistic.

19 January 2013

New Year Resolutions

With the New Year most of us make Resolutions. Often they don't get accomplished. In  yoga, we would call a resolution an Intent. Immediately there feels like a connection with the mind when we call it an Intent. It's been found that there are 2 times when we can effortlessly allow our Intent to affect our minds, for we need the help of the mind to accomplish things: as we fall asleep, or are awaking, there is a 'gap' where we are not consciously alert, nor are we unconscious (sleeping).......this is the time, the gap between sleep & wakefulness, where we can 'implant' our intent. Even more penetrating is to do this in Yoga Nidra (deep relaxation where the body sleeps & mind moves through stages of alertness & deeper states). We do this at the start of the technique as we are starting to move into relaxation, & at the end, when the mind is very receptive. It's best to use a CD for this: available from myself within New Zealand:  ratnamurti108@gmail.com