28 February 2019

And so it begins..... Patanjali's Sutras

                                    
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Patanjali starts his treatise with stating:

sutra 1: now, therefore, instructions on yoga

Why would Patanjali start in this manner? He explains this sutra, this saying, with the following pearl of wisdom, of which the meaning is always the same, even though the translation may slightly differ. Depending on the translator. But, we shall keep it easy to understand.

sutra 2: the cessation of the mental fluctuations, is yoga

Meaning, of course, that the never ending constant stream of thoughts, goes into stillness. Still to the point whereby we are 'seated' between these thoughts. In a gap in our inner being. Although Patanjali goes into the whole mind thing quite deeply, in his sutras, we can get to the point where they are not bothering us. The inner chitter-chatter is a constant torment of agitated brain waves and disturbed emotions. But, this cessation, gap, whatever you would like to call it, is the space within our whole being, of inner peace and sublime states of mind. Where there are long spaces between the thoughts.

slowing down the thoughts gives us inner peace and is the key to happiness

If such a state exists, and so many will agree, through personal experience, that it does, then it is accessible. For most of us. Patanjali explains the process whereby it does happen, as one goes through his sutras. He explains that when the inner turmoil quietens, the thoughts stop going around and around, and

sutra 3: then the seer abides in his own true nature

                             
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What is our own true nature? To be honest, each step of spirituality, no matter what Path one follows, brings us closer and closer to this state. And each time that we have a new, more intense, more elevated state which we reach and settle into, we realise that there is more. There is always more. We always have far to go.

And this is the nature of walking any spiritual Path. 

Our own true nature cannot be defined. But the steps to it, and the obstacles, are chronicled by Patanjali. Although, these first three sutras form the crux and the essence of Patanjali's sutras.

We shall have a look at some of them, in this blog.







20 February 2019

The Great Sage Patanjali

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As I haven't written about Patanjali for a while, I thought that it was time to readdress his work. I assume that this being was a he, but I don't know that anyone can truly be definite about it.

Who is Patanjali?


Patanjali was a great being, the exact era and time that he was from, varies depending on whomsoever has decided that they know.


He was very clear what yoga is and is not. And starts his treatise, which is known today as 'Patanjali's Sutras', from this stance. He continues through four 'chapters'. 

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Clearly Patanjali was someone who was very familiar with the inner realms, and exactly what does and doesn't happen. When I was first initiated, someone much further along the Path than I, Swami Nityananda (from the Satyananda group), said that Patanjali's Sutras were a great way to find out where one is 'at', on one's Path. I have found this to be so true.

                       
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He systematised and explained the whole spectrum of yoga. The inner meditation journey of yoga. The steps, the obstacles, the benefits, the stages of enlightenment. Everything for the sincere seeker. 

The process being, in this order:
  • yamas: these we could simply call ethics. There are five, and it truly helps us not only on the inner journey, but in our whole life, to embrace them as aids for not only meditation, but also for contentment and inner peace. They are, in simplified language: non-violence; truthfulness; non-stealing; not letting your vital essence be squandered, and this is often translated as celibacy, but in reality there is more to this yama than what we realise; don't be greedy.   
  • niyamas: there are five also, and these are things to do, and be. To be honest, I do believe that the niyamas evolve from living an ethical life: cleanliness (of body and the rest of oneself); contentment; inner purification; knowing oneself; surrender.
  • asana: basically being able to sit for meditation. However, this has been embellished upon in modern yoga. Which I think is fine. It is impossible to be able to sit for meditation if the body shakes, twitches, or is sick. Very deep meditation, which Patanjali's Sutras are about, actually is easiest to do when our body is healthy and strong, so that energy can move freely within us.  The whole spectrum of yoga asanas are excellent for this.
  • pranayama: the accumulation and storage of life-force. On all levels of our being. Accessing the Inner Realms depends on ever increasing levels of prana (life force), and that prana being able to move within us. The main method of increasing these levels, is through the yoga breathing practices, called pranayama. There are two major pranayamas which are, in my experience, the best for accessing the hidden inner worlds of our being, and providing energy for the meditation journey. What many don't realise, is that meditation requires fuel: oxygen (from pranayama) and glucose. These days, I just have to do a tiny bit of pranayama, and I do mean a tiny bit, for my whole being to suddenly be in a state of deep meditation. It wasn't always like this. But it did happen.
  • pratyahara: sensory withdrawal. It is a natural process that sensory withdrawal occurs when we slip into deep meditation. We are in the inner realms with our innermost being. Again, there are many techniques for this step, however, I would recommend using one only, over and over, until you only need to do it briefly to get into the state of pratyahara. You might need to try a few until you find one which resonates with you. 
It's a process, the steps which Patanjali has outlined, which initially we do techniques for, to go from one step to another, as far 'up' as we can go. It eventually becomes a way of life, where the state of meditation happens very spontaneously.
  • dharana: concentration. These are so many concentration techniques in yoga, ranging from simple to very esoteric. For quite some time, this is what we do as 'meditation', and it does indeed take us to the inner state of meditation.


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  • dhyana: this is the state of meditation. Aside from our daily meditations, or how ever often one practices it, as a concentration practice, true dhyana is where one lives in, or frequently lives in, this state of being. Our dharana practices are the means, initially, to get there.
  • samadhi: usually referred to as enlightenment. There are differing stages of samadhi, and one progresses along these stages, as one's nervous system becomes more and more able to handle these highly energised states.
                          
Please add any comments, life is a process of learning, and discovering, and all perceptions are valid.





13 February 2019

Yoga, healing, and guides

                              

My background

As someone who was initiated as a 'swami', and who trained intensively for years, as one, I was taught that a sannyasin (swami) stands alone. Has next to nothing materially, and is dependent on no-one. Not on any level. Which I did my life as. This was decades ago. It was 'Just A Time In My Life'. 

When I stayed at one of the largest Indian Ashrams (yoga establishment, shall we say....), about eleven years ago, I was amazed at all of the nice clothing all of the swamis had. Wow. Times had certainly changed. I'm doing a bit of a wry comment here. 

Life went on after my sannyasin training years. I went on to have a life again in society. Being a 'swami' meant nothing to others. I was a mum again. A single mother. But still, inside of me, I stood alone. I have always been minimalist by nature, so it was easy for me to continue a life of material simplicity. That included my diet and lifestyle. I felt secure with all of this.


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 Something happened to change my yoga beliefs

I became a very reluctant healer. The first thing that I discovered, with my first client, was that I was but a medium for the healing to take place. Other, invisible beings, which I could 'see' whilst doing a healing, were actually doing all of the work, through my arms and hands. 

I was so surprised. Realising what was happening, and has been happening ever since with guides and all of my healing work, has certainly kept my ego at bay. Initially I was only an aura healer, then channelling came into it. I went on to be a Maori healer, and left the aura work behind. And more recently I have added some aura work to the Maori healing, and this came about from my guides. 

A true healer is but a medium through whom works their guides.

Letting go of dogma

The guides themselves are from other realms. I already was familiar with internal realms from being involved with kundalini, the great spiritual force inside of us, and chakras, realms of Being. 

I had been taught, from my yoga days, which I was still heavily involved with when I started healing, that such diversions as guides and different realms, other than chakras, kundalini, and other 'accepted' yoga things,  were 'blocks' in the Path. I was following what has been touted as a Tantric Path, with the yoga. Tantra includes ritual, Gods and Goddesses, mantra, symbols, and all of the realms associated with shall we say, the magic side of life. 


                   Depth of Field Photo of Diety God Statuette


When you call in the Gods with mantra, at say, a fire ceremony, you are dealing with shamanism. Which is what my own path has evolved to. 

So much for 'no diversions'. I can see that particular doctrine as being just dogma, and sadly, dogma is rife in yoga today. Even from the big ashrams. 

Spirituality involves all of life. 

All of the Inner realms. All of the external world. All of the hidden external realms. All of the twelve Heavens. All of the Underworld. All of the Cosmos.

And all of the magical helpers in those realms. 






6 February 2019

Animal Spirit Guides

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We all have a connection to creatures of the psychic realm

There is a whole area of our psyche which relates to the animal realm. It is within all of us. It is not too hard to access, but it also is not necessary to find that inner place yourself.  A good healer, clairvoyant, or shaman, can connect you to any of your guides, whether they be people-type guides, or of the animal-bird-fish types. (I shall just use the words 'animal spirit guides', or 'animal guide' to describe this) And many people go to workshops where there is drumming to help people connect to their animal spirit guide.

My bird spirit guide connected to me when I learnt to sing a Maori song to it. I felt our inner beings merge, as we sang. It was such a deep and beautiful moment. My other animal guides came in different ways to this.

I have met people who have had dolphins help them & give clear advice, in the astral realm, and also birds, bears. All sorts of creatures. For quite some time, in my yoga journey, I would wonder why people would even bother connecting to these guides. I was really quite ignorant of some things and clearly, I had a lot of learning to do!

We are people of the land. All of us. In Aotearoa, New Zealand, we know that we are. Even our better politicians respect this. In Maori it is:

tangata o te whenua (people of the land)

As beings who are earthbound in an incarnation on This Planet of Blue, many unseen helpers are available. I too, am familiar with Great Beings in 'people' form, who are no longer in this realm, they are from realms which are not of this planet. And I do use them for guidance, in healing and clairvoyant work. Not often for myself, because for some mysterious and completely annoying reason, these exalted guides have told me that I can figure things out for myself. 

But, the animal spirit guides are different. They are part of our connection to the land. To Mother Earth. We are travelling this planet together. And this is exactly why I am 'into' these guides. Because we are all part of Her. Mother Earth. 

And this is precisely why Shamans use these creature guides. Because these Shamans are involved not only with the heavenly and cosmic realms, but also the seen and unseen realms on this planet. And these animal guides, they can traverse the unseen world of this planet, and yet, be 'with' us, at the same time. 

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The secret animal realm

There is a most magical 'inner' world from whence these animal guides can come. And the spirit, or soul (I actually am not sure which) of living creatures can visit there, too. It is the faerie realm. This realm is a very earthbound secret realm, and whilst the faerie peoples, animals and birds can go there, humans may not. At first I wondered why. The answer was simple: the faerie peoples and animals have pure love. It seems that we humans do not.

Why have an animal spirit guide?

They are for everyday life. Often we may not need to call on their help. Maybe not for years. But when we do, they are there. For my own Life's Path, as a mystic, clairvoyant, and healer, they are an integral part of it. 

They each have their own qualities. Their own knowledge.

These animal spirit helpers have qualities that are helpful for us to manifest, or develop, or that we need. We all have our own unique path, and in each incarnation, we require different qualities for that life. Sometimes we need to drawn on these qualities from within. And sometimes they are gifted to us by our Animal Spirit Guides. Other times, we have those qualities which we need, whenever our animal guide is 'with' us. 

Sometimes it is just it is our time for this to happen, for these guides to come into our life.