We spend a lot of time considering yoga philosophy off in our trainings together, driving our practice with powerful ideas in mind, in our hearts. Do you remember your philosophy from your yoga training? Patanjali, the Bhagavad Gita, Laozi and The Yi-Jing?
Patanjali's citta vritti nirodahah.... a definition yoga, a breakthrough the glass ceiling of the thinking mind.... Can it be more than just a cool idea?
Is more better?
I think so. It is a phrase which has changed my life... I don't have to be my thought? There's more?
When you are challenged, when you are not sure, when you are going the wrong way, when you are lost or uninspired...Yoga is a power that comes without being completely our thoughts... Patanjali's idea is the gateway to a more mature faculty.
In Buddhism (that psychological discipline), it is often said that even if you live for one hundred years, if you don't experience your original nature - that which doesn't require thought - your years are not equal to one day of the life of one who knows the value of this great life energy... We are constantly changing; happy one moment, miserable the next. In the same way as a small spring flowing from the mountains gathers dirt and beautiful leaves and dead birds and baby fish, our mind gathers memories and ways of thinking.
As the river of thought flows, we know less and less about our original (unthinking) mind. We continue to carry our new thoughts around, dwelling on them and defining our experience through them over and over. We even carry around habits we inherited from our parents, and they from their parents. We increase our education and knowledge, and we carry around all of this as well, treating it as precious and thinking that this accumulation makes us unique.
But you gotta experience it.
Taoists argue that studying is like trying to scratch an itchy foot from outside a shoe, you can't get at the itch... In the same way, we carry around ideas and words in our minds, but lose an awareness of raw experience.. Only when we experience life without words and labels, does the mind (and body) truly light up. Sunrises, amazing aromas in the air, orgasms, music, deep sleep... Thinking about these, an idea or tv show of these doesn't cut it, nothing can compare to your own original experience.
So you gotta find a way to get through words, principles, theory, tv shows and oughtas and gottas... because by not letting go of these engaging, convincing non-you thoughts and non-you experiences, you cloud our original mind.
In yoga, we want to see through our mental habits, to realize how we make everything so complex. Buddhists call this non thought. They say we are not a person gazing up at a star in the dark night, we are the star, we are the night, the experience and the experiencer are not separate. What is seen and what is seeing are one, there are no thoughts of separation, analysis, self awareness.
Yoga is not for running away from life, from society, but for enabling us to function clearly in it. If we can un-know this, feel it, then we can begin to know how to be in the world as it is right now. It won't always be pleasant (particularly the experience of realizing you don't like it)... but it will always be yours....
So go out there, lie on your carpet and gaze at the shadows, walk on the cold beach and feel the freshness in your feet... go and get dirty seeing through the vrittis of your mind... Go see what's behind.
Love as always.
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