The word Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit root ‘Yuj’ meaning to join or to yoke or to unite. As per yogic scriptures the practice of Yoga leads to the union of individual consciousness with that of Universal Consciousness, indicating a perfect harmony between the mind and body, between man and nature.
We focus on exercises as yoga, however, it is the union or rather harmonizing of matter which is body and spirit or consciousness. In many ways humanity, with the influence of materialism, has become disconnected from the inner self, the spiritual self. This disconnect has resulted in internal conflicts and discontentment in everyday life, which gets exasperated by the continuous change in our external world. That is one reason why we are finding how this discord and conflict is being revealed through our bodies.
We all know that mental stress leads to lowering of our immunity and a varied number of other psychosomatic illnesses. That is why yoga is so relevant in today’s day and age – we need to realign and harmonize internally first so that we can then harmonize with our world.
The various asanas of yoga are helpful to relax and center oneself; however, an internal alignment can only truly occur when we understand and give time to reconnect with our spiritual nature. This is the alignment of our mind and intellect with our innate qualities or inherent divinity of the soul – the attributes of peace, love, bliss, purity and power. This is Raja Yoga – to realign with this inherent self.
So, it begins by firstly recognizing and understanding that the true nature of the self is non-physical. I am consciousness, I am soul, and the soul is eternal. Perhaps we have this as an understanding but we have to translate this into an experience and further into an attitude so that I view my world and I respond to my world from this premise that I am a soul. When I come from soul consciousness, I come from the awareness of being eternal, of being energy, of being divinely created – so it results in me creating a capacity within me or attitude within me to respond from a place of love and peace. Why? When I truly connect with myself as being eternal I am secure and I free myself from the most basic fear, the fear of death. This internal security, this internal peace, this internal attitude of focusing on what is beyond the stream of constant change emerges two powerful personality traits. Firstly, I build the capacity to be stable emotionally and mentally irrespective of the change around me. Secondly, it helps to engage with others with the attitude and understanding that the innate nature of every soul is goodness. So a spirit of love and respect for all emerges, not only for people but also for nature and all creatures. When love emerges then love creates a feeling of connection and harmony.
How to begin this practice?
Just as when we are unwell we end up breathing in a shallow way, sometimes gasping for breath – in the same way, a mind that is too busy and has far too many thoughts is a soul gasping for inner peace. How do we create silence in the mind? Silence is not emptiness, but silence is a mind resting on a pure thought.
Extract: the Man who loved angels by Anthony Strano.
A second is the unit of time, just as a thought is the basic unit of consciousness. A body has many cells and so do time and consciousness. Whether we measure time in terms of eternity, ages, cycles centuries years…hours minutes, the basic unit or cell is a second. We may measure consciousness in terms of awareness, attitudes, beliefs, feelings, behaviour, aliveness, responses but the basic unit or cell is always a thought. If these basic units of time and thoughts are weak then the whole of time and consciousness suffers. So how do we create inner silence, we begin by a practice of taking one thought in one second and make them work together.
Take one second to think one thought
Slowly and faithfully think: I am
Add another second and another thought: a soul
Add another second or two and think: I am peace
Add another second or two and think: I am a being of peace.
Repeat these thoughts gently to yourself, paying special attention to them. There is no need to rush, no need for second thoughts or ideas going anywhere else. Just focus on the original self.
Practising this daily several times, we teach ourselves to think the right thoughts at the right time. We free ourselves from the internal chatter and begin to feel more, listen more and be more. As we reconnect with ourselves we harmonize mind with breath, spirit with body, consciousness with nature. When I am aligned internally I can easily harmonize and connect with others and nature, but moreover, I open myself to connect with the Divine Source, with God. This allows me to draw spiritual power and truly experience the state of Yoga – which is Union with the Highest Source. The experience of this highest love then flows through my being, my relationships, my work and I become an instrument to create a better world.
Author: Pratiba Daya