Author: Aislinn Murphy
Living on the Edge:
Societal consumerism has led to spiralling expectations being met with exponential advances in technology. The first phone text message was sent in 1992; in less than two decades 50 million people can be reached in less than eleven days via social median, previously taking radio 38 years (Fisch, 2010). Simultaneously, in this age of hyper-communication, we are witnessing diminishing nuclear families, community service, and selfless service for humanity. The milieu of affluence and unquenchable consumerism is resulting in “low serotonic” societies and nations of addicts. Unsurprisingly, epidemics of obesity, diabetes, and psychiatric disorders are increasing globally, seemingly intractable to modern medicine.
Mind over Matter:
Carl Jung asserted that all addictions are low grade quests for spirituality. Thus, yoga provides the perfect panacea for our hypo-serotonic, jaded souls in this post-consumer era enforced by global recession. However, modern yoga is misconstrued as a path to body aesthetics and flexibility reflecting materialism and secularism. Western yoga is often irrelevant to the sacred Yoga Sutras, i.e., communion of inner self with the infinite source of light, transcending the impermanence of the external.
Patanjali presented yoga as a science of control over all dimensions of personality and behaviour. As nations get to master the latest iPhone application, fundamental knowledge of how to operate the spiritual organ of the mind evades mass comprehension.
Neurologists assert that the subconscious realms (bedrock of beliefs, emotions, memories) account for 98% of current behaviour patterns, continually obeying all conscious comments. Two million bits of information bombard the 5 senses per second whereby the consciousness compartmentalizes 7 bits of information per second based on processes of deletion, distortion or generalization. Thus, we rarely “see” true objective reality. Repeated impressions groove into the subconscious forming sanskaras.
The subconscious has constant contact with the universal balanced intelligent superconscious. Intuition is the bridge through which this channel speaks, operational when mental meanderings in the conscious realm dissipate. Intellect reigns in silence. Indeed Einstein purported that “however complex the problem, when the answer is simple you can hear God talking.”
To create rapport with all three mental realms and take charge of subconscious expectations, it is imperative to examine the process of thought development. Yoga is a time-honoured practice to master control of the most powerful agent known to mankind, i.e., though processes.
Mastering Mechanics of the Mind: Figure 1
Mind as Spiritual Organ:
It is asserted that ordinary modern humans have approximately 86,000 thoughts per day, of which 90-95% are repeated daily due to the operation of the brain’s amygdala, the change resistant lobe of the brain and the grooved impressions from the subconscious.
Socrates asserted that, “An unexamined life is not worth living.” However, many people today lead rigid, mechanical, and unfulfilling lives, finding comfort only in the familiarity of negative patterns. Plato believed “thoughts are the soul talking to itself.” This soul is a two-sided coin, one face dovetailing with the infinite wisdom of the super-conscious; its sparkling, timeless side directed towards our lifeline and ultimate source, the other face so directed toward daily LIFE that it can be so sullied by ordinary life experiences and obsolete social conditioning that it forgets its sparkling, timeless, ever present, never changing, sacred side. When the sparkling side is dethroned we cannot help but depend on the exterior (materialism, body image) for happiness. Yet when inner life is fulfilled through awareness of the true self as advocated in yoga, we care less and less for outer conditions as we experience perpetual bliss in the events of this world. Through meditation and 24-hour awareness of our true security, i.e. our emotionless self, we transcend the drama of the world stage and move lovingly and freely in the expensive adventure playground of life. Self-reflection in silence illuminates which side of the coin is dictating our thought and destinies.
Illustration of thoughts acting from source:
Connection with true self (PEACE, LOVE, WISDOM) reduces the number of thoughts and stabilizes emotions thereby strengthening intellect resulting in PURITY OF ACTIONS and STRENTHENING OF SPIRIT.
Illustration of Thoughts Acting from Ego
Egoic thinking from negativity/life drama results in fast paced thoughts and intensified emotions with resultant weakened intellect and entrapment of life drama with self-destructive habits.
Finding Your Inner Diamond Compass:
“Freedom is a gem which shines with equal brilliance in mud as well as on velvet.” (Allen Watts). This truism echoes Patanjali’s yoga sutra of “come to the seer and act from that point rather than the mind point bombarded by daily living.” This is YOGA. Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras advocate a burning devotion to daily asanas, pranayama, disciplined eating, drinking and socializing with emphasis on adopting the Yamas and Niyamas. Surrendering to God, the doer of all things, via meditation will further purify the being to its natural state of being a detached observer.
Shaken But Not Stirred:
Old stalwarts of security, banks, churches, property are harmonically collapsing from excess tension of materialism. Collectively, governments are frantically searching externally for solutions. Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras (Chapter 1, Verses 12-16: Willingness to observe without reacting > true security) are simply stunning in their mere simplicity, yet they challenge contemporary mindsets tempered to exponential advances. Fortunately, recent research on meditation increasing gray matter in brains is becoming so convincing that even the most resistant YOGA-PHOBE may well dust off their YOGA MAT and find their divine inner compass in Shavasan. The potential result: an ever increase in those becoming the opposite of how James Bond likes his martini – “stirred but not shaken” by the unfolding drama on the world stage. A UTOPIAN SOCIETY PERHAPS.
Yoga Vidya Dham, Kaivalya Nagari,
College Road, Nashik - 422005.
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