The sheer brilliance of the Sutras in all their aspects, be it in the choice of words, their placement or their logic never fails to amaze me. Short, incisive and deep, they are brand new each time. Very often, the way a Sutra sounds attracts my attention and I look it up. I suppose the attraction is a natural way to indicate a kind of readiness to delve into it. As the months roll on, they speak differently as the capacity to listen changes. One of the many gifts yoga has bestowed has been an opening of the intellect which makes dense concepts more accessible.
Sometimes I wonder, why do I thirst so much? There is no exam, no goal to reach and yet I persist. What do I expect to gain from my endeavours? And I have no answer. This lack of ambition has been a constant in almost all areas of my life. I suppose the joy of endeavour is my gratification.
Svadhyaya or self study is an integral aspect of any sadhana and in all action. Preparation is the key to svadhyaya and so it comes after the necessary saucha, santosha and tapas. While it is a natural progression, I feel it is also an organic one with the evolving definitions of the preceding niyamas. It is like the horizon, visible but always a little beyond. Svadhyaya is defined as study of the self. But who or what is the self? Here, I find the concept of koshas quite illuminating. Starting from the annamaya kosha to the anandamaya kosha, the journey is both contained and infinite.
We are born with just the body and that is really all that is needed to be. If only I could really inhabit it, perhaps, I would be ananda that the scriptures sing about. It seems like an unattainable state to have complete awareness of each and every cell of out body. Now, I can begin to comprehend the essence of Guruji’s exhortation to bring awareness to each and every cell in the body. How then can one’s very existence not be bliss? How then can one not see that all is one?
There’s much to share and it seems too vast and interconnected to begin at a single point. The shloka or two that I read in the morning simmer through the day and spills into subsequent readings over the next few days. While it is not a linear and systematic method of learning, I find it useful in allowing intuition to do its job. New connections make themselves apparent without thirsty seeking. A different kind of abhyasa, one of being rather than doing. It feels like another cycle of learning has started yet again.
The fascination with the panchamahabhutas continues along with watching the play of gunas within myself and around me. It takes the drama out of everyday excitement and irritation and provides a clear framework for self-study.
Recently, I came across a rather obscure book at a friend’s home and the title was intriguing. So, I borrowed it and it has been a fascinating read so far. A smattering of some of the gems from that tiny little copy are below.
Actually, the mysteries of water are similar to those of the blood in the human body. In nature, normal functions are fulfilled by water just as blood provides many important functions for mankind.
Water in its natural state shows us how it wishes to flow, so we should follow its wishes.
Naturally moving water augments itself. It improves in quality and matures considerably.
Water which sinks into the earth from the atmosphere will pick up salts and minerals and other substances which restore its vitality; it is enlivened by isolation from light and air. But there is also a certain journey in both time and distance that the water must make before it becomes internally mature.
– Living Water by Olof Alexandersson
It reads like the mystic shlokas and sutras and I cannot help but think of the parallels in yogic concepts. And that opens a whole new vista.
Accordingly, my practices are changing and it is a natural shift towards watching rather than just doing. It raises questions and also teaches to stay with them. Something Schauberger says about inheritance is similar to what the Gita and the Sutras speak.
Much of yog is hidden in plain sight. It’s the mirror that needs cleaning.
As a teen, I was drawn to the elements and considered myself a pagan. It was an unconscious affinity towards the building blocks of the universe. Little did I know then that I just needed to follow those instincts. It took many turns and twists into confusion before retracing the journey to rediscovery.
There is much to experience and be. Increasingly, I find that asana and japa are tools to master, hone and refine the ability to experience. Most of the time, there is the sense of old knowledge that is lurking just below the surface. Underlying all this is the firm belief that more will be revealed. Until then, “tadasana in all asanas” as our teacher says.
I had an incredibly alive run this morning. Barefoot and in the dark. What does it have to do with yoga? Perhaps nothing but it seems to awaken my awareness within.
One of my teachers frequently tells us to observe actions by one part of the body on another and to bring conscious change using that understanding. Using knowledge (subjective) vs. information (objective). Part of that exercise, for me, is experimenting with alignment in running to see how it makes for more efficient movement. Without shoes, the dynamics are completely different. Add darkness to the mix and the feet are not mirrors that reflect but eyes that see through the soles!
Home practice is changing again. Less forceful but more intense. Often, the next day sees a little soreness in the areas that I work with, sort of like how it does the day after class. In my books, that feels like being on track. May I never stop being a student…