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I don't know much about transcending, angels, or heavenly visions.

Anniekin2010-07-04 23:07:39 +0000 #1
The meditation that I know involves the single minded concentration that is spoken of in the traditional yogic system.

It is the feeling of being fully awake, perceptive, and focused.

Let me reiterate that using the traditional science of yoga, which is categorized by 8 'limbs', or stages of practices and masteries.

Asanas, or the contortionist postures that yoga is commonly known for, and the accompanying breathing exercises, comprise only the third and fourth limbs of yoga.

Meditation, as it it is widely practiced, is only the fifth limb, defined as the withdrawal of the senses inward.

So what are the other three?

Dharana: concentration, Dhyana: the uninterrupted flow of concentration, and Samadhi: union.

This process could be construed in one of two opposite ways. Is Samadhi or union solely an internal process as many seem to think? Is the divine only to be found within? Is the world at large a hindrance to some magical fairy land within, to be shut out and avoided at all costs, resulting in a hermetic life of perpetual bliss, angels, and heavenly visions?

I beg to differ.

As Carlos Castaneda writes in his highly disputed 'Anthropological' writings of the spiritual practices of ancient indigenous Mexico, a warrior approaches knowledge as one approaches war, "Fearful, wide awake, respectful, and fully assured".

After many years of devoting myself to the practices of Yoga in search of some magic utopia, perfecting the physical Asana postures to a very high (pretzel) degree, learning to stand on my head or sit motionless in meditation for an hour at a time, and even going so far as to incorporate the use of marijuana and renouncing worldly life to live a nomadic one - as the Sahdu's of the Himalayas have done, I have come to see just how clueless, self absorbed, and hypocritical our Western community of yogic and meditational practitioners really are.

Needless to say I was not regarded as a spiritual pioneer by them, but rather as a bum, and wasted several years of my life, in search of something that is a misperception of a foreign system of knowledge belonging to a culture that is very different from ours.

So what is my conclusion?

Interaction with the world is the playing field upon which our lives are made possible.

To be at one with our surroundings, to participate fully in our lives, giving it our full attention, concentration, and respect, is the only joy there is.

Pandara2010-07-04 23:10:57 +0000 #2

Originally Posted by Anniekin

I have come to see just how clueless, self absorbed, and hypocritical our Western community of yogic and meditational practitioners really are.

The system (be it Eastern or Western) is most of the time not flawed, but the practitioner of the individual system may be flawed if he or she fails to see the balance between the two, i.e East opposed to West, Yin opposed to Yang etc. Our world is one of balance not of opposites, unfortunately a misconception hold by most spiritual aspirants.

Glad you could find joy and happiness in the simple things in life, that amounts to being in the present moment as we realised in the past and future there is no Thruth.
Hubert2010-07-04 23:22:51 +0000 #3
Your assertions are good, your conclusion is wrong. Sadly, it seems you are not free from the faults of the mispercepted system you blame.

What man cannot aquire by his own through many years of discipline, Grace can provide it in a second.

Prepare, I am going to hit you with everything I got. (yep, I am so bad, I hit girls too !)

Your "failure" to find the suprasensible does not mean there is no such thing. I say failure, because I know there are suprasensible realities, because I have expereinced them.

Due to the popular and as you say, mispercepted nature of mainstream yoga, earnest people can spend years fooling themselves with the outer aspects. You talk about the outer aspects of yoga, asana, external renunciation, (living as a sadhu). What were the motives anyway for your practice ? It is known that only the pure aspirations are granted fulfillment.

Are you pure enough ? Are you detached enough ?

Don't you know that in order to be able to percieve the higher worlds, one must pass through the portal of death ? Not necessarily physical, but death of your desires, both conscious and unconscious. Have you been in hell, yet ?

Your description of the eigh limbed yoga is lacking. You do not mention yama and niyama. These are the foundation. Without these, no success can be obtained in the higher stages.

Morality is not popular. It's practice starts with the acknowledgment that we are not moral beings. That hurts the ego. That is shameful, even if we know it, we try to forget it, and to admit it openly, seems suicidal to us. But exactly this kind of suicide is what we need ! This is real yoga, this is real spiritual discipline, this is spiritual growth.

Popular yoga is not any better than mainstream pshychology. It wants to help you to have a full life, to be a better person, to become healthier, more succesful, but all in the mainframe of society and accepted rules. Now, if it's aims are world oriented, how on earth can it lead you to heaven ?

You say you tried. I say you have not been tried strong enough, and why ? Because grace has mercy. It only is granted to those who are strong enough to bear it. Grace comes not as a wonderful thing, but as a terrible burden. And yet it tries, but we repel it, with our efforts to keep our emotional safety, our mental integrity, our physical health, our social status.

Eight limbed yoga is one way. It is a system. It can't be separated of yama and niyama. I know exactly how much importance I gave to these two limbs as a beginner practitioner ... close to none. And yet, so far, whatever advancement I made on higher stages, I must thank it to these limbs.
Hubert2010-07-05 00:21:34 +0000 #4
1. Ahimsa - non violence: in thought. Criticism is a form of hate, an uncoscious one, projection. How many times are you critical a single day ?

How many times do you cause physical, or mental harm, by ignorance to others ? We are not even aware of the extent of harm done by our ignorance.

2. Satya – truth: in words. How much do you talk everyday ? Dare you say everything you say is true ? We know, that whatever statement is a relative truth, so in a way, it is butchering of the whole. Truth in thoughts and feelings... man, now in this, we err a thousand times a day. Do you have such self control and wisdom that no wrong thought or bad feeling passes you ?

Are you really honest and true in all your ambitions and relations to other people ? I bet you don't, as I am not such person, either. Sorry to say, but from the few words you wrote, it is clear to me that you are not better than me in this area.

3. Asteya - not to steal ... well you don't steal, do you ? I say you do. Every time we do not give thanks for this magnificent earth we live on, for the sky, be it cloudy or shiny, for the air we breath, for the food we take, for the health we have, for this magnificent physical and life body what works by a wisdom we do not comprehend ... every time we do not give thanks for these, do not cherish these, but take them as granted, every time we do not feel awe, respect, admiration seeing these, we steal forces from our own soul, forces of knowledge. Every time we accept something we did not earn be that the friendship of love of a person, we steal, we become debtors. Every time we use something beyond it's purpose, we steal. We are debtors, way up over our heads, all of us.

4. Brahmacharya - a tough one. How many times a day do you have lustful thoughts ? Lust, it is the enemy of Brahma-jnana, God-knowledge. Many people play with it, few succed in taming it. The best way in learning to tame it, is total celibacy, until the soul is strong enough to have perfect control over it. It's control is done by thought control. Lust is in the mind. One who controls thoughts of lust, is close to mind control, too. A powerful tool, and opportunity. Even as householders, don't we owe our hearts and minds to a single person ? How to be faithful husbands and wives if we allow lustful thoughts about other people ? We are indeed wretched ones, prone to all evil.

5 Aparigraha - non posesiveness. It is useless to give up the things you do not desire. Give up something you desire. You want to become enlightened ? Give it up. By our limited will, we only can aquire limited things. The really good things, great things, transfroming things are bestowed upon us. When we crave, when we desire, we obstruct grace. Yes it is part of our karma. A strong desire is often a ticket to heaven, as it take you to hell, and I said that the way to heaven goes through hell.

I bet you do have desires. Use them, fight them, tame them, ride them.

Aparigraha is also about selfishness, egoism. Every time we think I, we are selfish. When we think we, we are closer to our goal. See not what can you aquire, see what can you give.

These are yama. What is the name of the Lord of Death in the Katha Upanishad ? Yama ! Yama kills you, kills the ego. Yama takes you to your own hell.

It appears that yama is just like "Thou shall not ..." ... but I'd make a comment. These terms, a-himsa, a-styea aso, are meant not to be restrictive, but as urging to do the opposite. It is not enough not to steal, posess, harm, but to do the opposite. Give, heal, help, love, talk the truth, walk the path of Brahma-Jnana.

6. Saucha - purity, purity of body, but purity of mind and heart. Development of sattwic mind. Outer cleanness of body is no big deal today, inner cleanness of body is done through various kriyas, and diet. Easy to perform. Purity of heart, and mind is hard to obtain. The yamas will lead us there.

7. Santosha - contentment comes from working to our best ability on all the above. When we know we did the best we could do under any circumstance, we are content. Leave the rest to God. Karma is karma. Contentment is equanimity, and trust in God, in our karma, keeping the faith that our karma is to our best interest, one we do not know.

8. Tapas - discipline, many's favorite as it leads room to activity. It leads room to our will. It makes possible the work upon ourselves. It provides strengh, confidence, courage, contenment. Without the other rules, it just turns us more egoistic, selfish, but when it's done not for our own benefit, but for the benefit of the world, other people, than it is sacred.

9. Svadhyaya - self examination/study; simply leading an account book, or diary on our successes and failures in our spiritual endeavour. Because we are not alone, and we can write and read, we can benefit of the books written by other people. Svadhyaya is not just self examination, meditation, but studying the thoughts, lives of saints, sages, teachers. It is a never ending process. In a way, we can change our thinking by taking for example their thoughts.

10. Ishvarapranidhana - surrender to divinity

It is hard to surrender to something, someone we do not see, or experience in any way. It is like death. We fear death as we do not know what it is, we just know that it is the end of everything we know, or expereince by our senses. Thankfully, life, karma provides expereinces what lead us into stuations where we are left without anything, and in such moments, we start to pray. Prayer is the voice of the soul, calling for it's creator. Surrender is realizing that even if we are free, and destined to becaome great, yeat we are still small, and need guidance as the baby needs her mother's breast. Surrender is trusting God, and His wisdom, regardless of circumstances. It is only hard in the beginning. In fact, the harder it is, the greater the gain ... you will see.

Be blessed by Grace … it will be uncomfortable, but nothing you can’t manage.

PS. I agree. we must live, here and now, we must make good use of what we got. This does not mean spirituality is useless or a fairytale. We need it more than ever ... given that we take it as a discipline with scientific rigour. This rigour can be applied to the life of the soul, too, and this is morality. In fact, how the world is today, to lead a moral life is not a small deed in itself. Perhaps this is all what is expected from us. Not everyone should rush to godliness in a single lifetime ... as a matter of fact, I'd say it is impossible for the greater majority, including myself.



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