So we have said that the cause of our ignorance and suffering are our senses, that they bind us to the sensual world and limit our being. We become involved with satisfying our sense of taste, touch, sound, smell and sight. We like to eat what we consider to be beautiful food, we like to look at beautiful things, hear beautiful things etc, and when it’s not that way we become disturbed. Our mind is but a limited thing, actually it is not really much more than an organiser of information much like a computer, the knowledge is not there in the computer before we put it there, much like the knowledge is not there in the mind but somewhere else. So how do we transcend this limited mind and the senses to a higher level? How do we find this knowledge to overcome our ignorance, we are told the knowledge is there within us, all possibilities are within us, all joy, bliss and peace are there within us, but how do we get there?
Is there a direct route that some Rishi somewhere is keeping a secret? No, we get there through an exploration of practice, an exploration of this body and mind until we can transcend this limited being and find the true self. That is where the knowledge is, that is where the unlimited ocean of peace is and that is where the magic happens. But we are so full of memories and bad habits, impressions from past experience both in this life and past, we are full of impurities of our likes and dislikes. The mind tosses back and forth and because of this tossing it prevents us from deeper self-enquiry and creates emotions that are difficult to keep under control. But by making a leap forward into an exploration of practice we can make progress. We can transcend these likes and dislikes by practicing the act of Karma yoga, the act of selfless service. By embarking on any work where you can give up the fruits of your action, do something for somebody without expecting anything back, be able to take on any task no matter what it is with a smile and just do it, without hating or loving it but just doing it. We can prevent this tossing of the mind by practicing Raja yoga; the eight fold path, which incorporates our observances and restraints, withdrawing the senses, the practice of asanas and pranayama, concentration and meditation to reach the blissful state. Then we can transcend the emotions by the practice of Bhakti yoga, the yoga of devotion, by making all you do an act of devotion, by chanting the mantras and devotional songs we can sublimate these emotions that cause us so much trouble! Then we can transcend our whole being by Jnana yoga, the practice of deep self-enquiry to reach the truth, through the practice of meditation. These four paths lead to the same destination, and that is one of oneness, of union, which path is more suited to you well you will have to explore all of them to know that, but by practicing all four paths the destination may just come into sight, and what a journey!
Sounds easy, of course it’s not, but as Christopher Columbus set sail across the oceans on a journey of exploration of the globe, set sail across the oceans of yoga on the biggest exploration of all, an exploration of the self.
So looking forward to seeing you on the mat and setting sail.
Om Om Shanti Om
Mangala / nicky