Tag Archives: mind

Coping With Past Friends Who Have Turned Against You…

There are downsides to some friendships and the potential exists for a friend to back-stab or betray you. When this happens, it may feel like the end of the world, especially if this they were someone who you might have turned to in the past during times of need. Part of coping with friends who have turned against you will require that you compassionately pay attention to your own emotions as well as closely considering the status of your current relationship with that person and moving forward accordingly. You can simultaneously learn how to care for your hurt feelings and handle a disloyal friend, too.

First acknowledge the pain of disloyalty. While you’re acknowledging the hurt feelings, remember you are the only one with the power to control how you react. Perhaps this person is now treating you a certain way with the hope that you will react in a big way. So, it is far better to take a step back and reflect on how you are feeling, instead of reacting or “acting out.”

Take time to reflect. Just as some romantic relationships become broken, friendships can also fall apart. Take a break to think about any major choices like considering if it's worth it to directly confront these friends. You may find that you calm down after a few days, or you may find that during the break you are much better off without these friends.

Coping With Past Friends Who Have Turned Against You

Consider starting a journal. Writing down the experience and your thoughts and feelings associated with it can be incredibly freeing and empowering. You may even come up with some good ideas as to how you want to deal with the aftermath of a friend's betrayal.

Practice self-care on a regular basis. All too often we’ll put our own feelings on the back burner to avoid feeling bad ourselves. When someone steals from you or talks behind your back it is easy to beat yourself up over ever allowing them the chance to use you.

Focus on being the bigger person. Don’t entertain the urge to get revenge or hold grudges. Try to forgive those that do you wrong, if only so you don’t have to carry the burden of anger. You may feel like you are letting the other person off too easy if you let go of the anger and move on, but this is usually not the case. Holding onto the anger hurts you first and foremost. And, more often than not, the person you are angry with has already moved on. You’ll take back your power when you become the bigger person and resist reacting in a vengeful way.

If they tried to damage your reputation, then, it might be time for damage control. Do what you can to rectify any negative statements which had been made about you. Share your side of the story to whoever the negativity was spread to. While it is still up to the other party to make up their conclusion, at least you’ll have had the chance to say your piece in the situation, rather than just leaving things hanging.

Rae Indigo is ERYT 500

The Kleshas (part 5 – Vijnanamaya kosha)…

The fourth of the five koshas is vijnanamaya kosha – the wisdom sheath. Vijnanamaya encompasses intuition and intellect. It can be thought of as the witness mind, or that aspect of our consciousness that is not entangled in what we are doing or thinking, but rather, acutely aware of what we are doing and thinking.

Vijnanamaya kosha builds on the foundation of the previous, outer sheath, manomaya kosha. Manomaya kosha lays the groundwork for reaching vijnanamaya. We must first navigate the seas of our turbulent and busy minds before we are able to rise above the waves of thoughts that pull us away from our center. With this practice, we develop a steady mind and that allows us to step back from our current situation and view it from a better perspective. This is where insight comes from.

An activated fourth sheath is what distinguishes human beings from animals. Only humans have the ability to direct their own lives, free from the promptings of instinct, and to make moral choices. The sages considered the development of a healthy vijnanamaya kosha so important that they placed the exercises for it at the very beginning of the yoga system. These are the yamas and niyamas, commitments every yoga student is asked to make.

Vijnana means “knowing via the power of judgment or discernment,” and is the sheath responsible for processing all the functions of the higher mind, including conscience and will. It is the level that has the higher wisdom to seek Truth, to go within in search of the eternal center of consciousness (Self).

The Kleshas (part 5 - Vijnanamaya kosha)...

The Vijnanamaya Kosha forms the intellectual (or wisdom) body. The primary way to impact this kosha is through deep, insightful meditation. It is affected by the 5 kleshas as follows:

  • Avidya (Ignorance): When the Vijnanamaya kosha or intellectual body has failed to evolve from the Manamaya kosha we will likely be constantly reacting to circumstances rather than making decisions and responding proactively. We will have a hard time making up our mind, thinking for ourselves, or being creative. With little willpower we’d continually be the victim of our own poor judgment.
  • Asmita (Ego): When the ego cannot distinguish this kosha from the previous one, it associates with the entire mind’s turbulence becoming an obstacle to deep meditation, preventing us from advancing through basic meditation to deep conscious meditation.
  • Raga (Attachment): The Manamaya kosha may support pleasant thoughts that inhibit the deep meditation prompted by the Vijnanamaya kosha and the attachment to these pleasant thoughts (and other enjoyable mental fluctuations) needs to be overcome.
  • Dvesha (Aversion): Quite the opposite of the Raga klesha, unpleasant thoughts are repulsive and being distracted by them also inhibits the deeper stages of meditation. By encouraging the insights possible when we’ve reached Vijnanamaya these disturbing thoughts are left behind and we are free to pursue our goal of peace through deep meditation.
  • Abhinivesha (Clinging to Life): This klesha increases our identification of the previous four sheaths, and the fear of losing this identification will make us reluctant to let go or go beyond it. Our thoughts are unable to accept or deal with our mortality or the immortal aspect of the Self. To overcome this, the life of the spirit must be recognized as transcending this bodily life.

Vijnanamaya kosha is mostly about doing the work that removes the blockages in our energy body, our thought body healing and releasing fears from our mental body and we will then find comfort and harmony in our physical body.

As this and the other kleshas are recognized and dissolved (or cleared) from the Vijnanamaya kosha, we move on to the last remaining kosha, enabling it to also be cleansed of these afflictions, then the Atman (or Self), which is indescribable, is gradually recognized and eventually realized by direct experience; this is the ultimate goal of Yoga, meditation, Advaita Vedanta, and certain Tantra practices.

Stay tuned, next: Further exploration of each Klesha and how it colors the final of the five koshas – the Anandamaya kosha.

Rae Indigo is ERYT 500

Choose Peace – Embrace Life


Choose Peace – Embrace LifeAs humans our bodies have preconditioned responses to threats and/or challenges, whether they’re real or perceived, anything from the attack of a tiger to hostile words from a coworker tends to prompt the “fight or flight” reaction. This automatic response triggers the production and release of adrenaline and cortisol into our bloodstreams. Unless we are confronted with an actual physical attack (in which case we need to fight or run away), the fight or flight response can itself be physically harmful and literally cause pain and suffering. If this response arises without real situations, we tend to succumb to a series of conditioned or habitual responses. In our relationships with each other, we may see the other person as our enemy and fail to recognize that they may be facing their own set of fears and challenges.

So how can we prevent responding to another as if they were a charging tiger? One way is to consciously choose a peaceful interaction which will defuse an otherwise awkward, unfavorable or even aggressive reaction. By becoming mindful of yourself you expand your awareness and develop your ability to remain calmly present in nearly any situation. You can always choose to focus your attention on your breath and the sensations you feel pulsing through your body, and this will bring you back in touch with the universal needs that we all share as human beings.

Spiritual traditions down through the ages and recent scientific research both agree that focusing on your breath and remaining aware of bodily sensations have huge benefits for us as we relate to others and the world at large. We are then no longer bound to acting out old habitual patterns and we have the opportunity to become aware of the reaction, and remain present with it, enabling us to choose to stay connected with the very source of our thoughts, feelings, and actions, in turn giving us a larger sense of life and keeping us in touch with our basic and collective human needs.

There are many ways to choose peace and embrace life and some of the easiest are…

Be grateful. The more things you can find to be grateful for on a regular basis, the more you will improve your mental, physical and emotional health, along with your overall outlook on life. Gratitude stimulates the production of the hormonal neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, which are responsible for feeling good and influencing human behavior in many positive ways. Keep reminding yourself that a little gratitude goes a long way, and communicating your gratitude in words and actions will greatly increase your personal peace.

Become your own best friend. This promotes a sense of peace that radiates from within. The Buddha has reportedly said “You, yourself, as much as anyone in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” Loving-kindness and compassion start with you and once you’re able to recognize that they originate within you, you can generate a feeling of warmth and love for others so that they may also get a taste of that peace and know it’s the same peace that resides within them.

Practice becoming empathetic. Empathy and compassion are powerful tools for making peace with others. The active principle of empathy is found through understanding, to “stand under” rather than to judge from above. Seek to become more sympathetically aware of other people’s feelings and you’ll automatically become tolerant and forgiving; essential qualities for establishing peace and embracing life.

*Rae Indigo is ERYT500

Finding Peace in Today’s World

Finding peace in today’s world can be a challenge for most of us due to our work schedules, hectic lifestyles and daily responsibilities, so here are a few tips based on yoga science and philosophy that may help… First, try getting back in touch with your body. Generally when we’re not feeling peace, it’s because we’re not feeling much at all, instead, we’re thinking. And when we’re engaged in thinking we start believing all our non-peaceful thoughts, plus we’re likely to be feeding them with our energy. A great analogy is an American Indian legend that goes like this…

If we stop feeding the thoughts, and start feeding peaceful feelings instead, the thoughts will fall away by themselves. The most basic feelings originate with physical sensation, so that’s why it’s a great place to begin. Practice some yoga asanas (poses), go for a walk or a hike outdoors, take a hot shower, or simply lie down and consciously breathe into every part of your body. You’ll soon feel peace return and replace the negative thoughts that were preventing it.

Once we are actively feeling our body, going beyond our thoughts becomes quite simple. We shift our focus and become the observer, bringing our awareness to whatever we feel in our body allows us to notice our thoughts without them affecting us. This empowers us to be released from them, and remain as a witness, observing them as an outsider, without involvement. The observer in each of us can watch these thoughts and let them pass, just like clouds in the sky. We’ll then become a victor over thoughts instead of a victim.

Next, don’t be so hard on yourself. If you have a problem concentrating (perhaps you fall asleep) during traditional seated meditation, try a standing, or better yet, a walking meditation. Or learn to chant mantras as part of your meditation, for many who practice meditation they bring an instant feeling of being immersed in peaceful sensations.

Activate the power of positive thinking. Replace thoughts that make you stressed with ones that do the opposite. When you’re back in touch with your body, the observer in you can easily identify a negative or non-peaceful thought and fire-up the power of positive thinking.

Another helpful method of finding peace is to visualize a peace-inducing figure (Buddha, Gandhi, Jesus, Mother Theresa, etc.) and start up a conversation with them whenever you feel stressed or disturbed. Ask them, how would they deal with your present situation? You may be amazed at what you hear!

You can also immerse yourself in the present moment, the “now.” If you do, you’ll find that peace is inherent in each and every moment, especially when you’re able to use any of the mindfulness tools available to help you become totally immersed there. By sharing in the present moment you’ll become saturated with the sensation of peace.

Give yourself permission to go deep into the pursuit of joyful bliss. Bliss is what happens when we go beyond the mind’s active nature. Bliss and joy are the result of entering into the “Self” that exists beyond all thought. It’s the peaceful bliss that nourishes and endures.

And last, but not least, practice acceptance. Acceptance doesn’t necessarily mean giving up (or giving in), or that we have settle for less than we deserve. It means that in any given moment, we can choose peace over resistance and watch how that transforms our experience. Suffering is a choice, and so is peace – which one will you choose.

Of related interest, click on: Locating the Source of Stress & the Way of Yoga

*Rae Indigo is ERYT500

The Importance of the Breath in Yoga

Why is proper breathing stressed so much in yoga? Other than the fact that it keeps us alive, why is the link between yoga and breathing so important?

During a typical yoga class, we are instructed to practice pranayama, which means we breathe consciously, remaining connected to our breath, we learn to breathe deeply, retain our breath, etc. How much of an impact does proper breathing have on us, our life, and our yoga practice?

Breathing and longevity – Swami Sivananda is quoted as saying: “A yogi measures the span of life by the number of breaths, not by the number of years.”

I much of traditional Hindu literature it is said that if you breathe 15 times per minute, you will live to be 75 or 80 years old, but if you breathe only 10 times per minute you will live to 100. So the speed at which you breathe will determine the length of your life. The faster you breathe the shorter your life will be. That’s why animals that breath fast (dogs and cats for instance) have relatively short lives.

Breathing Consciously

Breathing consciously is something we are continuously reminded to do when we are in yoga class. Breathing consciously is essential to yoga practice because it assists us in connecting with the subtle energy within. Pranayama enables us to navigate different levels of consciousness. Additionally, by breathing consciously we’ll create a positive biological effect on our mental, emotional, and physical states of being.

Remaining connected with our breath is an ideal method for being in the present moment. When you focus on each aspect of the breathing process, you are present, you let go of the both the past and the future and are concentrated on each moment within each breath. Breathing consciously becomes its own form of meditation. But this is only part of why conscious breathing is so important.

Remaining consciously aware of your breathing activates a different part of our brain than our normal, mechanical (unconscious) breathing, which is controlled by the medulla oblongata in the brain stem (the primitive part of the brain). Conscious breathing, on the other hand, comes from a more evolved area of the brain (the cerebral cortex). So by stimulating the cerebral cortex we’re sending impulses from the cortex to other connecting areas that impact emotions. This generally has a relaxing and balancing effect on the emotions by controlling which aspects of the mind dominate, in turn prompting our consciousness to rise from the primitive/instinctual level to the more evolved/elevated levels of the brain.

The Breath, Prana and Pranayama

Yoga practice teaches us to control prana, the vital (life) force, through pranayama. The breath is used in pranayama to help us to learn to control prana, but don’t make the mistake of confusing prana with the breath. Prana is the life energy that animates the lungs, but it is NOT the breath itself. Using pranayama (breath control) is the easiest method for regulating the flow of prana and once we are able to control prana through pranayama we are better able to control the movement of prana to other organs and areas throughout the body.

The breath being the mode of practice for pranayama, the focus is in on the three basic stages of respiration:

  1. Inhalation (pooraka)
  2. Retention (kumbhaka)
  3. Exhalation (rechaka)

However, according to ancient and traditional yogic texts, pranayama is retention, and inhalation and exhalation are secondary, being methods for affecting retention.

Kumbhaka (retention of the breath) has a deep physiological effect on the brain. It begins by providing additional opportunity for the brain cells to absorb oxygen, and eliminate more carbon dioxide, producing a calming effect on the mental/emotional body. When the breath is retained, the brain panics because the carbon dioxide levels temporarily increase and the increased carbon dioxide levels stimulate the brain’s capillaries to dilate. When this happens, more capillaries in the brain are opened up improving cerebral circulation, building up an immense amount of energy in the brain, subsequently forcing the creation of new neural pathways, plus the activation of dormant centers. The brain is now activated and awakened!

A good analogy is look at the breath like the oil in a car, prana as the gasoline (fuel), and the mind as the engine. By understanding the relationship of the breath, prana and the mind to one another we will be better prepared to navigate our life, progressing to a higher, more evolved state, and to repair it if it breaks down.

Although full control of the breath may take the student of yoga years to perfect, this perfection is not necessarily the highest form of pranayama. The highest form is to remain completely, consciously aware of the breath.

Of related interest, click on; Yoga Practice for Improved Lung Function

And… Stories the Breath Can Tell

*Rae Indigo is ERYT500.

Listening to Your Heart

If we take a moment and look deeply, most of us will realize that in our heart we feel a desire to be more in harmony with our true nature, to recognize the inherent ability to rest in who and what we really are. Plants don’t feel this desire. They cannot create an image of themselves and therefore aren’t a bit confused about where they came from, or who they really are or how they should be.

On the other hand we humans are thinking beings. Whether we like it or not our minds play a significant role in our existence. This is also why it is so important to direct our minds toward that process of being in more harmony with our true Self. We can “think” from the heart, or as some people would say “live from the heart.” This does not mean that we should be motivated by passions, it means something totally different. Thinking (or living) from the heart means from our center, our core. This will establish a rock solid realization that we are a part of a greater whole, a whole from which nothing and no-one is excluded. And intuitively seeing that everything and everyone exists for this greater whole. Therefore this is our contribution, even if we do not know exactly what it is. Living from the heart, from the center or core, is a state where knowing is not a requirement.

Our True Nature…

We are often preoccupied with this or that and forget that there is an entire natural world that lives like this; in absolute harmony with who and what it really is. This we call “Nature,” and then we experience ourselves as outside observers, disconnected from it, which in turn creates the urge in us to seek “being with Nature.” Sadly, we frequently forget that we are an inseparable part of it, that it is always here, within us, exactly where we are, as close as the nose on our face.

When we consciously connect with our breath as it moves in and out of our body, and we truly feel our body, feeling the warmth, the presence and the “Nature” in our body. And this “Nature” has a voice of its own. According to Zen this is the voice of “no mind.” The body is equipped with an active mind, a thinking (or thought producing) apparatus, but in itself is still “no mind.” It functions from “no mind.” Just like everything in nature; no thought is necessary for a flower to open and release its fragrance for all to smell.

Meditation starts by inviting our mind to calm down, to be still, so that our hearts may open up to the voice of nature once again, to the voice of ‘no mind’. We can feel this voice of nature because it is identical to our center (our core).

And rest assured that this voice has never been lost, nowhere, neither inside of you or outside. Because that is simply just not possible. At most it may be overlooked, obscured, covered up by thoughts and/or emotions. But it is still resonating from deep within, patiently, diligently, knowing that sometime, someday when you take time to listen you will hear, and rediscover what has always been, always is, and always will be.

*Of related interest, click on: The Importance of Meditation to Yoga Practice

And…Mindfulness: Benefits & Cultivation…

*Rae Indigo is ERYT500.

Mindfulness: Benefits & Cultivation…

Mindfulness benefits…

As hinted at by the definitions in the previous post, “Mindfulness – What’s the Buzz”, increasing mindfulness helps one to become more focused, more creative, happier, healthier, more relaxed, and in control, and obviously, it can also help you more fully appreciate each precious “now” moment (which is all we have in reality).

There have been quite a few recent studies related to mindfulness and they have demonstrated that mindfulness training has the potential to:

1. Improve mental function, including memory and academic performance. In one particular study, students who did attention-building exercises had increased focus (with less mind-wandering), better short-term memory, and better performance on exams like the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), which is believed to be un-coachable.

2. Greatly help with weight loss and increased awareness, resulting in eating healthier foods. Mindful eating is paying attention to each and every bite and chewing slowly while paying attention to the sensory experience of eating (Harvard Medical School, “Womens Health”). Those who participated in mindfulness studies also lower calorie foods, even when they were hungrier than control groups.

3. Lead to better decision-making abilities. A number of experiments associate mindfulness meditation and the development of a natural tendency to be more mindfully aware with being less prone to the “sunk-cost bias,” a common tendency to stick with lost causes, such as a toxic relationship or dead-end job, simply because of one’s time and energy that has already been invested. Source: British Psychological Society (BPS) Research Digest.

4. Reduce stress and help cope with a variety of chronic health issues. A meta-analysis of 20 empirical reports found mindfulness increased both mental and physical well-being in patients with chronic pain, cancer, heart disease, and more according to Elsevier Health Sciences.

5. Improve immune function and create positive, physical changes in the brain that produced a sense of psychological well-being. The researchers measured brain activity before and after volunteers were trained in mindfulness meditation for eight-weeks, before determining these results (Psychosomatic Medicine).

These are in addition to all the other brain benefits we’ve seen from mindfulness meditation, e.g.; better focus, more creativity, less anxiety and depression, and more compassion, just to name a few.

How to Practice Cultivating Mindfulness…

Unfortunately, becoming mindful isn’t as simple as flipping a switch and then all of a sudden you’re locked into mindfulness for the rest of your life, although it is something you can cultivate.

By curbing distractions and just refusing to multitask for a time can help you focus more, but distraction-arresting tools might turn out to just be a sort of crutch. True mindfulness requires that you be more aware in even the busiest and most stressful situations and this is often when its usefulness as a tool is most appreciated.

An easy and effective way to get started is to set up triggers (or cues) to pull you back into the present moment whenever your mind begins to wander throughout that day. Take eating for example, remember to savor each bite, putting your fork down in between. While at work, you can set an chime, leave a post-it note or other reminder at regular intervals to remind you to pause and bring awareness into the moment. By pausing before you respond others will also help you to become more mindful in your relationships. Practices like receptive appreciation and consciously letting go of control work well to help you return to the present.

In the GRE study cited (#1 above), the mindfulness training that lead to better memory and learning involved the following six steps:

1. Sitting in an upright posture on the floor with legs crossed (or in a chair with legs straight) and gazing downward.

2. Distinguishing between naturally arising thoughts and elaborate thinking processes.

3. Minimizing the distracting quality of past and future concerns by reframing them as mental visualizations occurring in the present moment.

4. Using awareness of the breath (while breathing naturally) as an anchor for attention during meditation.

5. Repeatedly counting consecutive inhalations (or exhalations) for up to 21 counts.

6. Allowing the mind to return to a restful state naturally instead trying to suppress the the constant flow of thoughts.

This training may be called “mindfulness meditation” and it is one of the best ways to cultivate mindfulness. It’s an exercise for the brain, and it’s good to do it throughout all your daily activities, applying it to everything you encounter or experience.

Mindfulness is a concept reflected throughout Buddhism and no doubt the Buddha, who taught the middle way between secular (worldly) and spiritual concerns, would have agreed that there is a time for using mindfulness to discover both inner and outer truths, a time for using it to survive various challenges and tests, and a time to let go of mindfulness so that practical problems and situations may be addressed and used for creative and meaningful changes and purposes.

*Of related interest, click on: The Importance of Meditation to Yoga Practice

*Rae Indigo is ERYT500.

Mindfulness – What’s the Buzz?


It seems as if the word “mindfulness” is seen and heard just about everywhere today, used to promote everything from weight loss regimes to being more productive at home and on the job. Being the hot topic that it is, mindfulness (like meditation) is getting more attention as more and more  studies reveal its many benefits. In some circles it may be viewed as psycho-babble, but there’s mounting evidence that being more mindful will enhance nearly every single aspect of your life; and this is spite of some common misconceptions; one being, it doesn’t take hours of sitting in padmasana (the lotus pose) to get you there.

“Mindfulness” has become a catch-all word that has many synonyms (awareness, attention, focus, presence, vigilance, etc.). The antonyms are not simply “mindlessness,” but also distractedness, inattention, apathy, heedlessness, etc.).

Mindfulness is a state of mind but can also be practiced as a type of meditation. Ironically, mindfulness can’t be developed by force. Sheer determination and willpower won’t do you much good at all. As a matter of fact, it will likely hinder progress. A mindful state is not attained by struggle. It gradually grows by simple realizing; letting go and just settling down in the present moment and allowing yourself to get comfortable with whatever experience is presenting itself. Now, this does not mean that mindfulness will happen all by itself. Energy is needed, effort is required. But this effort is not to be mistaken for force, instead it is cultivated by a gentle effort, almost an “effortless” effort. So the meditator cultivates the state of mindfulness by unceasingly reminding themselves in a gently way to maintain conscious awareness of whatever is happening right now. Perseverance and a light, easy touch are the secrets. Mindfulness is cultivated and deepened by constantly “pulling” oneself back into a state of awareness, gently, ever so gently. Whenever you’re exhibiting the state of mindfulness, you’ll find you’re fully engrossed in whatever happens to be going on around you.

You can also think of mindfulness as allowing yourself to be fully in the present moment. Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn (famous teacher of mindfulness meditation and the founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center) defines it as “paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally; as if your life depended on it.” Although that seems to be a simple definition, being engaged 100% doesn’t necessarily come easy, especially in this modern world of endless distractions. It means actively listening and using all your senses (in even mundane situations like washing the dishes or getting dressed in the morning.

Rooted in Buddhist philosophy, mindfulness is considered extremely important on the path to enlightenment. Enlightenment (aka, bodhi) is a state of being where greed, hatred, delusion and other forms of negativity have been transcended and are absent from the mind. Mindfulness is actually an antidote to delusion and is considered as such a “siddhi” (a power developed from spiritual practice).

In a state of mindfulness, you see yourself exactly as you are. You see your own selfish behavior. You see your own suffering. And you see how you create that suffering. You see how you hurt others. You pierce right through the layer of lies that you normally tell yourself and you see what is really there. Mindfulness leads to wisdom

Mindfulness is not about trying to achieve anything, or make anything happen, it is just looking, observing without judging. So, desire and aversion are not involved in any way and competition and struggle really have no place in the process. Mindfulness does not aim at any particular thing, it just sees whatever is already present. The mindful state has a broader, deeper and larger function than concentration. It is an all-encompassing function, whereas concentration is exclusive, it singles out one item and ignores everything else. Mindfulness is all inclusive, standing back from any sort of focused attention and watching with a broad perspective, quickly realizing any changes that occur.

If you want to grow in mindfulness, patient acceptance of “what is” is the only course to follow. It grows one way and only one way; by continuous practice of mindfulness itself, by simply returning to that mindful state, and that means being extremely patient with yourself. Progress cannot be forced and it can’t be hurried, it proceeds according to own pace.

In summary, mindfulness is all about deliberately tuning in and being consciously aware of every experience. In William Blake’s poem “Auguries of Innocence” he describes the results of this kind of attentiveness… 

“To see a world in a grain of sand

And a heaven in a wild flower

Hold infinity in the palm of your hand

And eternity in an hour.” 

Stay tuned, We will continue on this subject with “Mindfulness Benefits” and “How to Practice Cultivating Mindfulness”

*Of related interest, click on: The Importance of Meditation to Yoga Practice

*Rae Indigo is ERYT500.

The Teachings of Yoga (Part 18: Gaining Knowledge – Higher Truths, cont.)

Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras – Chapter 1: (Gaining Knowledge of Higher Truths, cont.; Sutras 1.49-1.51)

Yoga Sutra (1.49)shruta anumana prajnabhyam anya-vishaya vishesha-arthatvat. Shrutameans heard or received; Anumana (lit. from the mind), inference, understanding, conclusion; Prajnabhyam means from those kinds of knowledge; Anya-vishaya (anya = different, vishaya = objects), of different objects;  Vishesha-arthatvat means relating to particular or special objects, purpose, or significance.

Translated this means…Consciousness is characterized by a special “relationship” to the object. This relationship exceeds the bounds of knowledge that is received and followed.

In other words, that knowing is different from the knowledge that is intermingled with testimony or through inference, because it relates directly to the specifics of the object, rather than to the representative words or other concepts.

Commentary: The focus of nirvichara samadhi is directed toward an object with a special or particular purpose. That object is the deepest Self, and its special purpose will be more fully revealed in sutras 1.50 and 1.51. The Bhagavad-Gita implies that knowledge gained through scripture and logic (inference) is an important tool, but the importance of this tool should not be confused with what is crafted from it. Krishna says that for those “who know,” scriptural knowledge is like a well in a land deluged by fresh water. When we strengthen the connection to our true Self, our divine core, we learn to see that divinity in everything that surrounds us.

Yoga Sutra (1.50)tajjah samskarah anya samskara paribandhi. Tajjah means from this; Samskarah means deep impressions or tendencies; Anya is other, different; Samskara means deep impressions or tendencies; Paribandhi means to prevent or obstruct.

Translation… This type of knowledge is filled with truth and creates latent impressions in the chitta (mind-field), and those new impressions tend to reduce the formation of other less important or useful forms of habitual latent impressions. Put more simply, This experience gives rise to impressions (samskaras) that supplants other impressions (samskaras).

Commentary: Anya samskara (other impressions) gives a perspective to contrast this new sense of being with all that we’ve known before, and pratibandhi, from prati (in opposition to) and bandh (to bind, lock) is the “wiping out” or “exclusion” of these habitual ways of thinking and being from our future experiences.

Yoga Sutra (1.51)tasya api nirodhe sarva nirodhat nirbijah samadhih. Tasya is of that; Api means too or also; Nirodhe means to become calm, tranquil; Sarva is of all or from everything; Nirodhat means control, regulation; Nirbijah is lacking seed, seedless; Samadhih (from Samadhi) deep absorption in meditation, bliss.

Translated to mean…When even these latent impressions (mentioned in sutra 1.50) from truth based on knowledge recede along with the other (inferior) impressions, then there is concentration free from objects. Once nirbiija samadhi is attained, even these impressions will become tranquil and everything then has become tranquil.

Sutra 1.51 is the final and climactic sutra of Pada (book) I and for some may be a “hard pill to swallow,” especially those who have earnestly studied Patanjali’s preceding ideas and attempted to put them into regular practice. In these last few sutras, Patanjali informs us that we must put aside our highest, hard-fought-for achievements if we wish to reach the final goal.

*Part 17 may be viewed by clicking on: The Teachings of Yoga (Part 17: Gaining Knowledge – Higher Truths)

*For part 16, click on: The Teachings of Yoga (Part 16: Types of Engrossments, cont.)

*For part 15, click on: The Teachings of Yoga (Part 15: Types of Engrossments)

*For part 14, click on: The Teachings of Yoga (Part 14: After the Mind is Stable)

*For part 13, click on: The Teachings of Yoga (Part 13: Stabilizing/Clearing the Mind, cont.) Links to parts 7 through 12 may be found at the bottom of part 13. Links to parts 1 through 6 may be found at the bottom of Page 7

*Rae Indigo is ERYT500.

The Teachings of Yoga (Part 17: Gaining Knowledge – Higher Truths)

Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras – Chapter 1: (Gaining Knowledge of Higher Truths; Sutras 1.47-1.48)

Yoga Sutra (1.47)nirvichara vaisharadye adhyatma prasadah. Nirvichara means beyond reflection or devoid of subtle thoughts (nir = without, vichara = subtle thoughts); Vaisharadye is experience, skill (with undisturbed flow); Adhyatma is the absolute, superior or spiritual  (regarding the Atman or true Self); Prasadah means clarity, purity or illumination.

Translated this means…As one gains proficiency in the undisturbed flow in nirvichara, a purity and luminosity of the inner instrument of mind is developed. More simply put: If you regularly experience the clearest of the four aforementioned states known as nirvichara samapatti, then you are about to experience a state of absolute clarity.

Commentary: Nirvichara samadhi is not the final goal. Instead it is a moment like taking a deep breath before jumping into an abyss. Traditional commentators say that just a glimpse of the true inner Self instantly shows us, that all the world we thought we knew was only a shadow realm constructed of our own hopes and fears. This experience of true Self-awareness, even if it is fleeting, gives us something more real than all that we previously believed was reality.

It is easy to get trapped into thinking that the goal of yoga practice is to seek out and hold onto this understanding of the deepest Self. But Patanjali and other sages say, “No.” This hard-won treasure, one that is so rare that few experience, must itself be relinquished to something even bigger, because even clinging to the most pure and “luminous” understanding of ourselves still maintains a separation from all others. The Bhagavad Gita says that this “inner shining” or sattva, as true and pure and deep as it seems, still binds us and separates us from the Divine Absolute.

Yoga Sutra (1.48)ritambhara tatra prajna. Ritambhara means filled with higher truth (ritam = truth, bhara = full, pregnant; Tatra is there or then; Prajna means true knowledge, wisdom or insight.

Translation…Then consciousness will be filled with only the truth. Along with the purity and luminosity mentioned in the last sutra (1.47), which came from proficiency in nirvichara, there also comes a wisdom that is filled with the higher truth.

This sutra implies that we are to understand that there are a variety of types of knowledge or wisdom. We must also realize that the wisdom of nirvichara samadhi the not the only valid form.  Vyasa says that insight is gained from three valid sources: scripture, logic, and meditation. Other sages go on to say that the “eager practice” of all three paths of knowledge is needed. But most commentators agree that all types are not of equal value, although the different ways of knowing each have their place.

Next we will continue with yoga sutra 1.49 where Patanjali will emphasize the differences between the insight of deep samadhi and the other ways of knowing or understanding. But he still will not invalidate all the other sources of knowledge. As we progress, moving from place to place, whether in our lives, our minds, or our hearts, the kind of wisdom that will helps us changes with each stage.

*Part 16 may be viewed by clicking on: The Teachings of Yoga (Part 16: Types of Engrossments, cont.)

*For part 15, click on: The Teachings of Yoga (Part 15: Types of Engrossments)

*For part 14, click on: The Teachings of Yoga (Part 14: After the Mind is Stable)

*For part 13, click on: The Teachings of Yoga (Part 13: Stabilizing/Clearing the Mind, cont.) Links to parts 7 through 12 may be found at the bottom of part 13. Links to parts 1 through 6 may be found at the bottom of Page 7

*Rae Indigo is ERYT500.