Off The Mat

Unbreakable Are Thee

AshtangaYogaOBX — October 2, 2013
Off The Mat

For many years I have been contemplating myself and seeking to understand my true essence. Within this process, I find myself wondering, analyzing, weighing different aspects, and trying to figure out how to be the greatest expression of myself I can be.  How can I contribute to the world?

I am aware this process will forever unfold to me in different ways throughout the many years to come, but, I must say, I have reached a new level of realization.  Clearly, what I saw is that when the stirrings of the mind have calmed, the highest truth is revealed.  Everything that you are reaching for is already there and it is full and perfect as it is. When you stop trying, fretting, and attempting to be, when you let it flow from your heart, there is energy, an essence that is uniquely you.  What was also revealed to me is how indestructibly real and solid this Self is. It is unbreakable, unmovable, and ever still.  No force or turning in the Universe can obstruct this ever present essence from being the Truth.  Nobody can ever take this away from you. It is your infinite connection to the Source and it keeps on giving.

After having this insight for a moment, I realized that maintaining this space is another challenge all together.  In and out, I find myself in a place of striving, of trying to be something I want to be, but it is in the quiet moments this Self is simply revealed to you and others.

I think this is a tiny glimpse and experience of the teachings of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.  One of the fundamental Sutras is from Chapter 1.2:  Yogas citta vritti-nirodhah – Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind.  The state of yoga is when you stop identifying who you are with the constant thoughts.  As David Williams eloquently says, “Yoga is the space between the thoughts,” and it is within this empty space that revelation occurs, which leads us to the next Sutra.

Patanjali continues in Sutra 1.3 by explaining what happens when the thinking calms down through the development of the state of witnessing.  Tada drastuh sva-rupe vasthanam – Then the True Self is revealed.

I believe the difficult part is in working to stabilize the mind, the next step happens spontaneously and without effort.

The realization I had was that my mind could not in all its wanderings ever imagine the Truth to be as incredible as it was in that moment of revelation, and in this, I was able to let go of the stories, creations, and fantasies.  There was a moment of Freedom.

Rumi describes this same concept in his poem “In Between Stories” when he says, “If he could see for just a second one molecule of what’s there without fantasizing about it, he’d explode.  His imagination, and he himself, would vanish, with all his knowledge, obliterated into a new birth, a perfectly clear view, a voice that says, I am God.”

This brings me back to one of my favorite teachings from Tim Miller.  He compares the process of yoga to the process of extracting gold from the Earth.  When you extract gold from the Earth you must burn it to remove the mud and dirt around the pure piece of stone. After the mud melts and runs through the sifter, you are left with a beautiful piece of gold shining in its natural beauty. This gold is our Soul.  The practice of tapas creates the burning and over many years we can strip away the layers of covering so our Truth, which was already there, can shine forth in its purity.

The lesson here is contrary to what our society is telling us. Less is better.  Tim says that the process of yoga is a process of subtraction, not addition, and this is foreign to our western way of life which is based on mass consumption.  Strip away the extraneous crap!

A little further down Patanjali instructs us on how to stop identifying with the thinking mind in Sutra 1.12: Abhyasa-vairagyabyam tan-nirodhah – Consistent practice with nonattachment will stop the mind from fluctuating.

The practice offers us a tool to keep digging.  Rumi also says, “Work. Keep digging your well. Don’t think about getting off from work. Water is there somewhere.”

Dig Yogis!  Dig!  You will eventually uncover the gold!

“You’ll see two glints in the dirt.”  - Rumi

Love to All Beings.

Michelle Dorer

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