yoga meditation and philosophy with Lynn
From the book Inspired Thoughts of Swami Rama, in which he provides a much kinder, gentler, yogic perspective on discipline.
The purpose of life is to complete yourself, to attain that union which is called yoga. According to yoga, to be complete, one should learn to understand oneself on all levels. Questions to ask include: Who am I? From where have I come? Why have I come? Where will I go?
The first word in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras is atha, which means “now,” “then,” and “therefore.” It means that, having prepared yourself, you are now ready to tread the path of yoga. So a student should prepare himself. He should be prepared to discipline himself. Many people are afraid of the word discipline. It means only that if you are looking at something, you should be fully attentive so that you can perceive it properly.
You do not need to depend on the teacher, the society, the school, the college, the monastery, or the guru. Just have this idea, and if you go on strengthening it, the time will come when you can do anything you wish.
How can this idea be strengthened? According to the science of yoga, you should learn to understand the various functions of your mind. There is nothing wrong with your body, for it is matter, and there is nothing wrong with your individual soul, for it is spirit; the problem lies in the mind and its modifications.
The mind is the wall that stands between you and the Reality, and to know your mind you have to know all its modifications, its various functions, and learn to control them. When you can do that you can attain samadhi, the highest state, and you can attain it in this lifetime.
The Yoga Sutras say, “know thyself.” You are fully equipped to do this, provided you accept that one thing called self-discipline. The Sutras also tell you how to discipline yourself; they do not impose discipline on you. There is nothing like a commandment in the entire yoga system. “If you don’t do this, you will go to hell”-there is no such concept.
The yoga system tells you how to be. The first thing that you should learn is to stop identifying yourself with the objects of the world.
Start witnessing yourself and soon you will realize that you are different from your body. To do this you should learn to discipline yourself – to examine your consciousness, your human power and human effort.
Don’t impose discipline on yourself – “from tomorrow I will not lie, from tomorrow I will not take meat”. Don’t create such problems yourself.
Be gentle with yourself, because gentleness alone is strength. Learn to be gentle with others and learn to be gentle with yourself.
It means, “I should learn to pay attention without any dissipation, distraction, and distortion. Anything I do, I will do with full attention.” Can you do it in this lifetime? Patanjali makes it very easy, provided you have accepted, not the commandment, but the commitment to self-discipline.
Sit down, close your eyes, and ask
yourself questions like these:
Literally say the words inside of you, as if talking to yourself. Answers will come. They may come in the form of words, thoughts, images, feelings, or sensations. Ask the questions several times. Be quiet and allow the responses to come. If you practice this again over the next few days, you will find the practice becomes even more clear and useful to you in self-awareness and self-discipline.
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