Sutra 3.8: tad-api bahir-angam nirbijasya
But even these three are external to that enlightenment in which the very seed of duality ceases to exist. Translation and interpretation by Swami Venkatesananda
Let’s say consciousness is fundamental.
Let’s say that consciousness is common to all of us, and may be universal to all beings and things.
Let’s say that consciousness is not your thoughts or even the processing of the brain and central nervous system, but something not yet properly defined.
Before I continue, perhaps you should listen to David Chalmers’ recent TED talk on consciousness. He proposes that for science to tackle consciousness, a radical shift toward new theories of what consciousness might be is necessary for us to successfully study the why of consciousness in order to fully know the what of consciousness.
The yogis did not have our modern tools and scientific rigor, but they did, as best I know, treat their search for universal consciousness as a serious endeavor. With patient and persistent trial and error of techniques that might open the human mind up to a more complete awareness of pure consciousness, they gradually observed consistent “results” and set the techniques that were effective by passing them on one student at a time.
Some of the techniques aren’t directly related to experiencing pure consciousness, but are instead needed for reigning in individual behavior so that the focus and stillness needed can be achieved before setting to the task of opening one’s mind up to the universe, as it were.
I can’t say with certainty whether or not the yogis got it “right”, but I like to think they did. If so, yoga, the experience of oneness, is an experience of pure consciousness, fundamental consciousness –an experience that doesn’t require your dissolution into consciousness itself, but that can come with you into the rest of your being and doing.
Samyama, the process of bringing that awareness into living, is an evolution from inner –at the deepest stages of samadhi, an experience of pure consciousness–back to outer, where consciousness fuels thought, action, feeling.
And, while we are all connected by unbound consciousness, we connect to consciousness in action through samyama in order to remain aware of our individual selves. We live with yoga in our breath and brains, still living in the world.
Live your yoga.
Hari om tat sat!
Experience your true self and bring it into every moment of your living!
The Yoga Sutras are a classical text on yoga–a guidebook of sorts.
Each week, 216 teacher Esther Palmer dives into one of the sutras and we let it take us where it takes us.