In the weeks past, we’ve covered the “spark” of life. We’ve considered that there’s not one single perspective in the world. We’ve conceded that we are not the center of the universe.
We may have discussed all these things, but do you know, really know, that they are so?
Seeing may be believing, but knowing is an illusion.
Sutra 4.19: The mind has no light or knowledge of its own. Rather—it is itself seeable and knowable. Translation by Kofi Busia
Sutra 4.19: Surely, it cannot be said that the mind is self-luminous and can know itself; it (its changes and modifications) is perceived only by the inner light or the indwelling intelligence. Translation by Swami Venkatesanada
What this means is that in yoga, consciousness is an expression of spirit, not mind. When you embrace this in your mind, you liberate your consciousness from your mind’s incessant chatter. This liberation is kaivalya. It is also translated as enlightenment or freedom. It is a state of yoga that moves with you so that none of life’s dualities disturb you.
Yoga is the stilling of the mind stuff. The result of that stilling seems to be a search for the relationship between self and spirit. Thus, yoga practice is all about using action to peel back layers of non-spirit to reveal the true self.
The action can be physical or mental. They must, as we learned in book 2, be practiced with consistency to take hold. It is quite easy to be guided by mind rather than spirit, and thus wander fruitlessly in one’s quest. And you can see in yoga’s history the efforts of many yogis to identify the most direct path to kaivalya. A direct path built up of the most effective actions that one can practice.
Today we see more evidence of that than perhaps ever before. There is a growing plethora of “types” of modern yoga practice. But has anyone figured out THE one path to kaivalya? Or even the single most effective approach to asana?
No. Because there is no one path. There is no one yoga practice.
The actions that lead you to kaivalya, the freedom that comes from living with an awareness of your link to universal consciousness, are as unique as your spirit.
Each iterative shift in the history of yoga practice came about through individuals honoring spirit.
Now maybe you and aren’t living with kaivalya. Which means maybe we’re not exactly sure we know what honoring spirit looks like in life. So we’re searching. Maybe, like our teachers did before us, we use existing guidelines to help keep our search within certain bounds. Maybe we don’t.
We may all together be trying to see the light of our inner spark. But only you can recognize yours, shining through action… after action… after action…
Hari om tat sat!
Experience your true self and bring it into every moment of your living!
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali 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.