The Medicine of Yoga?
Yoga is powerful Medicine
Yoga is beginning to be more accepted in the contemporary western world.
There is a growing commercial application of base level physicalised practices which most people think of as yoga. But this is just the beginning of yoga.
So what is yoga?
Yoga is vision, process and goal.
What does this mean?
Yoga has the vision of understanding the seamless nature of existence. The underlying philosophy that the cosmos is whole and there is nothing separate anywhere. There is only the Never-two, that which cannot be divided into pieces that have any intrinsic, inherent, separate existence. This cognitive map, the vision then needs to be embodied.
This is begun at a simple practical level through methods of practice. This is the process. Here we begin with your breath. But the breath is not yours, it is just breath. It is air, wind, gases that moves through you into every single cell of your body and out again. Not one cell of your body is separate from the wind. Your body is mostly made of these gases, twisted into more solid form. Hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen and carbon-dioxide make the bulk of what we are. How do we pragmatically know this, we pay relentless attention to the life-breath until we get it. Getting it is called realisation. We realise the seamless nature of existence.
Paying attention to the breath brings us directly into contact with our mind, it’s narratives and meaning making become more and more apparent as we cultivate the power of focus and build our experience of the observing self. We notice the effect of our mental activity on the breath and the breath on our mental activity. As this occurs we notice the effect of the breath and mind on our energy levels and how we experience what we can call our life-force.
We experience life-force through subjective experience. This triad of the direct experiential inquiry and relationship between breath, mind and life-force is the key inquiry in much yogic practice.
A word on mind as mind content. Mind as content is how we cognate, think, conceptualise, semanticise, value and believe, and also how we sensate and emote. Yoga does not split heart, brain and body. Mind is all of it. Mind as its deeper nature is pristine awareness which is the root of all content. Content is how awareness manifests as it is filtered through the self-construct and its filters. We see in meditative practice the direct relationships between thinking, feeling, and body wellbeing. We find the body as the past history of our mind, what we felt, what we thought, what we ate, what we did. We might find the deep nature of mind as pristine awareness. We certainly build relationship and a future more consciously.
As this relationship becomes more and more apparent and we choose to enhance the congruence of these levels of our experience of existence, we alter our lifestyle to create greater wellbeing. Yoga is also framed within the broad context of seamless existence. We finish each practice with recognition, appreciation and a direct focus on the wellbeing of all beings, without exception, everywhere.
Yoga is inherently prosocial, and leads directly to community and ecological wellbeing.
Yogic practices which include working with meditative awareness and deep breath work take us into who we are when we no longer conceptualise, no longer divide the world into pieces with comparative thought. Yogic practices of vibration enable us to experience the universe less filtered by the limited sense-fields and know the seamless energetic and vibrational nature of life with it’s appearances as osmotic boundaries. No longer bound by conditioned mind and feeling we also liberate conditioned identity and psych-emotional patterns into those of pure blissful awareness. Knowing ourselves most deeply as pure blissful awareness, we find contentment and ease in how things actually are. From this base we seek personal and collective wellbeing and prosocial change.
No longer satisfied with the western mythology of separatist, materialist, independent identity and it’s grasping onto consumer items to feel safe and content, we find a deeper level of existence as interdependence, as qualitative relationship of kindness, love, care and compassion. In fact the primary duty of any yogic practitioner is kindness. Kindness comes first. If we practice simple human kindness and awareness we are changing the mandala of our world.
We know who we are at the deepest level. We have resolved, to enough of a degree, our psycho-emotional wounds from childhood, adolescence and adulthood to see through the eyes of wisdom. We see that those who don’t yet know this often live from wounds, causing harm and suffering to others as they try to create safety for themselves in the positional feelings of being right, strong, protected, invulnerable or in control. Offering all beings the deep compassion of liberation from these illusions, from woundedness and from consciously or unconsciously causing others pain and suffering is the work of real compassion. When we live from a place of positionality, as a separate self-sense with all its selfing projects and its psycholigal coordinates of subject and object, there is no real joy possible. No real joy, no real happiness, no real love. Yoga ultimately liberates us from the suffering of this kind of selfishness.
The western medical model rooted in reductionist science is wonderful at doing what it does. It looks at broken pieces and seeks to fix them at a mechanistic level.
Yoga lands people in a place in themselves where they find wholeness, completion, wellbeing, joy and prosocial and relational ease as natural side-effects of practice.
Yoga is flow-medicine. It teaches, identifies and sustains healthy internal and external relationships. Nothing is divided. We know what keeps us well and we seek wellness for all.
Ultimately, yoga facilitates us to create a world of mutually empowered, respectful beings who know themselves as a function of life itself.
Beings who would naturally take full responsibility for their bodies, feelings, thoughts and all their relationships. Beings who will be crafting relationships of compassion, kindness, care and love. Yoga is a medicine that could pull us back into ecological harmony as we terminate greed, overconsumption and disregard for the myriad of other species on whom we depend, who are our co-inhabitants on this beautiful blue orb of a planetary home, the very source of our bodies and our life. The vision of yoga is for living, and Yoga is a profound medicine for our times.
So, regardless of the mental conditioning we have received, the emotional scars we have to heal and the physical issues and blessings we have inherited from our ancestry, lets take full responsibility for our own mental well-being, our emotional intelligence and clarity and our physical health. Lets take responsibility for the mandala of our relationships and populate them with good enough love, clarity, compassion and kindness to make the world of our influence one of love. Let’s collectively take responsibility for our environment in every way we can, from micro practices of recycling to macro practices of creating grass roots pressure on tardy politicians to listen to the climate science ad make the necessary policy changes that will make the difference.
Let’s master our minds (yes we can do this easily with the right strategies), open our hearts through wisdom and understanding, and free our lives so we can collectively support and empower each other to be the very best we can be. This I want!
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