ALL NATURE IS ONE

The basic premise in spiritual philosophy is that All Nature is One great Wholeness – the entirety of the Cosmos, so vast yet allowing life to express itself through all forms so infinitely small as to be invisible to us – and through the vast galaxies, constellations and heavens that stretch without end.

Inherent is each of us is the spiritual desire to know this Intelligence, this Power, this Presence and techniques and spiritual disciplines are designed to assist us towards both intellectual realization as well as psychic experiencing its Reality.

Only those who can conceive of the Oneness of life, named differently to indicate the Absolute, the Creator, the Supreme, the Cosmos or God, can inspire others. Some hold the religious belief that to give name to the Creator is demeaning and allow many names to identify particulars but reserve silence for the Supreme Being – That which pervades all life and all of us.

It seems that only those who have experienced the reality of the Great Intelligence and Power behind all life can convey to others what they have felt, seen, known or realised. Ultimately, their experience can only be satisfactorily communicated by their quality as a human being. In truth many who have experienced Universal Consciousness do not try to speak of it but cherish it deep within their souls.

We find our own way to conceive of the reality of the Universal Oneness and for many the exercise is overwhelming. However we have recourse to rest back into the great visual natural world around us and will easily find our appreciation and our sense of wonderment develop and expand as we observe and find affection for living things, whether they be mineral, vegetable , animal or our own species.

To some people this affection for natural life is sufficient. For others their beings yearn to journey as did the astronauts into more rarefied worlds and atmospheres.

Others of us see life as a never ending quest. As the law has been stated, that what we seek we will find, it is reasonable to try to apply the expectation to our own search. But the problem may be that we have no concept of what it is that we seeking and so deny ourselves the reward of recognition.

If we should choose to seek to known Nature’s secrets and understand Universality we can do no better than to listen to those who have seen, felt, believed, or experienced what are the great truths of Life. Many may choose to elaborate, but without question, all who have known the ultimate share an answer that may appears too simple for others to grasp, that is the truth that All Life is One.

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CONSCIOUSNESS IN MEDITATION

In meditating we aim for a harmonious flow of thought awareness rather than erratic statements of thoughts and ideas without a common thread. In meditation one’s self consciousness of thought changes to a state beyond the process of thinking to a state of higher awareness or Being.

We learn to build a bridge between the differing realities of the material and spiritual states of awareness. In states of relaxation and meditation, these two worlds tend to blend. Ultimately they will become one to the extent that they will no longer seem isolated one from the other, but will unite to create the integration which has inspired the name of Yoga.

Through meditation we learn to manage the mind and its resources and faculties; to cultivate the best of our capacities for creative thought and ideas; to inhibit the growth of negative elements intruding from inside or without; to establish a simple philosophy to give us confidence in the values we choose to live our life by; to grow in understanding of the deeper purposes of life; to respect nature and to experience for ourselves the reality of the greatest intelligence that directs all natural processes – the Universal fountain of power and Consciousness we call God.

In relaxation practice we learn to trust and surrender ourselves to life.  Meditation begins with self knowledge and an ability to extend consciousness beyond the usual limitations of the body and the material world in which we live. We identify with our enduring soul and thence if we choose, to also trust and surrender our soul and its limitations, to a greater life that will energise and refresh our whole psyche before returning to everyday consciousness and our life of action.

To maintain a state of inter-connection between the higher regions and lower consciousness ensures the ‘magical’ capacity of the mind is free to function. Once regular practices become routine and this is not difficult as we learn to enjoy the experiences within our inner ‘place of peace’, we can expect to experience many interesting and even exciting new states of consciousness. We can entertain moments of realization of truths or conceive wonderful new ideas that can occur as a spontaneous happening, or in moments of inspiration. Although many share similar types of experience, we should not hold any preconceived ideas as each of us is different and our inner experiences are unique to us.

When we awaken in the morning we are connecting again with the material world after a sojourn in the unconscious state of sleep where our minds are free to indulge in many hours of existence but in dimensions usually beyond our capacity to remember.  When we willingly and usually eagerly surrender our daily mind to sleep we release our memory from the mundane and for many hours seem to depart this material world. But in fact we as individual entities maintain consciousness of some kind whether subconscious, unconscious or in the extended dimensions of the super-consciousness that exists beyond material work, daily routines and family responsibilities.

There remain many questions yet to be answered as we explore human consciousness with our aim not only to be aware of the different spheres of our nature and awareness but to integrate all the aspects of our being through the aid of meditation.

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Simplify Life

We learn that better health comes through purification of the body, body building, and self discipline to maintain youthfulness and vitality.  Simple practices require the inclusion of hygiene techniques, fasting, relaxation, natural diet, exercises to integrate mind and body, postural control and attention to correct upright body posture.

Some will choose to add further practices in breath control, muscular development, emotional discipline, mental exercises and spiritual self culture through meditation.

No matter how we specialize or what other disciplines we follow, the basic ones of health remain fundamental to our well being, just as common sense helps retain our mental balance.

So we are reminded to appreciate the importance of simple principles that help us to anchor the vital energies that will enable us to live as we desire, in quality of health and quality of our lifestyle.

In our philosophy loving kindness, truth and goodness play their part within our personal outlook that guide us to live in accordance with the moral codes and life knowledge we inherit from aeons of human civilization. To include a deep reverence for the Creator – the great Allness that is the spiritual Source of our being provides us with the ingredient of inspiration.

Whether our personal attitudes and choices, made from our power centre of free will, differ one from one another is of little moment when we share our common sense, our loving heartedness and our desire to live a constructive life by respecting and caring for the life of other living beings. We must consider all life, whether plants, birds, fish, animals, or human or indeed the very elements of Nature that sustain us – our beloved Earth, its waters, and its atmosphere.

By changing our focus from argument and criticism and aggression regarding our differences we begin to become free of the stress and strain created by our intense sense of individuality to find we expand in a common understanding, in attitudes of mind and in our hearts.

When our choices prove wise and take us along the path that leads us to be kind to ourselves and to others, and refrain from violence of thought, word and deed, we will naturally begin to feel at ease and freer to experience in consciousness knowledge of being an integral part of the greater universe. This brings with it a profound sense of ‘coming home’.   OM …….

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All Life is One

We in the West must take care that the teachings of Yoga do not become veiled by western modifications that may bear little resemblance to its traditional spiritual wisdom and philosophy.

Many people are anxious to lift this veil and to tread the classical ancient path that is based upon self discipline, simplicity, spiritual aspiration and practical and constructive action.

However this will require a change of focus from the materialistic viewpoint to consideration and acceptance of the spiritual reality that all life is One.

To experience this truth realized in our own consciousness as confirmation, allows us to find a way to live the spiritual life of simplicity, loving kindness and in harmonious relationship with others and most importantly, allow us to embrace Great Nature or life itself.

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Relaxation Experiences

The following accounts present just a few examples of different people’s experiences in relaxation practice …

A young student says….

“Yes I like relaxing. But I’m not always in the mood for it. The best times seem to be after I’ve had a really busy day or had a game of football.  Then it is usually good. But anytime I can make myself feel cooler or warmer as I want to by using my breathing exercises. I like to lie down and do nothing as it is pretty peaceful.”

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“I lay down to relax hoping to see just how far I could go. First I let all the muscles in my body relax and feel loose and free. When I was sure that there was no more residual tension left in my body I started to concentrate upon my breathing – taking deep but rhythmical breaths. After this was established I tried to make my mind relax but I couldn’t. Then when I stopped trying to slow my brain down, it did actually slow down.

My body then became very light except in the joints, that still felt heavy. Then to my surprise I began to feel smaller and smaller until I felt about 1 cm square!

After this I felt I was being expanded, blown up like a balloon and became very rounded. This feeling lasted for a while and was pleasant enough. Then I began to feel normal again but it was the most fantastic sensation I have ever felt and although I have tried again, I haven’t been able to accomplish quite the same again.  But each time I relax I feel something different and it is always good.”

A student.

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“I prepared in the classical manner – lying flat on the floor in a north/south aspect.

As soon as I shut my eyes I began to feel aware of the physical sensations of my body and had to make a slight muscular adjustment here and there, in order to be totally comfortable.

Then I began the tension/release technique, thinking of each part of my body in turn, starting with my feet and deliberately tensing my muscles to feel what that felt like, and releasing strain to be conscious of what relaxation was like. Part by part I did this throughout my whole body. By the time I reached my head and tensed my eyes and relaxed them I was happy just to lie still and become aware of the pleasant feeling that pervaded my whole body.

After a minute or two I commenced rhythmic breathing but soon tired and wanted to be still. As soon as I did I felt my body become light and I seemed to lose the sense of my body. It was lovely.  I just seemed to float and I enjoyed it.

I have no idea how long this lasted but I didn’t actually go to sleep although when I thought of moving it was just like awakening in the morning. I was pleased to stay where I was but knew I had to get going again. The pleasant feeling stayed with me for several hours. ”

A student

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“I’d been having a bad time with relationship problems and was feeling pretty confused and lost.  I felt I had to do something to get over this mood yet everything I tried didn’t work. So eventually I thought as a last resort to do nothing at all.

I lay down and shut my eyes but as it was still daytime it felt strange at first. Then I decided to keep very still and not move a muscle, just to see if I could do that. But the thing that prevented me was the process of breathing . Somehow instead of being disappointed, I began to get interested in deliberately breathing deeper and deeper. I’d never done that before, but at least it kept my mind off my problems.

This must have gone on for some minutes until I felt tired of doing this and thought I’d lie still again, which I did. I felt strangely light with a sensation of floating that was very pleasant and had to allow myself to indulge in this new experience that reminded me of something similar I’d known as a child on going to sleep.

But I didn’t sleep. I just lay there feeling light and free and floating and my inside feelings were just that nothing mattered very much. Everything felt right. Somehow I knew my problems were not very great and would soon dissolve and I would feel happy again.

I really enjoyed this time of being still and now I practise it whenever I feel the need. It certainly worked for me the first time and most times afterwards.”

 A student

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“I find relaxation practice a reliable and exciting time. It is not a discipline, as it was at first but has become enjoyable and refreshing. Each time it seems to produce different experiences and I can never relate these to anything.  They just seem to happen.

 

Always I begin in the way I was taught in class to lie flat, without a pillow and wait for my body to be comfortable on the floor.  My eyes are shut and I begin to be more aware of the sensations I have in my body. I am not moving at all except of course with respiration. I feel energy sensations in my feet and hands and eventually all over the body.

This particular time I felt the energy centred in my upper body and head and became aware of a beautiful coloured deep blue light, although my eyes were still closed. I felt as if I was being pulled upward and lost all sense of my muscles. I didn’t feel conscious of a shape, I just felt I was a being.

With the wonderful upliftment came a feeling of protection. It was as if I should never feel alone again. There would always be this lovely presence to care for me. I didn’t see anyone but felt there perhaps was someone beyond the blue light. The light became soft and gradually less, just like an electric dimmer.

Then my attention returned to think of my body and it felt soft and relaxed and my breathing gentle and I remembered this special feeling of being protected and stored it away to remind myself in the future.” 

A student

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“After all the preliminaries of exercise, some breathing techniques, muscular commands and so on I entered the first stage of relaxation which felt very pleasant except for a little discomfort on the hard floor.

Then I was ready to involve my imagination and persuade my body to feel ‘heavier and heavier’ as my teacher said would encourage total physical relaxation.

So I began to affirm to myself, “I am feeling heavier and heavier”. I confess I was a little cynical about any result and was amazed when I began to feel leaden and extremely heavy. But because the sensation was pleasant, I did not resist it. After a little while I was ready for the sequel exercise. This is to help emotional relaxation by imagining any hardness and heaviness melting to become soft and fluid. I did this pretty easily and found it quite delightful. I felt beautiful in fact. I felt nothing would every worry me again if I could retain this feeling. Although I can’t always succeed, but I remember to practise this feeling of melting when I feel stressed and up tight. It helps.”

A student

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Personal Mantra – to help mind and mood

Personal programming of our brain and thought is possible and includes the technique of Mantra. As well as the fine well known classical forms of yogic mantra we can find real value in devising our own. These can be comprised of sacred words and prayers from religious and philosophical teachings that we repeat for confirmation or identification with spiritual principles and qualities. The simplest of course are the affirmations we use to help ourselves strengthen the virtues to which we aspire in our Sadhana.

The ancient teachings remind us of the several forms of mantric expression – these being strong, vocalized word or words often chanted in group meditation; the gentle whispered mantra applied in our private meditations; and the one considered to have most potent direct effect upon the individual being the unbroken silent cyclic mental repetition that encourages us to link with the greater Universal Consciousness through our breath as in the sacred “Om” or “Aum”.

Many singers unconsciously or consciously use the science of sound to help voice skills or to stimulate moods and feelings that when magnified in a group emit considerable power and influence. They undertake specific exercising of the vocal chords and apply unique dedication to their art beyond the average understanding. Most of us who could be described as ‘shower time singers’ are not as self disciplined. So for the majority of us the simple guidelines we learn in improving breath control to help formulate and extend the power of our voice and our chanting through pranayama are satisfactory.

The principle of 3 word mantra is simple but helps us isolate and focus upon our individual purpose or values that gives us a wide range of more mundane application  e.g. Strength, truth,  harmony.  The more profound impersonal spiritual chanting of the sacred “AUM” recognizes the triune principles of divinity when intoning.

The 5 fold focus upon the Natural Elements of fire, earth, air, water and ether requires concentration and some imagination to harness one’s mind to an aspiration to understand all the natural spheres of life both outside and within our own nature from the solid physical to the subtlest and invisible realms of the soul.

Seven is a popular choice for artists and those who are attracted to the use of natural light and the symbolism of Light itself.  Perceived by us split through the natural spectrum of the beautiful rainbow colours the study of colour itself allows a 7- fold mantra technique that giving a single word to each colour that represents one quality of light itself – red, orange, gold, green, blue, indigo and purple.

Twelve fold mantra is often the choice of astrology students who wish to cultivate each of the human virtues exemplified in the zodiacal signs. Christians find it easy to attune to the mystical symbolism of the 12 disciples or the saints’ calendar as others associate particular powers to the 12 rays used to reflect the radiance of Divine Light. Yogis combine appropriate chants with the traditional physical exercise of Surya Namaskar. Others choose to exercise blending in the Lord’s Prayer as their Mantra.

Find the words that comfortably suit your understanding and your aspiration.

All affirmations and mantra when combined with our powers of visualization and concentration become potentially powerful tools in helping ourselves and indirectly, contribute a positive influence upon those who share our environment.

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Being Still

It is sometimes necessary and also pleasant to refrain from activity and to be still.

Although we all have activities that must be attended to and most of us fill our days with these we also find pleasant relief in hobbies, crafts and sports that provide us with very different types of activity and entertainment.

However, constant and demanding or restless physical activity, if extreme, can be tiring. So it is in conscious relaxation practice or meditation when the body is still that there is time for restoring energy, as in sleep. It feels so good that we hardly need to be reminded of the need for physical stillness.

Emotional need for stillness is correspondingly important. There are times for emotional expression and interaction with others and times required to let the waters of our feeling nature come to rest.

When the physical body is still this becomes easier to enjoy a pleasant, restful mood.

To be able to establish mental stillness is the most difficult test for us and the struggles we become engaged in are well documented to demonstrate the various ways different people are able to come to some command over their own thoughts. This is the focus of the classical teachings of Patanjali’s Sutras and is the ultimate aim of the Raja Yogi.

It could be described as a battle or a yielding exercise. It certainly is one of subduing the passing thoughts to allow a higher awareness beyond the mind. For those who identify very closely with the mind it is not easy to surrender the mind ego but like most stages in our growing once we have ‘let go’ our thoughts the rewards come to us in higher awareness and states of consciousness. This is not easily described as either thoughts or feelings but best understood as states of pure Being.

In the natural laws as taught through Yoga we graduate to first learn to command the physical part of us, the emotional, then the mental nature until we are focussed more surely in our deeper nature of the soul.

It is during interludes between the many adventures of soul, mind, emotions and body that we are offered rare chances to experience spiritual consciousness. Supernal conscious awareness generally requires a harmonious state or degree of integration of the personality and reduction of all restless activity. In this state it is possible to hear the whisper of intuition, the echoes of nature’s wisdom of the ages and to welcome the guidance of those greater in human stature than our own.

Stillness is the key to greater health, more generous heart, clearer mind, happier soul and towards becoming a wiser human Being.

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Meditation Awareness

In meditating we aim for a harmonious flow of thought awareness rather than erratic statements of thoughts and ideas without a common thread. In meditation one’s self consciousness of thought activity changes to a state beyond the process of thinking to a state of higher awareness or Being that is related to a higher type of feeling rather than thinking.  It is usually a little of both.

We learn to build a bridge between the differing realities of the material and subtler or spiritual states of consciousness. In states of relaxation and meditation, these two worlds tend to blend. We have a somewhat similar state that occurs between sleeping and waking. Ultimately they will become one to the extent that they will no longer seem isolated one from the other but will unite to create the integration which has inspired the name of Yoga – union.

Through meditation we learn to manage the mind and its resources and faculties.

We also cultivate the best of our capacities for creative thought and ideas and to discover our innate strength and increase self-respect as well as refreshing our respect and reverence for great nature outside ourselves.

Our consciousness changes and grows with the practice of meditation. We learn to release strain of all kinds, stress due to problems and inner confusion and to expand instead of contracting and resisting life.  This allows us to grow through acceptance of our own soul and its potential to make our own life as fine and good and happy as we wish it.

When meditating we tend to feel ‘in tune’ and anything seems possible.

Some develop a simple formula or procedure that is immediate in attuning them to the state that they desire, whether it is following physical exercise or Asanas, or breathing techniques or the silent repetition of a prayer or familiar saying.

The adventure into the inner worlds of our nature offers constant discoveries that can rival any outer excitement.

These experiences entice us to maintain our meditation practice throughout our lifetime.

 

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