The Yoga of Life
If life results from an act of creation, how has it degenerated into a competitive struggle, for many people?
Before I continue, I would like to define some terms. When most people hear the word yoga, they think of what is called hatha yoga, a system of postures or asanas, that is widely taught. Samkhya yoga is the psychological link between the physical and the metaphysical sciences, based on the yoga sutras, written by Patanjali about 5000 years ago. Advaita vedanta is the non-dualisitic philosophy that supports the samkhya system. Dva, Sanskrit for two, ita the suffix meaning the state of, make dvaita, the state of being two, or duality. A is a negaative prefix, so advaita is the state of not being two, or non-duality. Non- duality is the realization that we are not separate from conciousness, God, the organizing force of the cosmos. We are of them and they are of us. Vedanta means literally the end of knowledge and refers to the direct knowledge of conciousness. Although formulated into a philosophy, Advaita Vedanta must be realized through practice. I will keep the sanskrit to a minimum, however, often it is the best way to define a concept.
At this point, a little curriculum vitae might help. Many years ago, when I was in my mid-twenties, I experienced some profound metaphysical events. I did this after reading a book or two about techniques used by yogis and others to unite themselves with conciousness. I did not know what that meant but I asumed it was something like contacting what Karl Jung called the collective unconcious. I learned many things from those experiences.
- First, you can get into a lot of trouble by only reading a book. The experiences were both the most exciting and the most frightening of my life.
- Second, I liked being there, whereever there was, and I did not want to come back.
- Third, I should not play with it or I may end up as a catatonic in a mental hospital.
- Fourth, I should find an expert teacher
- And fifth, I had many responsibilities in this life that needed attention before I explored this otherness.
I decided to save future experiences for when I was an old man, which is now.
The appropriate word to describe what occured next is serendipity. Serendipity means by an unusual and amusing chain of unrelated events, something good happened. Without any concious knowledge of his presence, I bought the house next to Krishnamurti. The yogis have a proverb that says when a student is ready, the teacher appears. Krishnamurti refused to have students, disciples or followers. I was a neighbor and we became friends. I am still learning from him, 20 years after his death. As I become more ready, his teachings unfold.
By another turn of serendipity, I left California before Krishnamurti's death and found my self at the ashram of the penultimate master of samkhya yoga, Dr. Rammurti Mishra, known as Brahmananda Saraswati, who became the head of the Saraswati order of monks, the scholars. So... I have had the good fortune of having had twenty years study with two of the supreme spiritual masters. Unfortunately, most of what they had to teach was beyond me. Either I was too confused, or the teachings were too confusing, or both. I have had to simplify their lessons, so that I could understand them, but more importantly, so that I could live them. Remember, I had the belief that I should take care of my responsibilities in this reality, first. They always wanted me in the reality beyond body and mind, beyond time and space.
Here then is Denis' spirituality simplified.
Spirituality is the study of reality, the learning of what is. The process is one of initiation, meditation, enlightenment, and fulfillment. Initiation can be thought of as an introduction but it is more like a revolution, for once you begin nothing is as it was. Meditation is an involution, a process of going inward to realize your essence. Enlightenment is evolution to the state of fully realizing your essence. Both of my teachers were said by many to be fully enlightened, a condition, it is said, that not many achieve. I don't know. All I know is that they were both in total joy. When I asked how one knows when one is enlightened, the answer, accompanied by a hearty laugh was, "When you realize what a fool you have been!" Fulfillment is a return to revolution, the union with pure conciousness or spirit beyond body and mind. I know even less about this state as it is often accompanied by what we call death. I have had several near death experiences, which I prefer to call mini-deaths and I can say it is very pleasant.
D eath is such a wonderful thing that it should be saved for last. My purpose is to work with people having near-life experiences, to encourage and guide them into full life experience. I believe that this life, this reality which you and I share in our body and minds is a training ground. When we master this reality of space-time, we are better prepared to go beyond, if that is our inclination.
As I said earlier, spirituality is the study of reality. When you are grounded in the nature of reality, you realize that this same reality is our nature, then you realize that you can create anything, because all material creation has the same origin. Nature goes to the same place to create a galaxy of stars, a coral reef or a human being as it goes to create a thought. All of creation comes from the same source. Experiential knowledge of this fact gives you the ability to fulfill any desire you have, acquire any material object you want, and experience happiness to any extent you wish. Without going into quantum field theories, let us understand that all matter is composed of energy. The difference between various forms of matter is only in the arrangement and quantity of energy. What else is a thought, but an impulse of energy? These same impulses of energy which make thoughts or matter are the raw material of the universe. These same impulses of energy also project themselves as space time events in our environment. The impulses of energy that create our life experiences are reflected in our attitudes toward life. Our attitudes are an outcome of and expressions of self-engendered impulses of energy. Everything begins in thought and your reality is only your interpretation.
From a practical point of view, yoga is divided into eight basic systems:
- 1. Yama - Control of the mind.
- 2. Niyama - Observation of rules to achieve control of the mind.
- 3. Asana - Different postures to achieve control of the mind.
- 4. Pranayama - Regular breathing to help control the mind.
- 5. Pratyahara - Complete relaxation of every organ and withdrawal of conciousness.
- 6. Dahrana - Fixation of conciousness.
- 7. Dhyana - Constant suggestion.
- 8. Samadhi - Creation of will power and power of conciousness.
Out of these eight the last three are primary to samkhya and Yoga of Life and the first five are secondary, or supportive.
You may have noticed that each system is dedicated to achieving some form of mind control. Why? It is because the samkhya yogi and the quantum physicist both realize that reality is formed by conciousness, reality follows your dominant thought, everything begins in thought.
The universe is governed by eternal laws that never fail. The samkhya yogi and the quantum physicist agree that these eternal laws are governed by the suggestion of conciousness. This suggestion is operating in every being, at all times, in all places, in all experience, and in all stages of nature. Suggesttion is the underlying and fundamental cause of all mental phenomena. The entire universe is nothing but suggestion; the world lives by it. The greatest power of nature is suggestion. We are constantly living every moment by our suggestion. First we think, then we do. First we plan, then we accomplish that plan.
A baby is not able to walk like a young child. It gives constant suggestion to its body through the mind, until it becomes able to walk.
Knowledge comes to us through suggestion. All knowledge was here before you and the universe and it will remain here forever, after you and th universe are gone. The law of suggestion is infallible and absolute. All suggestions take affect sooner or later. We develop good or bad life through our constant suggestion. Suggestion is the greatest single factor in the study of yoga.
Suggestion comes in the form of:
- 1. Physical suggestion - Our body is moved with every thought in a particular way. (However, in yoga, our mind can be moved by physical expression, called mudras. In Yoga of Life, you will learn some simple facial mudras that can alter your mental and emotional states, instantly.)
- 2. Sensual suggestion - We constantly give and recieve suggestion through our sense organs.
- 3. Verbal suggestion - Through this medium, we repeat our ideas and thoughts and achieve success in time.
- 4. Mental suggestion - a suggestion repeated only by the mind is the strongest of all.
- 5. Environmental suggestion - According to the state of our internal and external world, we recieve and respond to environmental suggestion. eg. No one can stand extremes of heat or cold to the body without responding to protection for the body.
- 6. Autosuggestion - the suggestion we give to ourselves.
All suggestion springs from the mind as mental suggestion. All other suggestions are dependant on and can not operate without the mind. Mental suggestions are as real as the universe around you. Thoughts are things and things are thoughts. Energy is created by the mind and vice versa. The greatest force in the world is mental suggestion. Mind is matter and all material things are only a suggestion of the mind.
Unfortunately, you are bombarded with outside suggestions, daily. When you recieve suggestion from outside sources and you accept it as truth, your reality is being programmed. Subconcious programs are any suggestions that are non-critically accepted to be true. In Yoga of Life you will learn some critical thinking skills and many self-programming skills. In other words, you will be changing your mind.
When a mental wave is projected from the subconcious mind it is suggestion and when the mental wave is accepted in the form of an idea, image or impulse of thought, it becomes part of concious mind and a part of individual personality. That accepted mental wave is then a belief. Now, an individual thinks and acts accordingly. That belief is a potent force producing good or bad habits by autosuggestion. All suggestions operate through autosuggestion, whether mental, verbal or environmental. When people are suffering from pain, disease and anxiety, it means they have invited these to become part of their autosuggestion. Yogis advise students not to give destructive suggestions to the mind and in Yoga of Life you will learn many techniques for identifying and eliminating destructive suggestions.
It is your choice which suggestions will or will not affect you. The more you internalize or identify with the suggestions you recieve, the more impact they will have on your life. Conversely, the less you internalize or identify with them, the less impact they have on you. The mind can not decipher between what is real and what is imagined. Every thought has a psychosomatic response in the body. What you think in the mind will be telegraphed to the body, and the body will respond as if the thought were true.
Accepted and internalized suggestion becomes belief. Beliefs are the basic concepts you live by. They form your picture of yourself, a portrait of your flaws and strengths, your abilities, your worth and your relationship to the world. How many of you are living your ideal life? How many of you are doing exactly what you want to do? How many have all the health, abundance, harmony and happiness they need or want? If you are not satisfied with the picture of yourself, change it. You change the picture by identifying, challenging and replacing beliefs. Your beliefs are your identity. They define how you feel about yourself, the emotional tone of your life. They influence everything, from whom you choose as a spouse to whether you deserve the pleasure of a long hot bath. They establish the limits of what you can achieve. They determine who you feel worthy to pursue for friendship. They define what you can expect from life. They are the basis of most of your major life decisions and most of the time they operate outside of concious awareness.I said about an hour ago, that experiential knowledge of the nature of reality gives you the ability to fulfill any desire, acquire any material object, and experience happiness to any extent you wish. In Yoga de la Vie and È russir...enfinÇ, I do not presume to teach you samkhya yoga. I give you basic training, only enough to master body-mind and space-time. Samkhya yoga is more concerned with that which is beyond body-mind and space-time. It can not be taught in a day, a week, a month, or a year. It requires an intensive multi-year seminar, taught by a master and I am a student, not a master. Masters of samkhya yoga are very rare and by their nature do not seek publicity or students. I have met five in the past 35 years; they have all left their bodies; I know of no others. There must be some out there somewhere. If it is meant for me to meet one, I will. I am waiting. I have been extremely blessed by being the student of 2 masters, Krishnamurti and Brahmananda. I know of only one other person to have two masters, Mahatma Gandhi and Brahmananda. This person, a very dear frien, named Swami Abinayananda, waited 40 years to meet his second teacher.
Before we go into questions and answers, let me answer the questions that French speaking people are too polite to ask. Americans, in general, and New Yorkers, in particular, are very direct and samkhya yogis can be asked anything, because they have learned not to identify with this body and mind. So, here are the answers.
Yes, the connection between Yoga of Life and Succes At Last has not been defined. If yoga is defined as the union or joining of your physical, mental and spiritual bodies, you could say that you had your life together. When, after much work, you get your life together, you will say to yourself, "Success, at last." I offer these courses in three formats. A two-day intensive called 'Success At Last' which is designed for people who have been working on themselves and need both a logical explanation of how life works and an effective method for creating positive change. The criticism which I have recieved about the course is that it is too intensive. My own criticism of the course is that it promotes change and change is uncomfortable. In 2 days, I do not have the time to show you the methods of coping with the changes. For that reason, I offer a four day intensive, which can be done on successive week-ends. In the four day intensive, I show you many effective methods of coping with the changes. For those who have taken the 2-day and need to take the 4-day, I credit them whatever they have paid. Yoga of Life is a ten week course, one night per week. In it, we have the time to build skills and review progress.
No, I do not have the answers for your life. I do not tell you what to do, I suggest. I show you the difficulties that I have had and the solutions that have worked for me. Together, we can work with yours. Any questions?
More to come...check back in a week