The Journey of Raja Yoga
Classical yoga has but one aim – to lead the mind to meditation. Which in turn, leads one into a completely new life-experience, transforming and empowering the mind from within.
Acquiring and practicing time-tested meditation techniques creates a shift in our awareness. With this shift, our daily life-experience transforms.
Our actions, our thoughts and chosen lifestyle have the potential to take us to happiness and bliss. Why then do we miss the mark more often than not?
Because of a lack of understanding, called ‘avidya’ in yoga, which can be translated as ‘not knowing’. It’s when we don’t know about something, when we have no skill in a certain domain, that problems seep in. When we understand an event, we glide easily through it, as a swan on a lake.
Our attitudes are often wrong, or it may be our lifestyle, or maybe sensory overload. It could be that we’ve lost all connection with our internal world, or we continuously live in a state of hyper vigilance and have lost the capacity to relax. It could yet be the inability to flow with the current and instead, exhaust all our energies trying obstinately to swim upstream, even when the smart choice at a certain moment would have been the easier one.
The road less travelled isn’t always the best one, storing and incrementing our energies is always a smart move, far more important that incrementing our bank balance. For without life what good is money or anything else. And without vitality, what good is life?
Sometimes its a smart move to flow along with life,rebellion isn’t always the hero’s path. Listening to one’s inner voice, spending some quiet time with your closest friend - yourself, is always a smart move if not overdone. Putting the world on standby from time to time and listening to yourself. Slowing down and taking stock of destructive patterns of speech, thought, emotion and lifestyle are now proven by science, to lead us to finding happiness , vitality and longevity.
Sometimes, life wrings us inside out and sometimes difficult events leave their mark. Which, if not skilfully tackled, deteriorate still further, festering inside of us.
Every session of meditation, combined with self study and breath and body work, leads us to a calm, serene mind, which is no longer overwhelmed by stressful situations around us. We are able to step back from them and see things from another perspective. This disentangles the mind and frees it up, helping conserve energy and expand consciousness.
Yoga offers a direct path to a calm, serene, yet dynamic and creative mind that lies at the core of the mind we are familiar with. One that troubles us at times and bring us happiness at others. The problem is the continual vacillation, like a pendulum, gaining momentum between two extremes.
Developing resilience, empathy and a positive attitude are but a few preliminary gifts of meditation.
There are so many benefits, it would take up another article altogether. The subject here is - how to tame the mind, bringing it from ‘pashu’, i.e: impulsive, enslaved, to ‘divya’, enlightened, free.
Slowly bringing us closer to that which is unnameable, unknowable. But it can be experienced. How do you describe your love for your child or the taste of chocolate cake. The answer can never be in the description. In the experience itself lies all knowledge.
How to bring the mind to meditation, complete knowledge, is the aim of raja yoga.