Sunday, March 31, 2013

Pure awareness is yoga

Last one month I felt I was grappling with  trying to make some people, who I thought were capable of such insight, to understand awareness. It is very intriguing to me, but awareness is not there, in most people. They know something, they are intelligent, even wise, they do yoga, they are trying to break some patterns which are bad but are unaware that what they think of as good patterns is also there, and or a bad pattern being passed off by this magically tricky mind as good, is also stuck to their souls, like a limpet to a mossy rock, unwilling to go.  So, they go back, to a pattern, shuffling their awareness of that as somehow good and then again, the cycle begins. The dissolution of awareness!! The exact opposite direction that yoga is meant to take them.  So, what I felt last month was that I was walking on a road and suddenly the road seems to pull people I know in the opposite direction and I see them headed that way, when I am walking this way! I They are definitely going someplace,but in the backward direction,  being pulled back, and like the Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland, I realise that to remain in the same place one must keep running (maintain steady awareness) or you will running backwards, having lost the ground you gained! (Oh, if you read the annotated version of Alice in wonderland, it feels so much like Lewis Carroll was talking Vedanta.. and even today, barring one girl at the ashram, I have not met a single person who does not think that this fairy tale book is for kids!! Actually, it is a very complex, evolved book , not meant for kids alone, but equally for adults, written with such artistic control and flair that is mind-boggling).

To some extent you use yogic asanas to create a certain state of awareness -- but an awareness that is inclusive, compassionate, yet detached, an awareness that is clued to others, but even more to oneself--   that is not there. It is very interesting, because you can see that underneath this lack of awareness something nasty lurks, like the oozy slime below a sparkling stream. Then, it is the same old story of  Vikram and Vetal, the phantom is back on your shoulder once more and won't let go-- that was the metaphor, I believe, of awareness (Vikram) and ego (Vetal) in those stories. That the tricky ego has once more cheated you into believing that a certain awareness of itself, is the real awareness.  These are two separate awareness of things. In fact, Ramana says if you have to use the ego-awareness, you must only use it as a blind man uses a wall to reach a destination. Once the destination is reached, you cannot cling to the wall. But what you see is that the blind man becomes so attached to the wall, that he will not let go, and there again, this immense dissolution of awareness, where destination is sacrificed for the cocoon.

Then yoga as a state of steady awareness Sthitha prajna -- that seems to make no sense to anybody. How tricky it is, u see in a lot of people walking about with a halo, but sadly, walking backwards..

When I first read Spanda Karika, it was such a Wow, oh Wow experience for me. Here, the real way of the mind is understood. That is sparkles, between the real and the unreal. When the mind can maintain its awareness, you can use the unreal to expand your awareness. But when the mind gets meshed with the unreal, then it gets lost. This is all yoga is all about!

Here, I quote from a book I bought, by William Bodri and John Newston called Nei-gong, with is internal martial arts, or the meditative aspect of martial arts. 

If your mind is empty, with thoughts, shen (bright mind) is what allows you to know it is empty. Shen is not a thought or thoughts, but it is the empty awareness capability shining behind thoughts that enables you to know. 

The reason that you cannot recognize that shen, or clear awareness, is always present behind your thoughts is because you are so entangled with wandering thoughts that your consciousness, rather than shen, is the only thing you know. You are fixated on the appearances within consciousness (thoughts) which obscure a recognition of the clear essence or substance of consciousness itself. 

This another one by Abhinava Gupta: 
The power which resides in the heart of awareness is freedom itself.

Here, more clearly, the idea of awareness as three-fold, as formulated by Spanda Karika

* Awareness of what is in and around us. 
* Awareness of potentiality in what you see. 
* Awareness of dynamism in the what is and the potential, and what will actualise. 

It is very exciting, because you could say or do something with this sort of awareness.

For instance, I am reading a book Sun Tzu's The Art of War, and he says that a good commandant knows that not all terrain needs to be conquered. He sees the actual situation, is aware of the potential impact of attempting to do so, or not to do so, and chooses an option based on what he anticipates. So really, a steady of state of awareness does not mean we need to run away from life, but rather see it, completely detached from its machinations, and be free, from choices we make, instead of becoming trapped by them.

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