Astrology is a very deep subject, but most people consider it a kind of superstitious guide to material progress. If you use astrology only for guidance in material matters, you will be doing its teachings an injustice. Astrology is too vast, both mathematically and philosophically, to be rightly grasped except by people of profound understanding. In ancient times, astrology was seen primarily as a guide to spiritual development. To use astrology for material purposes was considered a lower application of what is essentially a divine science.
Astrology is the study of man’s response to planetary stimuli. All parts of creation are linked together and interchange their influences. No matter what your environment, the surrounding rays of the earth and universe will have an impact upon you. Astrology was intended to assist you on your inner journey, by helping you become more aware of the interrelationships between the objective universe and the inner aspects of yourself.
The relation of the stars to the human body and mind is very subtle. There is a correlation between the six centers (chakras) in the spine, which become twelve by polarity, and the twelve signs of the zodiac. Millions of volts of electrical current are lodged in these spinal centers. If your body and your mind are very strong, you will be impervious to the evil vibrations from the stars when they begin to shed their rays upon you. But if your body and mind are weak through transgressions of wrong eating, wrong thinking, bad character, and bad company, then the stellar rays will have the power to affect you.
How the stars affect us
The stars influence your life only in accordance with patterns that you yourself established in the past. A child is born on that day and at that hour when the celestial rays are in mathematical harmony with his individual karma (past actions). The astrological configurations serve only as symbols of karmic influences, which you have set into motion in the past. The stars and planets themselves can no more choose how they will affect you than you can select your own karmic destiny.
The message boldly blazoned across the heavens at the moment of birth was not meant to emphasize fate, the result of past good and evil, but to arouse your will to escape from this universal bondage. What you have done, you can undo. You can overcome whatever effects are now prevalent in your life because you created them by your own actions in the first place, and because you have inner spiritual resources which are not subject to planetary pressure.
The best way, therefore, to improve your lot is deliberately to act in such a way as to counteract the evil effects of past deeds. Especially if this course of action springs from inner attunement with God, or is adopted under the wise guidance of one who knows God, it will serve as an antidote to all baneful actions of the past.
Avoid passive dependence on astrology
Superstition means to seek guidance from effects, in ignorance of their causes. Many people look to the heavens for signs instead of choosing the wiser path of seeking guidance in their souls, from God. Some people refuse to do anything for themselves until the planetary positions are favorable.
While it is not unwise to initiate worthwhile undertakings at astrologically auspicious times, it merely affirms your passive dependence on fate to wait for a shift in the planets’ positions before making important changes in your life. Anything you do with deep faith in God will blossom under better influences than you could hope to find by consulting the heavens for favorable aspects.
Do not wait for changes in astrological influences to change your destiny. Look, rather, to Him who made the heavens and the earth and who alone can grant you eternal freedom. The lawful effects of your karma may seem irrevocable, but the effects of past actions can be changed by seeking God. Unless you remember that, you can not spiritualize astrology.
How to spiritualize astrology
While studying astrology in a reasonable way, you must always remember that God’s influence is the supreme influence. You have been given the free choice and intelligence, as a child of God, to surmount the difficulties of life. Strive unceasingly, from a center of inner calmness, to surmount every material, mental, and spiritual difficulty. Cooperate with His will by offering up to Him all the strength of your human will. You should always say, “Lord, I trust in Thee, and know Thou canst help me, but I too will do my best to undo any wrong I have done.”
If you can hold onto your happiness during all the difficulties in your life, then you will begin to rise above the influence of the stars. If you can retain your smile in spite of repeated challenges, that is a sign of the awakening of the consciousness of divinity within you. Through all such actions, you are changing your body and mind and how they are affecting the twelve centers in your spine. As a result of these changes, the stars will begin to smile upon you.
By communing with God, you will reinforce the power of the twelve spinal centers, which will then act in cooperation with the twelve signs of the zodiac. The deeper your communion with God, the more you will automatically harmonize the influences of all planetary forces and transcend the evil effects of the powerful, but distant, planets. In these ways, you can spiritualize astrology.
Seek help, therefore, not from the stars and planets, but from Almighty God. God is harmony; and if you attune yourself to Him, you will never perform any action amiss. Your activities will be correctly and naturally timed to accord with astrological law. After deep prayer and meditation you are in touch with His divine consciousness; there is no greater power than that inward protection. By plunging deeply into your own divine nature, you will discover those deeper levels within yourself that enable you to rise above all karmic realities.
The masters go beyond astrology
Some people study astrology to ascertain the influence of their karma through the medium of planets, thus trying to counteract evil influences by astrological foreknowledge. But the great masters go beyond astrology. The man of realization does not choose any auspicious hour to perform noble deeds or initiate new wholesome ventures. He acts, moves, and sleeps under the one influence of God. He consults God instead of the stars for guidance.
Although there is a certain vibratory influence of stars upon all human lives, a man of infinite will power tuned in with God, uses his free will to change his circumstances. He marches on, influenced only by the Sun of all Suns, the Almighty Spirit. To him, from the depths of his determination and faith, all things are possible. He burns the seeds of difficulties in the fire of wisdom, consults only God for guidance, and performs all of his actions according to divine guidance.
Superstitious awe of astrology makes one an automaton, slavishly dependent on mechanical guidance. The wise man defeats his planets – which is to say, his past – by transferring his allegiance from the creation to the Creator. The more he realizes his unity with Spirit, the less his domination by matter. The soul is ever-free; it is deathless because birthless. It cannot be regimented by stars.
If you live by astrology or anything else you will be bound by it. Depend wholly and solely on God. Live by God alone. Then nothing can hurt you.
Follow the way to inner freedom
In karma’s realm, karma rules supreme. Yet all human beings have the power to withdraw to another realm altogether. You cannot change the outer astrological influences, but you can do a great deal to change the way you receive them, inwardly.
Instead of accepting fatalistically the decrees of karma, follow the inner way to freedom. Meditate daily. Commune deeply with God. Learn from Him, through the silent voice of intuition, the way out of soul-degrading serfdom to bad habits. Ultimately, by ever deeper meditation, you will reach a point where you receive your influences from God alone.
Author: Paramhansa Yogananda
From space travel to the relationships between geometry and spirituality, to mathematically showing we are one.
“Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.”
Those are the words of Albert Einstein, who also gave the famous equation, e=mc2. For many years scientists have been saying that only 2 things exist in the Universe, that being matter and energy. Now they say, there really is just one thing, and that is energy. It is rather strange that it took us that long to arrive at that conclusion, given that Einstein did say that energy is nothing more than mass travelling at the square root of the speed of light. Our reality is split into a duality. Everything has always been separated, day and night, up and down, believer and non-believers, matter and energy, material and spiritual. We make the mistake in thinking that all things are separate. No one thing of a whole can exist with the other. I love the way the Egyptians say it, “Matter without spirit is motionless, and spirit without matter is expressionless.” When we embrace the two and bring them together in unity, then we experience a connectedness, a divine and beautiful wholeness that is perfect and beautiful and is an expression of the infinite energy of Love and Bliss.
Unity. Connected. Infinite Energy. Those are 3 words that would describe the work of pioneer scientist Nassim Haramein. His work is at the forefront of finally bridging the gap between science and spirituality. ‘Spirituality is the physics that we haven’t yet understood.’ says Nassim Haramein. He has authored a paper titled “Quantum Gravity and the Holographic Mass,” which has been validated and published in the peer review journal, Physical Review and Research International. This paper discusses Haramein’s “Connected Universe” theory, which offers a new and alternative understanding of gravity through basic algebraic and geometric equations. Haramein’s work indicates everything in the universe is connected. He has proved mathematically, what the sages and saints have being saying since the beginning of time: We are all one.
‘Nassim Haramein was born in Geneva, Switzerland in 1962. As early as 9 years old, Nassim was already discovering the universal dynamics of matter and energy, which led him on a journey toward pioneering a new approach to quantum gravity and continual developments in unified field theory. He grew up in Eastern Canada with an innate reverence for the design of nature and a determination to discover the basic building-blocks of creation. Nassim dedicated most of his time to his independent investigation into physics, geometry, chemistry, biology, consciousness, archeology, and various world religions. Haramein’s dedication to scientific exploration combined with his keen observation of the behavior of nature led him to a specific geometric pattern which is at the core of his approach and new perspective in unified field theory.
In 2003 he founded The Resonance Project Foundation, and as its Director of Research leads teams of physicists, electrical engineers, mathematicians and other scientists to explore the frontier of unification principles and their implications. The vision of the foundation is to build a world wherein the dynamics of the inter-relationship of all things and their forces are revealed through a Unified view of Physics, informing the development of technological and social systems that bring humankind into a harmonious relationship with Nature, the Earth and the Universe as a whole. The mission is to deliver knowledge and technology based on a holistic and complete view of the dynamics of nature to address the critical and systemic challenges humanity is facing today.
This is done by conducting research in the field of Unified Physics with an unerring focus on following the cues provided by nature to discover its inner workings. Developing technologies and applications that apply these discoveries to solving some of humankinds’ most fundamental challenges. Providing educational opportunities that can empower people through a coherent understanding of the insights and implications of Unified Physics including applications in our personal lives and in the world. Inspiring others by acknowledging and modeling our interconnectedness, interdependence and infinite nature in how we work, teach and explore together with integrity and compassion for all life. Haramein’s lifelong vision of applied unified physics to create positive change in the world today is reflected in the mission of The Resonance Project Foundation. He shares the developments of his research through scientific publications and educational offerings through the Resonance Academy.’
The description of the atom right down to the level of the quarks, to the speed of light to the movement of planets in our solar system, to gravity, are all contained in the ancient and sacred text, The Vedas. It is rather strange that if information comes from the east, it is superstition, but if it comes from the west it is science. We do not entirely know how the information from the east, was obtained. It could have been from help from people behind our planet, or perhaps divine revelation. I am not sure if science wants to simply deny what spirituality is saying or simply be righteous in their way of thinking. Either way, this sort of attitude closes the door to advancement in scientific understanding and technologies. It appears that the tables have turned though. Nicholas Copernicus and Galileo Galilei were two scientists who printed books that later became banned. Copernicus faced no persecution when he was alive because he died shortly after publishing his book. Galileo, on the other hand, was tried by the Inquisition after his book was published. Both scientists held the same theory that the Earth revolved around the sun, a theory now known to be true. However, the Church disapproved of this theory because the Holy Scriptures state that the Earth is at the center, not the Sun. As the contents of the Bible were taken literally, the publishing of these books proved, to the Church, that Copernicus and Galileo were sinners; they preached, through their writing, that the Bible was wrong. The scientific and spiritual communities have been at each other for centuries now. Perhaps it is time to stop fighting each other and support each other on the journey of asking 3 questions both parties are interested in being answered. Who are we? Why are we here? Where are we going to? Of course, as we delve deeper into these questions that word will inevitably come up, GOD. If we remove the names, the personification, the rituals and the dogma, we are left with a single definition of God – that which is omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent. This is wonderful, because if we look at Nassim Haramein’s work, you may just find…God.
It has not been an easy journey for Haramein. He has earned the title of madman, a scam, crazy, fraud, and crank. I believe that every truth sayer has a truth slayer. All truth at first is ridiculed and laughed at, then violently opposed and finally accepted as being self-evident.
Albert Einstein’s unified field theory sought to unify the forces and electromagnetism and gravity, however Einstein was unable to complete the theory during his lifetime. Haramein has pursued this theory and laid the foundations for its completion. His solutions to Einstein’s field equations which describe the properties of a gravitational field surrounding a given mass incorporating the concept of torque or spin and the Coriolis effect, the sideways deflection up an object moving across the surface a rotating body caused by the body’s rotation, produced his unified field theory.
Central to Haramein’s concept of the universe is the idea of a vacuum or space in which we interact and create our reality. The Universe is 99.999% empty. The same is said about an atom. Have you ever wondered what drives the planets around the sun or for that matter what drives the electrons around the proton in an atom? For something to move, it needs an input of energy. Where is this energy coming from? What looks like space and what looks empty is actually not.
The space between atoms in the molecule is not empty. It is full. We are bathing in an energy that is the source of all creation. This was always known by civilizations. How much energy is in the space inside the atom? The density of the vacuum was found to be 1094 grams/cm3. If you took all the stars and planets in our universe, and compressed them so they would fit into 1 cm3 of space (the size of your finger tip), the density of that 1 cm3 would be 1055 g/cm3. That is 39 orders of magnitude less than the density of the vacuum! There is an infinite amount of energy in the “nothingness” more than there is in the matter. If we were to extract one billionth of a billionth of a billionth of a percent of what’s there in the space we would have enough energy to run this whole planet! There would be no pollution, there would be no carbon output and there would be enormous amounts of energy for anybody that needs it anywhere on our planet or even our Universe.
The space is the source of everything. It is the medium that connects all things. Haven’t the mystics always said that we are created of nothing, and we come from nothing and shall return to nothing? The paradox is that the nothing is everything. If the space makes up 99.999% of the Universe, then the space is everywhere, always present, and connected to everything.
How does the vacuum/space work? When we look into the vacuum, the main mechanical function of this energy is like a fluid, a super fluid. We are not even aware that the fluid even exists. It is like asking the fish, ‘how is the water?’ The vacuum produces vertical vortexes around a physical object. The shape of this is that of the torus. Haramein says that nothing comes into existence if it is not spun into existence. In the center of this torus (spinning vortex), absolute stillness is present. This is seen in nature in a tornado. The center of a tornado has no wind. It is still. All masters have spoken about turning inwards, going to the singularity (God). The shape of the vortex is absolutely special.
Sacred geometry is said to be a visual expression the universe. For example, the famous Flower of Life has been carved into many temples and holy places around the world. Another expression of the universe, as already mentioned is the double torus shape. Many masters that were able to reach that point of stillness, that point of singularity at the center of their existence actually witness the fundamental geometric principal of creation. That double torus is a function of the space-time manifold. When it goes to the zero point, to the singularity where absolute stillness is present then the geometry goes to the minimum amount of vectors for stability, the minimum amount of vectors for absolute equilibrium. It is looking for absolute equilibrium.
Water is the source of life on Earth and is sacred. A newborn is composed of approximately 75 percent water. Humans are fundamentally connected to water. Six-fold geometry or four-fold geometry is fundamental to the structure of space-time. That geometry is matched by the geometry of water structure and that’s why all life emerges from water, because it’s the information that is going from the structure of space-time to the water molecule and then it’s the molecules that produce the biological organization.
Haramein says that every atom including those we are composed of, is a black hole that both absorbs information from the vacuum and also radiates information out like a whitehole which is a black hole operating in reverse of the vacuum. It is everywhere, it knows everything, it is the source of all information and it self organizes everything. It could be called God.
This is when it begins to get even more exciting. Haramein has calculated that the amount of energy inside a proton is the exact mass of the universe. What this is saying is that the entire Universe exists inside a proton. The mystic Rumi said, “Not only are you in the Universe, but the Universe also exists within you.” All the other protons are holographically expressed within one proton, showing that it is all interconnected. It is all one. We are all one.
The fact that the Universe is holographic and fractal in nature, by understanding a piece of it, we can understand the whole.
There is a connection between us and the field. What we feed into the field, will determine how the field responds to us. If we are able to connect, by going in that silence/stillness, the field will reveal answers to us as well, as it contains information about the entire Universe.
All this time, scientists have been looking for consciousness in the brain. Looking in the brain to look for consciousness, is like looking inside the radio and expecting to find the announcer there. It is rather silly to do so. Consciousness is in the vacuum. It is everywhere. It is in the structure of space. It is in the 99.999% emptiness. The brain just tunes into the consciousness. It is specific to you.
Haramein believes that if you connect with your heart first, which is the organ with the highest electromagnetic impulse in your body, it informs the brain of this request, that puts it all together to download the information from the consciousness. This is also known as inspiration.
We have an infinite potential. We have access to infinite information and knowledge, which we can access if we take just a little bit of time. Even if it’s five minutes every day to just turn our senses inwards and go towards that singularity, go to words that point of stillness within ourselves. Meditation or any technique allows us to turn our senses inwards instead of being outwardly focused. If you just take the time to center then you get closer and closer and closer to that singularity and can connect with the infinite nature and existence of the space around you. Then the infinite wisdom that’s already within you will unfold to your beautiful dharma, because everybody has a mission, everybody has something to do here that’s very important.
Haramein’s work will have a revolutionary impact on our lives. The result of which means society becomes harmonious, working together in support of thriving, eliminating hunger, crime and even sickness. We will stop destroying our environment as there will be no pollution. We will be able to create gravitational fields, space drives – which mean travelling across the universe.
Interplanetary travel will no longer be a dream when this new age of Science arrives. Haramein predicts that within a very short amount of time (20 years) people will be able to get on a ship and go and visit Jupiter for the weekend, go to the moon and so on casually just because we understood how to use gravitational fields and were able to move with the universe, instead of against it. He thinks that this is a very important part of our evolution and transcending beyond the limited resources of our planet.
It may be time for us to ascend and leave the planet. Ascension may be more than a spiritual one says Haramein. He believes that a planet such as earth is unstable and subjective to earthquakes and other natural disasters, including risks of being fried by a solar flare or even be destroyed by an asteroid. By using new science, we could get off the planet and ascend into the stars, keeping our species (or more) alive. Either way, we will either transcend of self-destruct.
Currently Nassim is focused on his most recent developments in quantum gravity and their applications to technology, new energy research, applied resonance, life sciences, permaculture, and consciousness studies. Nassim currently resides in Kauai compassionately raising his two young sons, and surfing the sunlit swells on the shores of the magnificent Hawaiian islands. Haramein has been approached discreetly by many companies and even people who are billionaires to fund his work if he chose to work for them. But he respectfully declined, as he wants the knowledge of his research and the foundation to be freely available to the people.
Resonance Project Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit organization chartered to conduct research and education in the field of unified physics. Our team, led by Director of Research Nassim Haramein, is dedicated to exploring the fundamental wheel works of nature to gain a greater understanding of universal dynamics for the betterment of all life. We share our discoveries with the wider scientific community and the general public through scientific publications, layman papers, and our Resonance Academy. We encourage dialogue and explorations that are at the nucleus of all scientific inquiry and advancement.
Please send all inquiries to: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit resonance.is for more information. You can also support Nassim Haramein’s research as well as help him spread his work to the world. Support the new movie which is being released, “The Connected Universe” by adding to the crowd funding campaign.
Source of information: Resonance.is, Interviews with Nassim Haramein available from YouTube, Seminars and Workshops given by Nassim Haramein, available on YouTube. All scientific information was compiled to the best of my understanding as well as my interpretation. Please refer to the website for the published papers available freely for download.
Author: Mohan H Surujbally, hiteshsurujbally.com
These are the two nerve-currents, one on either side of the spinal column. The left one is called Ida and the right is known as Pingala. These are Nadis. Tentatively, some take these as the right and the left sympathetic cords, but they are subtle tubes that carry Prana. The Moon moves in the Ida and the Sun in the Pingala. Ida is cooling. Pingala is heating. Ida flows through the left nostril and the Pingala through the right nostril. The breath flows through the right nostril for one hour and then through the left nostril for one hour. Man is busily engaged in worldly activities, when the breath flows through Ida and Pingala. When Sushumna operates, he becomes dead to the world, and enters into Samadhi. A Yogi tries his level best to make the Prana run in the Sushumna Nadi, which is known as the central Brahman Nadi also. On the left of Sushumna is situated Ida and on the right is Pingala. The moon is of the nature of Tamas and the sun is that of the Rajas. The poison share is of the sun and the nectar is of the moon. Ida and Pingala indicate time. Sushumna is the consumer of time.
Sushumna is the most important of all the Nadis. It is the sustainer of the universe, the path of the universe and the path of salvation. Situated at the back of the anus, it is attached to the spinal column and extends to the Brahmarandhra of the head and is invisible and subtle. The real work of a Yogi begins when Sushumna begins to function. Sushumna runs along the centre of the spinal cord or spinal column. Above the genital organs and below the navel is the Kanda, of the shape of a bird’s egg. There arise from it all the Nadis, 72,000 in number. Of these, seventy-two are common and generally known. Of those the chief ones are ten and they carry the Pranas. Ida, Pingala, Sushumna, Gandhari, Hastijihva, Pusa, Yusasvini, Alambusa, Kuhuh and Sankhini are said to be the ten important Nadis. The Yogis should have a knowledge of the Nadis and the Chakras. Ida, Pingala and Sushumna are said to carry Prana and have Moon, Sun and Agni as their Devatas. When Prana moves in Sushumna, sit for meditation. You will have deep Dhyana. If the coiled-up energy, Kundalini, passes up along the Sushumna Nadi and is taken up from Chakra to Chakra the Yogi gets different sorts of experiences, powers and Ananda.
Kundalini is the serpent power or sleeping Sakti, that has 3 1/2 coils with face downwards, in the muladhara Chakra, at the base of the spine. No Samadhi is possible without its being awakened. The practice of Kumbhaka in Pranayama produces heat and thereby Kundalini is awakened and passes upwards along the Sushumna Nadi. The Yogic practitioner experiences various visions. Then the Kundalini passes along the Six Chakras and eventually gets united with Lord Siva, seated on the Sahasrara or thousand-petalled lotus, at the crown of the head. Nirvikalpa Samadhi ensues now and the Yogi gets liberation and all the divine Aishvaryas. One should practise control of breath with concentration of mind. The awakened Kundalini that is taken up to Manipura Chakra may drop down again to Muladhara. It has to be raised again with effort. One should become perfectly desireless and should be full of Vairagya before he attempts to awaken Kundalini. Kundalini is like a thread and is resplendent. When it is awakened it hisses like a serpent beaten with a stick and enters the hole of Sushumna. When it travels from Chakra to Chakra, layer after layer of the mind becomes open and the Yogi acquires various Siddhis (psychic powers).
Chakras are centres of spiritual energy. They are located in the astral body, but they have corresponding centres in the physical body also. They can hardly be seen by the naked eyes. Only a clairvoyant can see with his astral eyes. Tentatively they correspond to certain plexuses in the physical body.
Muladhara (containing 4 petals) at the anus;
Svadhishthana (6 petals) at the genital organ;
Manipura (10 petals) at the navel;
Anahata (12 petals) at the heart;
Visudha (16 petals) at the throat and Ajna (2 petals) at the space between the two eyebrows.
The seventh Chakra is known as Sahasrara, which contains a thousand petals. It is located at the top of the head.
Sacral plexus tentatively corresponds to Muladhara Chakra; Prostatic plexus to Svadhishthana, Solar plexus to Manipura, Cardiac plexus to Anahata Chakra, Laryngal plexus to Visuddha Chakra and Cavernous plexus to Ajna Chakra.
Nadis are astral tubes made up of astral matter that carry Pranic currents. They can be seen by the astral eyes only. They are not the nerves. They are 72,000 in number. Ida, Pingala and Sushumna are the important ones. Sushumna is the most important of all.
Pranayama is said to be the union of Prana and Apana. It is of three kinds—expiration, inspiration and retention. They are associated with the letters of the Sanskrit alphabet for the right performance of Pranayama. Pranava (OM) only is said to be Pranayama.
Sitting in Padmasana (Lotus-posture) the person should meditate that there is, at the tip of his nose, Devi Gayatri, a girl of red complexion, surrounded by numberless rays of the image of the moon and mounted on Hamsa (Swan) having a mace in her hand. She is the visible symbol of the letter A. The letter U has as its visible symbol Savitri, a young lady of white colour having a disc in her hand, riding on an eagle (Garuda). The letter M has as its visible symbol Sarasvati, an aged woman of black colour, riding on a bull, having a trident in her hand. He should meditate that the single letter, the supreme light—the Pranava OM is the origin or source of these letters—A, U and M. Drawing up the air through Ida (left nostril) for the space of 16 Matras, he should meditate on the letter A during that time, retaining the inspired air for the space of 64 Matras he should meditate on the letter U during that time; he should then exhale the inspired air for the space of 32 Matras, meditating on the letter M during that time. He should practise thus in the above order again and again.
Having become firm in the posture and having preserved perfect self-control, the Yogi should, in order to clear away the impurities of the Sushumna, sit in Padmasana, and having inhaled the air through the left nostril, should retain it as long as he can and should exhale through the right. Then drawing it again through the right and having retained it, he should exhale it through the left, in the order, that he should draw it through the same nostril, by which he exhaled it before and had retained it. To those who practise it according to these rules, through the right and left nostrils, the Nadis become purified within three months. He should practise cessation of breath at sunrise, at midday, at sunset and at mid-night, slowly, 80 times a day, for 4 weeks. In the early stage, perspiration is produced; in the middle stage the tremor of the body; and in the last stage, levitation in the air. These results ensue out of the repression of the breath, while sitting in the Padma posture. When perspiration arises with effort, one should rub his body well. By this, the body becomes firm and light. In the early course of practice, food with milk and ghee is excellent. One, sticking to this rule, becomes firm in his practice and gets no Taapa (burning sensation) in the body. As lions, elephants and tigers are gradually tamed, so also the breath, when rigidly managed, comes under control.
By the practice of Pranayama, the purification of the Nadis, the brightening of the gastric fire, hearing distinctly of spiritual sounds and good health result. When the nervous centres have become purified through the regular practice of Pranayama, the air easily forces its way up through the mouth of the Sushumna, which is in the middle. By the contraction of the muscles of the neck and by the contraction of the one below, viz., Apana, the Prana goes into the Sushumna, which is in the middle, from the west Nadi. Sushumna Nadi is between Ida and Pingala. The Prana which alternates ordinarily between Ida and Pingala, is restrained by long Kumbhaka; then along with the soul, its attendant, it will enter the Sushumna, the central Nadi, at one of three places where it yields space for entrance through such restraint of breath, and in the navel, by the Sarasvati Nadi, on the west. After such entry it is that the Yogi becomes dead to the world, being in that state called Samadhi. Drawing up the Apana and forcing down the Prana from the throat, the Yogi free from old age, becomes a youth of sixteen. Through the practice of Pranayama chronic diseases that defy Allopathic, Homeopathic, Ayurvedic and Unani doctors will be rooted out.
When the Nadis have become purified, certain external signs appear on the body of the Yogi. They are lightness of the body, brilliancy in complexion, increase of the gastric fire, leanness of the body, and along with these, the absence of restlessness in the body. They are all signs of purification.
As I roll out my mat, palms to heart, I inhale deeply, setting my intention. I center myself and place my focus inward, preparing to guide a yoga class for the next 75 minutes. Trying to breathe through nerves, I think about what exactly I will be guiding.
My hope is to guide openings: open hearts to flow more freely, heal, and take in more of what is needed (more beauty, more hope, or more love). I hope to guide bodies to find more strength, release tension, and gain flexibility. I hope to guide the release of tension in the mind.
I hope to guide a journey—a journey that has changed my perspective about who I thought I was and what my body-mind connection was capable of. Yoga has healed me and given me the self-love to kick a nicotine addiction, as well as an addiction to feeling like I’m a wounded person. I hope to ignite that same self-care in others.
When we practice yoga, we’re guided to focus only on ourselves, not looking around or noticing what any other yogi is doing.
We breathe through our own practice. The audible breath sounds have always been comforting to me, somehow. It is as if I can feel the class’ collective strength, which manages to feed my strength with each inhalation and exhalation.
As a teacher, though, we’re there to notice the other yogis. We’re no longer paying attention to our own practice, but tuning into the practice of others. We look for alignment, deep breathing, possible strain, or notice where space can be created for deeper engagement.
The perspective has now shifted, and we have an opportunity to teach, to guide, and to be part of the physical and spiritual expansion of another person.
As class comes to a close and everyone lies in Savasana, I am moved by the beauty of meditation. I notice the progression of the new practitioner who seemed so uncomfortable being in stillness during her first class, now welcoming this opportunity.
With deep respect, I understand that this resistance to stillness humanizes us. I’m fully aware, as I watch the rise and fall of bellies and chests in meditation that every person who enters class is trying to be better in some way. I’m inspired by their efforts and I see myself in all of them.
The walls that have been constructed to keep us safe come down with each breath. I’m more conscious than ever of the connectedness between us.
These yogis are faithful to their practice and to their bodies. Some days, their practice seems effortless as they gracefully flow and hold balance. Like in life, on certain days we show up as the best version of ourselves.
On other days, as class ends, they express their fatigue and how class felt harder. I completely understand them because these are the days when we simply feel weaker and have less to give, but we show up anyway.
There are empty classes at times. I resist the urge to feel down about it because I remind myself that there are days, I too, don’t have much to give or time to carve out for self-nourishment.
When they do come back, I guide them as best as I can and am humbled by their commitment to heal, to grow, and to find strength. I realize that I’m also guiding myself—remembering to honor every phase of my own humanity.
Some days, we claim rock star status; on others, we struggle just to keep moving. I may stumble on my words during certain classes, while others seem to flow effortlessly, as I remember every bit of dialogue and even infuse some of my own humor, inspiration, and voice into it.
As I guide each practitioner to forget about what they needed to do to get to class, releasing thoughts of anything that they might need to do after class, we place our hands in prayer and begin breathing together. We pretend that I’m teaching them.
As we say our goodbyes, however, I’m fully aware that it has been the other way around…for me, anyway.
The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. ~ Mahatma Gandhi
Author: Nicole Markardt, doyouyoga.com
How do we make the shift from “trying Oh so hard” to “just being”? In one common group counseling session, I noticed a recurring theme during the question-answer sessions, and it’s the same in all such group sessions. People ask: “please help me overcome anger”, and “in spite of resolving not to mind my wife’s nagging, I lose my temper after listening to her for some time,” and “I feel good for a few days after I attend your session and try to be joyful and happy, but I can’t keep it up for long”.
“The great awareness comes slowly, piece by piece. The path of spiritual growth is a path of lifelong learning.” ~ Anon
Does the above story from my counselling sessions sound familiar?
Usually in a moment of rare insight (or weakness), most of us often resolve to shun anger, envy, selfishness and henceforth be compassionate, loving and so on. When the higher calling beckons, we congratulate ourselves and decide to overflow with the milk of human kindness. For a while, we smile at everything and everybody, count to ten instead of blowing up, take deep breaths in times of stress, see the good side of people, and turn the other cheek when slapped. And most often, instead of acknowledgment and reciprocation of our goodness, we find that we are taken for granted and worse, taken advantage of.
It gets harder and harder to keep up the good act, and we reach break-point sooner or later. We then promptly slip back into our original, normal, sometimes nasty selves. Until we attend another of those counseling sessions, to start the game all over again. In the process, we are likely to end up feeling resentful, guilty, useless and unfit to pursue our spiritual goals.
Is it an occupational hazard of being a human being? Are we condemned to go through innumerable lifetimes making the same mistakes, to slip back easily into habitual behavior, incapable of taking up the challenge that evolution throws at us? Shall we ever be able to negotiate the enormous chasm between trying oh so hard and just being?
Oh so many dilemmas, but no easy answers. Since spiritual growth is the only agenda on the menu of human life, we have no choice but to embark on this journey. We need to take charge and do it right, though, sooner rather than later. Just like we consult a map to track the optimum route before embarking on a physical journey, we need to do the same with the spiritual journey as well.
Study the path taken by enlightened souls, internalize the teachings of spiritual masters and listen to our own conscience with sincerity. And take stock of the advantages and limitations of this journey, and how it can be accomplished well in the least possible time.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with but a single step, and you have taken it. You’ve realized that you need improvement! The very fact that you are aware that you are not perfect puts you far, far ahead of other beings in the path of evolution. It triggers the right process in you. You have decided to do something about your inadequacy – the next step is set it in motion. Somewhere you feel a discontent about life and ask yourself ‘what next?’
You have read and heard about the compassion of great spiritual beings, and you resonate with them. You yearn for that spiritual strength. You clamor to emulate their teachings, and do succeed to a certain extent. It might be only for a week, a day, or an hour, but you have already started earning brownie points! Your sheer willingness to change is your greatest strength. You are now firmly on the right path.
Oh, what pitfalls the journey has! The road, you realize, is anything but a super-duper highway on which you can zip across at 120 km/h. Why is it that the day you resolve to be patient with your child, she does something which is calculated to raise your temper? Or the day you decide to diet, your mom bakes the most delicious cake embedded with chocolate chips and nuts?
The smallest thing that you encounter seems to challenge you to break your resolve and retract totally. You need to literally grin and bear it to the limits of endurance to progress even a centimeter on the right path. Why? Because we are straining against a lifetime of conditioning, of putting ourselves first, of indulging our senses, of doing the easy thing. Great spiritual Teachers have called spiritual growth swimming against the current. It is difficult because it goes against our conditioned habitual instincts.
Liberation, Enlightenment, cresting the cycle of birth and death, total transformation, unleashing your highest potential.
The journey is hard but the opportunities priceless: the greatest prize of human life and the sole reason for our existence. No less! It’s worth all the pain and agonizing uncertainty of the journey? A million times over. So do not despair and Keep at it. It’s worth it when you reach journey’s end and experience that state of total happiness and freedom.
Imagine a state of peace and tranquility even if it is raining bankruptcies, tsunamis, accidents or job loss. Imagine being in a state of unconditional love towards one and all. Imagine giving and giving and giving – without wanting anything at all because you are so completely and totally fulfilled. Imagine total freedom from suffering – zero fear, anger, rage, hate, worry, doubt, resistances, inhibitions and so on. Imagine being free of the human condition-negativity.
You will no doubt be tested to your limit, and you’ll get knocked about mercilessly but in the end all that knocking will make you emerge as a diamond….a shiny priceless well sculpted diamond.
All of us are born to be in heaven by default, and it is open, for eternity! So book your place and level right now and get going. It might be useful, though, to carry a handy guide with tips for the spiritual trip.
Never buy vegetables from the roadside vendors – they always cheat with the weights; Never be lenient with your servants – they’ll take you for granted. This is how an average mind thinks; and if you listen to it, it will not let you pursue your spiritual goals either.
It’s necessary to be worldly-wise, but not to the point of disillusionment. You may be compelled to retract from your good intentions once, twice, maybe a hundred times – but The Divine trusts you, has given you a million chances so far to help you realize your divinity – so Never say never again.
…of others, as well as yourself. You may be a paragon of virtue, but of course your neighbor will still dump his garbage in your backyard. Spiritual Growth is all about the change in your response to situations, not change in situations themselves. Each situation and person in your life is put there to help you introspect and grow.
Be kind to yourself too, it’s not easy to change a lifetime of habitual behavior. That’s why spiritual masters insist on keeping the company of good people and good thoughts as aids that will not let you forget your ultimate purpose in life, and put you back on the path again and again. Reading elevating books for at least 15 minutes before going to bed every night is a great habit to inculcate. They help raise energy levels.
Man proposes and God disposes. The trying is left to us, and being happens by grace, and grace alone. But grace descends on one who is well and truly ready for it, and not a moment earlier. The yearning for spiritual growth needs to be as intense as the desperate yearning for air itself.
So, the path you have chosen for yourself may not be a cup of tea. That is why you need to recognize from which point you operate best – body, heart, or mind – and the Divine will help you reach itself from that point.
To kick start the process of spiritual growth, do good deeds. You might not feel the shift at first. But as outward deeds get gradually purified, the attitude will percolate into words and thoughts as well. Because only in the trying oh so hard will the just being eventually materialize. Meanwhile, don’t get so engrossed in reaching the destination that you forget to enjoy the journey.
She is the founder and writer of Positive Provocations, which features writing on positive thinking through healing the Mind, Body, Heart & Soul. She holds degrees in, and practices counseling psychology, motivational psychology, spiritual counseling, motivational speaking, holistic health and naturopathic medicine. Zeenat Merchant Syal is a spiritual traveler by passion, an eternal student and researcher in the school of life and all of its realities, including the fields of metaphysics and New Age thinking.
In today’s world, the very word and concept of Yoga is greatly misunderstood – Yoga can be used for fitness, toning of the muscles, balancing, relaxation and rejuvenation, as these are some of its beautiful effects, but it’s true purpose is far beyond that. Before diving into the topic of the true purpose of Yoga, let us briefly look into its history and the rich tradition that brought it forward to the present day.
BRIEF HISTORY OF YOGA
The word Yoga comes from Sanskrit ‘yug’, meaning to yoke, join, connect or unite – to unite with our Higher Self. Yoga can also mean “to attain what was previously unattainable” or “to cause change”.
The forefathers of Yoga were spiritual explorers/inner scientists, in search of the secrets of a healthy and truly happy life. These sages did not set out to put their bodies into pretzel positions or stand on their head. They were fueled by the idea that life has something deeper and more meaningful to offer if one is able to tune in to the soul’s purpose. While spending lengths of time in meditation and through careful observation of the ways of nature, they realized that sincere inner exploration is not easy. To start with, one needs a strong and supple body and sharp mental focus in order to prepare oneself for the dive within and deep inner cleansing. The complex system of postures and techniques that we now call Hatha Yoga was born from this observation. This goes to say that all the stretching and movement one does in Yoga was originally designed to prepare the practitioner to sit still and dive deep within effectively and effortlessly.
“Yogas chitta vritti nirodhah” is Patanjali’s famous definition of Yoga. In short, it means, “Yoga is the removal of the fluctuations of the mind”.
Chitta is mind, vrittis are thought impulses, nirodah is removal.
Although nobody can own Yoga, Patanjali is known as ‘the father of Yoga’ because he was the first to codify various Yoga teachings around 300 B.C. Throughout the centuries, yogis practiced intense and methodical investigation into their minds and looked deep within themselves to find the answers to life’s most pertinent questions. All in all, the Yoga that we get to practice today stems from an unimaginably rich tradition.
The benefits of Yoga are many. Yoga provides both, instant gratification and lasting transformation. True Yoga practice incorporates awareness in the practice of asanas (Sanskrit word meaning ‘steady pose’), pranayama breathing techniques, meditation and mantras. Moreover, it also teaches us how to incorporate awareness and purity at the level of thoughts, words and actions and assume responsibility for creating our own reality.
Yoga is much more than an exercise. The practice of Yoga allows students to achieve stillness in a world engrossed in chaos and to tap into the consciousness of the ‘inner witness’, the operating mode of our soul. In other words, Yoga students gradually learn how to rise above the pull of mind, emotions, and lower bodily needs and face any challenge of life with maturity. This lasting transformation is the promise of Yoga to all sincere practitioners.
METHODOLOGY & TRUE PURPOSE OF YOGA
Yoga practice is not so much about the skill but about the feeling and sincerity of practice. Yoga students/practitioners have to be taught how to really apply themselves during their Yoga practice and allow themselves to go beyond the mind and ego, becoming aware of every cell in the body vibrating in perfect harmony. Meditation and Yoga Nidra (or yogic sleep) done after one hour of Yoga asanas are of crucial importance and are considered essential in order to allow for the transformative results of Yoga. If a sponge is not left in water long enough, it will not absorb the water. In the same way, if one doesn’t allow some time to ‘absorb’ the effects of the Yoga asanas, the practice will be reduced to a mere exercise.
Awareness of each movement and utilization of mind’s power of ‘Sankalpa’ (Sanskrit word for ‘intention’) with which one moves the body while performing Yoga asanas is the key to a successful Yoga practice. Regular Yoga practice prepares our body to withstand higher energy and to cope with all the challenges on the path of one’s Self-Actualization and Liberation with a balanced mind.
Before starting the Yoga practice, one should acknowledge his/her body as a beautiful vessel of the soul and the most remarkably fine-tuned instrument with immense capabilities. We then invoke our Higher Self and set the intention behind all the asanas during the Yoga session. With mind fully present in each asana and breath utilized properly to help remove the blockages in the subtle meridians in our aura, the level of awareness and purity rises with each Yoga practice.
It is important to understand that lack of flexibility is associated with energy blockages in the nadis (energy meridians in the subtle body), and with samskaras (negative/painful impressions of the mind stored in the muscles (and subconscious mind), which add to the ‘luggage’ we carry unnecessarily). Yoga practice helps us to remove these blockages by working on our physical body, by consciously breathing through the stiffness in certain areas of the body. We hence start experiencing the all new lightness, learn to truly love our body as the vehicle of our soul, and come to experience the cause-less joy of our true Self.
The following points are essential for effective Yoga practice:
The primary objective of Yoga is to spread the message of love, peace, healthy living and harmony with nature starting with one’s own direct inner experience of this harmony and blissful lightness through the practice of Yoga. Aside from numerous benefits at the physical, emotional and mental level, the practice of Yoga leads to self-knowledge, i.e. knowledge of the truth of our being.
Yoga practice (sadhana) has the enormous potential to make us more conscious human beings. It requires, however, the willingness of the body, mind, heart and the will to align with the soul’s aspiration for purification and perfection.
In the following issues of The Awakening Times, I will share with you insights, methodology and benefits related to selected Yoga asanas in order to inspire you to benefit from the profound Yogic science and experience a lighter, more loving and more fulfilling way of life.
Author: Biba Mohan, certified yoga instructor