By Michael Ketterhagen, PhD
The prompting and encouragement of the Yoga Sutras gives the student of yoga guidance, as Pandit Rajmani Tigunait says, in the “firmly rooted … insight and experience of the sages; [namely, that] a human being is an island of excellence. We are born to excel. We are surrounded–from every direction and in every respect—by the intrinsic power and creativity of the Divine. Our core is Pure Consciousness; luminosity is our essential nature. Our most distinctive attribute is our ability to know our true nature,” and live in this physical world from the guidance of that true nature.
This yogic truth, which is the essence of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, needs to be spoken loudly and clearly, especially at this new coronavirus time of our global experience.
Patanjali explains the core of that essential truth in Sutra 1.2: “Yoga is the mastery of the roaming tendencies of the mind.” When we master our mind’s desire to always search for external and internal sensations without the direction and supervision of our true self, we move away from the panic and hysteria of our present time. We move toward absolute peace and excellence. We move to the awareness of our true self. We begin to feel and act as an “island of excellence.”
When we let the mind roam wherever our negative thoughts, fears, greed, anxiety leads, we get all afraid and do silly, non-productive things.
Because we forget that we are “divine, infinite and perfect” at our core. We forget that we never die and that we are beings of pure love and light. We begin to feel helpless and let the fear of death, physical and mental death, run our lives.
Patanjali says that all we need do is practice one asana, sitting in meditation where we can train our mind to go inward toward one-pointedness and our core self.
This is the time for us all to do that more and more. We are, during this “Stay at home time,” given the opportunity to begin or continue this mental training so that we can truly be aware of our true nature and act according to our highest self—loving, gentle, peaceful and divine-like.
The simplest way, in my experience, to bring ourselves to that quiet core of divinity within is to feel the flow of the breath in our nostrils. In Christian theological terms, this breath, because it is so life-giving and so sacred, is the physical expression of the Holy Spirit which is the divine force active in the physical world. All we need do is daily, maybe even four or five times a day, sit still and become aware of this life force within our nostrils.
We just need to keep coming back to that breath for at least three minutes so that our conscious mind can experience, even for just of moment or so, our core self, our true nature. It will allow us to experience ourselves as an “island of excellence.”
I encourage us all to do this…because now is the time for yoga and meditation.