The Yoga of Self Realization Part 3
Three aspects – mind, body and world. Three aspects , meaning they are all part of one phenomenon, one process to begin with. They are separated here only so that I may talk of them as 3 aspects of a whole – three aspects of self realization.
Mind – or thoughts , what we think , what we occupy ourselves with in our head – is the field of intention. It is from this field of intention that action in world follows. It is also from this seed of intent that our body reacts.
Body – the vessel within which we occupy a human existence – is obviously of critical importance- with an unhealthy body we limit our possibilities for action, for realization. It is the body field that first manifests the activity of the mind field , through the nerves and hormones and muscles and bone the body becomes the thoughts.
World – the more religious minded can call it Spirit or God – it is the field in which mind and body act within. Thoughts lead to bodily action within the world. How we act upon the world has an impact upon our fellow human beings, upon other sentient beings – animal and plant life and upon the materiality of the earth and the energies pervading the universe.
The idealists will posit that Mind is primary and it is from Mind that all else flows – but this is linear and only a partial explanation. The Materialists will posit that the World is primary and that it is the World that shapes the Mind and Body. This too is one sided.
Fashionistas and narcissists will claim that the Body is primary. Actually that is a joke and so are the narcissists some of who call themselves yogis.
Marx and Engles developed the theory of dialectical materialism as their contribution to the philosophical debate of the time regarding Idealism and materialism, of what is primary Mind or World (Material).
However most Marxists are secretly just crude materialists of the kind that Marx and Engels condemned. They even cautioned that consistent idealists are closer to the truth of what makes the world tick.
So the masters claim their is this back and forth, between mind and body and world that is constant and multifaceted , not extending in straight lines but if I may say so more like the diamond head of Indra of the Vedas or more succinctly expressed in the Buddhist concept of Dependent Origination from Wikipedia defined “that all dharmas (“phenomena”) arise in dependence upon other dharmas: “if this exists, that exists; if this ceases to exist, that also ceases to exist.”
The Buddhists pay particular attention to the Mind field I think because it is what we can most easily control at least in relation to a body that is condemned to disease and death and a world that is very complex. We can take from the Buddhists the important work they have done to provide for mental hygiene – relaxing the Mind, honing powers of concentration, developing discipline and control over senses, creating a mind field as beautiful as a zen garden, unblemished and with the concentrated power of a karate master’s kick.
The HIndus , using that term broadly to include the pre Buddhist Vedic influenced philosophies , paid particular attention to the Body and the ways in which control over the Body – making it strong, making it supple, making it clean – can provide a temple for the moksha to be achieved by Mind. Yoga asana practice can be placed in this category, as well as the other 7 limbs of yoga including how one should live within this world.
The Marxists pay particlar attention to the World field arguing that the “philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world, but the point is to change it”. As the most recent of the global philosophies that provides a framework of human activity in the world , building upon the scientific achievements of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment in Europe and the inadequacy of theistic-religious philosophy for the further well being on human-kind, seeing in fact how religious thinking and institutions had become indeed one more fetter in the of human liberation, Marxism called for the vast majority to become the human agency for their own liberation – to overthrow the existing capitalist world order built on skullduggery, obfuscation, inequality and misery and replace it with a world order build on solidarity, democracy and science.
So for us at Wijerama Yoga it is the sum total of all three philosophic systems that constitute self realization .
There is no liberation and compassion if you meditate and pray but you do nothing to speak up or stand up for your brothers and sisters who are suffering next to you, of for the animals that suffer in silence or for the world that is being driven to cataclysmic change.
There is no peace and wellbeing if your asana practice is simply about giving yourself that hot body you always desired because you want to be desired.
There is no Self , we are taught by the Buddha.
Attempting to continue a body for sake of body is doomed to failure because the human condition results in physical death.
For the haughty revolutionaries who have no time for meditation , to calm and discipline their minds, for prayer to connect to the cosmos, for asana practice to keep their bodies healthy and strong , they will end up sick of body and mind and end up doing things quite contrary to the love they claim to have for humanity , for animals, for the planet.
The daily practice of all 3 aspects – of meditation , of asana , of social struggle – in whatever capacity that we can, is the Way of Self Realization.