The other day an idea of a similar post arose during beginning of the morning meditation (these days that’s the time when surprisingly mind comes up with such post ideas for the Vaikuntha of the virtual world – OS.me – as a sudden flash of inspiration,) but I forgot or chose not to write it down immediately after meditation. Today, it just came again – though through a different thought – but I recognize that it’s leading/similar to that same idea.
Yoga of the Ego
The Sanskrit term Yoga means to unite. The union is what we are aiming for with meditation or japa – we want to experience a union with either the object of meditation or the deity of the mantra.
Do you know that you are always in a yoga? The mind is always united with something. A non-liberated soul’s mind is united with its ego for most of the time. The identification of mind with the body, possessions, wealth and relationships is due to the union with ego. And, what is ego? it’s the idea that I’m an individual, a separate entity from everyone around me. This does look as an apparent reality but this is because our mind has lost the vision or yoga of the soul.
Yoga of the Soul (Self realization)
The soul is not apparent in the phenomenal world but that’s a feature and not a bug. Because what’s apparent is always changing, decaying, dying. That’s the nature of the visible universe. The soul is eternal, immutable and imperishable. It is infinite, absolute and one without a second. Therefore we can’t expect to experience it with the same methods (senses) we are employing to experience the phenomenal world.
One way to have a glimpse of our soul instantly – right this very moment – is to focus the mind on the perception or awareness – let go all thoughts and just experience that you’re still aware of the things around you without having to think about and analyse them. This self-awareness or being conscious without thinking, though calming and leads to bliss (if practiced regularly), yet isn’t a pure experience of the soul because you’re still focusing on perception of the objects external to the soul.
The real or complete experience of the soul is devoid of all objects and what remains is only the soul – pure perception of only the awareness itself (Nirvikalpa Samadhi) or self-realization (as per my understanding of its description given by the realized beings).
Why and How to Strive for Yoga of the Soul
Your mind may ask: Why should I aspire to attain yoga of the soul? what’s so special about it? The answer is easy: that’s what your mind truly desires. It wants permanence – eternal bliss, happiness, peace and existence. Only yoga of the soul and not the ego can lead to permanence.
What actions lead to this union? although yoga of the soul is beyond all actions, yet raising the mind to that state so it can be united with the soul, requires appropriate, gradual training of the mind.
Yoga of the ego has happened because we’ve made our mind constantly involved in doing actions that only serve our individual existence. These actions strengthen ego which otherwise has no true existence, and thus needs constant actions to survive and thrive. This means that if we start doing acts which do not serve our individual existence naturally it will start weakening the ego.
Kindness Leads to the Yoga of the Soul.
Kind thoughts and acts that do not serve your individual existence thus lead you closer to the soul.
If we can’t have compassion and love for others in our heart, any meditation and japa we do will only be to serve our individual existence and thus strengthening the ego. Our Puranas and epics are full of countless stories of yogis (termed as asuras) who did extreme tapas (austerities), but with a desire to attain something for their own existence. That only led to strengthening of their ego and eventual downfall.
Quoting from The Book of Kindness:
You, too, can tap into intuitive understanding called prajna in the ancient texts. You can establish yourself to be in a finer state of awareness called kootastha in yogic texts. You can access your highest level of consciousness – they call it nirvikalpa samadhi, a state of mind where there’s complete oneness. Nirvikalpa: there’s no other vikalpa or option, one without the second. The whole universe is your playground then.
And that’s the purpose of this book. To share with you what I know about building a life that’s conducive to happiness, about cultivating an attitude that nurtures your intuition. To make the law of attraction work, or to gain what I wrote in the preceding paragraph, you need to open your heart to attain that divine union with the extraordinary forces of nature. No doubt that meditation helps you train and tame your mind to help you remain in a state of awareness, or that chanting mantras helps you align your energies with the cosmic vibrations. But opening your heart like a lotus in full bloom to emit a fragrance, requires practicing kindness in your daily life.
Kindness is the bridge that connects our mind with the soul and upon this bridge we need to walk daily to reach to the other side where our eternal soul exists in its full glory.
Meditation and japa are only the pillars – we can use them either to support the kindness bridge or the house of ego. You decide what you want to use them for
Thanks Abhilash for reading a draft of this post and helping with the image.