After a long weary journey, I was led on to the doorstep of Yoga. Being and learning with our teachers Raghu and Sashi, and fellow-seekers in the community for three years now has been a rich experience. Here is one articulation of the way I see the personal and the collective; how everything (climate change, my eczema, patriarchy, genocide, my breath, my incessant mind) comes together in One Vision.
I begin by seeing and acknowledging that I'm on a journey, and that my limited mind / my small self is incapable of understanding and undertaking it all by 'itself'. I need help. Patanjali's invitation in the form of the First Sutra says 'Aaah! Now you're ready!!' Atha Yoga Anusasanam.
This is the point I gain the ability to look at the 'Hero's Journey' framework. I am disillusioned enough to start asking the questions:
- What is my journey towards?
- Where am I in the journey?
- How did I get here?
- What lies ahead?
Bringing awareness into 'Who I am' not in a philosophical but an absolutely practical way: my personality, tendencies, gifts, questions, aspirations, meaning-making, fears, explorations, experience, learnings, challenges, relationships, behavioral patterns, attractions, aversions, etc. In other words, I begin to intuitively understand my 'Universe', along with which naturally, but slowly, unfold 'self-acceptance' and 'compassion to the self'.
This understanding becomes the seed of true non-violence / ahimsa.
As a consequence of my beginning to understand / have insights into my own journey, I begin to see and acknowledge, begin to understand / have insights into others' journeys. As I start bringing awareness into my Universe, I start bringing awareness into others' Universes, along with which naturally unfold 'acceptance of others' and 'compassion to others', little by little. Though my sense of discernment / judgement sharpens, I experience myself as less and less 'judgemental'.
The seed of ahimsa has begun to sprout.
The Collective Journey
A pattern / an understanding emerges: It is one of an upward spiral movement that the Consciousness is undertaking. Suddenly, the world that seemed all chaotic and messed up, with everything misplaced and gone wrong, looks orderly, meaningful and beautiful. There is a sense of purpose to everything around. Each life form and living system is undertaking its own 'Hero's Journey'.
A sense of wonder and anticipation! The seeds of humility and surrender begins to sprout. Isvarapranidhana.I am but a speck in a larger journey that I cannot yet comprehend.
I begin to experience 'Inter-being' and 'Oneness'.
I simultaneously read about what enlightened masters have to say about this for the sake of my curiosity. Theories about the 'Super-consciousness' and the state of 'Samadhi' are all appealing. But I have no way to verify and know any of this, and I don't feel the need to. This information does not propel me to continue the journey. The journey is meaningful and exciting in and of itself. All I need to know is 'The Direction' to follow.
Where the individual and collective / inner and outer / personal and social converge.
It becomes clear that 'Social Change' is nothing but a significant movement up the spiral at the civilisational level, which can happen as more and more individuals / individuated life forms / living systems move up the spiral. We are at an interesting time when this climb / movement is happening at a rate faster than ever before in known history. There is a sense that we are at the verge of a significant breakthrough in Consciouness. We are living in exciting times!
'The Work' of our times is to facilitate / catalyse this movement...
... at the individual level, through bringing awareness into what is happening inside (inner work) and what is happening outside (the world crisis), how they both reflect each other, and how healing can happen when we recognise their alignment.
... at the collective level, by collectively imagining newer possibilities and co-creating newer ways of organising life in form: new forms, structures and processes of community, economy, governance, education, celebration, expression (the arts), justice, etc. based on trust, dialogue and collaboration.
An experience of Abundance unfolds as I go deeper into this work. Abundance of all things good. Resources. Connections. Positivity. Hope. Energy. New Possibilities. Ideas.
Knowledge of 'Existential Universes'. This understanding uses the intellect. To understand without arrogance or the need to control. The right use of knowledge. The Sacred Masculine.
THE PATHThe Map might show what is where. I still need to use my intuition to feel my way through the terrains, and decide on the best path (there might me multiple paths connecting two points). Knowing the path needs tapping into Intelligence. The Sacred Feminine.
If my body is to be able to undertake 'The Work' by channelling and containing higher wisdom and energy, then it needs to be functioning at its optimal capacity. A sound asana and pranayama practice becomes an absolute requirement.
If my mind is to drive the body, then it needs to be clear and pure.Yamas and Niyamas are simultaenously the aspirations and the natural consequences of 'The Work' undertaken with sincerity. Pratyahara. Dharana. Dhyaana.
All of the above reinforce and provide feedback to each other.
(Image Courtesy: www.light-weaver.com