Tuesday, 18 July 2017

The Paths to Yoga by Andrea Tteja (Part II)

Andrea Tteja - www.infin8space.com
Continued from Part I    

Karma: Selfless Service as a path to Yoga. "Karma Yoga is the selfless devotion of all inner as well as the outer activities as a Sacrifice to the Lord of all works, offered to the eternal as Master of all the soul’s energies and austerities." Bhagavad Gita

Right Attitude It’s not what you do that counts, it’s the attitude while doing it that determines if a job is a karma yoga job, i.e. a liberating job, or a binding job. Work is worship. Swami Sivananda advises us to "give your hands to work, and keep your mind fixed at the lotus feet of the Lord."

Right Motive Same as attitude. It is not what you do that counts but your real motive behind it. Your motive must be pure. Swami Sivananda says: "Man generally plans to get the fruits of his works before he starts any kind of work. The mind is so framed that it cannot think of any kind of work without remuneration or reward. A selfish man cannot do any service. He will weigh the work and the money in a balance. Selfless Service is unknown to him."

Do Your Duty Often "duty" is referred to as "righteousness". You will incur demerit if you shun your duty. Your duty is towards God, or Self, or the Inner Teacher who teaches you through all the specific circumstances of your life as they appear.

Do Your Best Whatever you have to do, do your best. If you know of a better way to serve, you must use it. Do not hold back because of fear of effort or because of fear of criticism. Do not work in a sloppy manner just because no one is watching or because you feel the work is not for you. Give your best. Try to do such actions that can bring maximum good and minimum evil. Do Karma Yoga increasingly.

Give up Results God is the doer. You are not the doer. You are only the instrument. You do not know God’s intentions or God’s plans. God is the actor. The Self never acts, changes. It is only the "Gunas", the three qualities, which are playing. The way to realize this truth is to constantly work for work’s sake and let go of the results, good or bad. It is the desire for action that binds the individual. It is the detachment from action that will dissolve the karmic seeds. Detachment from results also means detachment from the type of job itself. There is no job that is inferior or superior to a different job. Don’t be attached to your job. Be ready to give up your job if necessary.

Serve God or the Self in All Do to others what you would like to be done to yourself. Love thy neighbor as thyself. Adapt, adjust, accommodate. Unity in diversity. We are parts of the same body. Practice humility in action. Beware of power, fame, name, praise, and censure.

Follow the Discipline of the Job Each job is a teacher of some sort. You can learn different skills by doing different jobs. Each job has different requirements in terms of time, degree of concentration, skills or experience, emotional input, physical energy, will. Try to do whatever job you are doing, well.
Jnana: The intellectual Path to Yoga. This is the most difficult path, requiring tremendous strength of will and intellect. Taking the philosophy of Vedanta the Jnana Yogi uses his mind to inquire into its own nature. We perceive the space inside and outside a glass as different, just as we see ourselves as separate from God. Jnana Yoga leads the devotee to experience his unity with God directly by breaking the glass, dissolving the veils of ignorance. Before practicing Jnana Yoga, the aspirant needs to have integrated the lessons of the other yogic paths - for without selflessness and love of God, strength of body and mind, the search for self-realization can become mere idle speculation.

Kriya: The Path of Purification. The scientific process of soul culture and the royal path to self-realization. The fundamental thesis of Kriya Yoga is that we are a miniature version of the whole cosmos, a microcosm - an evolving universe within the macrocosmic world. The all-pervading supreme creator is hiding within us and activating every action through the breath - hence the name Kriya; any work "Kri," is being done by the power of the indwelling soul "ya."

The various cosmic forces controlling ether, air, fire, water, and earth also control the kinds of work, namely, religious activities, relationship, food, progeny, and earning money performed by the human body.

Tantra Yoga is the means of conjoining this correspondence between microcosm and macrocosm - realizing the truth behind the union of individual self and the Supreme Self.

In her article about Tantra (found here http://jayakula.org/tantra-three-ways/) Jaya Kula says, Life is simple. Earth, Water, Fire, Air, Space. The language of the elements is an elegant, simple scale that produces infinity.
Practitioners of direct realization Tantra begin with the infinity of daily existence and follow it back to realize uncontrived life and simple delight in that. Authentic Tantra offers, broadly speaking, three ways to approach a human life.

You can make your daily life your practice. You can learn foundational practices based on Ayurveda and ritual. These involve your eating, sleeping, working, relationships, health care and daily, householder rites such as honoring one’s ancestors. You can discover the rhythm and elegant naturalness of life in this way. You can completely recalibrate your energy and become open to life’s inherent wisdom through bringing your daily activities more in line with Nature. This is the way of conduct.

Or, you can go the “yogi” route. This involves all of the above, plus any number of paths of traditional Tantrik sadhana (practice) under the guidance of a Guru. Most of the transformational methods that people, and especially Buddhist practitioners, associate with Tantra fall into this “way of energy.” This “way of energy” includes kriya (kundalini) yoga, internal ritual, Tantrik deity practice, mantra and yantra, among other practices.

The third way is direct realization of the natural state. The natural state has been given many names: instant presence, flowing presence and unconditioned life are a few. My Satguru called it that. Specific direct realization practices include Guru yoga, non conceptual meditation and many of the “left-hand” practices such as invoking extreme fear or shock as a means to strip the mind of concepts so that life may be encountered directly. However, they also might include any of the practices from the way of conduct or the way of energy. In fact, direct realization “practice” includes your entire life; it is akhanda sadhana, or unbroken practice.

This brings us to the deeper understanding that the three ways—conduct, energy and direct realization—only differ due to the bhava or orientations of practitioners. A person practising direct realization Tantra will eat dinner in a “direct realization” way. She will feel and understand that dinner itself is her own essential nature, and she will just relax and enjoy that. When tensions arise, she will try to directly realize them as essence arising as tension.

A person who is more engaged at the level of energy practices will be more interested in the effect of dinner on her subtle channels. When tensions arise, that person will try to transform them using internal methods that result in an experience of releasing tension, opening and discovering the wisdom of that energy level of experience. 

A person who is mostly engaged at the level of conduct will be more focused on the ritual gestures of cooking, offering, serving and properly eating and digesting dinner according to the precepts laid out by her tradition.

Many other traditions employ some of the same methods as direct realization Tantra. However, their view of these methods is somewhat, or even radically, different. In direct realization traditions such as Kashmir Shaivism, Dzogchen and some forms of Daoism, no matter what way you are following at a particular time, your View will always be that of a direct realization practitioner. View is the most important teaching that you will receive from your Guru or teacher. It is the largest context for anything you do.

Highly realized human beings are spontaneously and appropriately responsive to all of life’s arising’s.
They are naturally graceful and uncontrived. No matter what way you practice, making naturalness your home is the fruit of any Tantrik practice followed to its completion.

For every student of any capacity or level of practice, the foundation is daily conduct. As you begin to expand your aware engagement with life, keeping the tune and rhythm of life becomes a source of abiding contentment and fulfilment. If you ignore your daily life while undertaking what you consider to be “hard core” yogic practice, you can, and likely will, cause more tension and even illness.

Many people have ideas about Tantra. They are lured by promises of shaktipat, secrets and sex. The greatest teaching Tantra has to offer is that everything we need to Self-realize is already present in each moment and every ordinary breath.

Study and author: Andrea Tteja: www.infin8space.com

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