Effort and Awakening

Effort and Awakening

“Knowledge of the truth of existence is bliss”

Words can be so confusing. In our practice of postural yoga and meditation, terms from Sanskrit, Pali, Chinese or Japanese are often used because they describe more accurately than Western languages the deeper meaning of what one is trying to convey.

One of these terms is Advaita. In a superficial translation, we could say it means “non-dual” awareness – there is no separate self. But to a mind focused on the material world (called Maya in Sanskrit – the illusion of the apparent separateness of things), this is hard to understand. Another way to describe it is “indivisible” – the profound inter-connection of all life to the very source which created it.

Words become useless when we reach a certain point of understanding the true nature of life – whether it be through quantum physics, the Tao Te Ching, or ancient Vedanta.

As the 20th Century physicist Niels Bohr said: “Everything we call real is made up of things that cannot be regarded as real. If quantum mechanics hasn’t profoundly shocked you, you haven’t understood it yet.” Sounds rather like Maya, doesn’t it?

How can words describe the source of all life? Some cultures call it God, but because it’s just so far beyond words and concepts for the everyday mind to grasp, this has generally come to represent an anthropomorphic male in mono-theistic religion.

The Book of Genesis 1:27 reads: “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them…”. Materialistic thinking then created a God who looks like a human, whereas the Bible should be read as an esoteric text, not to be taken literally. If the source of all life and the life it creates are one and the same, there is nothing separating them. Hmmm… could this be the same thing the Eastern mystics were pointing to?

Whereas Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra describes the path of effort towards the goal of union with a separate consciousness, culminating in the last of the Niyamas, or personal practices – Ishwara pranidhana (surrendering to the Divine), Advaita is the spontaneous awareness of the perfect unity of the here and now, the inseparable nature of all life.

There is no distance between you and the Truth.

Om Purnamadah Purnamidam
Purnat Purnamudachyate
Purnasya Purnamadaya
Purnameva Vashishyate
Om shanti, shanti, shanti

Om That is the absolute, this is the absolute;
from the absolute, the absolute becomes manifest;
when the absolute is added to or taken away from the absolute,
the absolute remains.
Om peace, peace, peace.

With much love and light,