Sunday, April 12, 2009
The Instance and the Multitude
Knowing my point of view in any given moment is an instance in understanding. As I know this, my own singleness and differentiation, this can be seen as ekagrata or one-pointed awareness. I am aware of the fullness of myself. When I direct my awareness toward a more inclusive view of the world, consciousness expands.
In yoga practice I might break it down differently: ekagrata might represent my single-pointed awareness on the work of my little toe in a pose. And I enlarge my perspective as I tune my awareness to all parts of my body.
Another instance in understanding is reaching out to really understand a friend’s point of view. To grow further one would reach beyond one’s circle of close friends.
These examples all represent ways of working with consciousness. The journey of yoga teaches a practitioner to tune in with the workings within ones self, and how to harmonize with the world at large.
The sixth and seventh limbs of Patanjali’s Ashtanga yoga are Dharana and Dhyana. Dharana is ekagrata, one-pointed concentration, and Dhyana is meditation, expanded consciousness.
When I was walking around this morning, I tried to find something that was one-pointed, and couldn’t: even a single stem can have many blooms. Above, I used the example of my little toe as a possibility for a singularly focused attention, and it is if I make it so, but if I focus there suddenly I become aware of the inner toe, outer toe, extension of the toe, and so on. The single-pointed awareness blossoms into a multifaceted entity.
Because it is Easter Sunday, I am thinking of the biblical story of Christ in Christianity. In the story, Christ dies for the people. He sacrifices his singularity for the multitude, and through this he transcends this worldly experience, and comes back to earth on Easter Sunday, closer to God.