Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Soul and God

"Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi take the yogi into the innermost recesses of his soul. The yogi does not look heavenward to find God. He knows that HE is within, being known as the Antaratma (the Inner Self). The last three stages keep him in harmony with himself and his Maker. These stages are called antaratma sadhana, the quest of the soul."
-B.K.S. Iyengar, Light on Yoga, fifteenth paragraph of the Introduction.

When I read the word "God" in something like this, I translate it to mean almost a question. I don't believe that I can hold the concept that god represents for me. The concept of god covers the things I can't control and don't understand. God holds the mystery for me.

So when Mr. Iyengar says, "The yogi does not look heavenward to find God," I find myself resonating with this because "heaven" creates the image of a place that is somewhere other than here, and if God is in this heaven then I am in a place that doesn't have mystery, and I just don't buy that.

Dharana=concentration, Dhyana=meditation, and Samadhi=transcendence/bliss: these three aspects of the yogic process take the yogi "into the deepest recesses of his soul." Wow, the SOUL! It's one of those words... What can I do with this?

I think that my soul is part of the mystery of my life experience. My soul seeks individual expression through my life. Spiritually, I also think that there is a larger mystery than the soul that drives my existence. My soul has a color/flavor/essence. The larger mystery contains me, personally and everything and everybody else and things that don't exist in the world I know. The world is bigger than what I as an individual can understand alone.

So through Yoga, I can come to more deeply understand myself, and experience a connection with a sense of the great mystery that we are all a part of!

Sending love!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


YogaforCynics said...

Hmmmm...that God thing...and that soul thing...two words I have a lot of trouble the extent that I tremble when I see a post by one of my good blog friends with both in the title...okay, I didn't really tremble much...just being dramatic...

Anyway, what you do with these two contentious terms here is beautiful. Mystery, the things I can't control and understand...paradoxically, I feel a lot more comfortable with these than with the sureties of any religion...partly because it's kinda hard to get fired up to kill, condemn, or deny rights to people for ineffable mysteries...

Anonymous said...

Lovely post, and so timely. My guru has always said - when you are enlightened, its not like you go anywhere. Actually, he says the same thing about death.

The idea of being elsewhere, that the "good stuff" isn't here, but intangibly over there... never worked for me either.

Actually one of my favourite meditations is to take whatever image you like that represents god or love or the universe (etc) and after viewing it "externally" from yourself for a while, imagine that symbol in your heart. Then, imagine it infused within every cell of your being.

It's such a lovely contemplation, and even better when you can start seeing that with your eyes open!

Brooks Hall said...

YogaforCynics: I can relate with your trouble regarding the words "God" and "Soul". I have experienced resistance around these words. That's why I titled this post as I did. This way I am acknowledging that I am developing my own understanding around these words, or at least opening to inquirey in this direction. Thanks, Dr. Jay!

Svasti: Thank you for sharing the meditation! It's a good one, I think!

Both of you add so much to my experience of sharing this information! Thanks again! (I don't think I can adequately describe how you two special blog friends have enhanced my life experience.)

Bob Weisenberg said...

I found myself just nodding my head in profound agreement as I read this blog. Like YogaforCynics, I have developed my own concepts of God and soul. It could be said that I've come to Yoga and started writing about it precisely to explore and understand and live these two words.

Bob Weisenberg