Yoga: what for actually? And what for, an ‘Integral Yoga’?

‘Yoga’, in its original deeper, spiritual sense, simply means ‘union’: it is the process of re-union of our present surface consciousness with our true Self. Birth into this physical plane makes us all amnesic. We identify ourselves automatically with our surface, ‘default’ personality, only because we don’t remember anymore who we really are. Yoga is the deliberate process of Reopening Inner Doors that have remained closed for too long… Going back again into Inner Spaces that make us remember at last who we truly are. These are images that just came up into my mind for expressing my own experience of what Yoga is. But to express what Spirituality is, although I know it from experience too, I prefer to give here a quote from Sri Aurobindo that is so complete I couldn’t express as much as well:

“It must therefore be emphasized that spirituality is not a high intellectuality, not idealism, not an ethical turn of mind or moral purity and austerity, not religiosity or an ardent and exalted emotional fervor, not even a compound of these excellent things; a mental belief, creed or faith, an emotional aspiration, a regulation of conduct according to a religious or ethical formula are not spiritual achievement and experience. These things are of considerable value to mind and life; they are of value to the spiritual evolution itself as preparatory movements disciplining, purifying or giving a suitable form to the nature; but they still belong to the mental evolution, – the beginning of a spiritual realization, experience, change is not yet there. Spirituality is in its essence an awakening to the inner reality of our being, to a spirit, self, soul which is other than our mind, life and body, an aspiration to know, to feel, to be that, to enter into contact with the greater Reality beyond and pervading the universe which inhabits also our own being, to be in communion with It and union with It, and a turning, a conversion, a transformation of our whole being as a result of the aspiration, the contact, the union, a growth or waking into a new becoming or new being, a new self, a new nature.”

Most existing spiritual paths and the various methods they use enable us indeed, one way or the other, at least to remember centrally who we truly are, so at least that central goal of all paths of Yoga is reached – and that is enough, as long as we only want to go back to the higher dimensions of Reality, if such is the personal choice of our individual soul. But simply going somehow ‘back to square one’ is not the only possibility for our souls. Here on the terrestrial plane Evolution is going on, and we can chose to continue being part of its victorious, glorious next step:

“The ascent of man into heaven is not the key, but rather his ascent here into the spirit and and the descent also of the Spirit into his normal humanity and the transformation of this earthly nature. For that and not some postmortem salvation is the real new birth for which humanity waits as the crowning movement of its long obscure and painful course.”

I knew that intuitively myself – that was totally obvious to me, I don’t know why, although to all others it wasn’t obvious at all. So how happy I have been to  find that some great spiritual beings had said the same thing as I was saying!… To really evolve – that is, to go on living on Earth in a still material body, but in a way that will become more and more divine – not just our central consciousness, but our mind, our life-energy and our physical body must be transformed as well, and their present way of functioning has to change too. But the traditional ways of Yoga usually don’t change much – if at all – the way all those outer parts of us work within our being, nor the lower energies they utilize until now. This is why pioneers of Conscious Evolution like Sri Aurobindo and the Mother had to find a new, vaster way of Yoga that would be evolutive and transformative for our whole being: they called it the ‘Integral Yoga’. Even after I had discovered in 1971 the stunning overall vision Sri Aurobindo gives of the Earth’s evolutive future, the concrete way such tremendous changes in our consciousness would translate in our daily life remained unclear to me, abstract, a kind of vague, lingering question mark. And then one day one of the less known, small books I had by Sri Aurobindo, ‘Thoughts & Aphorisms’, opened by itself on the very first page and the following short text that I had never read yet. It gave me goosebumps:

“If mankind could but see though in a glimpse of fleeting experience what infinite enjoyments, what perfect forces, what luminous reaches of spontaneous knowledge, what wide calms of our being lie waiting for us in the tracts which our animal evolution has not yet conquered, they would leave all and never rest till they had gained these treasures. But the way is narrow, the doors are hard to force, and fear, distrust and scepticism are there, sentinels of nature, to forbid the turning away of our feet from her ordinary pastures.”

Oh my… “Infinite enjoyments”… “perfect forces”… “luminous reaches of spontaneous knowledge”… “wide calms of our being”… As I read, my whole being was petrified with the joy of recognition: ‘This, is what I want, this, is what I want…’ Even those words themselves were so charged with the very vibration of the actual experience of what they described by the one who had written those words, that simply reading them gave already to me too a faint beginning of experience of those states of being they described. Instinctively, I started repeating those words to myself inwardly all the time, to keep experiencing that beginning of reality of their inner contents in my own being. They became my first spontaneous ‘mantras’ before I knew what a mantra was. And let no one imagine ‘these treasures’ to be only reserved as usual for a happy few, a spiritual elite; what a new step in Evolution makes possible, becomes then possible to all of humanity:

“Be to the world as the lion in fearlessness and lordship, as the camel in patience and service, as the cow in quiet, forbearing and maternal beneficence. Raven in all the joys of God as a lion over his prey, but bring also all humanity into that infinite field of luxurious ecstasy to wallow there and to pasture.”

Now that in my own life years later I do indeed, to an already wonderful extent, ‘raven in all the joys of God’, I don’t forget about all the rest of humanity, and I’m indeed also trying my best to bring it as well ‘into that infinite field of luxurious ecstasy to wallow there and to pasture’. That’s essentially what this blog is for: to show that such an ‘infinite field’ does exist, that I for one did get there now and then, and am experiencing it to some extent in all aspects of my life, so that anyone else interested in getting there too, ‘to wallow there and to pasture’ as I do, can at least get to know and, if they like, follow too the advice and recommendations by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother that enabled me and others to reach this point and keep progressing along this evolutive path .  

9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Random Ntrygg
    Jun 06, 2011 @ 16:18:01

    but, if being born means we don’t remember or can’t access the inner true self

    doesn’t that suggest that we are supposed to focus on the here and now

    instead of forging a connection and thwarting the amnesia?

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    • Bhaga
      Jun 06, 2011 @ 17:09:23

      Yes, the deeper part of us – which is eternal – does remember, for ever… and as babies, many of us are still in spontaneous contact with that inner true self, which is why being near small babies can be such a blessing inwardly , even if outwardly they need so much care it’s exhausting. But very quickly this inner contact at a young age is covered up, and then more and more deeply buried by all the superficial nonsense adult human beings call ‘knowledge’, and ‘education’; with the present materialistic outlook our Western cultures have imposed more or less everywhere on the planet, most children grow up into an inner vacuum and are left high and dry, faced with all the deep problems of life without even the essential knowledge that they do have a soul – or rather, that they ARE a soul, a spirit: a spiritual being, having a human experience, as some contemporary spiritual teachers say quite correctly…
      To focus on the here and now is not in itself necessarily bad: if we focus on the here and now without our usual incessant thinking agitation, and at a deep level instead of the usual superficial level, such a deep, relaxed, quiet concentration on the here and now can very well bring us back (just ask Eckhart Tolle, or before him Baba Ram Dass) to experiencing again what we truly are – and then we don’t really need any more any outer knowledge to tell us what we are: we know it from within, by direct experience… and that changes everything. Unless of course some stupid other person manages to convince you again that the wonderful, timeless state of being that you have experienced was a hallucination or some other mental problem that could get you into a mental hospital… *sigh*…

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    • Bhaga
      Jun 07, 2011 @ 01:52:22

      I hope my answer above has satisfied your need for better understanding on that point?
      If you have any further inner questioning, either on the same point or another one related to this post of mine (or any other, but then put your comment there instead), please don’t hesitate, just ask!..
      This blog is really meant for that only: clarifying so many points that usually remain unanswered in people’s mind, and prevent them from taking any real step towards their own spiritual fulfillment. What a pity.
      So, please, keep asking to you heart’s content! It’s only normal and healthy that such a need is there. I never take it as a challenge to what I say, but as the need for some more precise explanation on one point or the other. Only honest questions asked in good faith will reveal such a need. I always respect and honor them.

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  2. Random Ntrygg
    Jun 07, 2011 @ 05:05:31

    I agree that there’s no such thing as a stupid question, if honestly asked.

    but I don’t think I expressed the question well enough – your answer was on point for one nuance, but not the one I was curious about.

    if we experience amnesia, doesn’t that suggest that in this life, we should be outwardly focused, rather than inward?

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    • Bhaga
      Jun 07, 2011 @ 08:31:46

      Why renounce either the inner or the outer world, when both exist for a reason, both are complementary and both are there to be enjoyed?
      A focus mostly inward is necessary at some point to give you back your real identity and totality of being, which is the Oneness of All That Is; only in that truer and vaster, eternal and limitless consciousness can you then, still deeply and securely centered within the divine, loving sovereignty of that true Self, turn your focus mostly outward again and be able to relate at every moment in the true way to this outer, progressive manifestation of that Oneness and all that exists within it.
      There is a tremendous difference between the focus outward as it is lived and experienced in the usual, present human consciousness – which is mental only and doesn’t have yet a true perception of anything – and the very same focus outward as lived and experienced in the spiritual consciousness.
      But the spiritual consciousness as it was known until now is itself reaching at last a more complete perception of the total Truth, with Spirit and Matter reunited together, thanks to the new step in terrestrial evolution, which has activated what Sri Aurobindo and the Mother have called the ‘Supramental Consciousness-Force’, right here on the Earth and in its very substance since about fifty years.
      Spirituality doesn’t mean any more to sit cross-legged with one’s eyes closed and one’s consciousness turned inward only, in order to escape as soon as possible from this physical world and body. It means to use the very power of the spirit within that we centrally are, in order to gradually give back their divine reality and full potential to all of our outer parts as well, and to the whole world around us. Nice program, isn’t it?…
      Now if you want to understand also why there ever was any amnesia at all to start with, we can definitely speak about that too, with great pleasure on my part!…🙂

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  3. Random Ntrygg
    Jun 12, 2011 @ 21:22:20

    I keep having a recurrent image of a funnel, with force movement along both the outer side from the small end towards the larger rim, where the forces then circle and pour inwardly.

    it this a meaningful image to you?

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  4. Bhaga
    Jun 13, 2011 @ 02:21:06

    Very interesting question you are putting to me, and one that intrigues me too since a long time, although I have no clear answer yet to provide to you (nor myself!) but this:.
    In my nearly forty years of research on every odd bit of information seemingly emerging from my comparing things reported by totally different experiencers from everywhere and at different epochs, the funnel has come up several times as what ‘All There Is’ looks like from a distance – in stupendously enormous size… with an inversed other identical funnel on the other side of it, the two of them almost touching at the tips, one turning (tremendous speed…) clockwise, the other one turning anti-clockwise. Healing and rejuvenating devices from Atlantis times are described also as using what i would call the ‘funnel effect’. In Nature, I have always been fascinated by the funnels of water that form spontaneously when water goes down a drain, for example, or in a river; and the same funnel shape taken by cyclones and tornadoes, sandstorms etc, on a much bigger scale, but always generating considerable amounts of energy. Funnel-shaped devices and forms are used in several methods i know of for re-energizing water that has lost its natural bio-energy. Before answering you, I tried to locate on my laptop a text i copied from the website of an NDE experiencer-cum-researcher I like very much, Phyllis Atwater; she re-wrote as a separate document a portion of her book ‘Coming Back to Life’, with as a title something like ‘I died three times’. I couldn’t locate anymore this morning the copy i made for myself of that document, so I suggest that you and me look at her website, find that specific document again, and return here to post the link to that extremely rich and detailed report of her three NDEs, including her experience with seeing those ‘hour-glass’ shaped enormous funnels which contained everything there is… and a scientific confirmation of that coming quite unexpectedly to her later on about precisely those huge funnels. The whole dicument is a great read, parts of it i intend anyway to post here on various other topics.

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  5. Random Ntrygg
    Jun 16, 2011 @ 01:15:55

    Wow, I honestly didn’t expect your answer to be a yes – since I haven’t done any research, just interpreted the experience

    For me, I think that the shape is important and that there’s both nested funnels and big rim to big rim with small to small in an endless stream

    I think that what existed before the big bang was the collapse of an earlier universe, that one is created by the collapse of the previous one, phoenix-like (the last season of futurama played this concept out every well)

    and every possible universe exists at some point or another

    I think it’s scalable, with our own enlightenment being navigation of the nested funnels with existence being the end to end ones.

    both our own individual existence at any point in time, plus the universe’s

    with dark energy and matter being the unrealized parallel or potential universes

    that perhaps only our consciousness travels and everything else is a fixed static point – like looking at a movie strip of consecutive images frozen in time, but when played through a projector, seem to move and exist in real or expanded or contracted time

    I think that enlightenment – self perpetuating enlightenment, might allow us to navigate those time realities

    I no longer describe myself as an atheist, but a naturalist, and these are new territory thoughts for me, brought on by an ongoing workplace conflict that has shattered my trust and caused what I can only refer to as a meta existential crisis, because it’s more than knowing I will die and life has no intrinsic value, but what value can a life have when civilizations rise and die……

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  6. Bhaga
    Jun 16, 2011 @ 04:51:29

    Do you really suppose all this (All That Is) exists for no reason at all?… Some of your previous long-held beliefs have now changed, the thoughts you are sharing with me are what you call ‘new territory thoughts’, so wouldn’t it be better perhaps not to still affirm such things as ‘knowing I will die and life has no intrinsic value’, when you actually don’t know and are only stating your present beliefs?… Perhaps Life does have an intrinsic value after all, and your own life in it too, and that of everybody and everything else as well, even though the external, physical bodies provided at this stage by the evolutive process here are not yet immortal as our eternal Inner Self is?. Perhaps even ongoing workplace conflicts have a meaning of their own, and do serve a purpose, shattering the trust we had in the wrong people and plunging us at last into the meta existential crisis that may lead us towards a new understanding and a new way of living Life itself?…
    I am glad we are having this little conversation here, just the two of us, about the questions that are already on your mind. I am not sure though, whether you are reading also my other posts on this blog of mine, and perhaps you should, for all I write is, from various angles, about this one and only topic: the meaning of Life. Perhaps you have been attracted first to this specific post we keep using for our communication, because that one had in its very title the word ‘Yoga’ and even ‘Integral Yoga’ as well. But all my other posts too have something to do with that, and might shed some light on the questions you have. I may post also a piece from someone else’s writings, like I just did in my latest two or three posts; did you read them? If not, before you and me go on with this conversation, would you mind reading them, they are not long, and yet very unusually insightful?
    In the meantime, I’ll keep on looking for that great description of the funnels.

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