Yoga for spiritual awakening is the least focus of yoga practice. When you search for the term “yoga” there are according to Ubersuggest over 300K searches per month. For the term “yoga for spiritual awakening” the numbers searching per month fall to 40 per month.
So what is the difference between mainstream yoga and yoga for spiritual awakening.
The core difference is intention. While you can find many different yoga styles you will find it a real challenge to find a yoga class with a focus on spiritual awakening.
While the core invitation from the practice of yoga is that of spiritual awakening such an awakening cannot be taught. It can only be pointed toward. Such an awakening is always a Grace experience.
Yoga for Spiritual Awakening
- What is Yoga?
- What is Spiritual?
- Journey of Yoga?
- What is Awakening?awak
- Making Your Yoga Practice Spiritual.
- Yoga for Spiritual Awakening Summary
So if you are one of the few interested in yoga for spiritual awakening then I hope this article will encourage you to begin the adventure into Companioning the Greatness within. (W. B. Yeats).
What is Yoga?
Yoga is the Journey from the self to the SELF through the self – Sutras of Patanjali
For anyone interested in yoga for spiritual awakening it is best to return to a definition of yoga from the Father of Yoga. This was the sage Patanjali who wrote The Sutras of Patanjali.
He gave different definitions of Yoga but the best one I think is the following: –
Yoga is the journey of the self to the Self through the self – Patanjali – The Sutras of Patanjali.
I wonder how many Western yoga teachers are following this journey and inviting others to do so? I think probably very few.
To better understand the nature of yoga for spiritual awakening I want to explore the definition of yoga given by Patanjali in the following way.
Yoga for Spiritual Awakening Definition
- What Kind of Journey
- Meaning of the self
- Meaning of To the SELF
- Through the self
What Kind of Journey
Spiritual yoga is a journey of revelation. It is a journey of union. It is a journey of subtraction rather than addition.
This journey of yoga is experiential rather than intellectual or physical although it is experienced by way of physicality. It is not a journey of belief. It is the journey of revelation of the unity of the following: –
- Time with eternity.
- Personal with Universal.
- Small self with True SELF.
- “I am” with “I AM.”
While there is the idea that this is a journey of union the reality is that there has never been a separation.
The revelation is the KNOWING that you and Divine Intention (my phrase for God) have never been separate nor will ever be separate.
The American poet and essayist in the fourth quartet of the poem Little Gidding encapsulates the journey of yoga for spiritual awakening in this way.
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, unremembered gate.
From Little Gidding by T.S. Elliot
This unknown and unremembered gate is The Gateless Gate of the Buddhist.
It is the “I AM the Way” of the Christian who KNOWS what this invitation truly means. Not to be confused with the idea that the personage of Jesus is The Way.
I can of my self do nothing – John 5:10
What is Spiritual?
To realize that you are not your thoughts is when you begin to awaken spiritually. – Eckhart Tolle
This is a really important question. One important distinction to be made is the difference between the religious and the spiritual experience.
You can be religious and not spiritual which is most of what passes for the religious experience of the world. You can be spiritual and not religious.
Let me give you my view of where spirituality begins.
In the view of this writer spirituality begins where you as the personal sense of the separate self start to end. You as the idea of the separate self and spirituality are incompatible.
This is why the Master Jesus says:-
No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.- Matthew 6:24
The above quote is from the King James version of the Bible. Modern Bible translations change the word ‘mammon’ to the word ‘money.’
This gives the word ‘mammon’ a very limited view. It is better considered as “personal desire” rather than “money.”
Spirituality begins when your life focus moves from the never ending pursuit of personal desire (self) to alignment with what I call Divine Intention. (SELF).
This is where you begin to move from a focus on the personal will to power to the Will to Love. Your life purpose, in the words of the spiritual teacher Guy Finley becomes to serve Love’s purpose.
I think you can attend at Yoga classes whatever their style and practice spiritual yoga. You simply make the intention of your practice your willingness to be a servant of Love’s forever becoming.
This doesn’t have to be explicitly stated and it is better if it is not. It is your secret. It becomes your way of entry into the experience of true prayer.
But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. – Matthew 6:6
Praying in secret is the practice of being available to the flow of Divine Intention. It isn’t where you spend time petitioning or telling the Divine what you think you need.
Such prayers aren’t answered because they come from the false idea that the Divine is withholding something from you and that you and the Divine are separate.
Journey of Yoga
It’s your road and yours alone. Others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you – Rumi
The journey of yoga is a journey of revelation. It is the journey of the self to the SELF through the self.
The self referred to by the word ‘self’ with the small ‘s’ relates to your personal sense of self. This is the personal separate sense of self that you are identified with and who you think you are.
In spirituality this personal sense of self is referred to as the FALSE self (Thomas Merton). In Buddhism it is called Maya (illusion). In modern psychology it is recognised as the ego (ever grasping one).
This is personal sense of self that FEELS itself to be separate from everything else and everyone else. It recognises itself to be time bound. It recognises itself to have a beginning (birth) and an end (death).
This is the personal sense of self that is the cause of most unnecessary suffering. The purpose of all religion is to invite the experience that is the deeper reality beyond the FEELING of separation.
This is the FEELING of union. This is the experience of yoga as it is intended to be realised. It is the end of suffering.
What is Awakening?
To Thine Own SELF be True – Shakespeare
Yoga for spiritual awakening is the practice of inviting the revelation of the TRUE SELF. This is the SELF that is beyond time.
In Christian terms this is referred to as the experience of eternal life. This is not some never ending experience because eternity never began and never ends.
Within the teachings of Christianity you are invited to believe that given adherence to the teachings you can earn eternal life after you die.
Most people believe this “dying” is the death of the body. This is because they are taught by the blind who take the invitation literally.
Yoga for spiritual awakening is the journey of dying to the idea that you are ever and can ever be separate from Divine Intention (God).
This is not something you achieve. It is who you are. You don’t earn it. You can’t earn what you already are and ever will be.
Like a dream all you have to do is wake up and recognise the dream. The dream you are living is the dream of separation.
Awakening from the Dream
There is an awakening above the dreaming mind – the real awakening in comparison to which man is ordinarily is asleep – Osho
The core practice of spiritual yoga is the invitation to awaken from the dream of separation which is the separate sense of the personal self.
Most people when invited to do so are not at all willing to give up the personal sense of self. Their immediate question is “Who will I be if I am not myself? At least now I am somebody. Who wants to be a non-person?”
The root cause of most unnecessary suffering is your identification with the personality meaning “the mask.” The word personality comes from the Greek word “persona” meaning “mask.”
This is the “mask” of the FALSE self which we all wear. It is the inauthentic you. It is your identification with your overthinking personal mind.
Yoga for spiritual awakening is the willingness to open to that which is beyond the personal. This is the practice of real faith. It is the practice of allowing Divine Intention to flow through yourself from the SELF.
Using a movie metaphor Awakening from the Dream is where you unplug from the Matrix. Yoga for Spiritual Awakening is the equivalent of taking the Red Pill.
This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill—the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill—you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes. – Morpheus – The Matrix
Wonderland is beyond the known. It is beyond belief.
Yoga for spiritual awakening is where you live your life as the mantra, “Thy will be done.” This is living from authentic faith rather than belief in a dogma. Belief is always from the point of view of the personal.
KNOWING is transpersonal.
You have the courage to live your life as one who does not KNOW but is willing to be open to KNOWING and being KNOWN through. KNOWING is the experience of awakening. It is quite literally beyond belief.
Religion invites you to be a believer. Spirituality invites you to be a KNOWER.
This is maybe why we have 40 people per month searching for the term “Yoga for spiritual awakening.” It’s just too radical an invitation.
Who is really willing to take the leap into the unknown and become the ONE?
The Need for the Personal Self
To let go of the self you have to have a self to let go off – Tony Cuckson
In religious and spiritual circles there is the idea that one has to get rid of the personal self or ego. In the experience of the writer getting rid of the ego leads to a form of dis-embodiment.
Such was the case with my first meditation teacher. He was someone who seemed not to be all there.
When I remember this meditation teacher who taught Vipassana meditation I am always reminded of a quote from the book The Dubliners written by James Joyce.
Mr Duffy lived some distance from his body – James Joyce – The Dubliners
My view is that in order to transcend the ego which is the feeling of the separate personal self you have to be well grounded in this reality of time and space.
Thus it is important to develop strong ego boundaries.
You need strong ego boundaries in order to invite the Boundless to flow through you. You are in effect inviting the dewdrop to realise it is the Ocean.
You are the drop, and the ocean
you are kindness, you are anger,
you are sweetness, you are poison.
Do not make me more disheartened.
you are the chamber of the sun,
you are the abode of Venus,
you are the garden of all hope.
Oh, Beloved, let me enter.
The development of the ego is a 1st half of life experience. The 2nd half of life were you begin to drop the ego (“I am”) for the more infinite experience of “I AM.”
Making Your Yoga Practice Spiritual
Yoga is not a workout. It is a work in – Rolf Gates
Spiritual yoga begins when you practice yoga with the intention of giving your life purpose over to Love’s purpose.
To begin with you may not KNOW what that purpose is.
The journey is a journey of unfoldment and revelation. It is the blooming of a flower. You are that flower. Your practice is to trust and allow and have faith in that flowering.
This means you have to trust not knowing. The spiritual journey is really the journey of subtraction. The less there is of the personal you the more there is of the universal YOU.
There is no loss here other than the loss of suffering and separation. At some point you will be graced to declare: –
The Secret of Secrets is Inside Me Once Again – Anna Akhmatova – A Land Not Mine.
You are unlikely to find a yoga class that has as its focus yoga for spiritual awakening.
This doesn’t mean you cannot attend at such a class. You can use the class as a foundation for exploring your spiritual journey.
For others the class can be about fitness and flexibility. For you the class can include fitness for the revelation of Love.
Yoga for Spiritual Awakening Summary
One must learn an inner solitude, wherever one may be ― Meister Eckhart
The essence of Yoga is the journey of awakening. All other styles and paths of yoga can lead to this experience of revelation and liberation which is the purpose of your BEING here.
- Any yoga class of style or path will suffix to begin with.
- Add to this practice the intention of being available to Divine Intention.
- Recognise that at this point you do not KNOW the experience of spiritual awakening (although you may have been graced a glimpse).
- Keep this intention secret. Allow it to flower in its own time.
- Be like a gardener. Tend to the practice. Don’t go looking for awakening experience. When it happens you will KNOW?
- If you THINK you KNOW the spiritual awakening experience, you don’t.
- Recognise that yoga for spiritual awakening is a way of BEING in the world. It is a way of KNOWING you are blessed and can bless (W. B. Yeats).
Spiritual awakening is an experience beyond belief. It isn’t something to be acquired. It is the revelation of the truth of who and why you are.
This revelation will change your world view. It will make you a lover in the true sense of that word. Yoga for spiritual awakening it the greatest journey and the greatest gift you can allow to come through you to bless the world.
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