WHAT IS YOGA? (MUTING THE MONKEY MIND)
Updated: Sep 12, 2020
“Oh, I wish I was good at Yoga,” sighed everyone who has ever unrolled a yoga mat.
What do we mean by that?
Do we mean that we wish we were graceful in Garudasana?
Do we mean that we wish we were limber and lithe in lycra?
Do we mean that we wish our postures were perfect?
Perfect postures and a photogenic physique have nothing to do with being good at Yoga.
Thank goodness, eh?
Actually, Yoga’s first goal is the calming of mental chatter.
Mental chatter disturbs the surface of the mind.
Mental chatter is like waves on the surface of water.
The waves prevent us from seeing below the surface.
Mental chatter is like dust on a mirror.
The dust obscures a true reflection of reality.
Mental chatter - the 'monkey mind' - is a distraction.
A lot of that mental chatter enters the mind via the senses.
So, the senses are a source of distraction.
This distraction prevents us from seeing below the ‘busy’ surface of our minds.
These distractions, this ‘mental chatter’, obscure our inner reality.
Calming the mental chatter, by controlling our senses, removes the distractions.
With the distractions removed, we discover inner peace and clarity.
But what does this inner ‘peace and clarity’ – reveal?
Simple … this ‘clarity’ reveals a clear awareness of our inner world.
Our inner world is our truest reality – our deepest Consciousness.
This fundamental Consciousness is the essence that is ‘You’.
The essence of You is the Self.
The Self is not your personality or your character.
The Self is far beyond such socially-centred assessments.
The Self is conscious of the entire plane of existence.
The Self connects with the entire plane of existence. The Self experiences the entire plane of existence.
In other words, The Self knows the Universe at all levels.
(This might be because, at some point in time, every particle in each of us was connected with every other particle in the universe and carries a ‘memory’ of that connection. Not only does it carry a memory of those connections but it still reacts to them. This concept is related to the theory of ‘quantum entanglement’)
Yoga is both the technique and the result.
Yoga provides techniques to remove the mental distractions that obscure the Self.
Yoga reveals the Consciousness that is obscured by the distractions of mental chatter.
With the distractions removed, the mind is calm. Then, Yoga can connect us to a Consciousness of all existence.
So, ultimately, the result of practising Yoga is ‘union with the Self’.
(But in the meantime, on the way there, being ‘good at yoga’ might be nice too!)