Friday, 18 December 2015

The Tree of Life

The Tree of Life as a meditation is part of a transformative process of developing a body of light that will provide security in all possible worlds. The Tree starts as an imaginative structure, but will quickly become an established and a reliable guide.

Every being has a Head, a Heart and a Will, which when harmoniously inter-functioning at their highest level, will provide an efficient reference for spirit. When meditating on your internal tree; repeat several times in words “Truth is my Real Nature”, then as a reminder, hang on your tree a Beautiful blue and white crystal.

Next, repeat the words, several times, “Love is my True Nature”, then as a reminder place on your tree a beautiful crystal with a hint of pink that signifies your compassion for all mankind

Next repeat, several times “Goodness is my Real Nature”; the Good is God working in you. Your crystal will have a hint of the Gold of sunlight, as Gold is a symbol of the Will; as it is a Gold that purifies all the rest. Consciously place your crystal on your inner Tree of Life.

This process can continue, by adding to your Tree your most important governing concepts. For example “Happiness is my True Nature”, or re-affirming Christ’s directive to “To Love one Another” until your inner tree is bathed in beautiful crystalline light.


The crystal forms that you place on your tree, transcends the limitations of the images, and at the highest level are the focus of fields of intelligence that will give life and support to those who believe in them. What may start as a meditation on the Tree of Life, will, if your heart be true, become a body of light that will support you in all possible worlds?

WHO AM I?

WHO AM I?
This searching question “Who Am I”, recommended by the Sage Ramana Maharshi, strips away the illusion of the egoic self, and when repeated as a mantra, is like the echo machine, familiar to sailors, which searches below the murky depths to reveal the reality that lays underneath.

Who Am I”, is a direct question that gradually unmasks the false layers of identity, to reveal the true “Self”, the eternal reality that lies within. The non dual reality (advaita), that underlies all phenomena, can be likened to the ocean, without which the surface waves, which come and go, could not exist. It is identification with the surface waves of life that leads to confusion, emotional highs and lows, and the danger of being caught and transfixed by forces outside of ourselves.

Fortunately the road to freedom has been clearly outlined in the sacred texts and spiritual dialogues of the Upanishads, and in modern times in the literary works of Eugene Halliday. In particular his Reflexive Self Consciousness, which is an essential read for all those who seek psychological well being, and spiritual enlightenment. In the longest and oldest of the Upanishads the Brihad-aranyaka the Sage Yajna speaks and says that the Self (Atman), is not this- not this (Neti-neti), (Brhadaranyaka Upanishad, 5.5.15).

To repeat daily, in a spirit of self inquiry “Who Am I”, will bring to mind many attributes, such as one’s own social and economic standing in life, the impressions we have about ourselves, and a constant stream of sense related information. This like the surface waves on the ocean distracts from the underlying reality and hence the reminder, not this- not this (neti – neti).

The analogy of the waves and the ocean is far from perfect, yet it goes some way to representing the continuum of the life-force, as it expresses itself through all animate and apparently inanimate objects, each standing out for a time and creating the illusion of separativity. To experience the wisdom that underlies form we have to place the mind in the heart and experience the source from which everything has arisen, hence the reminder, not this-not this.

Thoughts, habits and desires, have an inherent will to exist, and the more we charge them with energy the stronger they become, until even unwelcome thoughts become difficult to dismiss, invading dreams and creating under currents of feeling that influence every level. Watchfulness and discrimination are two key words during our journey of self enquiry, and we have to be vigilant, so that that the mantra neti-neti, does not lead from one form of day dreaming to another.

We cannot see the world of spirit, but it is ever present, and can be sensed at intuitive levels of perception, such as when we see an object or scene of great beauty, and then realise that to recognise it, it must already exist within ourselves. We are reminded here, of the words of a Father to his Son in the Chandogya Upanishad (6.12-14). “Believe me, my son, an invisible and subtle essence is the Spirit of the whole universe. That is Reality. That is Atman. THOU ART THAT”.

The Atman is both immanent and infinite and it is that in us which knows and has the freedom to make choices. The choices we make, determine the nature of the life we lead and ultimately we cannot blame anyone for what happens to us, as individual choices determine our outcome. True happiness lies on the inside and not on the outside and it is by diving deep within, that we are able to tap a source of wisdom that provides the template for every living thing, and continues to guide each according to their individual karma and the lessons to be learned.

The key to achieving clarity and awareness is a short period of meditation every day, and by enquiring “Who Am I”, this thought will gradually put all thoughts and impressions into perspective and gradually consciousness will become the screen against which all other thoughts come and go.

It is taught that all mantric syllables become more powerful the quieter they become, hence they are first voiced, then whispered, and mentally repeated until only the essence of the sound remains. ‘Who’, may start its life as an interrogative pronoun, but during meditation becomes more subtle, and much like the air flowing through circled lips, when voicing “Who”, there grows the sense of reaching more subtle levels of inflowing energy and consciousness..

Gradually we begin to trust the intuitive response from centre and learn to ‘Let Go and Let God’, by responding to the truth within the heart, and that Self same intelligence, that has developed the flowers in the field, the ability of the turtle and salmon to navigate the oceans of the world. It will also guide man to develop to his full potential, if we would only stop, let go, and listen.


Friday, 11 December 2015

The all pervasive ubiquitous breath



The all pervasive ubiquitous breath reaches from the highest to the lowest, from the basic physiological breaths that help improve the depth and action of the lungs, to the healing and spiritually transformative breath.

Low breathing that is abdominal breathing has many levels of application, from the physiological techniques that help improve the depth and action of the lungs, to the slow regular abdominal breathing that aids the return of the venous blood to the heart with a natural sedative effect.

To help us to understand the spiritual and healing power of the breath, I include a few lines from a book by the Artist and Philosopher Eugene Halliday, ‘Contributions from a Potential Corps, volume IV, page 52’. To quote, THE ATMAN IS THE SENTIENT POWER operative within the single individual, which keeps the breathing process operative? It is the Power that causes the individual to breathe and so to sustain the life functions within the single organ. Atman = Brahman. Brahman is the Cosmic Breather who exists within the universe as a whole and maintains its vital processes.

As EH would remind us, we do not have a soul we are a soul; that is a solo zone of the Infinite Sentient Power of the Universe. It is the soul that clothes itself with the food we eat, until the time arrives when there is loss of interest, even with taking the next breath. The soul enlivens the body with each breath it takes, and there is an intrinsic link between the breath and the intelligent life of the universe.

Sentience or feeling awareness can help awaken the conscious link that exists between the body and the breath. Meditation on the breath helps us to refine and become more feeling aware and bring to light any difference that may exist between the body, and the potential that we have for a perfect body.

This level of intuitive awareness is not a rare phenomenon because how many times have we entered a situation and felt uncomfortable or happy, based on feelings alone. Conscious breathing not only refines this ability, but also makes change possible as consciousness is the catalyst that initiates change.

To make a start, commence with the full breath and to avoid hyper-ventilation, slow the breath and make the breath lengthy and fine, and imagine that light is being drawn in with each breath. The words light and consciousness are interchangeable terms and at times there will be an instinctive desire to retain the breath, to allow time for the healing breath to become more affective. At no time is there to be any strain, or forceful retention, just a natural rise and fall of the breath with brief pauses to aid assimilation of prana.


There is a Buddhist belief that describes creation in terms of crystallised consciousness. This implies that life and the intelligence that organises life is a conscious living process, and that our own refined levels of consciousness can be the means to heal ourselves when out of phase with reality. The energy of the breath can be directed to any part of the body to help promote healing.

Friday, 4 December 2015

Let your eyes see only God

Let your eyes see only God
Then you will see
The unformed
That makes all life possible

Instruct your ears
To hear only God
Then you will hear
That which is of the highest

Touching, feel for inner truth
Each touch reaffirming
The perfect inner template
Of each living form

Refine awareness of taste
Let your tongue
Be a wise physician
Eating only for health

With the breath ever finer
Link the heart
To the Divine nectar
Which a pure life distils
GS







Friday, 20 November 2015

Self Realisation

Self Realisation that comes with the practice of reflexive self consciousness can be likened to the awakening of a new dawn after the darkness of night.

Awakening to the reality of the Self and transcending the limitations that identification with the problems of the material world brings, is not always immediately achievable, as the urgency of immediate difficulties tend to keep drawing us back

There is a subtle difference between observing the world with your physical eyes and its associations, and seeing with the eye of spirit, that is seeing as God sees. Moments of spontaneous Self awareness with meditative reflexive techniques can dispel the illusion that we stand alone.

When meditating choose or visualise an open space and capture with the camera of the eye something to focus upon, then first observing with your mortal eyes, remind yourself that no one else in the universe stands or sits in this exact place, and in this I stand alone. Beauty is a felt experience and it is during moments of meditation or enjoying beautiful moments in nature hat it becomes possible to abandon the particular and merge with the whole experience and become one with the unific intelligence of which we are a small part. It is during these moments that we affirm the truth of the yoga maximum that the Atman (Self) = Brahman.



Friday, 13 November 2015

The Chandogya Upanishad

The Chandogya Upanishad asks the question – Wherefrom do all these worlds come? Then continues –They come from space. All beings come from space, and unto space they return; space is indeed their beginning and space is their final end.


Space is not nothing, as space is another word for spirit and power, that is absolute sentient power, and all things including ourselves, are modifications of that power. Yoga as union is learning to be responsive and guided by the creative intelligence that patterns existence. During our day to day existence we are likely to be presented with problems that are accompanied by negative thought processes. Each thought form in the mind is a package of energy that carries with it its own emotional charge. Thoughts are not simply packaged and confined to the mind space, as they have an energy link with the whole body. This energy link can be either positive or negative as with those who seem to be under a black cloud of despair and the opposite type, who just to be in their presence is uplifting.

The yogi can develop a degree of Self help by becoming conscious of their own bio-field and creating positive gradients in the field, with positive and optimistic thoughts. It is the patterns in the space around a body that determines its form and structure. Not dissimilar to the patterns formed by iron filings in a magnetic field. Self determination is the real meaning of human existence and the choice is ours; whether to be guided by every negative impulse that comes along, or by redesigning a future that has a positive outcome. Feeling is the important link between the Mind and the Will and happiness is the feeling of inner harmony that arises when our inner and outer worlds are in correspondence.


Friday, 6 November 2015

A Mandala

A Mandala is sometimes referred to as a magic circle and the special domain of any particular divinity. The centre point represents immanent spirit or point of potentiality, and contained within the circle can be several geometric shapes or yantra that represent the function of the mandala. A mandala can express the artistic nature of its creator, and can be personal, or highly symbolic; its symbols purporting to transcend time and space, so that the meditator is guided toward universal principles.

A circle helps to focus the mind on the content within it, and the forms, or geometrical designs (yantra) within it, represent a way of looking at reality. These can be simple or complex such as squares, triangles or combinations such as the Sri Yantra, Hexagon and Zodiacal Yantra. Every part is symbolic, such as horizontal lines representing, in essence, female; and vertical lines male. The synthesis of the whole shows the unifying nature of Yoga and can help integrate a body of thought within the psyche of the Yogi

A living mandala can be three dimensional, and held within the imagination; serving as an inner guide and reference point. It does not have to be static and can evolve and change serving and freeing those who meditate, as infinity lies beyond the wheel of life. A mandala transcends the limitations of that contained within it, and if we represent the three parts of man, Head, Heart and Will, at another level it can represent the three aspects of the Trinity, whether Hindu or Christian.

A mandala is more than the domain of a group of dry bone symbols; but rather represents a synthesis of profound levels of spiritual realisation and work done. The beginner may have to rely upon their Guru or teacher to help build a sound logical structure. But the student can make a start by calling to mind any positive experience, such as a favourite location, or positive memory, such as a place of beauty, when the air was clear and the early Sun gave rise to a feeling of hope for the new day.

The way we think, affects the way we feel and this can affect our actions. A positive visualisation creates good body chemistry, and lifts the spirits. Such memories in the form of an inner mandala can guide the energy of the yoga posture; re-energise and harness body energy in a positive and creative way. Meditation can help complete this process and eventually help to transcend the limitations of the mandala, until echoing the words of Shakespeare’s Hamlet; “O God. I could be bounded in a nutshell, and count myself a King of boundless space.


These suggestions are simply a guide, and point to the versatility of Mandala and Yantra. Both represent Love and Truth working together; Love evolves from centre; energising and making real the Truth that is within it. Both exist within ourselves and give both power and form to the chakras. Love works to develop the full potentiality of a being (Eugene Halliday); and Truth the Law of Being gives it form and structure.


This divine marriage between Love and Truth, however we express it, when fully realised, releases a subtle honey, or ambrosia, that transforms the inner experience, refines the energy centres (chakras), and prepares the body for its onward spiritual journey.

Friday, 30 October 2015

The Still Voice

The still voice; is the unvoiced intelligence that arises from within. Although unvoiced it has the clarity of early morning sunlight that dispels the gloom after darkness. It is the same clarity and perception that has given rise to life, but which has become largely obscured due to the activities of private purpose and self-interest. The still voice, is Divine in origin, as from it has arisen a body of truth that forms the inner template that structures and gives form to life.

Nada Yoga, the Yoga of Listening, is a conscious process of separating the illusory from the real, as most of us carry around with us a great deal of unnecessary mental baggage, in the form of unexamined information that has no basis in reality. In order to wipe the slate clean, we have to practise returning to centre, clearing the mind and dropping unwanted thoughts.

With a still mind we gain a clear sense of direction, as by reducing the number of targets to be aimed at we have a better sense of direction. When meditating, let your thoughts drop away like the leaves from a tree at the start of winter. Then with a clear mind start to awaken the intuitional mind, that is the mind of the heart. Feel for the new emerging thoughts that emerge like fresh shoots in spring time. It is a case of off with the old and on with the new, as your inner Tree of Life is refreshed and clothed with the light of truth and a new spirit of optimism.

The Tree of Life has been portrayed as a Symbolic Ash Tree that has its roots in heaven and its branches on earth. This transformation, in which your whole being is nurtured and transformed by the light of the eternal, is one of the highest aims of yoga. In reality there are many steps which ‘Patanjali’ has codified in his ‘Eight limbs of Raja Yoga’. None of these steps are separate from each other as they all flow together in the unifying stream of life.

Each step will be affirmed during meditation, by your still inner voice. This is the guru which resides in your true centre, and which is often obscured by mental clutter. Hence we have the following, taken from page one of Patanjali’s aphorisms of yoga; 1. We now begin the exposition of yoga. 2. Yoga is controlling the activities of mind (chitta). 3. When the mind is controlled, Self stays in his native condition. Translation, Shree Purohit Swami. Published Faber and Faber Ltd.



Friday, 23 October 2015

Hangsa

Hangsa is a composite sound pattern, useful in refining breath awareness and in attuning body and mind to the more subtle realms of spirit; from which all life has had its origins. Hangsa is the phoneticall representation of the mantra hamsa – a swan, literal meaning “I am He”; hamsa is believed to be the natural vibration of the Self, which occurs spontaneously with each incoming and outgoing breath. By becoming aware of hamsa, a seeker experiences the identity between the individual self and the supreme Self. Can also be repeated as so‘ham; when intoning hamsa, the consonant ‘m’ has a nasal resonance, hence hangsa.

There are several legends related to hansa (swan) and sometimes a yogi at a particular stage of development is referred to as a swan, there is also a reference to the goose that has to reach high above the earth in its flight across the Himalayas. Sanskrit is a sacred language, each letter an energy package in which prana manifests in a tangible form. It is by listening to the breath that we discover the spirit or essence of the breath in the form of ‘so’ on the in-breath and ‘ha’ on the out-breath.

Sanskrit is a sacred language, and its sound forms have links with the creative sound geometry of the universe. When repeating words as mantra, the will and motive of the user is pivotal. There are mantras that are applicable to all levels of human endeavour; yoga mantras however, focus mind and heart on the highest level of spiritual endeavour. This is highlighted by the mantra termed Gayatri. It is Om. Bhur bhuvah swah: Tat savitur varenyam bhargo devasya dhimahi Dhiyo yo nah prachodayat. Om. (Translation Ernest Wood’s Yoga). We meditate on the most excellent glory of the divine Sun (or Source); may ‘That’ direct our understanding.

Bhur, bhuva, and swah remind the worshiper that this is taking place in three worlds at once; bhur is the world of time with its inherent karma that keeps calling us back to deal with previous setbacks. The intermediate world, bhuva, is analogous to the higher mind, intelligence, logic and spiritual perception. Swah is the transcendent and heavenly, wherein lies perfect freedom and the mantra hangsa is one of the keys that may help us to achieve that freedom.

Words tend to capture the mind and influence the user within the context in which they are used. Words used as mantra transcend the familiar and have the power to lift the mind and heart into the realm of the spiritual. The following descriptive use of Hangsa may vary tonally for students who have knowledge of Sankrit Euphonics, and as their meditative experience grows.
Calming the breath, helps calm the mind, in preparation for meditative breathing. (Hangsa) starts with a long peaceful inflow of the breath, during which it is felt the breath becomes more refined, as if it were ascending and reaching up toward the subtle realms of spirit. The breath is then allowed to hang momentarily and enjoy a moment of perfect stillness, (the heavenly); the peace and stillness is then allowed to descend with the out-flowing breath ‘sa’ into all areas of the body. The reverse, sohang, can also be used with the returning in-breath before repeating the exercise.

The body is a contested zone between the spiritual and the subconscious in which hidden and repressed energies fight to try and re-establish control; it is not possible to pour new wine into old bottles without running the risk of pollution and being contaminated with the old. There has to be ‘Self’ guidance, periods of rest, which allow time for the transition to more refined levels of spiritual consciousness.

The mantra hangsa leads to still timeless moments that re-fresh and heal, extends the natural span of life, opens the doors to all possible worlds and awakens the wisdom that can help transform this world and ourselves.


Friday, 16 October 2015

Imagination

Imagination during meditation is not ‘nothing’ as it is energy that can be controlled and used in a positive way. Meditation on the forms and beauty in nature can awaken us to the fact that none of us live isolation, and that all function is inter-function. Meditation on the symbiotic relationship between plant and the Sun; even the prolific daisy or buttercup can awaken the intuitive faculty as to the interrelationship between Sun, stars and plants. To help relieve stress or the boredom of being confined to one space, imagine that you merge with the spirit of the wind, and blow freely across vast oceans, dance with the waves, explore new lands and whisper time away among the trees. Then rise high on ascending warm air until you stand at the edge of space and capture the spirit of freedom that blows across the aeons of time and space. The brain does not often recognise the difference between that which is real and that which is imagined. Therefore the feeling of a successful meditation or relaxation can be committed to memory and be recalled to help by- pass the tensions associated with stress.


Friday, 9 October 2015

your inner sense

To awaken your inner sense, and open to the creative possibilities of spirit, practise moments of innocence, by clearing the mind and letting go any feelings of guilt, or any attempts that you have made to be other than what you are. Stand as if before your God, free from all guile and open to the free flow of spirit. Resist all attempts to modify your thoughts or make excuses for failings; so that you may step forward as if re-born, and present yourself to the world refreshed.
Moments of innocence are moments of unclouded free will, of returning to your pure essence, then returning to life and stepping forward, nymph like, as if you had been refreshed by an early morning dew. Returning to moments of innocence awakens your inner-sense and the possibility of being guided by the spirit within, undistorted by false constructs of yourself.


Friday, 2 October 2015

Sat Chit Ananda

Sat Chit Ananda is a reference to a trinity of Being, Consciousness and Bliss, and can be a useful guide for living. Too much Sat carried to extremes becomes saturnine contraction and the forces of gravity that drive toward a centre, it can be the road to hell; hence the well known saying, “Too much work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. Excessive stress in the form of saturnine contraction impedes energy flow and restricts circulation, so that life giving energy is not carried around the body. Sat, Chit Ananda is also an established part of yoga terminology that rolls easily around the tongue, suggesting a harmonious relation between the words and its parts.

To the yogi a Being is a house of sentient power, ideally with all its parts in harmonious relationship, both physically and spiritually. Too much focus on material realism creates barriers through which subtle and developmental possibilities are unable to break through.

Consciousness is the key and is the level of awareness that holds the balance between being and non-being, so that right tone is maintained throughout the body. To whatever level we apply ourselves to the work we call yoga. Sat, Chit Ananda is a key phrase that helps maintain a right sense of perspective; Ananda being the harmonic rhythm that arises when there is mutual agreement between the forces of holding on and letting go, so that life flows easily and in perfect accord.

Yoga is living in the moment and recognising that we are spiritual beings enjoying an earthly experience and that without resistance we cannot develop a form, or spiritual identity, that will carry us from life to llfe. The face that we present to the world is a reflection of who we truly are and often reflects the stresses and strains of daily life. If you do not like what you see when looking in the mirror, do your best to change it and bring balance back into your life.




Friday, 25 September 2015

The “H” breath or Seven Breath


The “H” breath or Seven Breath is so named, as the inflowing breath is a series of steps as if ascending a hierarchical ladder with brief pauses for prana assimilation. The more subtle the breath the better, with each in-breath becoming more refined until experienced as if it were a flow of light and consciousness. It is advised that before practising these subtle forms of breathing that the ethical principles of yoga are firmly established.

This meditational breath starts by breathing in to the level of the Base chakra; with a pause for prana assimilation, the inflowing breath then continues with a brief pause at the pelvic chakra for the assimilation of light and energy. The inflowing breath then continues with similar pauses at each chakra, so that each chakra receives the refining light of the conscious breath.

This type of breathing relies upon the intelligence of the practitioner, as there has to be no stress, or strain experienced during the process, even if this means starting with a fresh breath if there is insufficient lung capacity.

The symbolic Eight Breath, which is no breath at all, is the experience of ‘no mind’ which occurs on completion of the cycle, as if stepping off into infinity and becoming one with all that is ...infinite spirit.


Friday, 18 September 2015

Integral Yoga

Integral Yoga is a term that highlights the holistic nature of yoga, as these days many practise yoga partially rather than wholly. Yoga goes beyond the exercises to promote health and flexibility, to include the well being of all and the planet on which we live.

To live at the level of immediacy so that we act in a way that is appropriate to each moment transcends the automatic level of reactionary behaviour. This means that we have to start to develop a sixth sense so that consciousness becomes the guide. This process starts with the first yoga exercise class, when we discover that our guru (teacher) is on the inside and not on the outside.

Wholeness of being is only possible if we unify the scattered energies in the body by coordinating MIND, Feeling and Will, and not think one thing and do another, as we do when by responding to stray impulses. This means when practising Hatha yoga to visualise the ideal or perfect posture. Then feeling into the whole body, harmonise and energise the appropriate muscle groups, before starting the movement toward asana. This is not running on automatic pilot, but an act of will in the light of consciousness.

Life is patterned by a supreme intelligence that guides the processes of this world and if we can embody this intelligence, we awaken the higher mind and start to will what God wills for us. The Self (Atman), transcends the bits and pieces that make up the lower personality. To be ‘Self’ responsible is to be ‘Self’ response-able, that is able to respond adequately in all situations.

Centring is the stepping back and letting go of the external differences that have captured our attention. It is the return to immanent spirit void of distractions, and which allows us to see clearly the true relationship of each part of the whole. To centre is to step back into the still space and the timeless peace that mirrors the wisdom reflected in each moment. Whether Raja, Jnana, or Bhakti, each is part of the seamless whole, which is yoga.


Friday, 11 September 2015

Shabda Brahman

Shabda Brahman can be defined as the sound geometry that underlies and patterns creation. It is these sound patterns that gave rise to the Sanskrit language and the invocative power of mantra. Sound vibrations that support the natural harmony of the body are conducive to health, and if we were able to listen to the sound of the universe and creation, all the individual sounds would be heard as a unified humming, represented in yoga by the mantra OM.

For the purpose of ‘Self’ healing intoning the mantra OM can be conducive to health, by feeling for the right tone that is conducive to body harmony. Starting at the level of the belly and with good feeling, direct the sound vibrations into this area; helps are abdominal breathing, always with good feeling. The next level is the emotional centre of heart and lungs, with love as the feeling with each sound vibration, helps are mid-chest breathing. Next is the upper part of the body, with relaxed upper chest breathing and in the spirit of truth.


To complete the three levels, sit with head and spine balanced and maintaining spinal consciousness, and in a spirit of coordination intone the mantra OM so that it is felt as a vibration conducive to healing in Head, Heart and Belly. The mantra OM, is to be treated with respect, as it is an early representation of the Absolute, being without limit, yet complete in itself.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Sacred Heart

Sacred Heart
The heart is love’s chalice,
Grail of holy essence
The tender cup
That captures life’s heartbeat

A cup of pure essence,
When, dipped into God’s ocean
Is filled with divine nectar;
That heals and makes whole

A gateway to love sublime,
Its creative healing touch
Beyond words defined.
Yet from which words are born

Words which God speaks
With the gift of eternal life;
Yet love unrecognised, hung there
Sharpened by thorns

The cross a timeless symbol.
Brings love reborn to every heart
The arms of the cross the Sun’s rays
Giving light to everyone







Friday, 28 August 2015

Kriya Yoga

Kriya Yoga is the name given to the actions that purify and strengthen the body, both physically and psychologically, in preparation for the experience of the transmutative life force experienced during meditation and yoga practice. It is called the path of the good son, and referred to by Paramhansa Yogananda, as the Yoga of the householder.

Kriya refers specifically to the last three ‘nyamas’ as duties for everyday life, namely ‘Tapas’ Austerity, ‘Swadhyaya’ Self-Study, Ishwara-pranidhana’ Attentiveness to God. It is the Yoga most suitable for the western practitioner, and was revived by Lahiri Mahasaya who lived 1828-1895, and who was unusual among Indian holy men, in that he had a job, was a family man with children.

Any form of action or kriya, is not a blind re-action to an external situation, but an act of will for the greater good. It can take many forms from politeness to others, a moderate diet, control of the mind and regular yoga practice. Any form of self discipline awakens us to the established inertias that resist change; strengthens our central will, and helps us grow in self understanding. The householder does not live in isolation and has others to consider. They do not live in isolation from the world, such as in a cave on a mountain top. They live in the hurly burly of daily life, which provides the difficulties needed for development.

Patanjali defines Yoga as controlling the activities of the mind; which is quite a difficult thing to do when the senses are pulling us, first in one direction and then the other. To withdraw the mind from movement, and enter the stillness that transcends mental activity, is not abandoning ship, but rather placing oneself in a position of command. To awaken the wisdom mind, is to awaken the intuitive response from our vast storehouse of spiritual knowledge, and to which our thoughts are but the stepping stones.

Feeling is the key to unlocking the intuitive response, after first stilling the mind. A mind that is locked into one thought chasing another is confused by a variety of impulses, and feelings that obscures the clarity that lies within. The wisdom mind arises from inner clarity, and the love that transcends all differences. The techniques of yoga are there to bridge the gap between the lower mind and the all comprehending mind of the Divine, sometimes referred to as the mind of the heart.

Kriyas are actions that purify at every level from the physical to the spiritual. They are pure uncomplicated acts of will that focus heart and mind on that which is essential. Whether asana or pranayama the aim is to make the link between the underlying space (stillness), from which has arisen all movement.

Asana is held against an undifferentiated background of stillness; pranayama is an expression of life force that breathes life into all living things, or remains poised between breaths in moments of realization. It is from moments of stillness that we touch the reality that lies within, and grow in Self understanding. Kriya yoga is not different from Christian yoga as it does not serve self interest but aspires to a level of action as expressed by the words ‘Thy Will Be Done’

The householder, beset by the problems of daily life, through study, prayer or repetition of sacred mantra, refines and purifies his actions. Any form of self-discipline sets the pattern for the future; physical exercise will help to promote health. Actions that are consciously initiated (kriya), transform the spiritual body, so that the psyche or soul, not unlike the transformation of the caterpillar to butterfly, awakens the Self (atman), to much wider and freer dimensions of reality.


Sunday, 23 August 2015

The Old Doctor



Liverpool University’s

Doc the old Clock   (The Old Doctor as featured on Antiques Roadshow)

No Tick Just Tock






No Tick but Tock.

At Midnight’s Eerie Hour

With Time to Spare,

Only Ghosts inhabit there.




How many have admired

Its beauty form and shape; 

It’s Healing Restful Tone 

Much like the Ancient ‘OM’ 



Tock, the moments gone,

His job is almost done.

Doc fills the space between

With healing power supreme.



How many Tocks to come 

With problems to overcome.

Before the Old Clock fades away 

To eventually pass away.

Friday, 31 July 2015

Light, Love, Peace and Truth


Light, Love, Peace and Truth is a summary of the words used by the many that have had near death experiences, ascended heavenward and returned. They are also a summary of the words used by holy men to describe their spiritual experiences. There is no light that is not spirit, light is a vibration of field energy and we are all condensed light, which as pure consciousness provides the clarity that structures life around us. To understand these meta-physical concepts we need to experience them for ourselves.

Consciousness is that level of awareness that perceives the differences that exist all around us. By meditating and stilling the mind, and letting go all impressions (if this were possible), we would not disappear but experience a refreshing and profound peace, and a sense of oneness with spirit. We can either choose light or darkness; darkness leads us to lack of clarity, depression and death. Even during the darkest nightmare, always look toward the light, as even on the darkest night the stars usually shine brighter.


To appreciate the light, set aside a little time each day to circulate the light, allow the light to flow inward through partially closed eyes, experience the light flowing inward with each conscious breath; as light and consciousness are not different. Occasionally retain the breath as consciousness is a catalyst and will help to promote healing. All life is crystallised consciousness and truth made manifest.

When meditating it is possible to use words that remain at the level of intellectual analyses, and still have no real understanding. We have to involve both the head and the heart and let love and light work within. Love is a developmental power that helps us to grow. Love and life are not separate, as life itself is divine love at work.

Eugene Halliday writes in his book The Conquest of Anxiety. ‘We are here in time to choose what kind of being we will to become’. There is a purpose to life, in which we all play a part. and by meditating on the light within, we awaken the intuitive faculty and a sixth sense attuned to the life of the spirit. Meditation provides moments of inner clarity, when we release the chains that bind us to the world of time and receive the intuitional guidance that we need.

To attain the inner clarity that leads to revelation takes perseverance, as there are hidden persuaders that try to control our thoughts and have agendas of their own. With just a little immersion into Light, Love, Peace and Truth, meditation is no longer a trial, but a joyous necessity.








Friday, 24 July 2015

TO BE OR NOT TO BE

TO BE OR NOT TO BE is the question for those who aspire to Raja-Yoga. Will is the law of 
being and when you know yourself as will you are a divine being. Self-rulership is the aim of the
raja-yogi, not rulership from inclination or passing fancy. The Self (Atman), is the spark of divinity within, and responds from within the light of a clear consciousness, and not from desire or limited self-interest. To be a raja-yogi, it is necessary to continuously practise continual Self-remembrance and to live in the present and not be caught by inertia, as each action plays itself out in time. Mathew 6:22 “if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light”; which is to have one aim, to become Self-realised and to Will what God wills for you. To gain the clarity that links each level to the most profound levels of spiritual insight, Patanjali’s Eight Limbs of Yoga, has given us the hierarchical steps, which if we have the will, and a willingness to do the work, will gradually clear the fog of delusion, so that we see clearly and take each next step in accord with the highest.



Friday, 17 July 2015

Yoga Bhoga


Yoga Bhoga is summed up in three words, pleasure, enjoyment and experience.
Taken from my Sanskrit dictionary:-

  1. Enjoyment of the objects of the world through the senses. Worldly experience.
  2. Enjoyment or unending bliss in the state of liberation, according to Dvaita Vedanta.



It may help us with the understanding of Yoga Bhoga if we reflect on the meaning of three words, Pleasure, Pain and Enjoyment. The word pleasure indicates that we are passive to a stimulus that we receive at our leisure. Pain is a unassimable level of stimulus that is unacceptable. Animals are particularly responsive to pleasurable and painful stimulus. Humans, in spite of threat or immediate danger, are more likely to go into a painful situation, if a loved one is threatened, or for the greater good. Experience tells us that pleasure is of limited duration as constant stimulation is no stimulation and in excess can become painful.
The word enjoyment (Joy) implies a degree of Self control as it is the affirmation and assimilation of a situation to which we have directed our attention. Meditation on the breath can lead to the experience of joyful unimpeded motion, by first stilling the mind and letting go every tension that distracts from observation of the breath, until there is the experience of being breathed rather than breathing. This experience is closely akin to the rise and fall of the joyful ananda or life force that undulates throughout time and space.
The opposite of liberation is lack of freedom and this does not necessarily mean imprisonment, it can also mean excessive regulation that restricts freedom of choice. It also has a psychological component as when identifying with restrictive or painful situations; we fall under the law governing those things.
The aim of yoga is to achieve Self Governance and Self recognition, as the Self is the immanent spirit in the centre of every being, which is essentially positive, it is the only absolutely real, and it has no negativity in it whatever and is essentially joyful.
To the yogi, freedom of action does not mean irresponsible action, but intuitive action guided by a source that transcends the limitations of the lower mind. An important Taoist concept is that of Wu Wei, of effortless action and knowing when to act and not to act. Wu Wei can be described as going with the flow, as can be experienced when practising T’ai Chi or when letting the breath rise and fall in harmony with life giving ananda.
Patanjali describes yoga as stilling the activities of the mind, which is not a recommendation to look mindlessly into space, rather to practice Self Awareness, free of the distractions of the lower mind and then to go with the flow, ‘letting’ go of all impedances to harmonious inter-function, guided by the light of truth within the heart. It is at this level of affirmation, that the life of the Yoga becomes a joy and each action affirms and awakens within the soul its eternal body of light and truth.

Against the background of the modern world it is difficult to maintain freedom from distractions and not unlike the seafarer practising close water navigation, there are tides of emotion to deal with and hidden rocks to catch the unwary. We have to be ever watchful and each time we forget our life course, bring ourselves back to freedom that lies within by practising continual Self remembrance.






Friday, 10 July 2015

The Word Yoga

The Word Yoga has a unique significance, and transcends the popular view of many, that it is only a series of exercises designed to improve health. When understood, Yoga can be one of the most important words in our vocabulary, as it is a reference to that which is our eternal reference centre. To discover this inner space, that transcends all outward limitations, is the goal and aim of Yoga. A similar word that carries the same spirit and significance of the word yoga is the word religion, which can also used in the sense of union, as it is defined as binding back to the source.

The words Yoga and Religion by definition are synonyms. However there is a subtle difference in stress, as Religion usually refers to a large and organised pattern of belief. While the Yogi usually stands on his own two feet with consciousness as his guide

The Yogi following a spiritual path, may well accept the discipline of the religious life, while at the same time working to develop his own being to the highest level possible. The Self (Atman), transcends the lower nature or ego, that has only self-interest uppermost in the mind, rather than the greater good.

Pratyahara or sense-withdrawal; literally ‘gathering towards oneself’, is possibly one of the most important next steps in Yoga, as it is a step we take when breaking identification with the objects of the sense world.

George Ivanovich Gurdjieff believed that most of us were asleep and on automatic pilot, and at his Institute for the Harmonic Development of Man. Would occasionally shout ‘STOP’, when his followers would freeze and suspend whatever they were doing, even stopping in mid conversation. They would then observe the real feeling and intention behind what they were doing. Revealing that we are not always awake and being true to ourselves.

The word Yoga can also be an important reminder, if every time that we hear the word, we stop for a moment, and remember the times that we experienced real peace and tranquillity. Moments of being true to ourselves, it can be a useful reminder during moments of forgetfulness, and a catalyst for change when needed most.




Friday, 3 July 2015

Magical Asana

Magical Asana captures the spirit of the living forms they represent. In the early days of the forest people, seated asana gradually evolved to represent the many living forms around them. Such as the Lion (simhasana), the Fish (matsyasana), the Cobra (bhujangasana), the Locust (shalabhasana). Even the ancient and sturdy Indian Plough (shalabhasana) had its representation. Whatever is named has its form and functions; change the name and both the form and function change. For example, the Lion posture can be more than a vague representation of the Lion and when entered into whole heartedly, will capture the strength and courage of the Lion, and provide an energy boost if needed. Likewise the Cobra when invoked can transform a rigid posture into a flexible, mobile exercise with a sense of immediacy, not unlike the Cobra when ready to strike. Likewise the Tree (vrikshasana) is a living entity; in tune with its surroundings and the changing seasons. By attuning ourselves to Name, Form and Function, asana becomes more than a movement with physiological benefits and awakens energies with a healing and transforming potential.