Sunday, 31 May 2015



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, 22 May 2015

Yoga of Freedom

Yoga of Freedom
We all have freedom of choice within the restrictive boundaries in which we find ourselves. The freedom of the Yogi transcends normal limitations and includes freedom from suffering and many of the limitations which restrict his work and life to finite areas of activity. The freedom to which the Yogi aspires arises from the understanding and realisation of what is meant by Self Realisation and the oft repeated phrase Atman=Brahman.

The Atman is a reference to the Self or Soul of a human being in its eternal and highest sense. A question is often asked, ‘Do we have a soul?’ The answer is we do not have a soul, we are a soul.

Prior to the time in which we became aware of ourselves in the individual or self conscious sense that is prior to creation itself. God existed as pure spirit, that is as power unformed and Self aware throughout his eternal being. Hence the word Absolute to express that which is without limit, yet complete in itself.

The soul, which gives rise to a sense of individuation, is a particular area of activity or solo zone of the Absolute, and if it were possible to lose one’s soul, it would simply mean taking away the boundary that separates us from God. To grasp the significance of this is called strong meat as to achieve it requires an act of faith. As by transcending the boundary that separates us from God, does not mean that we disappear but return to the original level of being prior to creation.

The feeling that we have of separation arises, because we identify with our own particular zone of activity, and this is reinforced when we come into contact with other beings or separative zones of action and become drawn into a world of difference and comparison.

The world in which we live is very much a test bed or proving ground for the life of spirit. Spirit is the activity of the soul and the more we become enmeshed in the world of time, the further we move away from free initiative spirit and subject to the reactive behaviour and responses of the world which we have created for ourselves.

The ideal world exists in the mind of God as Truth sustained by love. It is the real without which the world would fall apart and which provides the pattern on which all creative form sustains itself.

Karma is the by product that arises as a consequence of wrong thought, wrong feeling and wrong action. Karma is a bit like the dog which runs out of the sea and shakes off all the excess water from its coat. The shaking or readjustment does not disturb the essential underlying pattern; however, constant sinning, or missing the mark, can disturb man’s underlying unity, resulting in psychological as well as physical problems.

The essential unity that makes life complete is always there and is fundamental to existence, it is the Edenic or Garden of Eden in which there is differentiation without judgement and which existed prior to the fall. God does not judge us as his love is perfect freedom, we judge ourselves through the inner disquiet that we feel when out of phase with reality. It is through inner disquiet translating itself into action that we begin to learn the lessons of life.

It is after tilting at many windmills and falling of our horse many times that we discover that the answers do not lie outside of ourselves, but within our own hearts, where the undemanding truth presents to us a vision of reality.

What has been a vision of reality is not always recognised, even when it has been written down by Sages of the past for the benefit of future generations, as with the ethical observations and observances of Yoga called the Yamas and Niyamas.

The Yoga postures themselves are more than just a means of adopting strange shapes so as to demonstrate ones fitness and prowess but a means of embodying eternal truth by working toward the highest degree of physical health and well being. This requires a high degree of sensitiveness and attunement within oneself in order to bring the body gradually and naturally into correspondence with the eternal.

Prana or Life Breath is the out speaking of the eternal, via the rhythmic sequence of the breath, as it brings life and love to the manifest world. This sequential breathing loses effectiveness with mentally imposed rhythms on the breath. The subtle rhythms we call life rise and fall in harmony with the wisdom that has generated life. All wise and all knowing these rhythms adjust and respond to the medium in which they are working. No two human beings are identical and only sensitive introspection can help us to respond to the healing and developmental rhythms which are perfect to each situation.

Introspective breathing is only possible when we are detached from the worldly aberrations of mind and consciously attuned to the world of free spirit. The withdrawal of the senses which turns the senses from outward to inward is called pratyahara and part of Yogic development and learning to recognise and trust the inmost Self.

The lower mind linked to the senses is useful for storing and collecting information about the world in which we live and is much like the modern day computer to be used from time to time. The higher or intuitive mind is not restricted to time and place and to be able to attune ourselves to its wavelength, we have to refine our whole being from the ground up and learn to quieten day to day thought frequencies and listen to the still inner voice within.

Meditation helps us to gain in trust and recognise the voice of spirit and is the mediation and means by which we can develop a working partnership with the inmost Wisdom and Understanding. This partnership is non restrictive and the inner voice is a still voice that comes to the heart and mind like the reflective light that shines on the still surface of a lake.

We all have freedom of choice, to either choose the wearisome constructs of the lower mind, locked into the time worn decisions of the past, or trust the intelligence of a spiritually awakened heart and mind whose burden is light. Gordon Smith

Friday, 15 May 2015


Appreciation... We rarely appreciate the value of the body that we have, or the difficulties we have subjected it to during our day to day activities. To quote a great teacher Eugene Halliday, ‘to be born into a body is very good fortune indeed, as during this period of modern contraception, it is becoming more and more difficult to get one, so make best use of the one you already have’.
To appreciate the value of the body you have, treat it kindly. When practising Asana, send good feeling into every area of limitation. An ageing body is part of a natural process, so be kind to it by sending good feeling into every area of the body. You are more likely to dissolve stress by cooperating lovingly, rather than exercising forcefully and with a feeling of frustration and annoyance.
Relaxation – during relaxation, take time to send good feeling into your bones, and really appreciate them for the good job they do, gradually extend this feeling into the whole of the skeletal system. Next send good feeling into the digestive system as this can suffer if there is prolonged stress; continue this process to include the circulatory system, pulmonary circulation (heart lung system), and your integument, that is the whole of the skin surface. Finally aware of the whole body as lying within a field of intelligence and peace that cares for you well being at every level.

Friday, 8 May 2015

The Light of God

The Light of God is the Sun’s (Sons) light. From ancient times light has been representative of consciousness, and there is a mystical link between the words Sun and Son. The Sun is a step down transformer of the Infinite Light of Consciousness. When the Suns light touches the earth, it produces many beautiful forms. To those who worship the light of the Sun (Son), it brings new insight, more refinement and a greater awareness of beauty. The light bringer and Sun/Son of God as the Divine Word, orders the whole of creation. We are all aspects of that light and there is no separation at source, and to attack any one individual is to attack the rest. Become a being of light by first recognising the light within and always addressing that light within others. You cannot do better than worship the Sun/Son, whether in the form of the highest intelligence and light source in the sky, or as the Divine Son walking the earth as its physical representative.

Friday, 1 May 2015

Yoga as Worship

Yoga as Worship is a stepping away from the time worn pressures that imprison our lives, into a space in which the refreshing power of spirit is able to heal our lives.
Yoga, whatever method of approach we use, or prefix to indicate our chosen path, the very use of the word Yoga, points to the way, and the letting go of external pressures, and the stepping into a space, where we are able to receive guidance from inmost spirit.

The Yoga mat is symbolic of that space, as it represents a sacred space within which we are able to communicate and ultimately achieve union with the highest attributes of Self.

Hatha Yoga helps to bring into relationship two important facets of our being, symbolised by the Sun (Ha) and the moon (Tha). The Sun is representative of light and intelligence and the moon the physical body, and the phasic nature of our desires and mood swings, as we wax and wane, oscillating between light and darkness.

Taking up a position on the Yoga mat, is symbolic of centring, and moving back from the outer to the inner, and away from the Mental, Emotional and Physical attributes that hold us to the mundane world of time. The Yoga mat reminds us to ‘let go and let God’ and enter into the still inner space, from which we can observe without attachment, all the attributes of the physical body.
It is from centre, that intelligence, unhindered by external pressures, is able to give clear direction, as to the best way forward and enable consciousness to become the guide.
This highest form of worship is the dedication of one’s life to a higher cosmic purpose and a pure form of karma-yoga, in which actions are performed in the spirit of sacrifice. This form of Yoga, in which previous inertia is consumed in the internal fire of spirit, can also be regarded as a form of agni- hotra.

We are all aware when we miss the mark i.e. we take up a posture, half asleep, or push too hard with the possibility of injuring ourselves. For a posture to be worthy as worship (worth-shape), it has to be an expression of the highest level of consciousness or spiritual attunement. At the level of Mind we aim to capture its perfect form (truth), and in the heart the love for that truth, and when taking up the asana it represents the highest level of initiative, that is conscious initiative.

Agni-hotra is a meditation on the sacred fire of spirit and an oblation performed by pious Hindus. To hold a single asana in the light and fire of the true spirit of Yoga is both healing as well as unifying at all levels of being.