The Great and Ancient Secret – Part Four

From Weakness to Strength

If you are to succeed in uncovering the Secret there are certain things you have to recognise about human nature, and why preparation is sometimes necessary.

 Self awareness is an incredibly fragile and new situation in the living creatures of this planet. We are adapting to self awareness from the level of awareness an animal has. As animals we did not have a focussed awareness capable of worrying about success or failure, or how ugly or beautiful we are. Self awareness brings many stresses. If you doubt that look around at how many people break down in our society, or who only manage to continue facing life with the help of medical or street drugs, alcohol or nicotine. How many people do you know who are constantly taking antidepressants? 

Also as a human animal we were not designed to live and work the way we do. It is an enormous stress to live and survive in modern society.

If you don’t recognise your vulnerability and levels of stress you will probably find the expansion of awareness and depth of experience that arises as you uncover the Secret to be intolerable. Your ego or sense of self has to be strengthened.

 I know some approaches, some traditions, give a very simple method for transformation and touching the wonderful freedom the Secret brings. For instance I know a woman who practised Transcendental Meditation for twenty five years and yet had never dipped under the surface of her conscious mind, and didn’t know how to when I sat with her. Of course we have the other end of the spectrum in Suzanne Segal who experienced continuous expanded awareness after using TM. However, Suzanne is an exception not a norm. Uncovering the Secret takes work and as the parable of the pearl of great price suggests, we need to give all of ourselves to it.

 In the recent craze about The Secret, which offers to show you the way to riches and the gratification of what you want, we perhaps see a strange expression of our consumer society where the dream is offered you of instant gratification. Of course, sometimes it is offered at a price. However, my experience of working with many people is that you cannot know the Secret without certain qualities and skills. And the Secret is about a great deal more than gratification of ones ego desires.

 What is Yama and Niyama?

 The word ‘yama’ means ‘restraint’ or ‘control’. This ‘restraint’ applies to rules of conduct. In traditional yoga they are listed as ten in number and are: Non-Injuring; Non-Lying; Non-Stealing; Non-Attachment to Sensual Desires; Non-Attachment to Grievances; Non-Immersion in Inertia; Non-Attachment to Self Interests; Non-Attachment to Conceptions of Self; Non-Gluttony; Cleanliness.

At first these sound like all that stuff in religion about being good – doing the right things. Well, if you take them at face value without understanding things, that is what they would be. But what other way can we see them?

 Well, yama is important because as human beings we are largely the slave of our instincts, emotions and mental conceptions. Members of opposing political or religious factions may fight to the death. This is not because there is a basic enmity, but because neither can let go of their opinions or their social indoctrinations. Remember also what was said previously about being victims. Becoming free of such habitual motives, fears and responses is not done by simply visualising a happy ending or financial success. Facing the internal reservoir of past experience and trauma is not achieved by someone who cannot deal with their own emotions and sexuality, and are the victims of their own urges and darkness. If we lie, we have not the courage to face that which made us lie, and therefore lack the courage to meet ourselves. The desire to injure includes the ability to injure or destroy subtle parts of your own nature that are struggling to be expressed, and so on. The rules are not intended to be merely moralistic, but to awaken latent possibilities within the individual. The Secret is the core of yourself. You cannot get there except by meeting yourself – all of yourself, and allowing it to live.

I agree that is a heavy bundle up there under the definition of yama. But you need to start somewhere, and what you can’t manage at the beginning will gradually become possible as you grow. But do NOT take those disciplines on yourself as if they are somehow spiritual needs. You will not get there by being good and doing all the ‘right’ things. They are simply guidelines, and something as simple as fasting or trying to move toward non-attachment can develop a great deal of personal strength and decisiveness. Believe me, you need to develop some level of strength, otherwise you will run away like a scared child when you start to meet your own inner depths of feelings and the enormity of the being you are. Your ego, what you usually call, self, is a tiny fraction of who you are. If you are scared you cannot let go of your defences.

 But remember, the suggestions of yama are not the Secret. They are only guidelines, and there is an ancient saying that when you look at someone pointing at the moon, do not confuse the finger with the moon. Yama is just a finger.

Copyright © 1999-2010 Tony Crisp | All rights reserved