Christian Yoga



Tony Crisp


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The teachings on Christian Yoga that follow are not uniquely my ideas. I followed clues left by disciples from the long past. Here and there in the world’s literature there are fragments and sentences referring to this path. So I pursued this trail as it led into the jungle of ideas surrounding Christianity. I hacked a way through

Chapter One

One of the interesting things about yoga in the West is that from its very beginnings women have played as large a part in its practice and teachings as men. In early Christianity women also played an important role, even though none were listed as apostles. In Acts 1:13-15 this is made plain.

Chapter Two

How many of us have at some time reached a point in life where we ask, “Is this all there is – this depression, this labouring on and on, this struggle, this emptiness at the end of even a rich life? Do we do everything that we do only to have all wiped out in death?”

Chapter Three

If you say to yourself, “I am tired.  I am hungry.  I am depressed.  I am happy,” you are describing the changing conditions of your body and your mind.  But if you say – “I am” – you are describing the fundamental part of you that experiences the changes.  The ‘I AM’ is there all the time isn’t it, behind all changes?  But it is as slippery as an eel to catch hold of.

Chapter  Four

To grasp the first steps in Christian Yoga you need to remember that Christ frequently taught in parables.  Such teaching by the use of analogy and symbols was not limited to the stories told, but was also given via the very events and actions of his life.  In the ancient world, much more than in the world of today, teachings were given in the form of rituals or mystery plays, stories and analogies.

Chapter  Five

There are steps or stages in the discipline of Christian Yoga. The very first of these steps apart from christening, is what might be called The Turning Point. It arises from an unmistakable awareness that something is missing from your life; or it comes because of a feeling arising from an inner sense of emptiness or isolation. You may feel cut off from something you know you should be a part of. Sometimes it arises because you are faced by a great tragedy, a loss or illness confronting you with death.

Chapter Six

The birth of Mary symbolises this change of heart, and the life of Mary shows what can come of it. Mary as an image of your own human situation represents the possibility of a virginal mind and feelings.  Put simply this means that we drop preconceptions, we melt away fixed opinions, rigid attitudes, perhaps through prayer, meditation or perseverance.

Chapter Seven

Depending upon how much you dare to allow yourself to experience what was previously rejected or unconscious, to that degree you begin to find a type of awareness and an experience you had never known before. Overall, this inner life can best be described as a deeper acquaintance with the human condition.

Chapter Eight

There cannot help but be a repercussion, a response in your life to the new energy and potential you are releasing.  This is represented by Jesus going into the wilderness and being tempted by the devil.  It is described in the New Testament

Chapter Nine

In a certain way things never end.  The tree can never depart from its roots.  It still needs the life of the earth.  As strong as it may become there are still tender and vulnerable twigs and buds somewhere on it.  Nothing is taken away, but much is added.

Chapter Ten

Looking back at some of the disciplines of past Christians, especially the ascetics and monastic orders, it is obvious there is great confusion about what opened ones conscious self to the spirit. They often seem, when they describe flagellation and extremes of abstinence, to have looked at the letter rather than the law. In Buddhism there is a saying that there is a finger pointing at the moon, but most people look at the finger and forget that it is the moon that is being pointed at.

Chapter Eleven

The path of Christian Yoga is not simply about being inspired, it is about personal transformation, about giving birth to a new being, about being cleansed and healed.

In the New Testament one of the first things that Jesus does is to heal the blind man. This is an important statement. It declares that the power you open to can heal you. It can make you whole.

Chapter Twelve

The path of Christian Yoga is not simply about being inspired, it is about personal transformation, about giving birth to a new being, about being cleansed and healed.

In the New Testament one of the first things that Jesus does is to heal the blind man. This is an important statement. It declares that the power you open to can heal you. It can make you whole.




Tony Crisp


The teachings on Christian Yoga that follow are not uniquely my ideas. I followed clues left by disciples from the long past. Here and there in the world’s literature there are fragments and sentences referring to this path. So I pursued this trail as it led into the jungle of ideas surrounding Christianity. I hacked a way through, and gradually, with loving persistence uncovered the ancient landmarks of this way. It is a path leading to the Mother Church the central core of human experience, as old as time.

Looking back over the journey, something about it has deeply impressed me. The early Christians discovered something extraordinary. It completely changed lives, healed sickness, made people want to go out and tell others, and in some cases was worth dying for.

Those people expressed what they found in language, and in imagery, that was understandable to them. What they found was something that worked. Just as, in a more recent age, the use of electricity was discovered and applied; and this discovery of electricity was the application of previously unknown natural processes. So the Christian discovery was one of natural processes of the mind and emotions. Unfortunately, as time has passed, the language in which those findings were expressed has come to mean less and less to many people. In fact we may view the statements as perhaps referring to the realm of ‘beliefs’ rather than of practical principles.

What I aim to do in the following paragraphs is to remind you of the original gospel statements, and then try to define them in terms of today’s view of the world, and today’s information about the mind and emotions. For I believe the original teachings refer to an extraordinary possibility in you.

Just as the process of electricity is open to verification with the right equipment, so the extraordinary possibility described by the early Christians is open to verification if you apply yourself in the right way.

Among the written teachings of Christ, we are told he said, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls, for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Math 11.29).

At the time of Christ the word yoke referred to two things.  It was a wooden beam to harness two oxen so they could be worked as a team.  Also conquered armies were made to walk beneath a spear lashed horizontally to two upright spears called a yoke, as a sign of enslavement or subjection.

The New Testament was originally written in Greek.  The Greek word that we translate as yoke is zeugos.  It is also used to denote yoga.  In Sanskrit the word yoga is used as the name of one of the branches of Hindu philosophy.  This system attempts to bring together or yoke the conscious personality with a latent and unconscious level of the mind that releases extraordinary new possibilities.

In Collins Concise Dictionary the Sanskrit word yoga is described as meaning ‘yoke’, while the English word yoke means to couple or unite.  So one can truly quote Christ as saying “Take my yoga upon you, and learn from me… My yoga is easy.”

The beauty of yoga as it has developed in the West, is that each person has the opportunity of releasing or finding their innate and extraordinary potential in themselves in their own way.  Yoga has always been associated with a personal discipline or techniques relating to self-help. So the words Christian and Yoga are here joined together not to suggest that Christians should practice Eastern yoga postures or breathing techniques, or even meditation techniques from the Far East, but to denote a path within Christ’s teachings that is a personal way for each of us to take. Eastern Yoga often suggests a renunciation of self, a killing out of the ego. The Christian Yoga leads to a transformation of the ego, a transcendence of the self, and a new life. Buddhism and many Eastern teachers suggest that life is dominated by pain, and losing or denying the ego gives release. The Christian Yoga says that pain exists because we have not accepted or claimed our heritage of spiritual life, and if we do so we can experience heaven on earth.

Christian Yoga is not Eastern yoga postures or breathing techniques

Therefore, any present definitions of yoga in connection with Christianity must mention not only that it is a way of life attempting a particular discipline (or discipleship), but also that practitioners are not required to join a sect or denomination, or to accept dogmatic teachings. The aim is to open to an influence that can transform and heal. This way of Christian Yoga has nothing to do with the eastern yoga postures, the breathing techniques or the eastern meditations.  I have nothing against these practices, having been a teacher of eastern yoga for many years, but Christian Yoga has its own path and its own disciplines.  It does not need to borrow from the Far East.  I repeat, its aim is quite different to eastern yoga.  Whereas eastern yoga attempts to drop the ego, the Christian path aims at transforming the personality.  Perhaps the very end results are similar, but the way there is different.

This Christian Yoga is described thoroughly in the New Testament when we look at the story of Jesus’ life as an allegory. It is a step-by-step way of transformation and the finding of a new life. As Jesus promised, this ‘heaven’, this new awareness of your life, is not far away. It is already yours if you know how to find it.

Christ is reported to have said, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me.” As already said, “The New Testament was originally written in Greek.  The Greek word that we translate as yoke is zeugos.  It is also used to denote yoga.  In Sanscrit the word yoga is used as the name of one of the branches of Hindu philosophy.  This system attempts to bring together or yokes the conscious personality with a latent and unconscious level of the mind that releases extraordinary new possibilities.” But it is important to note that what assume is Christianity was not what we have now in Christian teachings. For Inhabitants of the Roman Empire had a variety of gods and goddesses but there were people back then who would be considered early Christians. Ironically these people were considered atheists by the ancient Romans because they didn’t pay tribute to any of the pagan gods. But their refusal to acknowledge traditional pagan gods wasn’t the only reason early Christians were considered atheists. These Christians didn’t really practice an organized religion had no temples or shrines and no priests. As a result these people were ostracized from society as salacious rumors regarding their lives would often float around, much like modern Friends/Quaker practices.


Chapter One

Yoga in the West

One of the interesting things about yoga in the West is that from its very beginnings women have played as large a part in its practice and teachings as men. In early Christianity women also played an important role, even though none were listed as apostles. In Acts 1:13-15 this is made plain. It says:

When they had come in, they went up into the upper chamber, where they were staying; that is Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James. All these with one accord continued steadfastly in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary, the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers. In these days, Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples (and there was a multitude of persons gathered together, about one hundred twenty) …

This passage clearly states that apart from Mary, the mother of Jesus, there were other women, and with Jesus’ brothers the gathering numbered about one hundred and twenty. It must be remembered that in this earliest group of Christians there was no organised religion, no creed, and no denominations. They were a hundred and twenty people trying to live in a certain way, and trying to let something very wonderful into their lives. In fact, that original meeting was to allow what, in the gospels, was called the Spirit or Holy Ghost to enter their experience. This influence is at the heart of the Christian Yoga. The words Spirit and Holy Ghost are of course terms used by these ancient people. They may mean very little to a person educated in today’s world unless that person has direct experience. But these words will be examined as we proceed.

It is an unfortunate tendency in virtually all of the world religions that they become very insular and possessive. When people began to organise Christianity, to place dogmas and rigid rules around it, Christianity had the misfortune to be scarred with battles between sects, intolerance of other races and culture, and male authoritarianism.  Nevertheless, I believe there is a real Christian Yoga that stands beyond that, and talks about universal principles. When Newton discovered the process of gravity he did not tell people they could only receive instruction in it if they belonged to a certain society or group. It was a principle universal in nature. Likewise, what the earliest Christians found is in a similar category.

You do not have to believe in and apply a lot of rules and dogmatic regulations described by organising bodies of people to use the principles of electricity.  But many of us see Christianity as needing to live rigid rules and regulations laid down by the organised church. But the underlying principles are about universal processes. Even if we believe the idea of a personal God, it is strange that a being that is said to have created the universe limits any approach to itself to a particular organisation or sect. Strange also that the three great religions who have as their central belief a personal God, and are therefore monotheistic, are often at loggerheads. If I say hello to you, and someone else says hola, and yet another person say buongiorno – we are surely all greeting each other, but speaking different languages. It seems that Allah, God and Jehovah are surely the same thing in different languages.

The Christian Yoga being described here is about universal processes of life, of your mind and heart. If you use these principles certain results arise that you can understand and test. They do not rely on beliefs in standards set by other human beings. The only thing required of you is a sense that underlying your existence is something you do not fully understand. You perhaps need to feel that life itself is a grand mystery that you want to experience or explore more fully. The aim is to open to and explore that Mystery.

Christian Yoga is an ancient path

Christian Yoga has been known for centuries, and practised by individuals and groups who were frequently persecuted by the organised church. In fact, the power and love that touched the early Christians has been innate in men and women from the beginning, and is lying dormant in each of us. We can think of this inner potential as the Mother Church, not built with bricks, not connected with any form of organised religion. We enter it and are transformed by following the Christian pathway, the Christian Yoga.

In this incredible universe there are possibilities that we only vaguely understand – or do not understand at all. In my own lifetime I have seen the emergence of radio and television into an everyday part of most people’s lives. They arose from the use of natural principles that were previously obscure or unrealised. There are also things about the human body, the human mind and soul that remain obscure or unknown for many of us, despite the enormous amount of research undertaken in the realm of physics and psychology.

Christian Yoga is about unfolding some of these wonderful possibilities still latent in you. It is about possibilities so amazing that many early Christians were willing to die in support of keeping a doorway open for other people to claim them. So what are those possibilities, and how can we claim them?


Chapter Two

Is this all there is?

How many of us have at some time reached a point in life where we ask, “Is this all there is – this depression, this labouring on and on, this struggle, this emptiness at the end of even a rich life? Do we do everything that we do only to have all wiped out in death?”

The early Christians said they had found the doorway to eternal life.  They also demonstrated extraordinary healings of body and mind.  Having talked this over with a number of my peers, it has become obvious that there are a few set responses to this in the modern mind.  A few people believe, for instance, that perhaps those things happened 2000 years ago, but those were extraordinary people, and they can’t happen in today’s world.  Others believe that those stories are a sort of folklore or mythology, and must be seen in that light.  Many believe the statements are pure exaggeration made by people who were religious zealots.

Most of us have heard of Albert Schweitzer who went to the Belgian Congo in Africa to start a hospital.  The native people who came to him for help at first were very resistant to his ‘magic’ as they thought of it.  One of his first patients was a tribesman suffering from appendicitis.  Schweitzer anaesthetized the man, cut him open, took out his appendix, sewed him up again and revived him.  All this was done in an old converted chicken house that Schweitzer was using as his operating theatre.  Other tribespeople and the man’s relatives were watching the operation through doors and holes in the roof. They carried the news far and wide that Schweitzer had killed the man, cut him open and removed his innards, then sewed him up and brought him back to life.  He was seen as a miracle worker.

I tell this story because it illustrates the enormous difference in perspective of those tribespeople and of our own.  Describing the event as a miracle and as a resurrection does not in any way change the fact of Schweitzer’s operation on that man.  Neither do the gospel descriptions mean those events did not happen simply because we would not describe them in that way. It is only in very recent years that the medical profession as a whole has acknowledged the link between the mind, emotions, and physical illness.  At one time illness was never seen as emerging from stress or grief. Dealing with these torturous emotions can bring about remarkable physical change.  Although I have quoted this elsewhere, the following story is worth repeating because it illustrates this so well:

Many years ago a woman who could hardly walk came to stay with my wife and I. She hobbled along using two sticks. Within a week, without any treatment, she could walk normally. She told us with great enthusiasm that she now knew what had caused her illness. Three years previously her son had married and had asked if he and his new wife could lodge in his parent’s house for a few weeks while they looked for a house of their own. His mother felt resentful that he and his wife had stayed for years and made no effort to move out. But being a Christian woman she kept her feelings to herself. She ended the story by saying, “Being on holiday away from the situation has allowed me to be free of the resentment, and this has healed my legs. So I know what I am going to do when I get home. I am going to tell my son and his wife to pack their things and move out.”

Taking the path of Christian Yoga can lead to healing of the mind and body.  But perhaps even more important than that, it can lead to the discovery of what at the moment is only a potential within you.  Also, it promises a spiritual life in which you transcend death.

Those are heady claims, and therefore need to be looked at in terms of modern language.

In Christian terminology the word Spirit is used to describe the source of healing and the spring from which the sense of eternal life arises. It is therefore helpful to have some grasp of what this word means in a way we might be able to observe in our daily life. This is said because Christian Yoga is not about things we cannot see or experience in our ordinary everyday life. We do not need to believe in the strange or occult, or even to accept things on someone else’s say so.

Who are you really?

For most agnostics any talk about the eternal in our obviously short spanned life is a sign of mental weakness. They perhaps say, “Point it out to me.” The strange thing is that it is easy to see, but it is usually discounted. For instance, what is it you most closely identify as yourself? Is it your body?  Is your body you?

People can lose an arm, both legs, even mobility, but they still have a clear sense of themselves, of being a person.  Perhaps it is not as easy or as comfortable having no legs, but there is still a strong sense of being a person.

Or maybe you identify with the way you look, your face, your hair or the shape of your body.  But this changes with age, sometimes radically, and old people often say, “Although I look in the mirror and the person I see appears incredibly different to how I looked years ago, inside I still feel as if I am about 20 or 30 years old.”

If you identify your body as yourself, then you are faced by the tragedy of enormous change and the certainty of death.  Even so, up until the moment of your death your body has been eternal.  Think on it.  Your body is the result of two living cells merging and subdividing, and subdividing, over and over to form the mature body.  But those two original cells have an unbroken line of subdivision right way back to the beginning of life.  In that sense you personally have a connection with eternity.  Even the material your body uses in its growth was formed in the beginning of the universe, is from the stars, and is uncountable billions of years old.  So there is another connection you have with eternity. In fact what is there around you and within you that does not involve eternal existence? However, what we focus on most of the time is the changes taking place within this background of eternity.

Again, this is like identifying your hair, your limbs, or your looks as being you.  What Christian Yoga is suggesting is the discovery of the part of you that does not undergo change.

But let us explore this question of what you identify with a little further. Maybe you identify with the way you feel, your emotions, or perhaps your thoughts.  But from one moment to the next these are not the same.  They are constantly shifting and moving, and undergo more variation than your body.  If you identify with your thoughts and emotions you can become lost in their swirling and shifting storm.  Believing you are your thoughts or emotions can be at the root of depression and confusion.

Losing an arm or leg, losing your physical beauty in age, may affect your thoughts and feelings, but those things do not in any way deplete your sense of existing.  So if your body, your thoughts and emotions are not YOU, then what or who are you?  What is it you can most securely identify with?  What is it that is not shifting and changing and capable of being lost?

  1. D. Laing, in his long poem The Bird of Paradise, said that, “The truth I am trying to grasp is the grasp that is trying to grasp it.”

The problem with recognising your fundamental, and perhaps eternal self, is that you are so immersed in it, like a fish in water, that it is difficult for you to recognise. In the Old Testament the following conversation is reported between Moses and God:

And Moses said unto God, “Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? What shall I say unto them?”

And God said unto Moses, “I AM THAT I AM”: and he said, “Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.” (Exodus Book 2 3:13-14)


Chapter Three

Meeting the I AM

If you say to yourself, “I am tired.  I am hungry.  I am depressed.  I am happy,” you are describing the changing conditions of your body and your mind.  But if you say – “I am” – you are describing the fundamental part of you that experiences the changes.  The ‘I AM’ is there all the time isn’t it, behind all changes?  But it is as slippery as an eel to catch hold of.  That is why the discipleship is needed. Instead of realising your naked ‘I AM’ you tend to see only your thoughts and emotions, your changing body again.

This – I AM – survives sleep.  It survives the shifting world of your sensory impressions, your thoughts and emotions.  It is the ever present awareness behind the experience of your life. It doesn’t change with the tides and calamities of events.  This is the rock upon which Jesus suggested building your house, your dwelling place – while your sensory impressions, your thoughts and emotions are the shifting sands he warned against. It is within the awareness of this I AM that the conviction, not belief, in eternal existence lies. It is to the meeting with the I AM that Christian Yoga leads. When you experienced your ‘I AM’ in its nakedness, you KNOW you have existed throughout eternity.  It is not a question of belief, or of being told.  You experience yourself as an eternal being, standing beyond all the shifting winding paths of your body, your mind and feelings.

So, Christian Yoga does not lead to a set of rules, or to certain beliefs, but to an experience.  When you meet that experience you can decide for yourself whether it is valid or not.

Meeting Your Eternal Self

So what is it like to meet this conviction of eternal existence, and what is the value of it? Why have people sacrificed so much for it?

It is easy to see that while you are convinced that your real identity is your body; while you are convinced that your emotions and thoughts are your only reality, you are incredibly vulnerable to uncertainties, fears, dashed hopes, feelings of failure, the emptiness of success and painful betrayals. These can toss you around like a scrap of paper in a gale. They can be the stress that is at the root of illness. Discovering yourself as anchored beyond change is enormously healing.

Although the I AM is beyond thought, beyond emotion and physical sense impressions, and at first appears to be an empty void – the Cloud of Unknowing as an early Christian mystic described it – it is like a spring from which can emerge healing of body and mind, creativity, intuitive perceptions, and all the gifts of the spirit described in the New Testament. (1 Corinthians 12:06-13).

The following dream and waking experience give an impression of what it is like to meet this essence of human life. The dream is taken from the writings of J. B. Priestley from his book Rain Upon Godshill:

‘Just before I went to America, during the exhausting weeks when I was busy with my Time Plays, I had a dream, and I think it left a greater impression on my mind than any experience I had ever known before, awake or in dreams, and said more to me about this life than any book I have ever read. The setting of the dream was quite simple, and owed something to the fact that not long before, my wife had visited the lighthouse here at St Catherine’s to do some bird ringing.

I dreamt I was standing at the top of a very high tower, alone, looking down upon myriads of birds all flying in one direction; every kind of bird was there, all the birds in the world. It was a noble sight, this vast aerial river of birds. But now in some mysterious fashion the gear was changed, and time speeded up, so that I saw generations of birds, watched them break their shells, flutter into life, mate, weaken, falter and die. Wings grew only to crumble; bodies were sleek, and then, in a flash bled and shrivelled; and death struck everywhere at every second. What was the use of all this blind struggle towards life, this eager trying of wings, this hurried mating, this flight and surge, all this gigantic meaningless effort?

As I stared down, seeming to see every creature’s ignoble little history almost at a glance, I felt sick at heart. It would be better if not one of them, if not one of us, had been born, if the struggle ceased forever. I stood on my tower, still alone, desperately unhappy. But now the gear was changed again, and the time went faster still, and it was rushing by at such a rate, that the birds could not show any movement, but were like an enormous plain sown with feathers. But along this plain, flickering through the bodies themselves, there now passed a sort of white flame, trembling, dancing, then hurrying on; and as soon as I saw it I knew that this white flame was life itself, the very quintessence of being; and then it came to me, in a rocket burst of ecstasy, that nothing mattered, nothing could ever matter, because nothing else was real but this quivering and hurrying lambency of being. Birds, men and creatures not yet shaped and coloured, all were of no account except so far as this flame of life travelled though them. It left nothing to mourn over behind it; what I had thought was tragedy was mere emptiness or a shadow show; for now all real feeling was caught and purified and danced on ecstatically with the white flame of life. I had never before felt such deep happiness as I knew at the end of my dream of the tower and the birds.’

Priestly tells us that not only did his meeting with Life itself change his whole perspective, but he knew deep happiness. What he describes is what the Christians called Spirit.

The Meeting that Transforms

The following personal experience happened while fully awake, but it did have powerful inner imagery with it. A group of us were meeting each week in ‘an upper room’ to surrender to the action of the spirit. The week prior to this experience I had been deeply impressed that I had blood on my hands; that I had in some way killed someone.

I was standing with others by the side of a dusty unpaved road. People were excitedly waiting for someone, and I was curious to see who it was.

It was a man, and as he walked the road he saw me and came toward me.

The man was ordinary in appearance, but as he got near to me it seemed as if a great force surrounded him that penetrated me completely. The force was love, buffeting me like waves I could barely tolerate. The man stood before me and took my hands and said, “You are my disciple.”

At this, love so immense touched me that I fell backwards, the contact too painful for me to bear, and the man walked on.

I knew who he was. I also knew, because it was welling up from within me as sure knowledge, that he was the man I had killed. It was his blood I had on my hands. It was his death I felt guilty of. But he, in some strange paradoxical way, was myself. He was the cosmic mystery I have been born as. He was the very best of myself I had killed, murdered. He was my youthful sexuality I had suffocated to death, helped by the tenets of a religion that was supposed to be teaching his way, the way of life, the way of recognising one’s cosmic link. (See Meetings With Christ).


Not only is there a changed perspective of life when we meet the I Am – the centre of your being – not only do we feel a radiant happiness, we also meet love.


Chapter Four

First Steps on the Way

To grasp the first steps in Christian Yoga you need to remember that Christ frequently taught in parables.  Such teaching by the use of analogy and symbols was not limited to the stories told, but was also given via the very events and actions of his life.  In the ancient world, much more than in the world of today, teachings were given in the form of rituals or mystery plays, stories and analogies.

If we look at the path of the Christian Yoga, it starts with birth. In The Bible story, this is the birth of Jesus. That event in the mystery play into which Jesus is born, is also true for each of us.  For Christian Yoga, unlike some aspects of Eastern Yoga, is concerned with the arrival of the individual identity or soul amidst the forces of the cosmos, not with its nirvana or blinking out and melting back into the ocean of being.  So unless there is the coming into being of a living feeling person, an identity that can make conscious choices, there is nothing to work with.  For this reason, whether as a ceremony or as a psychological fact, Christening has always been an important first step in the Christian mysteries or inner teachings.  Particularly in some denominations of Christianity it is felt to be of great importance if a baby is ill, to have it named before, or in case, it dies.  If this were not done, it is believed that its ‘soul might be lost.’

While in Japan I visited a Buddhist temple devoted to aborted babies. Prayers and remembrance were given for them.  So this recognition of the importance of naming and remembering is not limited to any one culture.

Studies of human babies who were lost at an early age and reared by animals, show that even when physically adult, the lost baby never developed a sense of identity or selfhood.  What we call ‘self’ or ‘I’ or the ‘soul’ is not innate.  It does not develop by itself.  In fact it is given to us by other human beings who have attained it.  It is a precious gift, a flame passed on to us by our parents and the society in which we are reared.  Being given a name, taught to speak, and looked upon and related to as a person, enable us to achieve identity. (See Animal Children).

You are the divine – expressed or repressed

With this in mind, God, Christ, the Holy Ghost and the Virgin Mary become definable forces with which we can consciously relate, in and through Christian Yoga.  For instance, when Christ says, ‘Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I” – He is describing the force of collective human love and caring. In other words, Christ is saying, “I am the force generated by people when they unite in goodwill.” It is this transcendental force (it transcends individual human action) that creates human souls by naming them, treating babies as loveable valid beings, and accepting them as welcome parts of our community.  Without that action of love and care, human identity does not properly mature, or take its place in society. In fact without it a person may never develop an awareness of the living process in nature and other people as it extends beyond the narrow boundaries of their own personality and sense impressions. They never develop a spiritual life. So here the word spiritual refers to that which exists as a reality beyond the limitations of ones own personal awareness and body.  Priestley’s dream of the birds was a spiritual experience because he was helped to look beyond the individual life and death of the birds.

But returning to the action of family and society on the growing mind and soul of the child, we can see clearly enough when we look around, that children reared in violent or abusive environments have been twisted or injured. It is therefore evident that the opposite is true. In a loving and supportive environment, a child can grow as a soul until the eternal in it shines through.

So when, as a group we approach the mystery of our own existence, we are the God who creates or destroys human souls.  In this light, Christ is the personification of collective human self-giving and supportive love, the shepherd of individual souls. But of course, Christ is both immanent and transcendent.

This is the very foundation of Christian Yoga; that we recognise our responsibility as a group and as individuals, for the creation of the massive amount of ill formed identities we find in modern society; that we attempt to move toward a more caring and humanitarian world; that as parents or adults, we recognise the part we play in transforming tiny human animals into human souls, under the guidance of Christ, which is collective human love, suffering and experience.  And out of this collective human love and suffering, we create the means of healing the deficiencies we find in ourselves, and in the care and humanity we give to each other.

Therefore, Christening as a ritual is an enactment of a baby being given a name and taken into collective human care, that it may be nurtured into healthy identity.  Christening as a psychological fact rather than a ritual, is our own recognition of that baby as a loveable being, who we agree to treat as a valid individual.  It is recognition of each person’s own unique ideas and experiences. It is an introduction to oneself as a being with a personal will. It is the respect we give to the children and people we relate to.


Chapter Five

How do we enter on the Way?

There are steps or stages in the discipline of Christian Yoga. The very first of these steps apart from christening, is what might be called The Turning Point. It arises from an unmistakable awareness that something is missing from your life; or it comes because of a feeling arising from an inner sense of emptiness or isolation. You may feel cut off from something you know you should be a part of. Sometimes it arises because you are faced by a great tragedy, a loss or illness confronting you with death.

In terms of the Christian story, this first step can be symbolised by the experience of Mary’s mother Anna.  A description of Mary’s parents is not given in the New Testament as it stands, but is found in the Apocryphal New Testament (Apocryphal New Testament. Protevangelion. Hone edition).  There we find the following description:

There was in Israel a man and wife known as Joachim and Anna. Although elderly, wealthy, and giving of their wealth to the Temple, they became ashamed, for they had no child. Therefore, with his unhappiness upon him, ‘Joachim retired into the wilderness, and fixed his tent there, and fasted forty days and forty nights, saying to himself, “I will not go down either to eat or drink, till the Lord my God shall look down upon me, but prayer shall be my meat and drink.” In the meantime his wife Anna was distressed and perplexed twofold, and said, “I will mourn, both for my widowhood and my barrenness”.’

When Joachim had been in the wilderness some time, ‘on a certain day when he was alone, the angel of the Lord stood by him with a prodigious light’ and said, “When God shuts the womb of any person, he does it for this reason, that he may in a more wonderful manner open it again, and that which is born appears to be not the product of lust, but the gift of God. Therefore Anna your wife shall bring you a daughter, and you shall call her name Mary.” Afterwards the angel appeared to Anna his wife saying, “Fear not, neither think that which you see is a spirit: For I am that angel who hath offered up your prayers and alms before God, and am now sent to you, that I may inform, that a daughter will be born unto you, who shall be called Mary, and shall be blessed above all women.”

This story is not being presented as history, but as a parable describing the barrenness you may feel in your life, and the longing and searching that may lead to that first touch, that first encounter with something beyond yourself. This first meeting, this first brush with something living that is beyond the narrow confines of your own personality, may be very small, or very deeply felt.  But as with the story of Joachim and Anna, usually there comes with it an assurance, a sense of meeting something good, something More.  Victor Gollancz describes his own first encounter as follows:

For an hour past I have been the prey of a vague anxiety; I recognise my old enemy – – – It is a sense of void and anguish; a sense of something lacking: what? Love, peace, God perhaps? The essence of my hell was outlawry. By the sin which, as I felt, I had committed, I had broken the links that united me with universal living: I was separate, alone, without lot or part in the everything. I had deprived myself, treacherously, of it: I had deprived it, quite as treacherously, of me.

One forenoon, when my terror and despair seemed to be at their height, and after a total insomnia that had lasted for twenty-two days, and every muscle and nerve ached, I set out for a walk with my wife. We went very slowly along a country lane… About half an hour later we turned, sharply left, into a dark and narrow path that descended: and soon came out into a great open space – a sort of water meadow, with herds grazing, and a high inland cliff just in front of us. There was dappled sunlight everywhere, and a slight breeze. I felt suddenly very still: and then I heard the inland cliff, and the grass and water and sky, say very distinctly to me, ‘A humble and a contrite heart He will not despise.’ When I say I heard them say it, I mean, quite literally, that I heard them say it; a voice came from them: but they were also themselves the voice, and the voice was also within me. I said to my wife ‘The trouble is over’, and that night I slept a little. (Quoted From Darkness To Light, ed. by Victor Gollancz. Published by Gollancz).

This contact, this meeting, comes to us because there has been an inner shift, an inner change of heart.  It is a change from believing there is nothing but your own will, your own opinions, your own power, to that of perhaps uncertainty, or towards an opening, a longing.  If this change has not happened in your life and you wish to practise Christian Yoga, then you need to cultivate the change.  Consider whether your inner condition is one that shuts out the possibility of the human spirit and love. To take the first step, take time each day meditating upon this change of heart. See if you can feel or create this within you.

Some thoughts to ponder that might help this inner shift are as follows.

  • Ask yourself what power you have in the world, and how much control you have over your life. For instance you may be able to decide many of the things you do, but can you make your heart beat and digest your food? What actual independence do you have, considering that you need others to make your clothes, grow your food, build the house you live in, and so on?
  • Do you actually know who you are and from what you emerged? Giving a name to your parents and grandparents is not an answer.
  • Whatever attitude you have to the process of life in creatures and the universe, does it explain all the phenomena that surrounds you? Are you that wise?
  • Practise recognising that your thoughts and emotions never ever reflect reality. At these times remember that if you think of a person you know, your thoughts or feelings are never ever that person. Also, what you feel and think about yourself can never ever be anything more than a tiny fragment of information.  That tiny fragment, if taken seriously, gives a totally distorted view.  To understand and to judge who you really are you would need to be completely aware of all the factors in history, and in the lives of your forebears, and in fact in the development of the cosmos, that led to your existence and to your present situation.  Likewise, when you think about events, people, political situations, always realise that you are considering with a tiny fraction of the information you really need to be wise.
  • Therefore stand with some humility before the fact of your own existence and before the world. That humility may act as a leader to open your heart and mind to something more than you have experienced so far.



Chapter Six

The second step of Christian Yoga is the way of Mary

The birth of Mary symbolises this change of heart, and the life of Mary shows what can come of it. Mary as an image of your own human situation represents the possibility of a virginal mind and feelings.  Put simply this means that we drop preconceptions, we melt away fixed opinions, rigid attitudes, perhaps through prayer, meditation or perseverance.

The story of Mary beautifully illustrates this.  She is a young girl who has just started menstruation.  She is therefore fertile, open and loving.  How much more we can receive from that mysterious spirit of life that is around us and within us if we have an open and loving heart, a love that has unfolded like a beautiful flower toward the unknown mystery that we have given the name of Life or God?  Evelyn Underhill, writing under the name John Cordelier in her book The Spiral Way, has this to say about Mary:

So many had gone up the mountain to that one desired encounter; only to be thwarted by the cloud that broods upon the summit, and hides from human eyes the Shining Light within. The great prophets, poets, and philosophers of the antique world – all these had gone up, all had marked classic moments in the ascent of the race. Then came a little girl, pure, meek, and receptive: and ran easily to her destiny and the destiny of the universe because she was ‘full of grace.’ She held out her heart to the Invisible and in this act flung a bridge across the chasm that separates Illusion from Reality. Mary becomes by this circumstance the type and pattern of each human soul. Consciously or unconsciously, all are candidates for her high office. All, truly can become the mothers of God. (Published by Watkins – See ).

The life of prayer is often spoken of as part of the Christian path.  But prayer can so easily be the mechanical mouthing of certain words, repeated over and over. We may make the movements of our mouth, we may repeat the words, but do we really experience them – do we make them an outflow of a real inner feeling? The great saints of East and West have gone beyond words and ego-directed movements, to the real changing of self. Some of the changes they made within themselves are almost universal.  This is true of the Prayer of the Virgin Soul.

The prayer of the virgin soul

The symbolism of the Virgin Mary, and the many other virgin mothers in the world’s sacred literature, show how universal a realisation this is. But if you wish to practise it, you have to make it an inner reality. In doing so you have to realise that by “inner change” is meant an inner condition, an inner state of being. It is also helpful to understand why you attempt this. It is because, until you clear at least part of your consciousness of preconceived ideas, biases, convictions, rigid emotions, unconscious habits, and so on, you cannot conceive new realisations from your own inner possibilities, you cannot give birth to the awareness of that Mystery that you are, to God. Basically this is very practical. In trying to remember someone’s name you may fail utterly because you are certain it begins with ‘S’ – when in fact it begins with ‘B’. You will never remember the name until you drop your preconception.

So the virgin posture of the soul is an attempt to bring about an inner state, an inner feeling of fertility and love towards your invisible and unknown potential – purity from preconceived ideas – the offering of your whole being as material for your potential to use in creating a new self – the act of supplication in which you let go of your thoughts, emotions and body, so they can be played upon as a piano or organ by Life. There should arise a feeling of warmth toward and desire for the unseen Life, openness to any possibility Life may have in store for you, good or bad, allied with trust. If you have a temperament capable of this, then make it an act of love, a real devotion, approaching ones darling.

When you manage to let go of what you think God or Life is, what you believe yourself to be, or what you are convinced is so about yourself and the world, then you are ready to receive something new.  Then, that divine conception can take place in you that enables the spiritual (that which exists beyond the barriers and boundaries of your own ego) to gain a foothold in you.  Then you become pregnant with new life and eventually give birth to the More of yourself in the way you live and act. This conception and the following birth will become known to you in some way.  It will be felt, or maybe shown to you in a dream.  The following is the dream of a man who for some time had been practising the way of Mary.

I dreamt I was lying in a cellar. I was myself, yet at the same time, I was my wife and another woman I loved. I was in labour, and after a time the baby was born. It was a boy, a wonderful child. The membrane covered part of its face and I pulled it away. The baby then began to breathe, and looked about, fully conscious and very alert. Then, to my wonder, it spoke the name of Jesus, and said, ‘It is gone’.

When asked what was gone, the beautiful baby replied, “The other ego, where has it gone?” I seemed to know exactly what it meant. The baby had been part of the cosmic awareness, of universal consciousness, and was now but a babe; and I said, “The cosmic still exists within you, to become known as you grow”. I then carried the baby from the cellar upstairs, and knew it to be a holy and wonderful child.

Deep within us, when we have opened to God as a virgin, in the cellar or cave of our unconscious, among the beasts of our instincts, and physical energies, the New Life tentatively begins its growth to consciousness, to birth. The star and the stable are the highest and the lowest in us uniting in this wonderful task. Joseph, our intellect and outer creativeness, difficult though he finds it to believe in this miracle, listens to his intuitions and dreams, and protects and cares for the childlike mother.


This new life of the spirit emerging in you, as the story of the Gospels suggest, is just a baby.  It is vulnerable.  It needs caring for and nurturing.  It needs protection against the Herod’s of the world.  It also needs recognition that the Christian drama takes place in your own life, as the following quote suggests.

Though Christ a thousand times in Bethlehem be born, but not within thyself, thy soul will be forlorn: the cross of Golgotha thou lookest to in vain, unless within thyself it be set up again. (Scheffler, a German mystic, quoted from The Perfect Way by Anna Kingsford & Maitland, Watkins, 1923) (See

Some helpful pointers to this inner posture of the soul are as follows:

  • Try to shift the condition of your inner feelings to one of a young and loving girl who is opening herself to the mysterious spirit of Life. In this way you are opening not to the known, but to what is an eternal mystery.
  • Remember that you are an expression of that Mystery, so it is not far off or unattainable; it just needs an open doorway into your conscious life. Open that doorway with some sense of wonder.


What is born this day?

When you open to the Mystery that is the foundation of your existence something happens within you. An influence starts to work in you, and this is often depicted as conception. It takes time for this gentle influence to grow, and this is why pregnancy is such an apt symbol of it.

Evelyn Underhill, ever explicit about the growth of Christ in us, says:

The long strange months of our expectation are over: that hidden certain trust of ours, that joyous consciousness of crescent spirit, ‘our own yet not our own,’ is justified at last. It is justified in the actual outbirth and appearance of that most real and mystic Life; which is so profound just because it is so simple, so far above us just because it is divinely near. Welcome all wonders in one sight, Eternity shut in a span, summer in winter, day in night, Heaven in earth and God in man, great little one, whose all-embracing birth lifts earth to heaven, stoops heaven to earth.

In terms of its symbolism the New Testament is again a wonderful statement of what happens when the divine is born in your life.  Although the newborn Jesus is recognised as a special child, there are still shown to be surrounding doubts, objections and oppositions.  This is the way it will be for most of us.  Because the wonderful thing has happened to us, it doesn’t mean we are without doubts or that we can now see our way clearly.  The growth and maturity of this new path still faces the passage of time and the complications of growth.  There will be times when the light opens and shines in your life, but there will equally be times when the darkness returns and you lose sight of the wonder that is emerging in you.  These are represented by the child Jesus talking to the teachers in the temple, (Mark 2:46), and the doubts of those around him.

Writing about this inner change, Maurice Nicoll, in his book The New Man, says:

The Gospels are from beginning to end all about this possible self-evolution. They are psychological documents. They are about the psychology of this possible inner development – that is, about what a person must think, feel, and do in order to reach a new level of understanding. The Gospels are not about the affairs of life, save indirectly, but about this central idea – namely, that Man internally is a seed capable of a definite growth. Man is compared with a seed capable of a definite evolution. As he is, Man is incomplete, unfinished. A person can bring about his or her own evolution, their own completion, individually. If he does not wish to do this he need not. He is then called grass – that is, burned up as useless. This is the teaching of the Gospels.

Nicoll also reminds us that what we are dealing with here is not the rational organised realm of thought. We are dealing with the Mystery, that which stands beyond what we understand. Therefore we cannot neatly organise it and control it. We must open to it and be fertilised by it or reject it. This is why Mary is shown with Joseph, an old man who cannot understand her condition, but nevertheless supports her.

The next major step of the path of Christian Yoga is that of baptism.

The emerging spirit in you will not take away all problems from your life.  In fact, having let go of your old certainties, your habitual rigidities and beliefs, things will emerge into life that had been buried, held back by the iron bars of your own preconceptions.  They may be painful things, dark things you have harboured at some time.  Meeting them will be your part, your work, in transforming yourself and the world; for some of what you will meet is from the long past and is the burden the world carries.

But you will also release a wonder and beauty you could not have imagined. And along with this will arise wisdom, insights that throw light on things in a new way.

What was deeply buried within you is gradually emerging. The years of maturing have passed. What has been born has grown and become known in your everyday life in some way. This ‘Jesus’ has come from your opening to the Mystery, and it is taking its place in your affairs. For this to have taken place will have required much strength, or the development of much strength. For to surrender, to open oneself to the Mystery is not an act of passive weakness. It means you have found strength enough to stand amidst your own swirling thoughts and emotions, your own doubts and fears, and remain open to what is unknown to you. That takes great perseverance and strength of purpose.

So it is this strength that brings you to baptism. John the Baptist, who through discipline makes straight the way of the Lord, represents this strength. In the New Testament the baptism is described as follows:

On the next day, he saw Jesus coming to him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who is preferred before me, for he was before me. (John 1:29)

‘I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.’ (Mark 1:8)

Now when all the people were baptised, it came to pass, that Jesus also was baptised – of John in Jordan – and praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven which said, ‘Thou art my beloved Son: in thee I am well pleased.’ (Luke 3:21-22).

Although we may have touched that higher Life through our prayer as Mary, it can only enter into our consciousness fragmentarily while we are still largely possessed by our mental, emotional and passionate life. Like the poem, we have to be ‘waiting the Word of the Master, watching the hidden Light; listening to catch His orders in the very midst of the fight; seeing His slightest signal across the heads of the throng; hearing His faintest whisper above earth’s loudest song.’

The fight is our inner turmoil, and earth’s song our sensual impacts. It needs discipline to remain open to God and yet not closed to them, and this is our task.

The ancient mystery of baptism

The act of baptism long pre-dated the Christian community. One can find water for purification outside very ancient temples. Therefore the tradition of baptism is older than the historical Christian church.  It had its ascendance in the love a mother felt for her children, and beyond that the love she felt and gave to other children. Beyond that still, a loving woman might suckle a creature and extend her love beyond the normal boundaries.  She might hold that other child, or that creature, with the same tenderness that she held her own baby.  In such a moment she would know something that was beyond herself.  It is something that flows through all of us.  We symbolise it as the milk, the wine, or the blood.  It is the flow of love that comes from beyond our own small personality.

The urge that enables us to reach out to another person who is not our own kin, or to another creature, is a small awareness of that universal life and consciousness that pervades all things.  It is an expression of the Mystery that we can perhaps never understand, that is Life.

Baptism represents a conscious opening or an introduction to that Life. It is also an entrance into the recognition of the wider family; of that mysterious body we call Christ. We become brothers and sisters in a wider community. It takes some skill to recognise who these brothers and sisters are, and what part they might play in your life.  Calling yourself a Christian does not necessarily mean you have been truly baptised in that spirit of life and love. In fact you might still be imprisoned by attitudes of class, creed, skin colour or gender.

Fundamentally, baptism means a change in the stance or condition of your inner attitudes.  It means relinquishing fixed opinions and having an open mind.  It means opening the doors of your being to new experiences, to new possibilities, pleasurable and painful. It means learning to love without bending others to your will, without grasping them for your own needs. It also means becoming a channel for that rive of Life to flow through. For Christian Yoga does not dangle a carrot of eternal bliss, or the resolution of all human problems. “I come”, the Christ says, “not to bring peace, but a sword…. take up your cross and follow me.” What is offered is participation in everyday life and death in a new way.  We can become workers in the vineyard – that is, co-workers with the processes of growth and evolution in the worlds of nature.

Who will you be?

Which is to be your way though? Is it to be a rigid and uncompromising morality and restraint imposed upon yourself from without? It cannot be this, for Mary is a living open heart surrendered to the invisible. Any rigid morals would close the door to this action upon you. To initiate upon yourself a discipline you have read or been told, even in a holy book, is to believe that you know what is best for you. It is to say, ‘I must do this work, not God. I have grown myself from the womb by my own power, not Life. I know where I am going, and by my own efforts will get there.’ But such an attitude takes us right back to the impotent Joachim and Anna.

Obviously though, without discipline we will be lost. As Kierkegaard says: ‘To tear the will away from finite aims and conditions requires a painful effort and this effort, ceaseless repetition.’ It is this very repetition of will that enables us to follow Meister Eckhart’s message.

“I will give” he says, “a rule which is the sum of all my arguments, the key to the whole theory and practice of the truth. It very often happens that a thing seems small to us which is of greater moment in God’s sight than what looms large in ours. Wherefore it behoves us to take alike from God everything he sends us without ever thinking or looking to see which is greatest or highest or best, but following blindly God’s lead, that is to say, our own feeling, our own strongest dictates, what we are most prompted to do. Then God gives us the most in the least without fail.”

“People often shirk the least and prevent themselves getting the most in the least. They are wrong. God is everywise, the same in every guise to him who can see Him the same.”

John the Baptist is therefore a strange paradox. He is the remaining influence of the Mosaic, self-imposed law of the ten commandments imposed from without, or the Buddhist eightfold path, or the yoga self-imposed disciplines, of self-asceticism. He is our love that impels us to heroic acts of self-denial, yet is not worthy to lift the shoe latchet of Jesus. For while John may pave the way, by working from without, Jesus initiates by working from within.

Up until the point of baptism, what has been happening may be largely unconscious, but baptism represents your conscious self dipping deeply into the experience of the wider life of the spirit – a taste of eternity and its wisdom. It also represents a transition from the body centred life to the spirit centred life. This is shown by the descent of the dove. This new life is described in the New Testament:

For as the body is one and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptised into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free, and have been all made to drink into one Spirit And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it, or one member be honoured, all members rejoice with it.

The choice to make

So baptism is a definite and conscious experience. A man here describes it as he met it in a dream.

The night before leaving home to fly to Australia, dreamt I was looking at a newspaper cutting about a page in size. Near the top left was a photograph of two trees. One was down and the other upright and alive. The feature was about opening oneself to the flow of life. It was presented by an enthusiastic group of people who had a religious approach to this openness. The trees illustrated the ‘dead’ or cut off state of people who have not let the experience of this flow into them.

As I read I realised my experience and theirs was the same, but they brought to it more pleasure, more enthusiasm, more expressed sense of having something wonderful in their life. It helped me feel a greater sense of privilege about my own openness. I saw that each of us have this flow active in our body – causing our heartbeat for instance, but most people never open their ‘self’, their conscious personality to it. The group urged people to be baptised in the wonderful influence. They suggested with enthusiasm that it was worthwhile to surrender to the inner influence.

From this I renewed my ‘pledge’ to this inner life to let it vibrate or flow through me – not by will, but by getting out of the way. It moved through me and touched other people’s lives. I felt wonderful, and this has carried through into waking.


  1. P. Barter, describing his own experience, says:

“Although the vibration resembled the impact of a caressing West wind, there was something more in it, which was other. It made me think of being under water, in a stream that was flowing gently past. At the same time it recalled the mild exhilaration that occurs when one bathes in gentle sunshine. I thought of Wagner’s Rhine music, of the Rhinemaidens beneath the water of that river, and of the Jordan in which John the Baptist did his baptising. And so it seemed that the meaning of this was baptism.” (Towards Subud, by J.P. Barter. Gollancz, 1967)

Baptism as a symbol shows the human identity, Jesus, the Son of Man, choosing to immerse himself totally in a river. Having done that, another power touches his being – the Holy Ghost, and he is acclaimed as the Son of God.  As a human person our area of choice and will is limited, and there are definite boundaries to our awareness.  Although we exist as an integral part of a body, we have very little personal awareness of what is happening at a cellular, atomic, or even organic level.  In most cases we are even largely unconscious of the social forces that gave birth to our sense of identity, and which continue to play upon our being.  Many of us are so unaware that we may even deny the existence and influence of a spiritual force acting upon us leading us to a refinement of the qualities of our soul.

Baptism means that we acknowledge how limited our choice and awareness is.  We admit how little we know about our own being, and we yearn for a fuller participation with the flowing process of life – the river. We open to that flow so that it can cleanse away the dross, and we can become aware of our transcendental life within humanity and the cosmos.

In plain language, and using the Gospels as a guide, John the Baptist represents your willingness to be washed clean by the flow of divine life in you. We each live within possibilities we hardly sense. The openness of the Mary meditation allows such possibilities to become active in your life.  From this arises the birth of a new awareness and relationship with these possibilities. Then comes the conscious willingness to surrender to the process and changes this is bringing about. Out of that you know your own divinity, represented by the descending dove.

The ancient people who wrote the gospels were not ignorant superstitious peasants. They had found a wonder in the realm of human possibility and experience. They had defined psychobiological processes and how to work with them. The details of this they had written in the manner of their times, in symbolic story form. The story is in fact an amazing document describing the hidden processes of the your life and what potentials it has.

So baptism is experienced as a flow of energy, a process working in you that brings to the surface, to consciousness, the previously unconscious pains, resentments, habits and desires, that were blocking the flow of the divine life. This cleansing may be uncomfortable. It is like a river that starts to flow in a dry riverbed. Rubbish of generations has been dropped in the riverbed, and the flow starts to push it away. It is unmistakable when it happens to you. In the terms of today’s psychology this is called self-regulation, but in terms of the Gospels, it is the divine action upon us. And this divine action is not something that happened only to ancient people two thousand years ago. The principles the early Christians described in the gospels are universal processes of nature, open to anyone in any period of history, and from any race.

Here is an explicit description of such action in the life of a man who had experienced the birth of the holy child, and had gone on to seek baptism.

For some time I had been earnestly surrendering my life to the action of God by offering my body and mind in any way. I was feeling very ill and depressed at the time, and longed for healing, but could feel no definite change. Nevertheless I sat every day with a ‘waiting’ or ‘open’ attitude. I deeply pondered the question of how the action of God showed itself. Maybe I wasn’t aware of it. I had noticed that while I slept my body experienced a subtle vibration, like you feel when you put your fingers on a smooth running electric motor; even my wife could feel it if she touched my body. But I could observe no changes in myself from this.

Then one night, B., my wife, got out of bed because the baby was crying. When she had settled I got up and went to the toilet. Just as I was getting into bed again I heard a voice speaking to me. Literally a loud voice came from everywhere around me. It said, “You have asked what are the results of God’s activity upon one – now watch closely.”

This was an extraordinary thing to experience, and waiting for sleep to overtake me again I had a mood of expectation, waiting for something to be shown me.  In the morning I remembered the following dream.

I was in a huge theatre, or amphitheatre.  The stage was on my right.  The part of the play I observed was where the actor walked up to a mirror and looked at himself.  Then somehow the activity gradually began to take place on my left.  First of all an orchestra was playing on a slope facing left.  Then everybody was moving to see a big event that was going to take place on the left.  This was at the opposite end to the stage.

There was no immediate ‘big event’ in my life apart from the voice and the dream. But looking back I can see from my dreams and outer life that an enormous process of preparation was taking place. This culminated in the pouring up from within me of old hurts, such as childhood medical operations, and inflicted traumas. It took several months between hearing the voice and the start of these outpourings. But the result was that healing had begun, and it carried me toward a level of wholeness and a sense of the eternal life, that I had never known before.




Chapter Seven

The Third Step


Step three is a logical outcome of the last stage.  Depending upon how much you dare to allow yourself to experience what was previously rejected or unconscious, to that degree you begin to find a type of awareness and an experience you had never known before.

Overall, this inner life can best be described as a deeper acquaintance with the human condition.  It is dramatically illustrated in Moody’s book ‘Life after Life’ in which many cases of apparent continuations of consciousness after clinical death are reported.  Revived from their seeming death by electric shock to the heart, or other means, the subjects frequently reported meeting a being of light.  This being asked them a question that might be worded as, “What harvest of experience have you brought with you?” In some cases the being then led the person through full remembrance of every event in their life.  During this they felt the impact of seeing where they had withheld love, missed opportunity, hurt others and missed expressing what was best in them.

You need not die to learn the lessons of your own life.  In Christian Yoga you meet your spiritual life because you have let go of the rigid hold you had on our own mind and heart.  Then you come face to face with the universal consciousness of the Christ. In a series of deepening contacts you burst your own previous boundaries of awareness.  Out of this continuing relationship you are led to see the real inner life, not only of yourself, but also of humanity.  You see its triumphs and beauty; you see its poverty and suffering, and you see its fear and courage.  You gradually view the enormity of change you have weathered in growing up, and how many people never manage to mature emotionally or mentally in confrontation with the world.  You witness the struggle of middle age, where you see the end of life approaching, and sometimes hide from it, or attempt to resist it by holding onto the past.  You see the continual war of forces and powers in human society, where people attempt to snare or farm others and enslave their will with threats, promises, fears and other goads and baits.

The changes that baptism brings are understandable rationally if you follow what has been described of the internal, psychological and physiological events that Christian yoga brings about.  To make this clear I will use the analogy of a plant bulb such as a daffodil or tulip.  If you have a healthy bulb that is not yet planted, the bulb can represent potential.  In this case, there is the potential of healthy leaves, a large and full coloured flower, and then fertilisation and the forming of seeds.  But if the bulb is planted in poor soil, if it is injured in some way or attacked by parasites, that potential will not be fully expressed.

If we apply this to ourselves, we each have not only the potential of healthy physical growth, but also that the full flowering of our mental and emotional capabilities.  But there are so many things that can interfere with this.  It is fairly well documented now that a difficult birth can bring about a major block against full expression of the growing personality.  And then there are the many possibilities of pains and traumas throughout the years of our growth.  Only today I received a letter from a woman who is a professional nanny working for a wealthy family with three children.  The parents decided to take a holiday in Italy without their children, leaving the nanny to care for them.  The youngest child, three years old, began to sleep badly and crying often quite soon after the parents left.  The older child of six was okay for two weeks but then started wetting the bed.  The parents made no connection between their absence and the bed-wetting or the child crying so frequently.  Many parents have no idea of how dependent their children are upon their presence.  So they would never consider absence would create a trauma.  But these are the possible events that together create a series of blocks against the expression of our own potential.

These blocks in fact create something like a dam behind which lies an enormous amount of mental and emotional energy.  When, through beginning to melt away the emotional, mental, and attitudinal blocks through taking on the posture of the virgin, a massive flow of energy starts.  This is what causes the shaking, the experience of vibration, the flushing out of past traumas reported by the people quoted above.

Having this type of living inner life is not always comfortable.  Neither is adolescence, but do you wish to remain a child?  The pleasure of it is the sharing of the labours of life in the garden where life grows souls. For in some degree you become a worker in that vineyard.  Besides which, having the privilege of being near the Master not only breaks our heart, shattering the brittle casings we may have guarded it with, but it also fills us with the joy of that wider life that the Christ is. The following dream told by Peter expresses something of this wonder.

I was walking out of a town. It felt like the end of the world, or the end of society. I was walking through lots of churches standing empty on a hillside, surrounded by grass. There were all types, strongly built but empty now. I walked past a married couple who were walking up the hill too. As I passed I heard them say something about a shepherd. Looking up the hill I saw the sheep, then The Shepherd. A beautiful aura of many colours surrounded The Shepherd. I looked and felt joy and exuberance rise in me, and I ran to the couple saying it was THE Shepherd. When I stood with the Shepherd I felt love and wonder in a way I had never experienced before. I had never met anyone who, just standing near them filled me with awe, and a sense they were more than human. I fell on my knees. I couldn’t help it. Peter M.

Of course, there are hesitations and stages to meet on this journey. One of them is the decision of whether or not to give ones whole life to this impulse. Andrew describes this in the following way:

I was searching, in meditation, to experience what was central in me. This led to the great question,  “What is the life process I am? What gives me awareness?”

The feelings and images that arose as I began to explore this were of me as a person living in a world in which there is a huge organisation or ‘company’ that influences everything and everybody. My question of what was the centre led me to sense myself as someone considering whether or not to join this massive organisation. At first my feelings were that if I did I would be another cog in the huge machinery of its massive workings – perhaps like a worker in a huge government office. I felt threatened by this, as if I would lose my identity. But the organisation would not go away simply because I tried to ignore it, so I decided I would join. What other option was there if the Company, Life, was everywhere?

Still feeling a bit threatened I met the manager – not God – but someone experienced in the place. He welcomed me and assured me that there would be no attempt to take away my identity as Andrew. In fact it would be useful to the organisation if I continued to live and work in my accustomed manner. The only change would be that I was given a gadget like a bleeper. It represented intuition. Through intuition I could link with the Whole – the united being of the organisation of Life. This link would guide, not control, my individual activities to help me harmonise with the overall working of Life. This felt wonderful, so simple and clear. Behind the smallness of my personal being lay the immensity of Life, of which I was a linked part, living my individual life yet working with the whole.

At this point in your growing awareness of the divine in you, you might think, ‘This has arisen from myself. I am doing this.’ You are wrong.

Or you might say, ‘This is God’s work, its influence is completely beyond me.’ You are wrong. This is from your own self and its influence is completely beyond you!

People then ask, ‘Am I doing this, or is God doing this to me?’ the answer is ‘YES.’


Chapter Eight

The Wilderness Years

There cannot help but be a repercussion, a response in your life to the new energy and potential you are releasing.  This is represented by Jesus going into the wilderness and being tempted by the devil.  It is described in the New Testament as follows:

And Jesus, being full of the Holy Ghost, returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being forty days tempted by the devil. And in those days he ate nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered. And the devil said to him, ‘If you be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread.’

And Jesus answered him, saying, ‘It is written that man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’ And the devil, taking him up into a high mountain, showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.

And the devil said to him, ‘All this power will I give you, and the glory of them: for that is delivered to me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If you therefore will worship me, all shall be yours.’

And Jesus answered and said, to him, ‘Get you behind me Satan: for it is written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve’.

And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said to him, ‘If you be the Son of God, cast yourself down from here: For it is written, He will give his angels charge over you, to keep you: and in their hands they will bear you up, lest at any time you dash your foot against a stone’.

And Jesus answering said to him, ‘It is said, You shall not tempt the Lord thy God’.

And when the devil had ended all the temptations, he departed from him for a season. (Luke 4:1-13)

Everything new is confronted by the old.  In our everyday activities habits serve us well.  Without them we would not be able to stand, walk, or talk.  Some habits we have created simply through repetition, such as those in learning to ride a bicycle or drive a car.  But some have been etched into us by great pain, by punishment and reward, or by the enormous pressure of social opinion and peer pressure. The outcome of all this is that we respond to the world and to our own urges and perceptions in particular or predictable ways.  These responses are not necessarily well thought out.  They may not serve us well.  How often have we heard of a person making the same mistakes again and again; or of a man or woman who consistently fall in love with partners who are apparently trying to destroy them?

Therefore the temptations described in the New Testament are subtle commentaries on the habitual responses that often arise out of our own inner darkness and pain.  If not that, then they have arisen out of perceptions of the world that tell us there are no living connections between ourselves and other people, between ourselves and the rest of the universe.

The Personal Desert

In 1927 Buckminster Fuller stood on the shore of Lake Michigan contemplating suicide. He said to himself: ‘I’ve done the best I know how and it hasn’t worked.’ He was still grieving the loss of a daughter who had died five years earlier; his business had just failed. He was penniless and 32 years old. He wondered how he could support his wife and newly born baby, but, after struggling with his despair for hours in the dark and the freezing wind, he decided to live the rest of life like an experiment. He wanted to discover whether the golden rule of life was dog eat dog. He would find out by seeing what could be physically demonstrated. To free his mind of conditioned thinking and reflexes he stopped talking for a year because reading  Korzybski had convinced him that language structures caused conditioned associations or mechanical reactions that lock us in fixed perceptions. When he began to talk again he refused to use the words up or down, because there is no up or down in the universe. He also saw, as one of his insights gained through experience, that the golden rule was, ‘If I worked always for others and only for all humanity, I would be optimally effective.’

Buckminster Fuller went on from there to design the Dymaxion House, which was mass producible; the Dymaxion world map, which is the only flat map with hardly any distortion; the Geodesic Dome; the Floating Breakwater, and to become one of the world’s great prophets of a sane, human future, coining the phrase ‘Spaceship Earth.’

Bucky Fuller managed to step out from behind his habits, his conditioned responses, and create a new life.  In fact from failure he managed to express his amazing potential and leave an indelible mark in the world.

The shore of Lake Michigan was Bucky Fuller’s wilderness.  It depicts exactly the situation we will each meet in our own way at this stage.  The wilderness confronts us with a choice.  On this stretch of the way you will have experienced for yourself the realisation of eternity and the recognition that your thoughts and emotions can never encompass reality.  Therefore any sense of failure you might have, any rigid judgments you make about yourself and others, any belief you entertain that money and power alone will give you happiness or wholeness, can be seen as illusions.  The problem is that old habits, old responses, will tempt you to follow these illusions because for all your life they have been what you have taken as truth. So the choice is this; will you follow your old habits and your old illusions, or will you trust your sense of the eternal and your awareness of the life beyond the paradox of right and wrong, good and evil?

Trials and Difficulties

Another feature of the wilderness is that you feel you have touched the heart of things, and although you have had an experience of being part of everything, there is now nothing.  Perhaps the events that have led to this point have been extraordinary in their intensity and variety.  You may feel you have made the great Voyage, travelled a wonderful Odyssey, and yet at the end of it what is there to show? Where is the Golden Fleece?

This is a difficult time.  There aren’t many wise words to say about it, it’s just has to be lived through.  But it does seem to be a time of adjustment.  Up until the wilderness the transcendent, the divine, always appeared as something external, something you might achieve or reach one-day.  Then, on meeting it, it disappears.  At least, it disappears as an external, as something separate.  The adjustment then, is one of recognising that what appears to have been lost is a part of ordinary everyday life, and the moment-by-moment contacts and relationships you meet. What you had as an apparent external reality now needs to be roused and seen as yourself, your own potential.

Another thing that may happen is the falling away of many ambitions, activities and directions, that previously seemed very important.  Perhaps they were important enough for you to believe that without them life would be meaningless.  But here they are dropping away, and you may feel very confused.  The confusion arises because the activities were connected with a belief you had that the activities or directions made your life worthwhile, that through them there was something you had achieved or could be proud of.  As they drop from your life you may be left empty-handed, and with the feeling that you are achieving nothing, going nowhere, losing power.

You are in the Middle of Things

Yet, as your expanded awareness has shown you, you are in the middle of things.  There is nowhere that you are disconnected.  Your life has meaning simply through existing.  Yet why aren’t you being used?  Why are you wandering alone in a wilderness?

Those questions have to be answered by you.  For how are you going to reconcile timelessness with the passage of time?  In your time bound world every day, especially every year, must be filled in a way that satisfies your own perception of achievement or power.  But yet, as someone close to me once told me, “Your life is just a gap in eternity.”

The following is the dream of someone passing through the wilderness:

A few nights ago I dreamt I was with a group of people walking in very dry, desert type countryside. It was like I imagine Egypt to be – or as I saw Israel. We were walking somewhere quite purposefully, but I was not aware of where the goal was. I was caring for a younger man who was not mentally alert, or at least appeared to need looking after. Our path took us into a rock tunnel cut into a huge rocky hill. The tunnel was large and with a well-worn path, and with enough height to easily stand. It was dry and comfortable. Deep within the tunnel we entered a huge cavern that spread for over a hundred yards to our left. The others in the group were ahead of us and out of sight, but the young man and I stood and looked at the cavern that was not at all dark or dismal. What was so remarkable was that on the floor of the cave, entirely covering it were thousands of shoes. I knew a race or tribe of people who had been on a great exodus had left them. They had left their homeland and travelled through this tunnel. The shoes had been left as a sign of the great journey, the great change they had undergone – as if they had left all behind. I felt it had happened long ago.

In exploring this dream, the dreamer said:

I realise this dream is about my readiness to move on. I am ready to make this change. I am ready to let go of the past – I need help to unburden myself of all I have been – like these other people have with their shoes. The past is so powerful though. While we are still living in the old country there is still the sense that we can make reparation. There is still time to change, to make amends. One is making reparation by staying. But when one decides to leave – then I am faced by the finality of what I have done, and that it may never be undone.

I have mourned at that grave so long though. I have wept so many tears over it, to remain would be sickness. There are few tears to shed now, they have fallen in the past. There are regrets, but they are regrets that are not binding me or keeping me in the tomb. So in this way the cave is like the tomb one dies in or is resurrected from.

So now I have the feeling that although I am ready to move on I am in a state of preparation – getting my bag packed, putting my kit-bag/rucksack on. I have left my shoes in the cave, paid homage at the shrine of the dead or the past. I have what may be an old pattern emerging though. In looking forward to change I keep expecting something amazing to happen.

The change is that I have made up my mind not to go back into the old rigid roles of trying to live in a particular way – trying to be something in particular – struggle for recognition and make a name for myself.


Chapter Nine

The Whole is Greater than the Part

In a certain way things never end.  The tree can never depart from its roots.  It still needs the life of the earth.  As strong as it may become there are still tender and vulnerable twigs and buds somewhere on it.  Nothing is taken away, but much is added.

So it is with your own growth.  You still remain a vulnerable human being, and yet so much is added that mitigates your tenderness.

The Human Spirit

Through Christian Yoga you gradually come to recognise that your Spirit is the central fact of your being.  Through the awareness of this you arrive at a greater personal peace, and harmonise with your innate nature, without having to join any sect or give yourself to a rigid set of beliefs.  You may also meet and converse with the master, and receive the teachings at first hand.

Achieving this means that you have transcended your own previous state of awareness.  When you transcend your own needs, your own biological, social, sexual needs, and reach across what may be a huge gap that separates you from another being, you change something in yourself.  From the most ancient of times some men and women have done this to extraordinary degrees.  Just as society has built physical and sociological structures that have evolved into what we can see and live within today – for instance we live within this body today that is a physiological structure gradually developed over millions of years  – so, behind that is another structure brought by these extraordinary men and women.  Like our body, like our language, like the social rules and attitudes we live within, this other structure is built out of thousands of lives and endeavours.  As with language it is the accumulation of an unimaginable synthesis of human feeling, action and thought. We have this heritage of extraordinary human action. It is the spirit we open to when we accept baptism. It is the gift we are offered by proxy at christening. It is represented by the blood of Christ.

The mystery of you

This is so important it needs to be made very plain, otherwise you proceed along this path of Christian Yoga in a fog of misunderstanding. Most of us now understand that the body we inherit from our parents is the result of the physical and mental characteristics of countless forebears.  Your physical body, and who you are as a person, have not arisen from a vacuum.  The details of this are becoming more and more understood as thousands of researchers dig deeper and deeper into the mysteries of the genetic code.  But our science has been sadly lacking in helping us to understand what is meant by the human soul, and the human spirit, and unless we have some grasp of these we remain vulnerable in our journey towards a fuller spiritual life.

Just as the human body emerges from immense past action and experience, so do the intangible aspects of your own personal awareness and mind.  As already mentioned in previous paragraphs, without your relationship with parents, family and the people around you, you would never have developed the ability to speak and think.  The language you inherit, like the body you inherit, is the result of enormous human experience, thought, struggle and sometimes bitter hardship.  That immense gift comes to you through your relationship with those around you. But there is another gift that arises with barely any awareness of its impression upon you.  This is the gift of behaviour, or more precisely, behavioural responses.  From the moment you are born, perhaps even prior to that, you are learning, or there are pressed upon you, responses to what you are experiencing.  The culture you are born into is a huge ready-made set of behavioural responses.  For instance, an Australian aborigine would easily respond to a huge living grub/caterpillar by eating it.  This would be a very difficult behavioural response for most Northern Europeans or Americans.

Without knowing it, without thinking of it or being aware of it, when we make decisions or choose directions, or simply decide what to eat, we are drawing upon our own massive behavioural pool.  That may appear to be basic psychological insight, and you may wonder what it has to do with the human spirit.  Perhaps you will have a clearer view of this if you consider just for a few moments a little of human history.  Remember the immense bloodshed, the torture, the constant conflicts between different nations and religions, the struggle of countless individuals to survive, to care for their children and those they loved.  As was said earlier, your behavioural responses do not emerge from a vacuum.  They emerge out of history.  What you do today has its roots in what took place yesterday – even in the long past – as it says in the Bible – unto the third and fourth generation. And those roots are passionately feeding upon those past struggles, the past triumph, the times of transcending evil and war. If you do not understand this, then you do not understand the human soul.  You do not understand yourself, and the passions and pains you are moved by. For the human soul is that great pool of inherited human experience and responses, only part of which you recognise and call your own – yourself. In fact your soul is the part of that grand inheritance that you recognise and are aware of.

Bathing in the ocean of Life

Beyond that lies the human spirit.  To arrive at a glimpse of this is a little more difficult than understanding the human soul.  The problem is that we live our lives virtually unconscious of what moves us, and the subtlety of our own motivations.  Perhaps we can have some understanding of this if we have travelled widely.  Many of the things we do in our daily life are, as said, done completely unconsciously.  If we have the good fortune to live for a while in a totally different culture, sometimes we are made aware of things about ourselves we never previously noticed. (For instance in Thailand it is very bad manners to sit at a level above the head of the family you are visiting.) So, perhaps you might be able to accept that there are things you do, the whole broad sweep of your life, maybe arising out of subtle things within you that you are presently not aware of.

All of us, in fact, are living deeply immersed in the influence of the spirit.  The directions, the difficulties, the triumphs we achieve, arise out of our spirit.  This spirit that guides us and we are immersed in unconsciously, is the essence, the distillation, of all life experience. This essence, this distillation, when we meet it is experience as a great ocean of consciousness that we merge into, losing a sense of boundary, of ego. Or sometimes it is felt as a dropping away of your boundaries and a realisation with wonder and love that in reality you are this ocean of life.

With a little self-observation it becomes fairly obvious what part language and behavioural responses have in your life.  With training you can become more fully aware of how and from where these arise in you.  The impress of the spirit is subtler, but likewise with self-observation it can be experienced.  Meeting the spirit is a profound experience. It is this meeting that is the aim of Christian Yoga. It may be a very personal meeting with Christ, or it may be an opening to the vastness of the spirit in a less personal way. Whatever it is, you will know your life is more that your body, more than the smallness of your personal experience in this one life.

But to grasp what it is before you meet it is akin to a person born blind trying to grasp what light and colour are. We understand things because we experience them. Of course we are constantly experiencing the spirit, but we are so immersed in it we fail to ‘see’ it until the coverings fall away. It is what remains when physical sensations, thoughts and emotions drop away. It is naked awareness – consciousness without the clothing of thoughts or imagery, or sound or smell. Sometimes one arrives at it while practising relaxation, meditation or prayer. Deep relaxation can uncover it occasionally because your personal awareness drops away until, occasionally, it is as if you fall into sleep with a spark of awareness. Then, in that place, you lose any sense of your body, and all thoughts melt away. All that is left is an ocean of living awareness, that you know in some way has always existed through all time. You experience a sense of being in the timeless and universal essence of life.

The Time of Becoming

Although there are stages in your flowering; although there are experiences you pass through, like the cleansing and the wilderness, all this comes about because you continue to remain open to that invisible yet felt influence that came to you when you dropped the preconceptions and limitations of your mind and heart. Out of this emerges the potential being you held within you from birth. This flow is continuous if you remain open to it. The following account describes a meeting with this power, and what can come of it.

I felt as if I were falling down a long hole, like Alice in Wonderland. The observing part of me understood that I was dropping backwards through my whole life. At times I seemed to bang into things, or bump off things, and these were the painful times in my history. At one point I wondered if I were experiencing some sort of healing regression, but I only touched the events of my life as I fell back.

Eventually I came to rest. It was wonderfully peaceful, and even my thinking had stopped. I didn’t have any feelings of having a body or shape. I simply existed. Again the observing part of me wondered if this was the womb, but it quickly became apparent, or I knew, that this wasn’t the womb, it was the basic level of my awareness, how it felt to be before thinking and speech. I began to feel afraid as I realised that if I dropped any further back I would cease to exist. Then I knew the fear was unnecessary as every time we go to sleep we drop back into the condition where we lose any sense of personal existence, yet we emerge none the worse the next day. So I let myself drop.

Suddenly I was aware that something held me. It was the process that had grown me from seed in the first place. My ego had not created me or grown me. But now this deep part of me was unfolding me again, like a plant opening. I felt it was the very source of life itself, and it cared for me and had grown me from a tiny seed in my mother’s womb. I guess this is what people call God, and I understood that we each have this force at our centre. As I watched it working in my body and life, I had a clear sense of it communicating with me. I understood from it that if I opened to it each day, if I surrendered to its action each day, then it would grow me to a fuller life and realise itself in me. Things, qualities or talents would unfold as I was grown. This felt like a holy gift, that the mystery of life would live in me and know itself in me, and when this happened others would find shelter and strength in my life.

As this account suggests, you must remain open to this influence from the core of your being. If you do, then there is a flowering of things that were latent in you, and eventually the mystery at your core will know itself in your life. You will wake up to the mystery you are. It is this that the gathering of the disciples suggests. It has the double meaning of following the impulse of that love and unfolding that is emerging, the discipline or training of that – and also the emergence of the various aspects of you, the disciples.


Chapter Ten

The confusion of discipline

Looking back at some of the disciplines of past Christians, especially the ascetics and monastic orders, it is obvious there is great confusion about what opened ones conscious self to the spirit. They often seem, when they describe flagellation and extremes of abstinence, to have looked at the letter rather than the law. In Buddhism there is a saying that there is a finger pointing at the moon, but most people look at the finger and forget that it is the moon that is being pointed at.

In the case of disciplines necessary in Christian Yoga, the method is secondary to the aim. Rebecca Beard, who was a regular medical doctor, but became a healer recognising the place of the spirit in the sick persons life, says of this discipline:

The noon meditation was difficult for many reasons. I found it difficult to sit quietly while the potatoes burned. A friend lived with us who did some of the cooking. When she put the potatoes on and forgot them, I could hardly resist going to the rescue when I smelled them burning. To be able to say, ‘There are other pans; there are more potatoes; there is only one kingdom of heaven; seek ye the kingdom of heaven; seek ye the kingdom FIRST’ was real discipline.

To understand the place of discipline on this path, you must remember base principles. It is the ‘discipline’ of the Virgin Prayer that allowed the birth of a new sense of the divine, of the wider life. Nothing you could do can MAKE that happen. You open by dropping preconceptions, rigid opinions, fixed ideas or beliefs about God or yourself, and trust the Mystery at your core to do its work. What happens is a natural process of growth and unfoldment. You can help it by remaining receptive and observant, but you cannot create it yourself by effort or force.

Unfortunately a great deal of information about being ‘religious’ or spiritual suggests that it is only by being ‘good’; by following certain rigid moral principles; by controlling appetites and desires; by killing out any sign of badness in you, that you can attain real spirituality. This is a completely false direction, a sort of cul-de-sac of your potential growth.

Do you have to be ‘good’ to reach heaven?

When a baby grows toward childhood and youth, we feed it with nourishing food, with a variety of experience and opportunities to explore possibilities. It learns to walk as it’s body and mind become capable and interested in walking. There is no need for punishment or huge processes of discipline to make this happen. The same with learning to go to the toilet. Although many people try to train their child to use a potty, the child will do this quite naturally as it matures to the point where it is easy for it to control its bladder and bowels without enormous stress and fear of not pleasing its parents.

The unfoldment of your potential does not come from ‘self-development’. It emerges as it is allowed to grow. The evil or darkness in us falls away because the beauty and ease in you grows; because you grow in wisdom and insight, not because you forcibly control yourself to be different.

However, this attitude of allowing growth needs to be balanced by another. Sometimes we are so controlled by fears, by habits, by anger and bitterness that we cannot allow the inner growth to start or continue.  A man’s dream illustrates this:

I was in a prison cell with two other men. We ate, slept and defecated in the cell. I was standing at the bars of the cell, and had the impression of having been in the prison for years. I was shouting and cursing the people who had put me in the prison, full of hate and self-pity. Suddenly I realised that my years of shouting had availed nothing. The only person who was upset by it was myself. I was the victim of my own anger and turmoil. I dropped the attitudes and was free of them. Years went by and one by one I dropped other habits of emotion and thought with which I had trapped and tortured myself. I realised I could be totally free within myself.

One morning I woke and sat up on the mattress on the floor that was my bed. The last ghost of inner entrapment fell away. A fountain of joy opened in my body, pouring upwards through me. So intense was it I cried out. The cellmates called a warden. They stood looking at me as I experienced a radiance so strong I felt as if I must be shining. I was aware my joy poured into them, although they thought I was mad. Nothing would ever be the same again.

The discipline of self-awareness

There was a discipline involved here, that of recognising what held the dreamer prisoner – anger, fear, resentment. The joy was there all the time. It didn’t need to be developed, just released. This is a subtle point, the difference between trying to develop ones spiritual joy, and allowing it to emerge. It is a point that needs re-evaluating again and again.

Here is another dream illustrating the sort of situations we might need strength to move out of:

In my dream I was watching a man who insisted on living in a small stable like room that was foul with his faeces and urine.  He wouldn’t go out or clean it and his clothes too were filthy.  He wouldn’t be helped, but blamed his condition on anything and anyone but himself.  As I watched though, he came to the point of accepting responsibility for his own condition.  He came out, and we then happily asked if we could put his clothes in the washing machine.  He started a new life.

The dreamer says of his dream:

As I explored my dream I saw that it is a frequent factor in people to need a problem to stimulate us to activity.  But I saw/felt an attitude I had in which I loved to have problems or shit.  I saw that again and again, when talking to people I would describe this shaky condition I was in, the problems I faced, the difficulties I had.  For instance, I might say, “It’s OK for someone like you, you’re not so anxious.  You didn’t have such a bad start.  You have more money.  You have more luck on your side, etc, etc.”  I just revelled in the shit.

Looking at my dream helped me see that I use this defense because I am anxious life or people will ask something of me.  If I have a nice problem, I can run back and hide in it.  It helps me escape the necessity of saying, “What you are asking makes me feel anxious.  I’m afraid I might fail.  Don’t ask me for love or help, it frightens me.”

The task that Hercules faced, of cleansing the stables illustrates the same human difficulty – moving out from the muck that traps or holds us. Hercules diverted the river, and the power of that cleansed the stables. Likewise, the flow of life, or spiritual energy flowing through you by opening to it, has a natural cleansing effect. But you might need to do some work on unwieldy parts of yourself to get that action flowing.

Have you got it – or has it got you?

Firstly, we cannot let go of something and offer it to the spiritual action if it has hold of us. If you have a tiger running around your house you would avoid it at all costs unless you had a way of immediately being in control of it. So it is with your own fears and pains. Unless you can stop their attack, you avoid them, run from them, and in fact let them unconsciously control your decisions and actions. Of course, you need help and a greater power than your own conscious resources to totally grow beyond such fears and pains. But often you cannot even open yourself to that greater influence while they have a strong hold on you. Without knowing it you resist the action of the divine in your life.

One of the simplest ways to begin loosening the hold such things have on you is daily meditation. There are so many methods, and in one way it doesn’t matter which one you use as long as you understand what the point of it is.

If this is explained you will grasp what is meant. So, for the sake of the explanation, let us say that each day you spend half an hour sitting and quietly looking at a blank sheet of paper or a white wall. You are not trying to get anywhere, reach any higher state of consciousness, or achieve a goal – just looking. Quite soon you might get restless, you mind will wander. Perhaps on that first day, or on subsequent days the question will arise as to what the point of this is. Maybe you still remain sitting, or you give up and go back to watching the TV or reading a book, or visit a friend.

Well, what has happened is that as you sit and look at the paper without goal, all the things that usually have a hold on your decisions start to come to the fore. They will attack your awareness. They will do this again and again, getting stronger and stronger. But if you quietly continue they will cease to trouble you. They have lost their hold on you, and now you have a hold on them.


Chapter Eleven

Healing of the Blind Man

The path of Christian Yoga is not simply about being inspired, it is about personal transformation, about giving birth to a new being, about being cleansed and healed.

In the New Testament one of the first things that Jesus does is to heal the blind man. This is an important statement. It declares that the power you open to can heal you. It can make you whole.

This possibility of healing does not need to be argued. It has proven itself uncountable times. However, if you are one of the unfortunates who are trapped in a view of the world in which such healing cannot take place, you may need some sort of proof, and some guidance as to where to look for such proof.

Kathryn Kuhlman held regular non-denominational healing services at Carnegie Auditorium in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Seven thousand people crowded in regularly. The sick were carried in helpless on stretchers, and many walked out. The maimed were healed, the dying given life. Take Paul Gunn, for instance; his case is on records at the Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh. When he was dying of advanced cancer of the lung, he attended a Kathryn Kuhlman service, and says, ‘Suddenly the power of God came down. It hit me and just for an instant the sensation of burning fire in my lung was more intense than it had ever been before. And then it was all over – just like that.’ Back at the hospital fresh X rays, lab tests and bronchoscopy showed no cancer whatsoever.

Kathryn Kuhlman often asked the vast assembly of people to concentrate their love and prayers on just one person. Considering that we create much of the physical world, our body included, with the power flowing through body, mind and emotions, think of what is happening when 7,000 people all hold one idea for one person. The so called solid physical reality metamorphoses under the impact. (See: The Kathryn Kuhlman site.)

What happened to Paul Gunn was an immediate healing. This has happened to thousands of people all over the world when they opened to that unlimited power underlying your existence. But even if in your own case there is not an immediate healing, there can and will be a slower miracle when you open your life and being to the spirit.

Do not be hesitant about seeking this healing and wholeness. It is offered to you as a gift. It is given free when you seek your place in the scheme of things and are willing to become a part of that great body of Christ.

The healings described in the New Testament are true both physically and psychologically. The healing of the blind man represents not only the possibility of physical healing, but also the healing or removal of those things that blind you to your true condition – to your true place in the scheme of things – to the wonderful possibilities that are latent in you.

From Death to Life

When Dr. Rebecca Beard experienced a heart attack, she was told by fellow doctors that the next attack might be the last. In her book Everyman’s Mission she describes what happens as follows:

When my colleagues – I being a doctor – said to me, ‘You must put your affairs in order, for you cannot hope to go through another heart attack and live,’ I was brought to such an extremity. There was nothing more to be done. There was nowhere to turn. Yet, when I sought help from another source, I was moving into unknown territory.

Up to that time I had faith of a kind, but like a great many people today who have been educated in material science, it was faith in an intelligence which gives rise to order and dependability of natural law. Whilst I knew that behind the everything was an unchangeable power and intelligence, I had not come to a place where I could actually touch that power intimately. Only when my physical need became desperate did I begin my outreach for this same power which I felt, instinctively, must be integral in the spiritual world.

It was very difficult. Everything I had tried to do seemed to be ending in a blind alley. I cannot say that I prayed for healing. I prayed for deliverance. As I went down on my knees for the first time in my life both figuratively and literally, I asked for contact with the order which I felt was in the universe about me. I needed an immediate awareness of the intelligence responsible for that order. I wanted the comfort and love and a sense of being cherished and cared for. Whether that contact brought life and strength back to my body or whether it took me on into further expression in another life did not seem much to matter at the time.

I had a deep sense of the on-goingness of life. The vehicle through which I was expressing might change, but I felt life itself would go on. I had a sense of its continuity – that it is always moving on, never stopping. So my plea was, ‘Either take me out of this expression which I seem to have snarled up so pitifully and put me into a fresh expression in which I can at least begin with parallel threads in my loom, or in some way, which is beyond my comprehension, untangle these threads and let me start afresh here.’

The illumination that followed was so profound that for hours afterwards I was scarcely aware of my surroundings. I could as easily have been transported to another realm as to have been there in the room that was familiar to me. Everyone had left the house for the day and the night. I was alone and uninterrupted. There was nothing to disturb the long silence and the almost unconscious state in which I struggled towards an unknown source of strength.

At first as I knelt by my bed and looked at the wall before me I saw a black cross outlined there. It was terribly black; there was no light in it. But as I groped and asked, light came into that cross, and it was not light similar to the light of combustion. It was not a flame. I recall clearly that the outline of the cross was never blurred or indistinct as flames would have blurred it. Nothing leaped over the edge of it. But it was white with a whiteness I cannot describe for there is no whiteness that I know that is like it. It was luminous and it was alive, but it was not fire or flames as we see them. Nor was the illumination only a visual thing. The change from black to light still stands as a symbol to me of the change that comes in people through conversion or through physical healing. It is a change from negative to positive, a change from the blackness of despair, frustrations and helplessness to the revelation of light in life, a glimpse of the reality – the real life – which is behind the observed life.

“Before morning came, I managed to get up and throw myself on the bed. I was there all the next day. I knew I was healed Moreover, I knew that the rest of my days would be given to witnessing to that light and to that power which was able to untangle the threads I had snarled and bring them again into order. See: Everman’s Search

Dr. Beard was healed of her physical condition and her blindness to the possibilities resident in everybody.

Any act, thought, emotion or passion out of harmony with our own wholeness is a form of sickness, or contributes toward it. When the Light begins to flow through us more freely, our real experience of healing and teaching takes place. For every healer is also a teacher; and every teacher worthy of the name is in some way a healer. I mean by this that if we become more whole, even if we do not stand on the street corner and preach, we are a living example and an influence in the lives of others.

Preach to the Poor

So the ‘gospel is preached to the poor’, if only to the poverty within ourselves. The poor are those who lack Life, are without or incapable of Love, and have no Power to grow in spiritual stature. The poor are the people who bemoan their fate; or those who can see nothing beyond the material objects of the world; or who feel life lacks a purpose and a wonder, for they are all without spiritual riches.

The ‘broken hearted are healed’. Jesus within tells us that only when we rigidly demand that love must come to us from one person in one way only, do we experience pain and desolation in our relationships. The sensualist may demand love must come only through the physical sex act; the heart-centred person may demand love must come only through the affections, and through just one person of their choice; the intellectual may demand that love must be a shared experience of ideas and concepts. In this way they shut the door to their own wholeness.

Love can come from a child reaching its hand to us. Love can flow between two lovers, skin to skin, wet with their own exuberance. A dog’s shining eyes call out love to us if only we listened. A flower casting its perfume on the air – authors giving themselves to us in their words – an artist, a musician – all creators, shower us with their love in their own reproductive acts. A husband who stands and irons, or holds the baby, is giving as much love in their own way as the one who caresses the breast. The teacher loves us by being there day after day.

So too the dentist, baker, doctor, coal-man, they all give us as much love as they are capable of releasing and we receiving. We only lose our loved ones in death by insisting they must love us exactly as they did before.

But Christ shows us how to open our being to Love as it exists in all its phases. Jesus ‘preaches deliverance to the captives’; for are we all not captives of social rules, fears, environment, education and the many other prisons?

The ‘blind are healed’, for we may be blind to the fact that Life constantly upholds us. We may not be able to see the wonder of our birthright, and our destiny as God’s children.

Sightless, we will deny that a great love and life are behind the entire visible universe. Blind, we may treat people and animals like ‘things’, ‘objects’, denying they have the same Life in them as we have in ourselves; denying they have the same feelings, destiny, awareness and need for love and encouragement as we have ourselves, in whatever degree they now show it.

The inner Light sets at liberty those that ‘are bruised’, for the events of our life, and the pain, or even agony, we may have experienced, often imprison us. Jesus heals these pains, releasing us from the influence of them. He preaches the ‘acceptable year of the Lord’, showing us that NOW is the time to claim our heritage; to start our journey from the swine pens to our Father’s house; to lift up our hearts and rise to our own possibilities; to yield to God’s influence.

What of the great healings? Are we all to be healed of leprosy or fever, as was Peter’s mother-in-law; paralysis; palsy; a withered hand; an issue of blood; deafness and dumbness; or to have demons cast out and be raised from the dead? Yes, we are.

Leprosy is our unclean lusts and desires, our thoughts full of filth. Such filth and lusts are only misplaced life energies. Earth from which wholesome food grows, is called dirt when it gets in a wound. So our emotions and thoughts, when used in the wrong way, or out of harmony, are capable of giving us an unclean soul. Jesus heals by denying nothing, but giving each its place.

A fever is our emotions when we live at ‘fever pitch’. It is the inner heat of passion and feelings when these are self-centred rather than self-sacrificed; when we are impatient and judging. They are the great burning emotions we have blown into a furnace from an ember by nursing our wrath; grieving an injury; magnifying a slight. Christ heals by bringing a wider view to our life, and showing us the result of our actions.

Paralysed by Fear or Despair

To be paralysed is to be unable to act or move in life because we have a guilt, shame or conscience that paralyses. Not realising or wanting to accept how we relate to the Life force, our actions against others, in word or deed, literally wound ourselves. The attitude of mind we use to hurt or speak ill of someone acts as a block to the flow of our own life stream, paralysing many of our functions. ‘For whatsoever ye do unto one of these, ye do unto me!’ The emotion we wield to injure another, turns in on our own life-giving stream and likewise wounds it. Thus Christ heals by saying, ‘Your sins are forgiven you – or – take up thy bed and walk.’ Life itself is the only thing that can forgive us the injury we have done it – and Christ in us is the mouthpiece for its love and forgiveness of us.

Palsy is a symbol for a disturbance of the natural function of the life stream in us. Such movements occur sometimes when a past event has shocked or hurt our nervous system; or when we have held on to a grievance from being deeply hurt or shocked physically and emotionally. The act of holding on to our hate, malice, or judgement of someone who has caused the injury or was not there to comfort us when we needed them, cause the pain itself to become built into our soul. This pain disturbs the action of the life stream in its normal expression as love, sensation of well-being, physical strength, creativeness and spontaneous inner wisdom. Similarly with a withered hand, for this represents our inability to act creatively, or to give and share oneself with others – to give others a ‘hand’ that supports, encourages or carries their load.

Maybe our physical hands are fine, but how are the hands of our soul?

Many of us may also have, within our soul, an issue of blood. To bleed is to lose our life fluid, our physical life. To bleed from our soul is to lose our life force, in this case from the genitals, through misuse of sexual feelings, or of the creative function of childbirth. To give ourselves sexually when our inner feelings tell us to refrain, or to use abortion as a means of killing Life in us expressed as a baby, is to wound our soul and cause it to bleed. But Christ comes, as he says, not to condemn but to redeem. Not for the saved, but the sinners.

Most of us too, are deaf and dumb. For though God speaks to us in our dreams, through our sense of beauty, through our love, the seasons, plants, and all visible creation – and if we are unwilling to hear him calling us through these, he yet speaks to us through men who witness God’s presence in their own experience – through books, music, poetry and all our devices, yet we shut our ears. And if we do hear, we often choose not to act as yet another voice through which God can sing and talk.

Can you deny that your soul is sick unto death? Does it not have many of these soul sicknesses, or perhaps even more? Is your soul even dead within you?

God Speaks to You – Can You Hear?

A woman, told that God speaks to us through our moments of uplift or beauty said, ‘But I never feel that way.’ When streams of living laughter, wisdom, beauty and creativeness flow through us, our soul is alive. Lacking these, our soul is indeed dead, and Christ can raise it from this death even as was done with Lazarus.

Even if your inner voice shouts within you that Love, Light and Life can transform and heal your being you may prefer to believe otherwise. Yet you do so despite the failure which the worldly life demonstrates every day with its criminality, wars, dissatisfaction, meaninglessness and destruction. You are truly, like so many of us, deaf, dumb and blind to the proof God gives us every day. As soon as you allow the inner Light to illuminate you, all this can be changed, sometimes in the twinkling of an eye.

Starr Daily, a convict who discovered this for himself, the hard way, says:

I recall a time when I was being held in jail on suspicion of burglary. For two days and nights I had been subjected to ‘third degree’ police methods in an effort to torture a confession out of me. My head had been beaten with a rubber hose until it resembled a huge stone bruise, swollen beyond human shape, my face black from the congealed blood beneath the surface. Lighted cigars had been pressed against my flesh. I had hung for three hours with my wrists handcuffed over a hot steam pipe. My arms had been twisted behind me and my elbows beaten with black jacks until the bones felt crunchy. Heavy heels had ground my bare feet against a concrete floor.

On the third night of this I was at the end of my endurance. Again I was dragged into the torture room and sat down within the semi-circle of twelve big detectives. My previous sustaining energy of hate and anger had dwindled into a dull sense of indifference. I was alarmed at this new state of affairs. For I had learned that pain could easily be assimilated if sufficient hatred could be thrown against it. I did not want to weaken. Death was preferable. But could I stand the pain without the sustaining force of hate?

‘You’d better open up and come clean,’ the Chief informed me. ‘If you don’t you’re gonna get the works. You understand?’

“I continued to sit in stoic silence, expecting the worst, and wondering if I would be able to take it. It was the showdown. Unless I broke, my life was not worth a dime. I knew this as two of the detectives stepped toward me. Then a strange thing took place in my consciousness. All hate and anger were gone. The vague sense of indifference vanished. And in an unbidden instant, there welled up within me an overwhelming compassion for these men, for their pathetic ignorance, their undeveloped souls, for the pitiful condition of their minds and hearts. And as this strange sentiment reached a high peak of intensity within me the Chief spoke, and what he said constituted a minor miracle.

‘Don’t hit him again’, he barked, ‘take him back.’ I was returned to my cell, and for the remainder of the night was under the care of a doctor. The next morning I was transferred to a private hospital, where I lived for three weeks. Every day a number of women came to see me, bringing flowers and other gifts. It was all quite mystifying, and the nurses’ guarded explanations did not clarify the mystery. These women were the wives of city detectives. I could not figure the thing out. I was only a friendless, unprotected criminal. They had no reason to placate me with gifts and attention because they feared what I might reveal. I was told not to worry about anything, that all bills would be paid. Nor was I returned to jail on being discharged from the hospital. Instead I was given an envelope and told that I was free to go. In the envelope was no word of explanation, only five crisp, ten-dollar bills.

It was not until twenty years later, twenty years filled with crime and punishment, that I was able to see through this mystery, and to know the power, because of which my life had been spared and this odd consideration shown me.

What was it that finally showed Starr Daily the power of Love? It was Jesus! He says:

I re-entered prison for the third time with sinister ideas. Three times I tried to fight my way to freedom. The first two times were of the ‘lone wolf’ variety; the third involved group action, destruction and physical violence. Our plan was to cause a mob riot and during its height to seize the deputy warden as a shield and hostage, then under threats of death force him to give the order that would open the gates.

The plot was discovered and I was sentenced to the dungeon. The average time for a strong man in ‘the hole’ is fifteen days, at the end of which time the doctor ends the sentence. This time came and went. Finally, I collapsed. I seemed to be sustained by hate alone as I lay inured in the lowest hell earth had to offer.

Yet as I lay near death on the icy floor of the cell, a strange new thought came to me. I realised that I had been a dynamo of energy in everything I had done. I began to wonder what would have happened if I had used my powers for something other than destruction. It was to me a completely revolutionary thought!

What then followed is difficult to describe. I first began to dream disconnected dreams, and then they took on meaning. These dreams were the same I had as a child – beautiful dreams of Jesus Christ, the man I had tried to avoid for many years. He paused near my side and looked down deep into my eyes as though he were trying to penetrate my soul. In all my life I had never seen or felt such love.

Then I seemed to see all the people I had ever injured directly or indirectly, or who had injured me. I poured out love to them which seemed to heal their hurts. Then we were in a great auditorium and I spoke of love to all the people. I seemed to be assuring myself at the same time that I was awake and that I would never forget these words flowing over my lips.

When I consciously returned to my dungeon environment, the state of my mind had completely changed. The cell was illuminated with a new kind of light – the light of my own redeemed eye. Before that experience, I was a callused criminal; after it I was completely healed of my criminal tendencies! As a result, the prison doors swung open five years in advance of the time set for my release. (From Love Can Open Prison Doors by Starr Daily.)

This Light, Life and Love that heals us is everything that sentimentality is not. In its practical application love is as precise and scientific as mathematics. Without it there could be no universe, no cell, no organisation of any kind. Because love is the only integrating power in existence. It is all that can establish order out of chaos – or maintain order in chaos.

This is the power that can enter your life to heal, and flow through you to teach.


Chapter Twelve

Stop feeding the pigeons


The great yogi Ramakrishna illustrated this with a story. He said that if you feed the pigeons every day, they will come in greater numbers. But if you stop feeding them they will gradually give up flying around you and all will be quiet. He described the pigeons as the thoughts and worries, fears and pains that we constantly feed by giving them attention or being directed by them.

In a similar way, the apparently meaningless meditation stops feeding the pigeons of worries, fears and the other urges and irritations that usually control us.

Another approach to this method of gaining control over anxiety, irrational urges and moods is something that was originally connected with the chanting of hymns and prayers. It was thought that this slow measured chanting brought peace and transformation. Recent analysis of breathing rhythms as they connect with anxiety states, suggests that slow breathing or breath holding decreases the influence of anxious states. So the underlying influence may arise from breath holding or regulation, rather than the sounds. Certainly the discipline of slowing the breath brings about the same results as the meditation, but is possible a more potent method.

But remember that these methods are only a finger pointing at the moon – they are not the moon. In other words they do not lead to the transcendence possible through allowing the divine to be born in us. They are simply techniques to help us open to that Mystery, and remain fertile to it. They are means of developing the strength to make the journey, not the journey itself.

An easy way of approaching the slow breathing is as follows. This is much slower and more purposeful than normal breathing. One imagines a feather near one’s nose, hardly moved by the passage of air. Yet not so slow it becomes uncomfort­able and one has to gasp for breath. Breath in as fully as you can without allowing the chest to rise. You then let the chest ex­pand and fill, but without going to the point where you feel tense or struggling.  Do not hold the breath, but let the air out as slowly and as smoothly as possible. If possible feel the quietness of the breath and allow this to pervade your whole being. If at any point you find you are struggling with your breath, slightly increase the speed.

Starting with five minutes’ prac­tice, slowly work up to ten, then fif­teen minutes, and reap the reward of peace and stillness this method brings to the whole system. You will find that your breathing gradually adapts to the slowness, and your system slows down. Some people count their in and out breath, but this is not necessary. Awareness at the point where the air enters your nose is sufficient, along with the feeling of gentleness of the breath.

The goodness and badness of things

One of the great statements in the New Testament is – “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” (Mathew 7-1).

Strangely the enormity of this is often overlooked. If used it can have an incredibly transformative influence in your life. So let me point out just one way it can be introduced as a way of dealing with pain and tension, and removing the blocks to surrendering oneself to the divine action.

Most Christians are taught to be forever wary of the evil, the bad, and the sinful. Unfortunately this turns into awful self–judgements. Such judgements about your own actions and the world continually create misery in you, and should stop. That is not to say you should avoid being aware of the results of your actions and of the actions of others toward you. In this way you can decide if that is what you wanted to create with your words and deeds. That is quite different to judging things as good or bad. Evaluation is a process of learning, but judging everything suggests that you are all knowing and all seeing. Give it up.

The process of judgements also flows into virtually everything you think about. We arrive at judgements about the value or otherwise of people, ideas, religions, and objects. This may be interesting and maybe, to deal with everyday affairs, may at times be useful. But to take such judgements seriously is like putting yourself forward again as all seeing and all knowing.

Take a few moments to consider this in your everyday life. Supposing you hold a cup in your hand – what do you suppose it is? How would you describe it? What is it made of?

Whatever your description, you may have left out details of who made it, how it was made, and just what skill with hands or machine shaped it. But also, what about its colour or how its shape connects historically and culturally? What about the chemical composition of its components, how they work together or conflict? What about the molecules and atoms that are part of that chemical constitution? Where did its atoms have their birth? Was it on some distant star and system, as many of the atoms of your body? Also, its sub-atomic particles – do they, as modern physics suggests, actually have a link beyond space and time, with all other particles throughout the universe? In fact does this simple cup transcend within itself all the ideas about time and space, death and loss that you take so seriously? Is this ordinary object an expression of the divine, leaping beyond all the boundaries you feel so trapped by?

Do you really know how to judge anything?




When the unfortunate tendency in humans began to organise Christianity, to place dogmas and rigid rules around it, Christianity had the misfortune to be scarred with battles between sects, intolerance of other races and cultures, and ruled by male authoritarianism.  Nevertheless, I believe there is a real Christian Yoga in the sense defined above.  Through it an individual can arrive at a greater personal peace, and harmonise with their own nature, without having to join any sect or give themselves to a rigid set of beliefs.  They can also meet and converse with the master, and receive the teachings at first hand. This Yoga has been known for centuries, and practised by individuals and groups who were frequently persecuted by the organised church. In fact, the power and love that touched the early Christians has been innate in men and women from the beginning, and is lying dormant in each of us. This inner power is the Mother Church, not build with bricks. We enter it and are transformed by following the Christian pathway, the Christian Yoga.


Copyright © 1999-2010 Tony Crisp | All rights reserved