Yoga of the Mind

Yoga and Relaxation – Tony Crisp

Raja Yoga – Yoga of the Mind = Chapter 8

Just as the growing seedling cannot respond to the light until its formed leaves are thrust above ground; so human consciousness cannot assimilate and respond to certain truths until parts of the nature have matured. It is so often overlooked that the human personality is itself a sense organ beyond that of the physical senses. The musician knows this who through their discipline now recognises subtleties of tone and melody unknown before . An artist dealing with colour sees the world afresh through his new sensitivity. Also, the person who has lost one dearly loved, and has thus discovered the exquisite sensitivity of loss, now recognises new realms of experience in others. Through the growth and ‘opening’ of these different possibilities of the personal self, one is constantly discovering as if new, things that have forever been about us. These ‘new’ things are, in fact, new only to us. They have always existed as unrealised possibilities within oneselves. What one sees outwardly is really the realisation of a new feeling or awareness within. For the world outside us is unconscious, only awakened and made aware by the subtle shifts in our own inner life.

For this reason Raja Yoga cannot be responded to by many who have just started the study of Yoga. Some call this a higher form of Yoga, but there is no higher or lower, only that which is applicable at our present point. The difficulty in this type of Yoga is that when rightly practised it brings the personality to what appears as a blank wall. It is as if it contradicts every human instinct. Putting it more precisely, one is contesting the power of action in regard to self-realisation. For instance, the baby does not have to do anything special to grow into a youth. Neither does the youth have to discipline himself in order to become an adult. Without interferences one naturally develops into youth and adulthood. Likewise, without interferences, one would realise the unconditional state. So “Raja Yoga” can be defined as the removal of interferences.

To illustrate this, let us consider some electrical implements: a light, a fire, a motor, radio, television and iron. Each of these manifests the electrical circuit slightly differently, yet all may be in one room on the same circuit. Yet if they were conscious they would look upon each other as being quite different. For each one modifies, or interferes with the electrical current in a different way. In fact, however, each is dependent upon the same source. Although each apparatus conditions the electricity to express differently, behind that conditioning it remains the same- unconditioned. To realise that unconditioned state of their own being, they would have to cease believing that their true being was in sound or heat, or motion or form. They would cease associating themselves with the conditioned. Death for them would exist in being switched off, form remains, but is inert. But that which enlivened it still exists. The consciousness has in fact only slipped back into the unconditional, where duality ceases to exist. The duality of the implement and the force, the negative and positive, are the cause of ‘individual’ awareness, but at the back of this, all the time, lies the unconditional.

Of course, electrical implements have the advantage of a flex connecting them to the ‘mains.’ If they were conscious they would immediately realise that their individual functioning depended upon this connection. Human beings, however, do not have an immediately apparent ‘flex’ to the mains and they often fail to see that their individual awareness depends upon the ‘mains.’ The mains, however, if we think of electricity forever in the atmosphere, is self-existent, beyond all the manifestations. So it is, as religious theology states, ‘immanent and transcendent.’

Also, in the world of form, of time and dimension, the electrical implements are subject to certain rules. The fire, going too near the radio might destroy it. The motor might be instrumental in making the iron, and the light could be put out by any knock by the others, and so on. Humans also are subject to such rules of relationship at the physical level, but at the unconditional level, such rules do not apply. There is no individuality there, or form or expression-all are one consciousness, yet still remain potentially many.

Supposing the implement wishes to realise the unconditional however, how will it go about it? We can see that it would not have to act in any specific way, or think, or talk, or work. All these are events on the level of the conditioned. Certainly they arise from the unconditioned, they modify it in various ways but they do not alter it, neither are they IT. They may express their functions more fully; they may discover more of the possibilities of IT; they may relate to IT more fully; or relate poorly and lower the current; or block it entirely and ‘die’; but all of these are not IT. IT is self-existent. IT is beyond any particular manifestation, IT is in all form, yet not of it.


However, we are still left with the implement seeking its ‘source. Again we ask, “How ?” It must give up seeking for a start. Such activities as seeking arise only from our ideas of ‘here’ and ‘there’, ‘ignorance’ and ‘realisation,’ ‘looking’ and ‘finding.’ All are ideas of the dual, the negative and positive. The unconditional is not dual. But how is one to describe it, for one does not have to do anything, IT IS. Sitting quietly one is constantly IT. Laughing aloud one is IT Making love one is IT, yet we may not see IT unless we look into our nature for that which is unchanged by all we do. We cannot even look for IT, we can only be IT, and realise it through being it.

Admittedly, all this sounds almost gibberish to our reason, but the way to Yoga can be summed up in the one word relaxation. Unfortunately, when people look for a method of realising Self, they seek one that will get results, will get them somewhere when really we must have a method that doesn’t get us anywhere at all. After all, what results do we want? The unconditional is beyond the level of results, of manifestation.

The teachings for Raja Yoga have always been “Do nothing.” Go on with your everyday tasks, expecting no results. Do not search for a way. All such searching will fall away as leaves fall in autumn. Wait, that is all. Do not interfere with the working of IT upon your life. Do not act out of your uncertainties and fears, of your reasoning. On the other hand, do not frustrate the desires within you. Acting them out will not alter THAT. While repressing them will only fix you in them, chain you to them. Going beyond form and duality is not to stop acting in the world of form through denial. Pray, weep, work, laugh and love, for if we are born into the hereditary traits of the religious, the loving, the worker or the artistic, denying them will only fix us in them.

“Do nothing-Wait without hope of results-Drop your affairs into this void.”

There is no need, under this discipline, to strive to perfect the character. The little self drops away, falls off as we proceed, with all its weaknesses, desires, cravings. They drop off as milk teeth fall from the child-without effort. The bigger teeth push them out.

As that may not have matured in us which allows us to directly do nothing, and immediately exists as the unconditional, Raja Yoga does give meditational practices. The foremost of these is the practice of stilling the mind. In “The Voice of The Silence,” it says, “The mind is the great slayer of the Real. Let the disciple therefore slay the slayer.”

It is not necessary to give intimate details for such meditation. It is enough to enjoin perseverance. The detailed instruction arises then out of the experience of the practice. Therefore, let the student sit cross-legged in the easy or lotus posture, straight backed, or in a chair if uncomfortable on the floor. Now proceed to still the thoughts for a period of from ten to sixty minutes.

This stilling is not done by will, as this is fruitless. It is done by directing the attention elsewhere, as in sleep. Thus, we can sit, just as if we were awaiting sleep, yet disciplining ourselves to remain alert. We can use the method of asking ourselves “Where do these (our thoughts) arise from ?” In this case we do not attempt to intellectually answer the question, only, as it were, look into ourselves for their source. We can use Mantra, or the repetition of a phrase or word to produce un-mani, or un-mindfulness. The word AUM or AMEN or OMNE-or the sentence ‘I am that I am,’ or ‘Before Abraham was I am’ can be used. Again no intellectual interpretation is sought. The vital thing is perserverance, daily practice, yet not trying too hard, but letting it come. For one’s efforts to stop thinking are the opposite of the quiet state.

Another method that may suit many is the practice of the meaningless. With all Raja Yoga, there is the possibility of an aim, or hope, or goal creeping in. Having mentioned the unconditional in this book, one may thus start seeking the unconditional. If we allow such aims to creep into our Raja Yoga, it may take years of hard experience to extricate. One cannot seek the unconditional. We cannot find that which we already have. It is like a man with his glasses on his forehead looking for his glasses. The more he looks around, the more desperate he becomes and the more lost his glasses seem. What we should do is recognise where IT already lies in us. Therefore, the practice of the meaningless is an excellent one, helping to produce just that state of being in which one sees one has lT.

For this purposelessness, take a stone. Any stone will do, after all, what does it matter? Take this stone and put it before you to be easily looked at. Realise here and now, even say to the stone, “I haven’t got the foggiest idea why I am looking at you; and the wonderful thing is it doesn’t matter. I have no particular inner urge to look at you. I am not trying to discover your secrets or come to profound realisations. Nor is it a social custom or religious dogma. I have no motive-or at least, not too much, no reason I can think of besides curiosity, and I am hoping a profound irrationalism fills me.”

Naturally, our being in time and space, our conditioned self will buck like a mule at this practice. There will arise many doubts, even of our sanity. Our reasoning will puzzle and puzzle over it looking for the “reason.” Put them aside, knowing that to do otherwise is to be the slave, the pawn of doubts and reasons.

Laziness, feelings of being ridiculous, inner difficulties to keep purposeless, seeing that our life still remains the same, all these and more arise to dissuade us. But sit each day with the stone and look at it, and gradually these will drop aside. Then, one day when even the unconscious aims and drives have been brought out, maybe even a year or more has passed, suddenly one will be what one already is, unconditioned. Maybe only for a split second at first. But it will be realised more often in us as we proceed (though not letting the flash of insight tempt us to “seek” it again).

There is a Taoist saying, “When purpose has been used to achieve purposelessness, the thing has been grasped.” Let us add to this-“Let us therefore grasp it by letting go.” Or, as the Master Jesus said when he banged his head, “Ouch!”

Link to Chapter Nine – Link to List of Chapters

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