Articles derived from yogacharya Sharat Arora (Anand Sagar) Teachings

Confusion of the Mind

This is a strange topic. To me the mind means confusion. There are a few people who are not confused because they know how to harness their mind to derive all its power. We use only a fraction of the energy available to us, which when used to its potential can be applied through the retainment of memory and solving of situations.

The mind is ‘raga dvesha', all the things we desire and all that we withdraw from. Our liking and disliking. This is what creates conflict. Our inability to accept things just as they are without passing judgement upon them.

There are very vital questions which cause conflict: ‘what is the meaning of life?’ Do I put my efforts into finding a job to obtain money or do I live my life as a traveller living hand to mouth? These questions cause us great confusion. According to Patanjali the biggest cause of confusion is ignorance of the reasons behind existence. This is called ‘Avidya’, or lack of knowledge. In life we often accept things as they are. We accept suffering. The question arises: how does one live without suffering? The important thing is to not choose our life's path with our heads. We must find purpose in our lives which does not violate others. If we allow others to make decisions for us and we follow - as is often the dynamic between parent and child in India - we become detached from the real meaning behind the structure and content of our lives. Most of the time we prefer to be insensitive. We block ourselves from making enquiry into the deeper meaning of things. Blocking myself from the truth makes my levels of dissatisfaction higher and higher. How can I be happy like this?

There is only one reason why we are born. That is to become free of suffering. Therefore, a happiness that is permanent and not reliant on external factors is paramount. It is important for us to understand in our life what the mind does. Options arise in the mind as concepts; in fact, there are no options. There is only one path for each of us but because we are preoccupied with our desires and aversions we get stuck. We don’t know which way to go. The practice of Yoga is learning about this and dismantling it. When I learn how to shut off the mind I begin to live in the heart.

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Body & Mind Connection

Connection between body and mind is there all the time. In fact, according to the Yoga philosophy, first there is mind, then there is body. First comes thought and that thought has influence on the body. The mind comprises all the things that we desire and all the things we dislike; all our fears about not having enough and not being able to fulfil our desires. This is constantly at work even when we are asleep, through our dreams. The mind is its own entity and we cannot perceive how much influence it has on us.

First let us look into what the mind actually is and what effect the mind has on the body. Over fifty years ago Western society realised that all the malfunctions of the body were indeed related to the mind. This wisdom existed long ago but was popularised by Western philosophers or psychologists. The refusal of this fact is largely based on the desire to sell pharmaceuticals. If the mind is pacified and taken away from its wrong movements it no longer requires medical intervention. Anyone who meditates knows that thoughts produce certain sensations in the body. This is the basis of Vipassana meditation. Most of the time we are unable to watch our sensations because we are over stimulated. When we meditate we are able to see the rise of certain thought patterns and all the sensations that go with it. Other teachers such as BKS Iyengar, Ekhart Tolle and Krishnamurti - all supported these views in their work. The author Louise Hay cured herself of cancer by exploring how thought patterns affect physical health and which specific thought patterns create specific illnesses. This whole knowledge is what Yoga is about; the understanding that as long as the mind is the peace is not.

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Peacefulness Is Our True Nature

Peacefulness is our true nature, but because of all our wishes and desires that peace disappears. The path of yoga is the path of going back to the source, which is this peace.  On the elemental level this body, this mind and everything comes from Space, which in the Chinese terminology is called the Sky. From this, the body, the mind and the consciousness manifest. And the path of wisdom is to return back to this freedom, this space, which is peace. The sooner we realise that, the more useful our life becomes. The sooner we realise that our journey is actually back to the source of our being, the more useful our life becomes. Otherwise at the time of death we are still full of desires and wishes. And according to the Hindu and Buddhist philosophy, at the time of death the consciousness that remains is the one that takes birth in the next body. If there are more desires present when we die we will be born with a consciousness full of those very same desires in the next life. Otherwise it doesn’t make sense why some people are born poor and the others are born rich, and with different levels of intelligence. Use this time to transform, to create space in yourself, to connect to the peace which is in all of us.

Master Yoga Teacher Sharat Arora
Article derived from Introductory 5-Day Yoga Course in Beijing, Day 4 June 2016.

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Realisation of What is NOT True

The process of yoga is to lose false identification with the sense of ‘I’ as we experience it, or ‘asmita’, as Patanjali calls it. There are 5 things which stop us from seeing the truth. These are fear, hatred, our desires, our sense of pride, ego, and ignorance about what is true. Until this is realised we are ignorant. We are ignorant until we realise how these 5 keep us in constant unhappiness.

What is the true path to liberation and being happy? All of us think that we are interested in getting the latest model of phone or car and that this will make us happy. But that happiness lasts a very short time and then again, we are unhappy. Just reflect. There is no limit to all the things that we want. Desire is insatiable, unable to fulfil itself. So, a lot of people spend their whole life pursuing their desires but never find lasting happiness. This is in the teachings of Patanjali, the father of yoga. We spend our whole life running after this and running after that. We have to see this is not the path and realise it, not as a philosophy but as an actual realisation.

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Yoga Is About Living Peacefully

The origin of yoga was in India, but it is absolutely universal. It applies to every human being. Unfortunately, and we see this all the time, yoga has become a way to be more flexible, strong and agile, but that’s not at all what yoga is about. It’s about living peacefully, it’s about learning how to be happy. If you want to be happy, getting into lotus pose or being able to stand like this on the head or taking your legs here or there doesn’t help. What that will do is increase your ego and separate you from the others, causing more suffering, and this is the opposite of happiness.

Patanjali is a great sage who wrote down the yoga sutras. According to Patanjali a pose is to be done in a way where one is stable and easy in a pose. Therefore, as long as you are struggling the pose is not working. When your struggle stops the pose starts to work. Everyone has a very strange idea about what yoga is. They think that the more I struggle the better the yoga is working. Many people are used to doing very hard practice and creating all kinds of tension. Nothing comes out of tension. Only tension comes out of tension. If you sow rice you won’t get corn. You put tension in your poses you will get tension. We have to learn how to be relaxed all the time and from that relaxation we make our action. This was the first teaching of Lao Tzu which is more than 2500 years back, which means to go with the flow and not to resist. In our present times we are so fearful that all the time we have resistance and create tension. For this reason we do not want to create more tension, rather we want to learn how to do things well without tension.

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Top Blogs

Sharat Arora
03 August 2016
16.10.14 When we do a practice like we do in our Iyengar Yoga centres, we gain understanding, so we increase our awareness about ourselves and about the world. We go inside and the mind slowly stops i...