Tag Archives: Meditation

An Exploration: Development of Self through Right Knowledge

What knowledge do you use to make decisions? How do you know if your knowledge is correct? When we use incorrect or false knowledge, we make poor decisions, we judge others, and we live unconnected to our innermost wisdom and desires. We become attached and stuck in our stories, fantasies, and memories. It is easy for us to get caught in the weeds of fantasies, dialogs of memories, and misunderstandings. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is one of the foundational texts used in the study and practice of yoga and it considers how we perceive. 

The yoga sutra text is focused on establishing control of the mind. Accurate discernment of knowledge is key to the formulation of productive thoughts and decisions. It is easy to have the ego engaged. It requires more consideration, effort, and stillness to come from a place of discernment and knowing? Here is one small aspect from the Yoga Sutra. 

 Sutra 1.6, pramana-viparyaya-vikalpa-nidra-smrtayah

pramana– source of right knowledge (Sutra 1.7 perception, interference/logic, testimony)
viparayaya– error
vikalpa– imagination or fancy
nidra– sleep
smrtayah– memory 

Translated this sutra states-

(The five vrittis* are) right knowledge, error, imagination, sleep, and memory. 
*vrittis – movements of the mind

According to the sutras, we are in one of above states or its subset at any moment and we are either experiencing harmful, damaging experiences (klista) or non-detrimental (aklista) experiences. The sutras remind us that we can’t fully rely on our perception because our understanding can be shrouded with falsehoods. 

Yoga provides the student paths forward with respect to right knowledge. One ultimately must develop the ability to rest in a still and focused mind. Meditation and focus practices are most helpful to live more fully in right perception, right knowledge. 

Patanjali writes about stilling the mind and according to the Yoga Sutras this is achieved by moving through the limbs of yoga toward Pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses) and beyond. Withdrawing the senses allows for the practitioner to not be influenced by the external. I often talk in terms of moving to stillness and beyond the body and the senses. We move from the outside and toward the inner world where all is known and unaffected by error, memory, and fantasy. This is a big topic, and we are dipping in a toe. I hope you are just a curious as I am. 

Exploration

Join me in exploring how you perceive. Consider using a journal of your thoughts and explore how they change over 30 days. I would recommend doing this work after a meditation but it will also consider thoughts throughout the day as they arise. 

  1. Take a moment to think of a time when you have experienced the following- correct perception, wrong understanding, imagination or fantasy, sleep (absence of content), and memory (actual or dreams/fantasy). 
  2. Take a moment to consider your inner dialog, beliefs and explore your truths, your errors of perception, fantasies, you the stories you tell yourself and put out to the world. 
  3. How you can support pramana or right knowledge for your development of self. What practices help you? Think outside the box too;)

Becoming more You – Riding the waves of change

I’m happy you are here! Building the capacity for inquiry is important for our positive evolution. We must learn to discern, evaluate and adapt our yoga and life practices to serve our current needs.

Yoga is a personal experiential practice to me, and my practice is woven within me in a way that brings a comfort that I would find hard to explain. Yoga is personal but it isn’t necessarily solitary. The many beautiful souls and wise people I learn and evolve from, the shared conversations and practices and the time spent in community all make my journey such a joy and a gift. My teachers, students, family and friends all make up my experience where I explore how to become more “me”. I am thankful that you all hold me in your sphere of influence and allow me to learn, grow, question, succeed and fail. If I want to make changes and I am unsure how to proceed I speak with my teachers, my friends and other professionals. I look to make the best decision in the moment, and I endeavor not to “put up” with a lack of function or a physical or emotional difficulty. I want to build new positive patterns.

Do I fail? Yes, I mostly fail, but with each effort I make I am building successful patterns.

Yoga and Ayurveda tell us that everything that is manifest is in transition. The seasons change, our body makeup changes, our mind and thought processes develop and decline. So, if this is the case, why would we keep our practice the same season to season and decade to decade. If we are always changing, then what is best for us is also changing. Then we must try to be aware and in the present to help us make the best decisions and to adapt and grow. Don’t get me wrong, we must have a sustained regular yoga and meditation practice, but we must also evolve with our changing needs. Jumping from idea to idea isn’t a great or productive tactic and it will not serve to help us develop efficiently. That is why during the change of seasons, it is a natural place for me to take a pause and make small thoughtful changes.

I am always evaluating what might be best for me, but during these natural transitions, I take time to evaluate my practice to help me serve my higher purpose and improve my lived experience. I have many considerations I think about to help me evaluate.

As an example, I consider some of the following. You can also take some time to consider your answers to these questions and how your practice on and off the mat is helping you enjoy and manage the ups and downs of your life?

Do I:

-recover and stay balanced with the joys and the sorrows of life?

-have an injury that is not healing?

-feel like I am going in the same circle?

-feel inspired and joyful?

-sleep well?

-generally feel sluggish, or restless?

-feel my body is feeling energetic and without discomfort?

-startle easily or do I feel numb?

-have a good digestion process?

And:

-How is my relationship with myself?

-How are my relationships with others?

-Is there an activity or experience that I would like to do that you can’t do now?

The many practices of yoga are there to help us improve our lived experience. For me, I allow myself to rest in a quiet space and to see how I am truly feeling. Then I make changes to my practice. The considerations I make are not just the change of the seasons but for everything that is happening in my life. Sometimes I get things right and sometimes wrong, but I always make a conscious effort to continue to be patient with myself and others as I navigate becoming the most fulfilled and at ease in my skin that I can be.

One small piece of this change is how our personal doshic makeups and experiences are affected by the seasons. We are moving into Vata season (fall and winter) and this is where we look to counteract or balance the drying effects of the Vata time of year. I make some small changes such as changing my diet from fresh salads to warming soups and stews, and the root vegetables that are in season. I make sure I practice nadi shodhana or alternate nostril breath to balance my bodies and mind making me feel more less scattered and safer.  I incorporate warm oils in and on the body make me feel less achy and dry.

There might be changes you have made that have served you well. You intuitively knew what you needed. Take some time to consider what you need. Consider this statement in a heartfelt way and away from the cognitive process of the mind. You are looking for your ego to not be involved.

Take a moment in quiet meditation where you can rest in the space of acceptance and perfection. There, your most inner needs will unfold. Remember to listen.