INDRIYAS – HOW DO YOU FEEL AND HOW DO YOU REACT
They give information to the mind via the nervous system about the outside world.
Our active (Karmendriyas) and are:
This process is how Purusha relates to the outside world. The cognitive senses give info to the mind (afferent) and then the mind instructs the active senses to respond (efferent). These 10 senses are solely there for the purpose of allowing Purusha to experience and interact with the external world. Through practice and non-attachment, we are able to see that we are not our 10 senses. There is a witnessing force that is beyond the senses. This is an important understanding that will also help a person to move into meditation. Through the incorrect use of the mind and the indiscriminate following of our senses, we can see how we are drawn by unconscious habits that end in repeated action and which move us away from our TRUE NATURE. To change habits we need to use Buddhi and to make our practices more powerful than the resistance to change. New practice puts in new information (afferent) which can then lead to a new response (efferent).
WITHDRAW THE SENSES / THE 10 GATEWAYS
When the breath becomes balanced and serene, we can move further inwards and work at the level of the senses. The 10 senses (Indriyas) are designed so that we can interact with the outside world. Five are cognitive – they give information to the mind about the world of objects (sensory) and five are active – they allow us to interact with the world of objects (expression).
The main point is that their focus is outward and the process of Yoga is inwards. Focussing the mind is an important aspect of drawing the senses inwards because the senses will follow whatever the mind focuses on as important. So, if the mind begins to focus on the centre of consciousness, then the senses will follow.
There is only one power in you that work both within and outside, and this is Manas, which is one of the four functions of mind. Manas can work inside, and it can also work outside yourself. To do that, it employs the ten senses. – The Art of Joyful Living, p. 80
The foundation for this practice is to have a steady, comfortable meditation position (2.46-2.48) and breathing that is deep, calm, and serene, with no pauses. (2.49-2.53). when these foundations are in place, it makes it possible for the senses to cease being engaged in the objects of the world and mind. They are then able to recede back into the mind field from which they arose.
There are many objects in the world and we can interact with them through the senses on both a physical and mental level. Yoga trains us to withdraw the senses on both these levels, and to suspend all interaction, both sensory and expression, with the external world. This is Pratyahara (2.54).
When Purusha is functioning through the mind it can then influence and change any finite grosser level of creation it chooses. This then allows the yogi to express the superhuman powers as written in the third book of the sutras.
Siddhi is a Sanskrit word that literally means “perfection”, “accomplishment”, “attainment”, or “success”. It is also used as a term for spiritual power (or psychic ability). These spiritual powers supposedly vary from:
- relatively simple forms of clairvoyance
- to being able to levitate
- to be present at various different places simultaneously
- to become as small as an atom
- to materialize objects
- to have access to memories of past lives, and more.
There are many perspectives of attaining Siddhis. One school of thought states that they are a normal set of occurrences that should not be focused upon because they will pull one from the path. Other perspectives hold that each Siddhi should be pursued because it will allow one to understand the power of the Godhead. Siddhis may occur in many ways: naturally through the agency of karma, as a result of extended practice (Sadhana), through rigorous austerities (Tapasya) or by grace.
TWO CORNERSTONES OF YOGA
Constant Inner Practice (Abhyasa)
CONSTANT RIGHT EFFORT IS THE WAY
Tension is mistrust, it’s a lie and the illusion is held in place by the mind. Born out of this are bad habits that arise out of wrong knowledge. Yoga is a fight against these habits that prevent us reaching our full potential; this is achieved by constant inner practice and desirelessness (non-attachment).
CONSTANT INNER PRACTICE (ABHYASA)
Yoga is a bridge between the conscious and the unconscious and only by bridging the unconscious (which is the active part) can our life change, to penetrate into the unconscious we need constant inner practice, constant repetition until the new patterns of well-being become unconscious. Once unconscious, they will start changing our being in a positive way and not only that, it will become effortless.
Our posture is an example of how we use our energy; it’s a template of our expression of energy. Posture is a canvas of where we show up (conscious) and where we don’t (unconscious). When our energy becomes interrupted our body becomes disorganized. Our posture is then seen as a reaction to life. Constant inner practice helps us to be more aware and less dominated by our habits. It allows us to notice, what gives me happiness and where does it come from?
We then notice that it always comes from inside, this then gives us vital information and a direction to follow. We can only notice this when the mind is still. Only a silent mind can look inwards.
Inward focus = the source of happiness
Outward focus = our senses seek out pleasure
Outward focus is always transient and we become a slave to the pleasure seeking of the senses, while lasting happiness can only come from within. Inner practice and discipline is also needed because old habits offer the path of least resistance and if we are not consistent then energy will begin to flow in the old pathways with ease.
“God can only function when you are not” – Osho
Yoga says that to be successful we have to do consistent, regular, uninterrupted practice.
Discipline is required to turn our attention inwards, to be aware of the habits that prevent us from flowing and then with regular, right practice reorganize ourselves in the direction of well-being-energy flowing freely.
Discipline is what helps us create an order, it helps us reorganize to find our centre, less influenced by duality and more present to the now.
Discipline is what creates order within. Instead of a crowd we learn to become one. We create a centre as only a centre can be blissful.
Awareness is not enough in itself in the beginning when we are trying to change patterns because energy tends to move in the old patterns – new channels have to be created, so a routine of discipline is necessary until we establish new patterns of well-being.
When awareness has to become like breathing, then discipline can be discarded.
Discipline is needed to support well-being. When we don’t control or understand our energy system it moves outwards towards things, persons, power, sex, fame etc.
Once we are in charge the awareness turns inward and energy expands.
- Mind – is outgoing energy.
- Meditation – means incoming energy
The world is nothing more than our magnified mind. When we repress our energy the person is afraid of flow itself.
Constant inner practices:
- To remove obstacles
- To remove wrong habits that create Dukha (suffering)
- To support habits of well-being.
When we begin to recognize that the source of happiness comes from within, desires then begin to fall away, they are not necessary. Most people look outside of themselves for happiness through money, sex and power, the issues of the first three chakras. When through practice the Inner nature begins to flow then these things begin to fall away or lose importance. It does not mean we cannot have preferences but they are non-obsessive and we are not attached to the outcome. In this way desires are not forcefully killed off but fall away as energy increases.
Non attachment means that because we recognise thatour happiness is an inside job, the things/objects of Prakrati begin to lose their shine and our desire for them becomes diminished. Our focus is to become full of energy and vital and to become desireless. Don’t kill off desires, desires are energy, just change the direction, focus in, rather than out. Don’t destroy energy, destroy desire. Essentially this arises because we are not blissful inwardly; hence we look outside for pleasure.
A pleasure-seeking mind means that we are unhappy, and this is why we look outside for it elsewhere.
People use sex to find this place of surrender, inner flow. If we try to suppress and dull the desire without a centre inside, the desire itself will become a master. If we learn to do it without sex it will begin to fall away, the desire will diminish. You may still have it for enjoyment it just ceases to become master.
Don’t fight with sex, food or power. Find out where well-being arises and move in that direction.
Desires will go on disappearing. It becomes effortless. Non-attachment does not mean having no goals, it just means don’t be attached to the outcome, don’t connect our sense of happiness to it.