BODY & MIND & ENERGY
Today, we have created our world in such a way that no other generation could’ve imagined such comfort and convenience. We have managed, through technology, to engineer the outside world the way we want it.
But at what cost? In pursuit of happiness, we go on destroying every other life form on the planet, including the planet itself. But if destroying half the planet gave us happiness and peacefulness, maybe it’s all worth it.
But has it? Our generation might be enjoying the most comfort and convenience of all generations but can we say our generation is the most loving, most joyful, or most peaceful generation?
With all the modern comfort and convenience that we achieved through exploiting everything we can, if we aren't the happiest generation or the most peaceful generation, then what's the point? In fact we are the most stressed generation and probably the most wining generation ever.
Today, we have the necessary resources, technologies, and the capabilities to solve all these problems. But why aren’t they being solved? Everyone is trying to fix the world “out there.” But what is the cause of all these problems?
Isn’t it us? Aren’t human beings the cause of all these problems? Then who or what should get fixed?
Just as we've engineered the outside world and upgraded our standard of living, isn't it time we look at how we can engineer our interior and upgrade our humanity?
WHY ARE WE CAUSING ALL THESE PROBLEMS?
One of the main misconceptions we have as human beings is that we think the world is human centric. In other words, we believe humans are at the center of the universe and that everything else is here to serve us. Are humans really at the center of the universe? Are we really that important?
Well, let’s take a look. If bees disappeared from the earth, most fruits and vegetables would disappear, which would then affect most of the animal lives, which would then affect us humans beings. If earthworms disappeared from the earth, the earth’s soil would soon disappear and without soil, there wouldn’t be food for most of the animals including us humans. But, if humans disappeared from the earth, the earth and all living creatures in it would thrive! So you figure it out.
Over 96% of the observable universe is unknowable. Unknowable because it's not physical. We just named them dark energy and dark matter. So everything that we know make up less than 4% of what's out there. Out of this less than 4% which makes up the physical universe, over 99.9999999% is made up of space - atoms. So in essence, we have come to identify ourselves with this tiny, tiny aspect of the physical which is less than .00000000004% of the observable universe.
Another perspective is that the observable universe has at least two trillion galaxies. So if our Milky Way galaxy, a small speck in the universe, disappeared, it wouldn’t even be noticed. To go further, our Milky Way Galaxy, one of two trillion galaxies, could have as many as 100 billion solar systems. So our solar system is truly a speck of a speck in the observable universe. In this speck of a speck, our planet earth is a micro speck. In this micro speck, you are a big shot!
This is not meant to belittle us human beings. We can definitely be wonderful and magnanimous when we want to. It’s just that we’ve lost perspective as to who we are and our place in relation to all other living creatures that we share our planet with, and to the planet earth itself, and to the greater universe.
WHO ARE WE REALLY?
So if we are the main cause of all the problems, shouldn't human beings be the first and foremost agent of change?
There are a plethora of self improvement programs out there in the market, from countless exercise programs to endless diet programs, which by the way happens to change almost every year. And most of the self improvement programs focus on the body and not on the mind. But regardless, are they working? Whether it’s a physical exercise program using the latest gadget, or the most trendy diet program, or an inspirational talk you were excited about, the commitment to change lasts only for a short while and then we’re back to where we started. It seems as though the only ones really benefiting in the long run are the self improvement businesses and not the people. As a generation we are the weakest generation ever in terms of physicality and it’s getting worse. What will happen to our next generation?
We all want to improve ourselves but how can we truly do that when we are clueless as to the true nature of who we are? Our human system is the most complicated piece of biological machinery on this planet and yet we haven’t spent any time looking into what this system is all about. From our early childhood on, our focus has been solely on learning about what’s “out there," but nothing on the true nature of who we are, what makes this piece of life tick.
It’s as though we are using the most sophisticated piece of machinery without first reading the users manual. So it is only natural that we’re making a mess of ourselves. We rush through life not knowing what life is all about. When we look at the fundamental reason why we’re making such a mess of ourselves is because we believe we are something we're not.
We, human beings, have come to identify ourselves with our body and our mind. In fact, most would ask, what else is there to what I call myself? That’s why when we try any kind of self improvement programs, we work mostly on the level of the body and maybe a little on the level of the mind. This is not to say that these are incorrect ways to approach self improvement but it’s a partial and not a holistic approach. If we do anything partially, we get partial results at best and that’s what’s happening..
The Human System
5 Layers of the Body
In yoga, the human system is looked at as five sheaths or layers. Every aspect of the human system, including the mind, is seen as a body, and yoga is a technology to transform it. These are known as:
Food Body - Anna Maya Kosha (Maya - Full, Kosha - Sheath)
Mental Body - Mano Maya Kosha
Energy Body - Prana Maya Kosha
Transitional Body - Vijana Maya Kosha
Bliss Body - Ananda Maya Kosha
They are not to be thought of as concentric sheaths - bodies, but as interpenetrating at different levels of subtlety, from the grossest to the subtlest.
Food Body - The physical body that you have is just an accumulation of the food that we have eaten. It is something that we gathered. If fact, an average human being eats 35 tons of food during one’s lifetime. In other words, our body is just a piece of the earth.
Mental Body is a layer of intelligence which is capable of accumulating knowledge. It is not here or there but every cell in our body has its own intelligence. In other words, intelligence is all across our body. Accumulation of knowledge is all across. Now there are talks about gut intelligence, emotional intelligence, and heart intelligence. Generally you think memory is in your head but our body has a million-fold more memory than our mind. Right now, our great grandfather’s nose is sitting on our face because something in the body remembers. Isn’t it? The texture of the skin is like this and our complexion is like this because our body remembers. The intelligence and the memory in the body is way beyond what happens in our head. It is just that the brain part of our intelligence can generate thought. Because we have become very attached to our thoughts we think intelligence is all coming from the brain. No. This whole body is exuding much more intelligence than our brain can ever think of. One cell in our body, one molecule of DNA carries information that our whole brain cannot decipher. The whole creation is just intelligence.
These two layers can only function in connection with the third dimension, the Energy Body. In modern terminology, we can compare the food body to hardware, the mental body to software. But by themselves they cannot do anything unless you plug supply them with quality power.
Pranayama, the energy body, is composed of vital energy, the force that vitalizes and holds together the body and the mind.
Physical body, mental body, and energy body are all in the realm of physicality, but on different levels of subtlety. To use an analogy – you can clearly see that a light bulb is physical. But the light it diffuses is also physical. And the electricity behind it is physical as well. Light bulb, light, and electricity: all are physical but differ in subtlety. Similarly, the physical body, the mental body, and the energy body are all physical but differ in subtlety.
The next layer of the body is a transitory body that is known as Vignanamaya Kosha. It facilitates the transition from the physical to the non-physical. It does not ascribe to any of the physical qualities, but at the same time, it is not yet completely nonphysical either. The fifth layer is called Anandamaya Kosha, which in English translates as “bliss body”. This does not mean there is a bubble of bliss in you. We call it bliss body because in our experience, whenever we touch it, we become blissful. Bliss is not its nature, bliss is what it causes for us. Anandamaya Kosha is a nonphysical dimension which is the source of everything that is physical. Only if you bring the first three layers of the body into alignment, there will be a passage and a possibility of touching Anandamaya Kosha, where blissfulness becomes a natural state of being. Not blissful about something in particular – simply blissful because that is the nature of life.
Since for most of us, the last two bodies are not in the realm of our experience, we will focus on the first three bodies: namely, the physical body, the mental body, and the energy body: the hardware, software, and the power source of the human system.
FOOD BODY - HARDWARE
Sadhguru: The human body is such a miraculous instrument but most people experience their body as just flesh and bone. It is seen as a source of either pain or physical pleasure, and its most subtle and profound aspects are never discovered. The medical physiology and biological functions of the body are only the outer shell. In the yogic sciences, the body is revered and recognized as an intricately crafted system which is constantly connected to and pulsating with every atom in the existence. For a yogi, the body is the supreme instrument, a tool to access and experience the entire cosmos. Through various yogic practices, one can delve layer by layer into the very roots of the body, refining the human system to such a point that it can become the very axis of the Universe.
Even if you want to use the body as a basic instrument, the first and foremost thing is you have to dis-identify yourself from this body. You know very well that you gathered this body – it is just an accumulation of food. How can you call what you’ve gathered as “myself?” What you gather can be yours for a certain period of time but it cannot be you. If you want to explore this in one lifetime, it will take a lot. But one way or the other, people’s entanglement with the body is so deep that they cannot treat the body as an instrument. Their attachment and identification with the body are so deep that they continue to see this as “myself”. The moment you see this body as “me”, there is a whole lot of emotions attached to it. Then we cannot use it as an instrument.
If we look at our body, we were not born the way we are right now. In your mother’s womb you started as two cells, then you came out as a baby and now you have become so big. How did all this happen? Whatever is the fundamental force that is creating this body – the basis of creation – is functioning within the body every moment. The manufacturer of this body is inside. If you have a repair job to be done, would you like to go to the manufacturer or the local mechanic? If you had access, you would go to the manufacturer. If you’ve lost access, you go to the local tinker. I am not trying to belittle medical science, but if you had access to the source of that which creates this body, definitely every problem that you generate within the body could be handled.
There are two kinds of ailments: infectious and chronic. Infectious ailments happen because of an external invasion. You must go to the doctor. But 70% of ailments on the planet are self-created. Why I say self-created is because it happened from within you. This body is essentially programmed for health. Every cell in your body wants health for itself. So why would it turn against you? Because somewhere, you are not keeping it happy. You must pay a little more attention. There is a systematic way of paying attention to this, because everything in this body was created from within. When that is so, you can also easily fix it from within.
Almost one in two people in the U.S. (or 46% of the population) used one or more prescription drugs in the last month between 2015–2016, according to a new National Center for Health Statistics Survey, and over 52% for age group between 20 and 59.
According to Fidelity Investments, as of December 2019, the Food and Beverage Industry market size is almost $2 trillion dollars whereas the Pharmaceutical Industry is almost $2.34 trillion dollars.
In the world today, more money is being spent on drugs than on food and drinks!
Sadhguru: For the things you create from within, running to the doctor is of no use. The medical profession can only help you manage chronic ailments, they can never rid you of them. When you are creating it, how can they rid you of it? Every day, they will put more chemicals into you but every day you will doggedly create more disease within yourself. Unless you change that basic pattern, health will not happen.
For now, let's look at the 3 aspects to making the Food Body healthy and vibrant: 1. What, when and how much to eat, 2. Movement of the body on a daily basis, and 3. Getting plenty of restfulness.
1. What, When, How much to Eat: Making the Right Choices
Sadhguru: Every few years, a different theory emerges on what kinds of foods to eat, and there are a whole lot of people who follow it religiously. People talk about “vegetarianism and veganism”! We shouldn’t be making food a religion. It is not about what you or someone else believes. It is about eating sensibly.
The first thing to remember is that essentially, food is fuel. If you want to refuel your car, you go to the gas station and choose the appropriate fuel for this particular machine, in order to achieve optimal performance. You could put kerosene into your car and it would actually drive, but it may smoke and cough, and you may not be able to accelerate as you want. This is the situation with most people when it comes to their food choices. To choose the appropriate fuel, you need to know what type of machine you are.
Eating properly is an important aspect of health. If you are interested in your wellbeing and that of your children, you must ensure that the food you eat is fresh. The average American eats processed food that has been prepared three or six months ago. In the yogic culture, we always consume cooked food within 1.5 hours after it comes off the stove. If it’s any later, inertia will set in. If you eat food that creates inertia in the system, you will lose all your dynamism. There is also a correlation between the kind of food you eat and the amount of sleep you need. Generally, doctors advise that everyone must sleep a minimum of eight hours. If you sleep eight hours per night, it means you are sleeping one third of your life.
Sadhguru: People are writing books on how everyone must sleep eight hours, and warn of dire consequences if you don’t. These days, I am getting a little lazy and sleep for four hours. But earlier, for twenty-five years, I used to sleep less than three hours per day, and I am healthy. The body needs restfulness, not sleep. One important factor of how much sleep you need is what type of fuel you put into your system. If you put the wrong fuel into your car, it will need a lot of servicing. Similarly, if you put the wrong fuel into your system, it will need a lot of sleep.
There are many aspects that need to be considered in this context. One important factor is that you may be eating food that has a high level of inertia in it. We classify foods as rajas, tamas, or sattva. Tamas means inertia. If you eat food that has the quality of inertia to it, then how can you be active? If you eat dull food, it will make you dull.
A Rajasic diet is one which is overly spicy or hot, includes food with onion and garlic, coffee, fizzy soft drinks, tea, and sugary foods. These foods may give us a lift in energy but ultimately we experience a low or increased stress.
A Tamsic diet consists of dead food such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs, stale food, processed food full of chemical additives, fast foods, reheated food, alcohol, cigarettes and drugs of addiction. A sattvic food can become tamasic when processed, old or fried.
These foods and substances do nothing to lift our energy and consciousness, if fact they pull us downward into laziness and inertia.
A Sattvic diet is pure vegetarian nourishment and includes fresh fruit and vegetables, fruit and vegetable juices, pulses, grains and sprouts, nuts, seeds, honey, and herbs.
“Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”
- Albert Einstein
* Rudraksh test
Eat What’s Furthest From You
Sadhguru: Your body is just an accumulation of the food that you have eaten, after it has been transformed and assimilated. There is a certain intelligence, memory, and genetic code in the body that determines what the food that you eat is converted into. For example, the same apple, depending on who eats it, becomes part of the body of a woman, a man, or a cow.
In the yogic tradition, we always said you must eat what is furthest away from you, genetically. In that sense, plant life is furthest away from us. As life evolves, the information and memory an organism carries get increasingly complex. If you must eat non-vegetarian food, we advised the consumption of fish, because among the animals, it is furthest away from a human being, if you look at it from an evolutionary perspective.
After a century of saying the best thing to eat is meat, doctors in the West are slowly shifting to a different view today. For some time now, they have been saying that beef is the main cause for most of the cardiac ailments in America. And in the last few years, they are also saying that meat consumption is a cause for cancer. In the yogic culture, we have been telling you for ten thousand years that if you eat foods with a complex genetic code, not only will your system will not be able to completely break it down to make it your own system, your own system will eventually breakdown one way or the other. We arrived at that not by doing billion-dollar research, but just by observing what happens in our system when we eat. If you pay enough attention, you will know. Every creature does. A dog just knows what to eat and what not just with few sniffs. Human beings do not know because they go by whatever information someone gives them, not by awareness of life.
What This Body is Designed For
Although many humans choose to eat both plants and meat, earning us the dubious title of “omnivore,” we’re anatomically herbivorous.
1. Human saliva has Amalyse Enzyme which breaks down carbohydrate into sugar. 30% of it happens in the mouth. Amalyse Enzyme is not found in carnivorous animals.
2. Humans have short, soft fingernails and small “canine” teeth. In contrast, carnivores all have sharp claws and large canine teeth that are capable of tearing flesh. Carnivores’ jaws move only up and down, requiring them to tear chunks of flesh from their prey and swallow them whole. Humans and other herbivores can move their jaws up and down and from side to side, allowing them to grind up fruit and vegetables with their back teeth. Like other herbivores’ teeth, humans’ back molars are flat for grinding fibrous plant foods.
3. Carnivorous animals swallow their food whole, relying on extremely acidic stomach juices (PH level of 1 to 2) to break down flesh and kill the dangerous bacteria in it, which would otherwise sicken or kill them. Our stomach acids are much weaker in comparison (PH level of 4 to 5), because strong acids aren’t needed to digest pre-chewed/digested fruits and vegetables.
4. Animals who hunt have short intestinal tracts and colons that allow meat to pass through their bodies relatively quickly, before it can rot and cause illness. (Alimentary canal length of carnivorous animals average 2 times body length) Humans’ intestinal tracts are much longer than those of carnivores of comparable size. (Alimentary canal length of humans average 5 to 6 times body length, roughly 30 feet) Longer intestines allow the body more time to break down fiber and absorb the nutrients from plant-based foods, but they make it dangerous for humans to eat meat. The bacteria in meat have extra time to multiply during the long trip through the digestive system, increasing the risk of food poisoning. Meat actually begins to rot while it makes its way through human intestines, which increases the risk of developing colon cancer. Meat-eaters have a higher incidence of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other problems.”
The Unfortunate Modern Diet
Until recently, only the wealthiest people could afford to feed, raise, and slaughter animals for meat, while everyone else ate mostly plant foods. Consequently, prior to the 20th century, only the rich were plagued routinely with diseases such as heart disease and obesity. Now that animal flesh has become relatively cheap and is easily available (thanks to the cruel, cost-cutting practices of animal farming), deadly ailments such as heart disease, strokes, cancer, diabetes, and obesity have spread to people across the socio-economic spectrum. And as the Western lifestyle spills over into less-developed areas of Asia and Africa, people there, too, have begun to suffer and die from diseases associated with meat-based diets.When humans consume animal protein, research shows a link to cancer of the colon, breast, prostate, and pancreas. According to nutrition expert T. Colin Campbell, the director of the Cornell-China-Oxford Project on Nutrition, Health, and the Environment, “In the next ten years, one of the things you’re bound to hear is that animal protein . . . is one of the most toxic nutrients of all that can be considered.”
Published January 23, 2018 by PETA. Last Updated January 28, 2018.
Sdhguru: Studies have found that the human brain works best when the stomach is empty. A team led by Tamas Horvath, chairman of Yale’s comparative medicine program found that an empty stomach produces Ghrelin, a hormone that carries the message to the brain that the stomach is hungry. The interesting thing is that this hormone seems to perform other functions as well. Ghrelin stimulates and heightens the performance of the hippocampus, the region in the brain that handles learning, memory and spatial analysis, keeping us alert, active and focused. This of course doesn’t imply that we should never eat, but rather points to the fact that we should be conscious of how much we eat.
Another important aspects when it comes to food is that you must be conscious of is how quickly a certain type of food digests and becomes a part of yourself. If you eat something and it does not digest within three hours, it means you have eaten food that should either be avoided or reduced in quantity. If the food moves out of your stomach within three hours, it means that even if it is not the best food, it is still something your system is able to handle.
If you maintain a clear gap of five to six hours between one meal and the other without having anything in between, cleansing will happen on the cellular level. This cleansing on the cellular level is most important for a healthful life. If you are over 30 years of age, two good meals a day will suffice – one in the morning and one in the evening. There must be three hours after the evening meal, before you go to bed. If this includes at least 20 to 30 minutes of light physical activity – such as simple walking – your system will largely be healthy. If you go to bed with food still inside the stomach, it generates a certain level of inertia in the system. Physiologically, this inertia is like an acceleration towards death. Death is ultimate inertia. Another dimension is that if you go to bed with a full stomach, it puts pressure on other organs in the abdomen. This will also lead to various kinds of health issues. For that reason too, it is very important that before you go to bed, the food you have eaten has moved out of the stomach. As you sleep in different postures, the stomach should not put pressure on other organs at any point.
If you eat a fruit, within 1.5 to three hours’ time, it will be fully digested. If you eat cooked vegetables, it will take twelve to fifteen hours to digest them. If you eat cooked cereals and other foods, it will take twenty-four to thirty hours. If you eat cooked meat, it will take forty-eight to fifty-two hours. If you eat raw meat, it will take seventy-two hours to digest it. When food remains in the system for such long periods of time, it will rot and cause unnecessary levels of bacteria. With such food choices, you are causing damage to the system. And then you believe you need medicines, rather than living healthy. You need pharmaceutical products because you are generating poison within yourself.
If you have been eating the wrong kind of food for too long, the body may have become so lethargic and dense that you cannot notice anything. In that case, fasting will give you a break. In any case, especially when you eat too much, it is good to fast once in a way.
If it is a question of survival, eat what is available. But when survival is taken care of, there is a choice. When you have a choice, you must eat sensibly, what is best for your system. The ideal fuel for your body is what leaves you alert, agile, and active. You could experiment. One day, just eat fruits; another day, just eat raw vegetables; yet another day, you cook the vegetables; then you eat fish, you eat meat – try out everything. With what kind of food you are experiencing maximum levels of energy and alertness, please eat that, and you will be healthy.
The Joy of Eating
Sadhguru: As important as it is to make sure you eat the right kind of food that's conducive for your well-being, you need to remember not to get paranoid about the food you eat. Don't become a food freak – “I will not eat this, I will not eat that. I have to eat like this, I have to eat like that.” Eating joyously is more important than eating properly. Food has influences on you but it is not the deciding factor. The true joy of eating is that you are conscious of some other life willing to become a part of you, to merge and mingle with your own life and become your body. This is the greatest pleasure that a human being knows, that in some way, something that is not him has become willing to become a part of him.” - Sadhguru
2. Your Body - Use It or Lose It
Sadhguru: One of the simplest things about health is just to use the body. If you use the body sufficiently, it has everything to create health for itself. The more you use it the better it gets. When it comes to activity, one simple thing that we need to consider is that our body is capable of bending forward, bending backward, and twisting to both sides. This much activity must happen in some kind of form.
Among the countless forms of exercises people practice, it would be ideal to add Classical Hatha Yoga to your current routine. Classical hatha yoga is one of the best methods for movement of your body, and a scientific one. If classical hatha yoga is not yet part of your life, you must somehow make sure that every day, you bend forward, backward, twist to both sides, and squat so that the spinal column is stretched. This is a must for everybody on a daily basis if you want to keep the entire system healthy – particularly the neurological system, which will otherwise be an issue as one ages.
Today, man has become physically inactive like never before - he could not afford to be so physically inactive before, he had to do so many things physically, just to survive. So, he has become more neurotic than in the past. As a general phenomenon, there were neurotic people then also, but not in these numbers. Today, it has become a common phenomenon in society that too many are in some level of neurosis. This is simply because your energy is not worked out; it’s trapped. You have not transcended your madness and at the same time you’re not working it out. The therapy also is not there. If you went out and chopped wood for the whole day, a lot of your energy would be spent, and life would be peaceful; but today it’s not like that. You are not using your body the way it used to be used, so you go on generating all kinds of diseases, like never before. This builds up inside your system over a period of time. Then your physical and emotional energy need some outlet. That is how your bars, your clubs and your discotheques have come into place. People have to work out their neurosis somewhere, somehow. These discos look like madness, you can’t even breathe inside. They are full of smoke and sweat but people are just going wild. You can’t even dance, everybody is bumping into everybody else, but it doesn’t matter, you have to work it out, otherwise you will go crazy. So, on Saturday, you go work out your neurosis for the week. Then the piling up starts once more and once again the Saturday night fever comes. There is another way to drop this madness and go ahead. Completely leaving it behind and going ahead where you are no more a part of it. This is what yoga and meditation is all about.
All the entertainment in the world has come just to hide your madness. If you were perfectly sane, you would not need entertainment, you could just sit and watch this bamboo grow.. You need entertainment just to cover your madness. If we take away your entertainment, you will go crazy. If the need for entertainment is gone in you, then you will become available to the magnificent exuberance of life. Every moment becomes a phenomenon of immeasurable depth.
The Science of Hatha Yoga
Sadhguru: When you experience everything as oneness in your consciousness, then you are in yoga. To attain that unity within you, there are many ways. You work with the body, then you move to the breath, then to the mind, then to the inner self. Like this, many steps have been created, but they are only different facets of yoga. It is important that all of them are addressed in a very balanced way, all at once, as one single unit. There is really no division as such; yoga employs all aspects of who you are.
The body is a very large part of who you are right now. The science of using the body to hasten your evolutionary process is hatha yoga. The body itself has its own attitudes, its own ego, its own nature. Let us say you decided, “Starting tomorrow, I will get up at five in the morning and go for a walk.” You set the alarm. The alarm rings. You want to get up, but your body says, “Shut up and sleep.” It has its own way, doesn’t it? Hatha yoga is a way of working with the body, a way of disciplining, purifying and preparing the body for higher levels of energy and possibilities.
Hatha yoga is not an exercise. Understanding the mechanics of the body, creating a certain atmosphere, and then using body postures to drive your energy in specific directions is what hatha yoga or yogasanas are about. “Asana” means a “posture.” That kind of posture which allows you to reach your higher nature is a yogasana. There are other dimensions to this, but to put it in the simplest way, just by observing the way someone is sitting, you can almost know what is happening with him, if you have known him long enough. If you have observed yourself, when you are angry, you sit one way; if you are happy, you sit another way; if you are depressed, you sit another way. For every different level of consciousness or mental and emotional situation that you go through, your body naturally tends to assume certain postures. The converse of this is the science of asanas. If you consciously get your body into different postures, you can elevate your consciousness.
Out of the innumerable asanas a body can assume, 84 have been identified as Yogasanas, through which one can transform the body and mind into a possibility for ultimate wellbeing. This profound science enhances how one thinks, feels, and experiences life. In an untrained state, the human body is a constant manifestation of various levels of compulsiveness. By consciously forming the body into a certain posture, one creates a conducive passage for energy flow that can elevate one’s consciousness. Yogasanas are a way of aligning the inner system and adjusting it to the celestial geometry, thereby becoming in sync with the existence and naturally achieving a chemistry of healthfulness, joyfulness, blissfulness, and above all, balance.
The body can become a means for your spiritual growth or it can become a major barrier. Suppose some part of your body – your hand, leg or back, for instance – is hurting. When it is hurting badly it is hard to aspire for anything higher because that becomes the biggest thing. Right now if you have a backache, the biggest thing in the universe is your backache. Other people may not understand that, but for the person who is going through it, that is the biggest thing. Even if God appears you will ask for your backache to go! You will not ask for anything else because the physical body has such a power over you. If it is not functioning well, it can take away all other aspirations from your life. Whatever you may fancy, all your longings just disappear once the body starts hurting – because to look beyond that takes an enormous amount of strength, which most people do not possess.
There are thousands of people who have come out of spinal problems by doing simple asanas. Doctors had told them they would definitely have to go through a surgery, but they never had to. Your back can be restored to such an excellent condition that you will never need to go to a chiropractor. It is not only your spine that becomes flexible; you also become flexible. Once you are flexible, you are willing to listen, not just to someone’s talk; you are willing to listen to life. Learning to listen is the essence of a sensible life.
Dedicating a certain amount of effort and time to see that the body does not become a barrier is important. A painful body can become a major obstacle, and so can a compulsive body. Simple compulsions, whether they are about the body wanting to relieve itself or of lust, can rule you so strongly that they will not allow you to look beyond; the physical body becomes a major entity. Body is only a part of you; it should not become the whole of you. Asanas level the body down to its natural place.
Hatha Yoga Prepares the Body
Sadjguru: Another aspect of hatha yoga, when one wants to move into deeper dimensions of meditation, is that it allows for a higher possibility of energy. If you want your energies to surge upwards, it is very important that the pipeline of the body is conducive. If it is blocked, it will not work, or else, something will burst. Preparing the body sufficiently before one goes into more intense forms of meditation is very important. Hatha yoga ensures that the body takes it gently and joyfully.
For a lot of people, spiritual growth happens very painfully because the necessary preparation does not happen. Most human beings have unfortunately let themselves live in a condition where the external situations mold them and direct them. Whether it is wisdom of the world or spiritual possibilities, they get the point only when they are knocked around by life. Even then, only some become wise; others become wounded. It is this possibility of transforming a potential wound into a source of wisdom that leads one to a state of freedom. If one has put in the necessary preparation, it can be a very pleasant and wonderful experience of growth. But for a majority of the people in the world, growth happens painfully; very few people grow blissfully. It is becoming a norm in the world that growth must be painful. It can be done blissfully, but because both the body and mind have not been prepared, all change happens painfully. So, asanas prepare you for growth and transformation by equipping you with a solid foundation.
Today, the hatha yoga that people are learning is not in its classical form, not in its full depth and dimension. Largely the “studio yoga” that you are seeing today is unfortunately just the physical aspect of it. Just teaching the physical aspect of yoga is like having a stillborn baby. That is not only no good, it is a tragedy. If you want a live process, it needs to be taught in a certain way.
Life Beyond the Body
Sadhguru: Hatha yoga does not mean twisting your body, standing on your head, or holding your breath. There was a time when I was personally teaching hatha yoga as a two-day program. People would burst with joy; tears of ecstasy would flow simply doing asanas. That is the way yoga needs to be done. Unfortunately, the hatha yoga in the world today brings peace for some, is healthful for others is and a painful circus for many.
Most yogis just use the simple postures to break the limitations of who they are. That is all I learned when I was eleven years of age – just a few simple postures. It is just the way it is done that makes the difference.
The basic premise in yoga is that if your energy body is in full flow and properly balanced, there can be no chronic disease. If people are willing to do a certain amount of sadhana, or inner work, to balance and activate their energy body, they can definitely be free of all chronic ailments. Yoga is a means to build a pathway to the manufacturer.
In yoga, we are using the physical to transcend the physical, not to strengthen it. But we know, we understand and we respect that the physical has a right to be, and that it has a power of its own. If we do not keep it at absolute ease, it will be in our way. If your body is not in good shape, it will take your entire attention. Only when it is really well, you can completely ignore it. We are keeping it well so that it does not become an obstacle. There is a difference in the fundamental ethos of yoga and exercise. We are not doing yoga to build, look at and present our muscles. Hatha yoga is about making the body so strong and so subtle that you do not even know if it is there. If it sits here, it just sits here, without even asking for water, food, going to the toilet and things like that. This means it is very low maintenance. That is the quality of a good machine, and that is the quality of a good body too, that it does not seek your attention. But the world has turned this upside down – for most people, a good body means it is seeking attention all the time.
Right now, I would say 99% of most people’s thoughts would be meaningless because they are all around the compulsiveness of the body. It is all about saving yourself, protecting yourself, beautifying yourself and keeping yourself comfortable. If you did not have a body, you would not be looking at these concerns, you would be looking at possibilities. The only question would be, “What is the ultimate possibility for a human being?” Unfortunately, people are making this physiological mechanism a barrier, not a possibility, simply because they are identified with it.
Once you create a distance between you and the body, you will have the joy of knowing what kind of a machine you have in your hands. It has all the ingredients of bondage and freedom within it. You can make this divine – you can move your energy system in such a way that the body becomes a deity. Or you can be like a corpse. It can function in ways you have never believed a human being could function.
Essentially, there are only two dimensions of experience – inner experiences and outer experiences. Yoga is about creating a union between these two dimensions – inner and outer, you and the rest, you and the other. When there is no “you” and “the other,” when there is just “you” and “you,” that is yoga. Asanas are a physical form of approaching this ultimate union, because the physical body is the easiest thing to work with. If you try to come to this union with your mind, it will play too many tricks. With the body, at least you know whether it is doing it right or not, whether it is cooperating or not. If you push the mind too hard, it will make you believe all kinds of things and dump you the next day. The body is a more reliable factor. If you work with it sensibly, the yogasanas can definitely lead to ultimate union.
In the meantime, before this alignment with the ultimate happens, by getting into the postures, inner alignment happens, which will naturally create a chemistry of healthfulness, joyfulness, and blissfulness – and above all balance. Balance is something that modern societies have ignored, and they are paying a huge price for it. Whatever your intelligence, whatever your competence, education, and qualifications – if you do not have the necessary balance, you will not succeed. You will not go very far in your life.
The most important thing for people who are seeking to be successful – whether in the corporate sector, in politics, in the military, or any other field – is balance. Only if you have a balance that is not disturbed by external situations, are you capable of making use of the competence and intelligence within you. Otherwise, even the most wonderful qualities that one may have will go waste, simply because of lack of balance. Hatha yoga brings this balance.
3. Get enough rest… but not too much!
Sadhguru: Today, there is a lot of misunderstanding going around as to how much sleep a person needs. It is important to understand that the body does not need sleep, it needs restfulness and relaxation.
If you bring restfulness, you bring ease into your system. Once you sit here with absolute ease, the amount of residual stress that builds up in your physical body is very minimal. Almost twenty-seven years, I managed with two-and-a-half to three hours of sleep, on an average. These days, I am getting a little lazy and sleep four to four-and-a-half hours!
#1 Don’t Battle With Life
Sadhguru: The body needs rest, not sleep. In most people’s experience, sleep is the deepest form of restfulness they know, so they talk about sleep. But essentially, the body is not asking for sleep, it is looking for restfulness. Your mornings would be pretty bad if your nights were not restful. So it is not sleep but restfulness that makes the difference.
If you keep your body relaxed throughout the day, if your work, exercise and every other activity is a form of relaxation for you, your sleep quota will go down naturally. The problem is that people have been taught to do everything hard – in tension. I see people walking very tense in the park. This sort of exercise will bring more harm than well-being. Don’t go at everything like it is a war. Whether you are walking, jogging or exercising, why don’t you do it easily, joyfully? Don’t battle with life. Keeping yourself fit and well is not a battle. Play a game, swim, walk, whatever you like. You will only have a problem if all you want to do is eat cheesecake! Otherwise there is no problem about being relaxed with any activity.
Now if you learn certain very simple meditation practice that will just take you just few minutes a day, if you do it for 4 - 6 weeks, and you check your pulse again before and after food, you will see it will be lower. This means you are going at lower RPM. If you keep driving your car at 5000 RPM, it will wear out faster than when you drive it at 2000 RPM. Similarly, if you are constantly going at a high pulse rate, you work yourself into the ground, and then you try to compensate for it with more sleep.
#2 Bring Natural Foods in Your Diet
If you are sleeping eight or nine hours a day, one thing to look at is the food you eat. Consuming at least a certain amount of vegetarian material, particularly foods that can be eaten in their natural, uncooked condition is very important for your general wellbeing. When you cook food, a large volume of prana or life energy is destroyed. This is one reason why lethargy can set into the body. If you eat a certain amount of fresh fruits and vegetables, there are many benefits, but one thing you will notice immediately is that your sleep quota will come down.
#3 How Much to Eat
How keenly you manage your energies is what decides your alertness. To meditate, alertness should be not just of the mind but of your very energy. To assist this, for people on the yogic path, it is said that you should eat only twenty-four mouthfuls, and you must chew every mouthful at least twenty-four times. This will ensure that food is pre-digested in your mouth before it goes in, and it will not cause dullness. After one-and-a-half to two hours, you will be hungry, and that is the best way to be. Just because the stomach is empty, you do not have to put food. Just drink water and you will stay alert and energetic throughout the day. Your system will learn to use the food you have eaten well, rather than simply wasting it. Economically and ecologically it is good for the world at large, and good for your health—you may never fall sick if you eat like this.
#4 Don’t Forcefully Deny Sleep
How much sleep your body needs depends on the level of physical activity you perform. There is no need to fix the quantum of either food or sleep. When your activity levels are low, you eat less. When they are high, you may eat more. The same goes for sleep. The moment the body is well rested it will get up, whether at 3 AM or 8 AM. Your body should not wake up to an alarm bell. Once it feels sufficiently rested, it must come awake. If you forcefully deny sleep to the body, your physical and mental capabilities and whatever else you have will drop. You should never do that. You must give the body how much sleep it needs.
#5 Don’t Sleep Right After You Eat
There are quite a few people who are in such a mental state that unless they load themselves with food and make the body dull, they cannot fall asleep. You must give sufficient time for digestion to happen before you sleep. I would say 80% of the food that you eat will go waste if you fall asleep within two hours of eating. If you are in a condition where you cannot sleep unless you have a full stomach, you need to address this issue. This is not about sleep, this is a certain mental state.
SIMPLE TOOLS for upgrading your HARDWARE
Upa Yoga is a simple yet powerful set of 10 practices that activate the joints, muscles and energy system, bringing ease to the whole system. Based on a sophisticated understanding of the body’s mechanics, Upa Yoga dispels inertia in the body’s energy and brings ease to the whole system.
Within the human system, the energy flows along 72,000 pathways called nadis. At the joints, the nadis meet and form nodes, making the joints storehouses of energy. Upa Yoga activates this energy and also lubricates the joints, creating an instant sense of alertness and liveliness. Upa Yoga essentially means “sub-yoga” or “pre-yoga”. Because of its many immediate and evident benefits, the word Upa Yoga in Indian languages is commonly used to denote “usefulness.” It is a good starting point for those who are new to yoga, and it can be used as a preparation for other yoga practices.
Based on a sophisticated understanding of the body’s mechanics, its benefits include:
Relieves physical stress and tiredness
Strengthens the joints and muscles
Rejuvenates the body after periods of inactivity
Negates the effects of jet leg and long travel
MENTAL BODY - SOFTWARE
“Meditation” or “Dhyana” means to go beyond the limitations of the physical body and the mind. Only when you transcend the limited
perspective of the body and the mind do you have a complete dimension of life within you. When you are identified as the body, your
whole life is only about survival. When you are identified as the mind, your whole perspective is enslaved to the social perspective,
religious perspective, or the family perspective. You can’t look beyond that. Only when you become free from the limitations of your
own mind will you know the dimension of the beyond.” -Sadhguru
The mind is a very powerful instrument if properly channelized and used. The mind is capable of creating whatever we want simply with powerful intention and attention. So it is important that we create a clear vision or an image of what we want before we start working towards it.
The modern world we see around us was first created within our mind. This means all the beauty and the ugly, the profound and the profane we see in the world were first birthed in our mind.
When we look at our human system, the term psychosomatic refers to real physical symptoms that arise from the mind and are influenced by thoughts and emotions rather than a specific physical cause in the body (such as an injury or infection.
A psychosomatic illness originates from mental and emotional stress and manifests in the body as physical pain and other symptoms. Depression can contribute to psychosomatic illness, especially when the body’s immune system has been weakened by severe and/or chronic stress. A common misconception is that psychosomatic conditions are imaginary or "all in the head.” In reality, physical symptoms of psychosomatic conditions are real and need treatment just as any other illness would. https://www.verywellmind.com/depression-can-be-a-real-pain-1065455
Conversely, we can also heal through psychosomatic.
Your mind can be a powerful healing tool when given the chance. The idea that your brain can convince your body a fake treatment is the real thing — the so-called placebo effect — and thus stimulate healing has been around for millennia. Now science has found that under the right circumstances, a placebo can be just as effective as traditional treatments.
"The placebo effect is more than positive thinking — believing a treatment or procedure will work. It's about creating a stronger connection between the brain and body and how they work together," says Professor Ted Kaptchuk of Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, whose research focuses on the placebo effect. "They have been shown to be most effective for conditions like pain management, stress-related insomnia, and cancer treatment side effects like fatigue and nausea."
A study published online Oct. 27, 2016, by PLOS Biology may have identified what goes on in the brain during a placebo effect.
Researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging to scan the brains of people with chronic pain from knee osteoarthritis.
Then everyone was given a placebo and had another brain scan. The researchers noticed that those who felt pain relief had greater
activity in the middle frontal gyrus brain region, which makes up about one-third of the frontal lobe.
Furthermore, the placebo effect is no small or insignificant statistical aberration. Estimates of the placebo cure rate range from a low of 15 percent to a high of 72 percent. The longer the period of treatment and the larger the number of physician visits, the greater the placebo effect.
Finally, the placebo effect is not restricted to subjective self-reports of pain, mood, or attitude. Physical changes are real. For example, studies on asthma patients show less constriction of the bronchial tubes in patients for whom a placebo drug works.
The placebo effect is not deception, fluke, experimenter bias, or statistical anomaly. It is, instead, a product of expectation. The human brain anticipates outcomes, and anticipation produces those outcomes. The placebo effect is self-fulfilling prophecy, and it follows the patterns you'd predict if the brain were, indeed, producing its own desired outcomes.
So if our mind is such a powerful instrument and we are capable of creating whatever we want, then why isn't the world full of healthy, joyful, and peaceful people?
Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps
determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from
childhood and adolescence through adulthood.
According to studies conducted by organizations like Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Justice:
1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year
1 in 25 U.S. adults experience serious mental illness each year
1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year
Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10-34
Mental illness and substance use disorders are involved in 1 out of every 8 emergency department visits by a U.S. adult (estimated 12 million visits)
Mood disorders are the most common cause of hospitalization for all people in the U.S. under age 45 (after excluding hospitalization relating to pregnancy and birth)
Across the U.S. economy, serious mental illness causes $193.2 billion in lost earnings each year
20.1% of people experiencing homelessness in the U.S. have a serious mental health condition
37% of adults incarcerated in the state and federal prison system have a diagnosed mental illness
70.4% of youth in the juvenile justice system have a diagnosed mental illness
41% of Veteran’s Health Administration patients have a diagnosed mental illness or substance use disorder
Depression and anxiety disorders cost the global economy $1 trillion in lost productivity each year
Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide
With such an epidemic of mental illness, no wonder a whole lot of people are talking about how to stop their mind, slow down their mind, thoughtlessness etc...
The problem is just that we are not able to manage our minds, the most sophisticated faculty we have.
Sadhguru: You want to stop your mind? There are a whole lot of thoughts about this thoughtlessness.
Thoughtlessness, no mind, these kinds of terms have been propagated all over the place and these terms have been badly misunderstood and made into all kinds of things and people are striving how to stop my mind. It took millions of years of evolution to get a mind of this kind of capability, hmm? Isn’t it? Millions of years of tremendous amount of nature’s work that today you have a mind of this kind of scope and now you want to stop it. Why is it that you want to stop it? If your mind was constantly producing absolute pleasantness for you, would you think how to stop this mind? Would you? No. It's producing lot of unpleasantness, that’s why you’re thinking of how to stop the mind. This is the first thing – wherever you go in the world this has gone so much into people’s mind – if you tell them, ‘You meditate,’ they say, ‘But Sadhguru, I am not able to stop my mind.’ I said, ‘That will happen only after you stop your kidneys, liver, heart; you stop all these things, then the mind will also stop. Do you want it to stop?’ ‘No.’ ‘Then why do you want the mind to stop? Why do you have such a horrible prejudice against the mind? You don’t mind if your heart is beating, you can meditate. You don’t mind if your liver is working you can meditate. Your kidneys are functioning you can mediate. If your brain functions you can't mediate? What is the problem? You seem to have something against intelligence, isn't it?’ (Laughs)
This is the conspiracy of the stupid against human intelligence that to meditate means your brain must be frozen. No. You don’t have to freeze your brain. There are many ways to do it, Shambhavi for one, is a simple but a powerful process. If you sit here, you will see your body is here, your mind is somewhere, who you are is somewhere else. Once there is space between you and the mind then what the mind is doing is not even an issue. It is like you’re stuck in a traffic jam, you know you’re struggling through the traffic, that’s one experience. Suppose you are floating in a hot air balloon and looking down at all the traffic, very peacefully, traffic, hmm!’ (Laughter) (Gestures) Why? There’s a distance, isn't it? When you’re in it traffic is a different experience. From really high up there sitting in a hot air balloon you looked down you can't even hear the sounds, looks wonderful traffic, isn't it? Yes or no? Because there’s a distance.
So once there’s a distance between you and your mind’s activity, mind is not a problem. Mind is a miracle, it is not a problem. And anyway if thoughts are going continuously, if you’re having a mental diarrhea obviously you ate some bad [mental] food, isn't it? Yes? You’re having a physical diarrhea, you ate some bad food, isn't it? If you’re having a mental diarrhea you obviously consumed something wrong. What this wrong thing could be is, the moment you identify yourself with something that you are not, then you’re finished; your mind is in a continuous… runs. There is no other way. Do what you want, try as hard as you want, it is not going to stop. If you do not identify yourself with anything that you are not, you know how to be with everything, you know how to use everything but you’re not identified with it, then you will see if you sit here simply mind will be like this – if you want to use it you can use it, otherwise it’ll be like this. (Gestures)
Right now your hands are like this - (Gestures) , you can keep it like this. (Gestures) You can keep it like this; you can keep it like this. (Gestures) When you want to use it you can use it. So it's a useful instrument. Suppose your hands become like this (gestures - all over the place), you know some people have become like this? If it becomes like this, you will become ridiculous, isn't it? If it happens to your mind also you’re equally ridiculous. It is just that you are living in the comfort that nobody else can see it, but people can see it. If they watch you closely enough they can see it, isn't it? And whether they can see it or not, that’s not the point. The point is the most important faculty of your life is out of control, doing its own rubbish all the time, not doing what you want it to do.
So if you have to be freed from this ailment you should stop eating bad [mental] food. Wrong food or bad food means you are identifying yourself with things that you are not. If you just release yourself from that – If you sit here, if you are not identified with this (Gestures) and with this, then you will see everything is just fine. Then your mind will do what you want it to do, otherwise it’ll simply hang there and that’s how it should be. Mind should not be telling its own stories all the time; it should tell the story that you want it to tell, isn't it? Otherwise it's quite a nuisance.
The Source of Thoughts
Questioner: Sadhguru, what is the source of thoughts?
Sadhguru: In terms of content, the source of your thoughts is the accumulation of your sense perceptions. In terms of substance, a thought is just an [energy] reverberation - you can give it any form. When the reverberations become continuous, the thought process picks up momentum. Through meditation, you calm down the reverberations into stillness. The reverberation that you experience as thought right now would on a lower scale of evolution be instinct. Instinct is not exactly the same as thought – there is much more clarity in instinct than in thought. Instinct is a lower form of thought, or thought is a higher form of instinct.
A thought can be formed one way or the other – it can be contradictory. Instinct is clear-cut. Animals that are lower on the evolutionary scale seem to be so much surer about their life than human beings, because their reverberations are on the level of instinct. Instinct is always about survival – mostly physical survival. If you look at a worm for example, it seems to be surer – it just knows where to go, because it follows its instinct. Instinct has minimal reach – it is always about your immediate surroundings. But your thoughts need not be about your immediate surroundings – they can be about anything. That is why you think of so much nonsense that does not really concern you. You think about all kinds of things – heaven, hell, a million years later or a million years ago – thoughts can go anywhere.
In the evolutionary process, as the body evolves, the reverberations that happen within also evolve from instinct to thought. Thought is a certain freedom – it gives you larger access to life. But at the same time, thoughts create total turmoil in human beings. All suffering is because you do not know which way to think and what to do. If you went by your instinct alone, you would know what to do. Life would be much simpler, but also very limited. There would be no possibilities other than survival.
After instinct evolved into thought, and the thought process became excessive, the struggles have arisen, because the thoughts happen involuntarily, according to the sense impressions that you have gathered. The thought process has become a problem for people only because they are not aware that it is just a reverberation. These reverberations can take any form, or you can experience them just as reverberations without giving them any form.
In a way, the process of Shoonya meditation is just that. It is not that your reverberations have stopped, as yet – it is just that you have stopped attaching forms or meanings to them. Being aware enough not to attach forms or meanings to every reverberation that happens within you is an enormous freedom, and it releases you from the past content of your mind.
The whole process of Isha Yoga is about not giving a form to the reverberation that you are right now. Your thought is a reverberation, and in a deeper way, what you call as “myself” is also a reverberation. Life itself is a certain reverberation. Modern physics is proving that the whole existence is a certain reverberation of energy. The physical body, thoughts, emotions, and everything else are different aspects of the reverberation that existence is. In human beings, this reverberation has evolved from an instinctive state to a thought state, which is a freedom because it gives you a larger access to life. At the same time, without the necessary awareness, all suffering that human beings are going through is just in their thoughts – it is in the way they think.
There is no huge bank of thoughts within you. Thoughts are just going and going, one at a time, one at a time, one at a time. If you try to do anything with them, they will go faster and faster because in your mind, there is no subtraction or division, there is only addition and multiplication. Can you take away one thought forcefully? Experiment and see: For the next 10 seconds, do not think about monkeys. If you try not to think about something, only that will happen. That is the nature of the mind.
Another way to look at thought is that it’s just a certain emanation, a certain surface fluctuation of the content that you hold in your mind. In a way, your mind is like society's garbage bin; everybody that goes by stuff something in your head. You have no choice as to what to receive and from whom. If you say "I don't like this person" you will receive much more from that person than from anybody else. Have you noticed this? If you say, "I don't want to have anything to do with that man," you will think about him more and more. The more you resist someone, the more he becomes a part of your consciousness.
If we look at your mind as a garbage bin, thoughts are like the smells that emanate. Do not understand this analogy as negative. A garbage bin is not useless; a garbage bin is very useful. Your house can do without a television and a telephone, but it cannot do without a garbage bin. If you use it when you want, if you open it and shut it when you want, it is a wonderful device. Without it, your whole house would become filthy. But if you decide to live in it, it is a horrible thing. Right now, that is all that has happened. There is nothing wrong with the content of your mind. It is better that you have all the filth in the world in your mind -- otherwise, you will walk into the filth and not know what is what. But now, you are constantly living in the mind, and it is such a torture for people. They don't know how to be out of it.
There are certain types of meditations where you simply sit and notice that you are "here" and your mind is out "there." There is a clear distance between you and the mind. Once there is a distance, whatever the mind says, it has no impact on you. The content does not matter. If you hear the word "Buddha," you may think in terms of Gautama the Buddha. But Gautama is not the only Buddha; that was not his second name. His name was Gautama Siddhartha, and he became a Buddha. Buddhi means "intellect," or the logical dimension of your mind (analytical mind/conscious mind). Dha means "one who is above." So, one who is above his mind is a "Buddha." One who is in his mind is a nonstop suffering human being. Once you are in the mind, your suffering is inevitable. You may watch the sunset and forget your sufferings for a moment, but then you will turn back and see your fears, anxieties and troubles are right there. Once you are in the mind, there is fear and anxiety. You may get breaks here and there, but there is no release from it.
What is keeping this thought process continuously on is that you have identified yourself with things that you are not. You have identified yourself with your body, but the body is just an accumulation of food that you have eaten. Even if you own the chair you are sitting on, after some time, you will get identified with the chair. If your neighbor's child comes and scratches the polish, it will hurt deep in your heart; it will not just be a scratch on the chair. This is because you are capable of getting identified with anyone or anything that you come in touch with. Once you are identified with someone or something that you are not, the thought process is endless. It just goes on and on. It is like you have eaten very bad food, and now you have gas in your stomach. If you try to stop it, your stomach will bloat and burst. But you cannot stop it; it keeps going. Thought is just like this. You became identified with things that you are not, starting from your body - the food that you’ve gathered, your mind - the impressions that you’ve taken in, things around you and people, ideas, philosophies, slogans, etc., and now thought is an endless process [because you're trying to serve and protect all that you're identified with]. You try to do many things, but you cannot stop it.
So, what can you do? Un-identify yourself with everything that you are not:
Keep your house aside, keep your education aside, keep your husband aside, keep your children aside, keep your body aside, keep your mind aside, and keep your emotions aside. Care for them, take care of them, handle them -- but don't become that. If you are not identified with anything, if you are simply here, you will see there is no room for thought at all. Once you have this awareness, you will see thought is a conscious process. If you want to think, you think, otherwise there is nothing in your head, and that is how it should be. Just the beauty of emptiness.
THE HUMAN MIND
Sadhguru: In the yogic understanding, there are 16 dimensions to the human mind. These 16 dimensions fall into four categories. These four categories are known as buddhi, ahankara, manas, and chitta.
Intellect is the logical dimension of thought. Unfortunately, the modern education systems and modern sciences have largely limited themselves to buddhi. That is a buddhu (foolish) way of existence.
The next is called as ahankara or the identity and your intellect always functions around your identity. Whatever you are identified with, your intellect functions around that. It may be your individuality, it may be your family, it may be your community, it may your race, religion, nationality, but it functions around that. You live for it, you will die for it. Whatever you are identified with, that is what it will try to protect because intellect is essentially a survival tool, without intellect you cannot survive. Right now we are using intellect as the way of acquiring knowledge, we are using intellect to enhance our life but it will not work like that, intellect is the fantastic survival tool, if your intellect is sharp you will survive well but survival will never satisfy human being. Though you are doing very well, your stomach is full, you are eating and sleeping well, you feel like you are being obsessed because you have raised the bar of survival to an unrealistic place. If you come as an animal, then eating, sleeping, reproducing will be highest things in your life. But now when you have come as a human being, these things will never settle you down. You are always looking for something more. This is the nature of human beings. Because of this nature only, human beings have progressed on this planet compared to other species. Only When you come as a human being there is a possibility to achieve your ultimate nature if you work in the right direction but that will not come through intellect because intellect will only think about survival because it is a survival tool. Intellect is like a knife, you are using a knife to stitch, you know you will end up tearing more and more. You will see, the more intellectual people will get, they look smarter in a society but if you just look at them as a life, they are just stupid, they don’t know simplest things of their life, they are smart compare to somebody else because they are able to do something that somebody cannot do, but how they are, within themselves, they can’t sit in one place, peacefully, this means, you obviously don’t know how to handle your intelligence. The only problem with most human beings is, people do not know how to handle their own intelligence, well they have exotic names for this, they call it stress, they call it anxiety, they call it depression and many varieties of depression and madness but fundamentally you don’t know how to handle your own intelligence. If you do not know how to handle the most vital aspect of who you are which is your intelligence, which sets you apart from every other creatures on this planet, it's a disastrous life, how can this be a smart life. If you are smart, you know how to handle your vital assets, one of the greatest assets that we have as a human beings is we have a cerebral capability that no other creature has, but we have not taken charge of it, it works against us. This is like you have a car with four wheels but you want to drive it on one wheel, its very stressful, it's bound to be stressful, because the other dimensions are not used.
The second is called ahankara which is the identity and it is very important how an identity is set up. People may misunderstand ahankara as ego but it is not ego here, it is identity. The people are identified at different levels right from their body, family, society, race, religion, nationality up to the universe (infinity). Everybody is concerned about well being, it is just that scale and scope varies from person to person. If a person is just identified with his body, for him well being means just about himself, limited to his body. If a person is identified with another person or family, for him well being means taking care of his/her dear ones or family. For another person well being means about his race, community or religion, for another person well being means about his nation, for another person well being means about the world and for another one it may be every life on this planet.
One thing traditionally in India we set up is which is unfortunately vanishing today because we have taken English education, traditionally when a child has to start education, first alphabet he has to learn means first he is told, your identification is with the entire cosmos – aham bhramasmi is taught, he is made to utter a mantra which means, "I am everything", because the education is seen as an empowerment, you should not empower a human being, who has limited identifications. If you empower somebody with limited identity he will cause damage to everybody else who are not in ambit of that identity. This is what as nations we are doing, this is what as a race and religion we are doing to each other. Isn’t it? Everyday this is happening, when somebody else does it, it looks ugly, but when we do it, we are justified because everybody has their own logic. This is a very important requirement if intelligence has to simply expand without limits, it is very very important, children start with the limitless identity that you are identified with everything in the universe, this is very important. Now this identity if we want to use an analogy, your intellect is like a knife, the identity is the hand that holds it. The hand that holds decides whether a knife will make life or take life. Isn’t it? Knife doesn’t decide, in the hands of a surgeon it may save a life, in an irresponsible hands it takes life. Knife is not doing this, it is the hand that holds it. What kind of identity have you taken on, accordingly your intellect becomes fruitful for everybody around you or it becomes a destructive process.
Intellect is a useless instrument unless we feed it with some data. If there is no data, if we wipe out all your memory, suddenly you will look like a dumb person, though you have a sharp intellect, because intellect cannot functions without data. So the third dimension of the mind is called Manas. Manas is a complex amalgam of memory and has many layers to it. Manas is not just in the brain – it is right across the body. Every cell in the body has a phenomenal memory and intelligence – not just of this life but of millions of years. Your body clearly remembers how your forefathers were a million years ago. Top to bottom, there is manas – this is called Manomaya Kosha - Mental Body, which is a huge bank of memory.
Memory is not just in the brain, it is spread throughout your body. We identify 8 different forms of memory: elemental memory, atomic memory, evolutionary memory, karmic memory- in that there are two varieties – one is a huge bank of memory and another is active memory (which is called sanchita and prarabhda), and sensory memory, inarticulate memory and articulate memory. What you are experiencing as conscious memory is the articulate memory, it is not even 1% of the memory that you carry, when I say not even 1% of the memory that you carry, you definitely do not remember how 10 generations ago your great great great great great grandfather looked like, but his nose is sitting on your face, because your body remembers every bit of it, here we call it as a genetic memory.
What you call as your body and your mind are a certain accumulation of memory. It is because of memory – or you can call it information – that your body has taken the particular shape that it has. For example, if a man eats a piece of bread, the bread becomes a man. If a woman eats it, it becomes a woman. If a dog eats the same bread, it becomes a dog. That’s a smart piece of bread! No, it is not the bread but the kind of memory or information that one’s system carries that transforms bread into a man, woman or dog.
There is memory and intelligence in every cell in the body, but no intellect. Intellect is only in the brain. In English language, everything comes under one banner called “mind.” The idea that intelligence is only in the brain has produced human beings whose consciousness is seriously constipated. What is in the brain is intellect, not intelligence. Intelligence and memory are right across your body. But people have never been trained how to use this intelligence. Instead, they use their intellect for everything. No wonder they are stressed out whatever job you give them. The whole weight is on only one dimension of the mind out of sixteen. It is like loading a sixteen-wheeler truck and trying to drive on only one wheel – you can imagine the stress! That is what today’s world is going through.
People may be using other dimensions of the mind marginally, unconsciously, but they are not trained to use them. They have only been trained to use their buddhi, or their intellect. They are very smart. They know everything about everything, but they do not know how to figure their own life. They do not even know how to sit here peacefully and at total ease within themselves. If there is true intelligence, the first thing that you need to figure out is how to make life happen. You kind of know how to make the world happen, but you do not know at all how to make your life happen. You do not know how to conduct your mind, your energies, your emotions or your body.
If you ask people to become fit, they become tense and tight. If you ask them to live in a more natural way, they become loose and overweight. Where is the intelligence? There is only intellect. Intellect looks good only in comparison. Suppose you are the only person on the planet, your intellect will not mean anything. Only because there are a few idiots around you, you shine. By itself, intellect will not be of any consequence.
Sadhguru: What you call as "my life" is a certain amount of life energy charged with a certain amount of information, [which] in today’s terms, can be called software. Together, this information technology is you. You become a certain kind of character because of the type of information that has gone into you. The past impressions of life go far beyond the moment you were born, but in your perception right now, at least from the moment you were born till today, what kind of parents, family, and education you had, what kind of religious and social background, what kind of cultural realities – all these impressions have gone in. Someone has become a different character simply because of the type of information that has gotten into him. This is what is karma.
The different types of karma
This information is on many different levels. There are four dimensions, two of which are not relevant right now. For understanding, we can talk about the other two. One is sanchita karma. This is the warehouse of karma or information which goes right back to a single-celled animal and even inanimate substances from where life evolved. All the information is there. If you close your eyes, become aware enough and look into yourself, you will know the nature of the universe – not because you are looking at it through your head, but simply because this information is present in the making of the body. There is a warehouse of information going back into creation. That is your sanchita karma. But you cannot take your warehouse and do retail business. You need to have a shop to do retail. That “retail shop,” which is for this life, is called prarabdha.
Prarabdha karma is a certain amount of information allotted for this life. Depending upon the vibrancy of your life, life allots for itself how much information it can take on. The creation is very compassionate. If it gives you the whole lot of information that you have, you will be dead. Right now, many people are tortured by the simple memories or information from the 30-40 years of this lifetime. If they are given a hundred times that memory, they wouldn’t survive it. So, nature allots prarabdha, an allotted memory or information that you could handle.
It is this complex web of memory or information which is throughout the body that gives you a certain character and the ability to function. This information is being gathered every moment of your life, in wakefulness and sleep through your five senses. You are unconscious of most of the information that you gather because it is being gathered in such heavy quantities.
The numbers below show how much information is processed by each of the five senses. The five senses gather and send approximately 11 million bits per second to the brain for processing, yet the conscious mind seems to be able to process only 50 - 120 bits per second.
Information Transmission Rates of the Senses: Sensory System Bits per Second
Skin . . 1,000,000
Ears . . . .100,000
Smell . . . 100,000
Taste . . . . 1,000
Most of the 11 million bits of information we gather per second is processed unconsciously and only 50 - 120 is processed consciously.
So many things that you do so easily, something as simple as walking on two legs for example, is possible not just because of your bone and muscle, but because of the memory or information that you carry throughout the body. The body remembers how to walk. If you forget, you cannot walk.
What kind of thoughts you have, on the conscious level, is just the tiny slice of information that you have gathered and processed on the conscious level in this life time, from your birth to now. This conscious memory is part of prarabdha. But what kind of emotions these thoughts generate within you is coming largely from an unconscious process of memory. As we saw, that memory is way bigger than the conscious memory and is part of sanchita. Sanchita, the unconscious accumulation of information, keeps on acting in its own way. It is not active in terms of manifesting itself but it is active in terms of influencing you in a million different ways.
Does that mean you are all fixed and there is nothing you can change? No. It is only because of this basis that you exist. What you want to make out of yourself is still you. Destiny is not a done thing. Destiny is like the skeletal system of your body. It decides your stature but it doesn’t decide everything. How much you put onto this skeletal system is up to you.
Thought and Emotions
Sadhguru: Let us first understand what is being referred to as the “head” and the “heart.” You usually assign your thoughts to the head and your emotions to the heart. But if you look at this carefully and with absolute sincerity, you will realize that the way you think is the way you feel. But it is also true that the way you feel is the way you think. This is why yoga includes both thought and emotion as part of the same Manomayakosha, or mental body.
What you normally think of as “mind” is the thought process or intellect. But in fact, the mind has many dimensions: one is the logical aspect. Another is the deeper emotional aspect. The deeper dimension of the mind is conventionally known as the heart. But in yoga this deeper emotional mind is known as manas. Manas is a complex amalgam of memory that molds emotions in a particular way. So, the way you feel and the way you think are both activities of the mind.
The way you think is the way you feel, but thought and feeling seem to be different in your experience. Why is this so? Because thought has a certain clarity and agility about it. Emotion is slower. For example, if today, you think this is a very wonderful person and you have warm feelings about him. Suddenly, he does something that you don’t like, and you think he is horrible. Your thought tells you he is horrible, but your emotion cannot change immediately. It struggles. If it is sweet now, it cannot turn bitter at the very next moment. It takes time to turn around. It has a wider turning arc. Depending on the strength of your emotion, maybe it will take three days or three months or three years, but after some time, it will turn around.
There is no need to create this conflict between head and heart. Emotion is just the juicier part of thought. You can enjoy its sweetness, but it is largely thought that leads the emotion, whether you recognize it or not. Emotion is not entirely steady. Your emotion also chatters, goes this way and that, but it is less agile than thought. Since it takes longer to turn, and its intensity is usually substantially greater than thought, it often seems as though thought and emotion are different. But they are no more separate than sugarcane and its juice.
Thought is not as intense as emotion in most people’s experience. (You usually do not think as intensely as you get angry, for instance.) But if you generate an intense enough thought, it can also overwhelm you. Only five to ten percent of the population may be capable of generating the kind of thought that is so intense that there is no need for emotion. Ninety percent of the population can only generate intense emotions because they have never done the necessary work in the other direction. But there are people whose thought is very deep. They don’t have much emotion, but they are very deep thinkers.
It is best not to create polarities within yourself. That makes for civil war and schizophrenia. Thought and feeling are not different. One is dry. Another is juicy. Enjoy both.
Memory is a possibility and it is also a boundary, memory means accumulated information, accumulated information means it is a limited possibility. So the fourth dimension of the [mind] is refer to as chitta. This is a dimension of intelligence unsullied by memory, it is pure from the memory. This intelligence is like the cosmic intelligence – simply there. Everything happens because of that. It does not function out of memory – it simply functions. In a way, what you call cosmos is a living mind. By “mind”, I do not mean mind in the sense of intellect. Chitta is the last point of the mind. It connects to the basis of creation within you. It connects you with your consciousness.
Chitta is always on – whether you are awake or asleep. Your intellect comes on and goes off. Many times it fails, even when you are awake. If chitta or the intelligence within you was not always on, you could not stay alive. Try to conduct your breath with your intellect – you will go crazy. Chitta is keeping you alive, keeping you going, making life happen. If you touch this dimension of your mind, which is the linking point to one’s consciousness, you do not even have to wish for anything, you do not have to dream of anything – the best possible thing that can happen to you will anyway happen.
Once you know how to consciously access your chitta, everything that is needed will simply happen in the best possible way. You can live in this entire edifice of body and mind built of past memory, but you can be free of it, untouched by it. You can remain in such a way that this memory, which gives you a certain physical and psychological structure, has no influence on you. If you go by your intellect or your buddhi, today you think “this is it,” tomorrow morning you think “that is it” – like this it goes on endlessly.
If these aspects of life do not come into the experience of individual human beings, they will naturally seek other means for excitement. If people are not offered a way to engineer themselves the way they want to be – joyful and blissful – drink and drug will become the biggest phenomena on the planet. It is already becoming so. It has already become prevalent in the West, and it is becoming very big in urban India too. In another seventy to eighty years’ time, if we do not sweep the world with a logically correct, scientifically verifiable spiritual process, I would say 90% of human beings will be on drink and drug – chemical solutions to keep themselves pleasant.
Larger Slice of Life
This will happen because every human being is trying to have a larger slice of life. Whether someone goes to the temple or the bar, whether someone gets doped out or meditates, they are essentially looking for a larger slice of life. The question is only about what is sustainable. If you want human beings to have a phenomenal experience within, but without causing damage to themselves, you have to turn them inward.
Turning inward can mean many things. One simple way of understanding it is that you touch chitta – that dimension of intelligence which is the very basis of your making. There is no such thing as your chitta and my chitta. It is just there. The question is whether you as an individual have access to it. This is not yours or mine. This is a cosmic intelligence – the source of creation.
Chitta is beyond identity, beyond intellect, beyond judgment, beyond divisions – simply there, just like the intelligence of existence that makes everything happen. If you access this, you do not have to worry about what happens or what does not happen. It will happen in a way that you never imagined possible. It slo makes you see things that no one else can see – in every direction. It is your crystal ball. It is a magnifying glass that brings the very core of life close to you.
The whole process of yoga is to transcend the limitations of the mind. As long as you are in the mind, you are ruled by the past, because mind is just an accumulation of the past. If you are looking at life only through the mind, then you will make your future just like the past, nothing more, nothing less. Isn’t the world enough proof of that? It does not matter what opportunities come our way through science, technology and many other things, aren’t we repeating the same historical scenes again and again?
Remembering and imagining appear to be very different functions, one recovering true information from the past, the other considering the unreal or exploring the future. And yet many patients with damage to the hippocampus (a structure in the temporal lobes) – and resultant memory impairment – struggle in imagining the future. Moreover, neuro-imaging data show the hippocampus is involved in both tasks.
credit: Gray’s Anatomy/Wikipedia
If you take a closer look at your own life, you will see the same repetition happening, because as long as you are functioning only through the prism of the mind, you are functioning only with the old data. The past is carried only in your mind. Only because your mind is active, past exists. Suppose all your mind ceases right now, is your past here? There is no past here, only present. The reality is only present, but past exists through our minds.
The whole effort of spiritual sciences has always been how to transcend the mind, how to look at life beyond the limitations of the mind. Many people have defined yoga in many different ways, but Patanjali nailed it this way – “To rise above the modifications of your mind ... when you cease to be a part of your mind, that is yoga.” All the influences of the world are entering you only through the instrument of the mind. If you can rise beyond the influence of your mind in full awareness, then you are naturally one with everything. The separation – you and me, time and space – has come only because of the mind. It is a bondage of the mind. If you drop the mind, you have dropped time and space. There is no such thing as this and that. There is no such thing as here and there. There is no such thing as now and then. Everything is here and now.
If you rise above all the modifications and manifestations of the mind, then you can play with the mind whichever way you want. You can use your mind with devastating impact in your life, but if you are in it, you will never realize the nature of the mind.
SIMPLE TOOLS for upgrading your SOFTWARE
Learn Isha Kriya Guided Meditation
This free Isha Kriya guided meditation contains an introduction and instructions which guide one through the practice, providing a complete package to experience higher dimensions of life.
Rooted in the timeless wisdom of the yogic sciences, Isha Kriya is a simple yet potent process created by yogi and mystic, Sadhguru. “Isha” refers to that which is the source of creation; “kriya” literally means “internal action.” The purpose of Isha Kriya is to help an individual get in touch with the source of his existence, to create life according to his own wish and vision. Daily practice of Isha Kriya brings health, dynamism, peace and wellbeing. It is a powerful tool to cope with the hectic pace of modern life. Today, for most people, the word “yoga” usually conjures up images of twisting the body into impossible postures. The physical aspect of yoga is only one facet of this multi-dimensional science. Yoga is a technology to bring the body and mind to the peak of their capabilities – allowing one to live life to the fullest.
What is Chit Shakti?
Everything that human beings have created on this planet was essentially first created in our minds. So how we organize and focus our minds will decide the direction our life flows. Using the power of the mind to create what one wants in his life is called Chit Shakti. The four Chit Shakti guided meditations will help you to manifest love, health, peace and success in your life.
Each one of us has desires, our very own list of dreams and longings. Creation may have its own blueprint for us, but our personal desires cannot be easily wished away. They may be extravagant or mundane, ambitious or trivial, they may be inconvenient, they may be too personal to share, but they are ours. And for us, they are real, they are precious, they are urgent and deeply significant.
Here is a rare offering from Sadhguru, a mystic who embodies the wisdom and clarity of profound realization. It is an offering that enables each one of us to become our own alchemist, that empowers us to transform long cherished desires into reality. Sadhguru offers this with the intention that once these desires are fulfilled, we will turn towards the larger goal of our ultimate wellbeing.
ENERGY BODY - ENERGY
Sadhguru: One level of energy is the food that you eat, the water that you drink, the air that you breathe and the sunlight that you receive. These things become the day-to-day energy that you experience. Another way of looking at it is that what you call “life” or what you call “myself” is energy. How alive and wakeful you are is how energetic you are. The ability to convert food, water, air and whatever other inputs go into your system will be different in different people.
It is not just about digestion and assimilation. The conversion of energy happens in different states, depending on how alive or how awake your energies are. Once you start certain spiritual practices, you might have seen that your level of energy is totally different. Your ability to stay awake, not be tired and to go on with life is so much better once you start these practices. If you practice these kriyas daily, you can see that if you don’t do them for one day, there is a distinct difference. In a way, all spiritual practices – the kriyas and meditation – are fundamentally to make your energies more awake than what they are right now.
What you call “life” itself is energy. If you want to function on a higher plane of life, you need a higher level or quality of energy. There are many methods to do this. There are dramatic ways to energize a person, but such methods need proper preparation, balance and control over life. That requires much more awareness from a person, to know what he is doing and not doing with himself. Most people, even the so-called “spiritual” people, do not know what is happening within themselves 98 percent of the time, especially when it comes to their body or their energy. And when it comes to their mind and emotions, they usually do not know until it becomes acute.
Right now, a certain emotion may be building up within you in a very small way, and you may not even be aware of it. For example, if someone suddenly calls you an idiot, you will explode. You think you are getting angry only now, but actually, it has been building up for days, weeks, or even months. It was not in your awareness because of your state of energy. When this is the case, the whole process of life is accidental, and your energy is accidental. When it is accidental, you will see that one day you are energetic, the next day you are not.
You will definitely notice that on a certain day, if you are very happy, you seem to be very energetic. Another day, when you are not so happy, you have no energy.
Being energetic means different things to different people. For a school kid, being energetic means being able to go to school, play games, come back home and fall asleep. For a laborer on the street, it means to be able to perform his activity all day. For an executive, it may mean to sleep less, travel more, or be more productive. For a yogi, he doesn’t want to sleep or eat. He wants to be that way for many days – just being alive by his own contact with existence, not by putting something into him.
So, when you say “energetic,” if it is just about being a little more energetic in performing your day-to-day activities in the world, there are many simple practices that will definitely take care of it. If that is not enough, there are ways to upgrade that a little bit [more] so that it can be taken care of. For me, being truly energetic means that when you just sit, the physical body is no more a limitation for you. If your energies are really active, the physical body is no longer a limitation; energy becomes the main contact. Right now, your body, mind and emotions are the main contact that you have with the rest of the world. That is how you communicate and reach out. You can touch someone physically. Or, you can communicate with your thoughts, or emotionally convey something.
But once you are truly energetic, you can communicate with everything in the existence energy-wise. When you start communicating energy-wise, there is no distinction between this and that. Once the barrier is broken, that is ultimate nature. When you start a spiritual process, being energetic means going beyond all limitations, because in energy there is oneness. In the physical body, there can never be oneness. In mental thought, there can never be oneness. We may talk about oneness, but it is never going to happen. With our emotions, we may think we are one, but we are still separate. No two people can feel exactly the same way. You may believe so, but if you have any sense, you will realize within a short time that it is not so. Some people may take years to realize; a few people will realize quickly, but everyone will realize. No two people are exactly alike physically, mentally, emotionally; it’s not possible. But when you become truly energetic, oneness is just natural. That is the way it is.
As you have a physical body, you also have an Energy Body. This is the energy infrastructure over which the physical substance comes together as a human body. Energy body is the dimension in which most of the yogic practices function. If we keep our Energy Body in perfect balance and fully activated, there can be no such thing as disease either in our physical or mental body. Keeping the Energy Body in full flow is not about doing healing or things like that. This is about going to the foundations of your energy system and activating it in a proper way by building a foundational yogic practice that establishes our energy in such a way that our body and mind are naturally fine. If we bring the physical body, the mental body, and the energy body into proper alignment and balance, we will not have any physical or psychological ailments.
When it comes to a chronic ailment, the root cause for it is always on the energy level. If your energy body is disturbed or has blockages – whether because of the atmosphere you live in, the food you eat, the relationships you hold or because of your emotions, attitudes, thoughts, opinions, and beliefs – this naturally manifests first on a psychological level as mental disturbances and if not resolved on the psychological level then it manifests on the physiological level as some kind of physical ailment. So the manifestation of dis-ease descends from the subtle level to gross.
There are innumerable number of people who have come out of their health issues – particularly chronic ailments and psychological problems – simply by creating the necessary alignment within themselves. It is misalignment that causes all kinds of problems. When the body is at ease, there is no dis-ease. In fact, if you have mastery over your physical body, 15 to 20% of your life and destiny will be in your hands. If you have mastery over your mind, 50 to 60% of our life and destiny will be in your hands. If you have mastery over your very life energy, 100% of your life and destiny will be in your hands – every moment of your life can become self-determined.
Fundamentally, the word “health” comes from the root word “whole.” So what we call “feeling healthy” means that we have a sense of wholeness in us. Medically, a person may be free of diseases, but that is only one part of health. When you feel like a complete human being in your body, mind and spirit, then you can be fully healthy. So there are any number of people who are healthy by medical standards, but unless they experience that sense of wellness from within, they are still lacking something. If human beings have to experience this sense of wholeness, this sense of wellness within themselves, it is important that their body, mind and above all their energies function at a certain level of intensity.
Let’s say a man is walking down the street. If you look at the way he walks, you clearly know whether his body is well exercised or not. The very way he strides, you can tell. Similarly, if you look at his face, you can see whether his mind is well exercised. There are also ways to see whether his energy is well exercised. So as there are ways to keep the body fit through physical exercises and the mind fit through the process of mind trainings, there are also ways to keep the energies fit.
Things are not happening for you on the inside or the outside the way they should be simply because you have not taken care of the well-being of your energy. For every physical or psychological situation that a human being goes through, there is some chemical basis to it. Modern medicine has studied this extensively. And today, all medicine has just become chemistry. So for every problem that arises in a person’s body, people are just taking one chemical or the other to come to some kind of balance; that is how the whole of modern medicine is being handled right now. But we know very well that if you use one chemical to reduce or enhance something, something else is bound to happen. For one ailment, there is an antidote. And for the antidote, there is another antidote. It’s an endless chain because whatever is happening on the chemical level in your body, it is only controlled by the way your energies function. Now somebody says, “No, this man has got acids, so give him alkaline.” But why does he have acids? Simply because of the way his body, mind and above all, the way his energies function.
When it comes to health, no human being gets to live in perfect conditions. The pressures of life, the food we eat, the air we breathe and the water we drink can affect us in many ways. The more activities we have in the world, the more we are exposed to things that can throw our chemistry off balance and create health problems. But if the energy in our system is properly cultivated and kept active, these things will not have an effect. The physical body and the mental body will be in perfect health. There is no question about it.
Life functions in many ways. Let’s say you do not know anything about electricity. If the room is dark and I tell you that if you press a button, the whole room will be flooded with light, will you believe me? No. But if I press the button and light appears, you will call it a miracle, isn’t it? Simply because you do not understand how electricity works. Similarly, life happens in many different ways. But people have limited themselves to the physical and the logical — the physical in experience, the logical in thinking. Right now, medical science is limited to just knowing the physical body. If anything happens beyond that, people think it’s a miracle. But [this] is another kind of science. The life energy in you created your whole body — your bones, flesh, heart, kidneys — everything.”
THE LIFE FORCE - PRANA
Sadhguru: Whatever you do in life, how your body, your mind, and your whole system function is ultimately determined by your vital energy or prana. Prana is an intelligent energy. Since prana has the karmic memory or the information of the individual imprinted on it, it functions in each person in a unique manner. By contrast, electricity does not have memory or intelligence. It can light up a light bulb, run a camera, and do a million other things, not because of its intelligence but because of the particular device that it powers. In the future, there may be smart electricity too. If you manage to imprint energy with a certain memory, you can make it behave in a certain way.
There are five basic manifestations of prana, or life energy, in the body which direct different aspects of the human mechanism: Vayu is an energetic force that moves in a specific direction to control bodily functions and activities. Each Vayu governs a specific area of the body and ideally functions in harmony with each other. Their subtle energetic movements affect and influence our physical, emotional and mental health and wellness. If a Vayu becomes imbalanced it can create disharmony through the whole energetic system of the body or can negatively affect its associate chakra or the organs linked to its location.
Prana-Vayu is situated in the heart, and its energy pervades the chest region. Prana-Vayu translates as “forward moving air,” and its flow is inwards and upward. It nourishes the brain and the eyes and governs the reception of all things: food, air, senses, and thoughts. This Vayu is the fundamental energy in the body and directs and feeds into the four other Vayus. This Vayu’s action is crystallization, its expression is cyclical, and its associated chakras and elements are Anahata and air. When this Vayu is weak, the mind cannot focus and experiences excess worry. Shortness of breath, anxiety, low energy or a poor immune system can be related to disturbed Prana-Vayu.
Apana-Vayu is situated in the pelvic floor and its energy pervades the lower abdomen. Apana-Vayu translates as “the air that moves away,” and its flow is downwards and out. Its energy nourishes the organs of digestion, reproduction, and elimination. Apana-Vayu governs the elimination of all substances from the body: carbon dioxide, urine, stool, etc. This Vayu’s action is elimination, its expression is steadiness, and its associated chakras and elements are Muladhara and earth. A weak or dysfunctional Apana-Vayu creates feelings of un-roundedness and weakness in the legs. Elimination issues or diseases that affect the intestines, kidneys, or urinary tract can be related to disturbed Apana prana.
Vyana-Vayu is situated in the heart and lungs and flows throughout the entire body. Vyana-Vayu translates as “outward moving air,” and its flow moves from the center of the body to the periphery. It governs the circulation of all substances throughout the body and assists the other Vayus with their functions. This Vayu’s action is circulation, its expression is alignment, and its associated chakras and elements are Svadisthana and water. A weak or dysfunctional Vyana-Vayu can create feelings of separation and alienation and can create disjointed, fluctuating and rambling thoughts. Poor circulation, impaired nerve stimulation, skin disorders, and nervous breakdowns can be related to disturbed Vyana-Vayu.
Udana-Vayu is situated in the throat and it has a circular flow around the neck and head. Udana-Vayu translates to “that which carries upward,” and its flow moves upward from the heart to the head, five senses, and brain. It functions to “hold us up” and governs speech, self-expression, and growth. This Vayu’s action is metabolization, its expression is verbal, and its associated chakras and elements are Vishuddha & Ajna and ether. A weak or dysfunctional Udana-Vayu can manifest as speech difficulties, shortness of breath and diseases of the throat. A lack of self-expression, uncoordinated movement or loss of balance can be related to disturbed Udana-Vayu.
Samana-Vayu is situated in the abdomen with its energy centered in the navel. Samana-Vayu translates to “the balancing air” and its flow moves from the periphery of the body to the center. It governs the digestion and assimilation of all substances: food, air, experiences, emotions, and thoughts. This Vayu’s action is assimilation, its expression is internal, and its associated chakras and elements are Manipura and fire. A weak or dysfunctional Samana-Vayu can manifest as poor judgment, low confidence and a lack of motivation and desire. Issues with digestion can be related to disturbed Samana-Vayu.
Five Prana Vayus Summary
Prana vayu - Situated in the heart region this is the fundamental energy. Governs the reception of everything from air to food, from senses to thoughts. (Respiration and thought, Anahata, Air, Cyclical)
Apana vayu - Active in the pelvic and lower abdominal areas. Improves digestion, elimination and reproduction. (Sensory, Muladara, Earth, Steadiness)
Vyana vayu - Governs the heart and lungs, and supports the function of other vayus. (Preservation, Swadisthana, Water, Alignment)
Udana vayu - Situated in the throat region. Promotes self-expression and growth. (Buoyancy, Vishuddhi & Ajna, Ether, Verbal)
Samana vayu - Present in the abdomen with the navel as its energy base. Governs digestion of everything from food to thoughts. (Body temperature and heat, Manipura, Fire, Internal)
Through yogic practices like the Shakti Chalana Kriya, a set of powerful, purifying practices to enhance the flow of one’s vital energy, one can take charge of the five vayus. If you gain mastery over these five vayus, you will be free from most ailments, particularly psychological ones. This is something that the world needs today.
Unless we act now, in the next fifty years, the number of people who are psychologically imbalanced, disturbed, or deranged will increase many times over due to various factors in our lifestyles. We are handling many aspects of our lives in a grossly negligent way, for which we are going to pay the price. If you take charge of your prana, whatever the external situation may be, you will remain psychologically balanced. Right now, a whole lot of people are psychologically imbalanced, though not everyone may have a medical diagnosis.
Prana, Balance, and Health
Suppose your hand does its own thing and pokes you in the eye, scratches you and beats you – that is a sickness. This is what most people’s minds are doing. Every day, the mind pokes them from inside, makes them cry, bawl, or worry – in so many ways, it creates suffering for them. That means it is sick, even if in a socially accepted manner. Every kind of suffering that human beings are going through day in and day out is created in the mind. This sickness has set in, and it will multiply because of the social structures, the technology around us, and various other influences.
Through yogic practices like the Shakti Chalana Kriya, you can to take charge of the pancha vayus.
One who takes charge of one’s prana can be one hundred percent assured to have unshakable psychological balance. This should also prevent physiological ailments to a large extent, though an element of risk remains due to various reasons, including infections and all kinds of chemicals and poisons that we are exposed to on a daily basis.
If you are psychologically in an extremely good place, a few physiological issues will not be a problem. Most of the time, minor bodily conditions are less of an issue than the reactions to them that happen in your mind. How the pranas function within you, how they transact with the rest of the universe, how they enter a newborn, and how they leave the dead, all clearly show they have an intelligence of their own.
NADI - PATHWAY OF PRANA, THE LIFE FORCE
Sadhguru: Within the spine, if you know its physical construction, you will know there are two holes on either side of the spine which are like conduit pipes for all the nerves to pass. These are the Ida and the Pingala, the left and the right channels. In the pranayama kosha or the energy body, there are 72,000 nadis. Nadis are pathways or channels in the system. If you cut this body and see, you will not see them. But as you become more aware of the movement of energy, you will see energy is not moving at random, it is moving in particular patterns. There are 72,000 different ways in which the energy moves. These 72,000 nadis spring from three basic nadis – Ida, Pingala, and Sushumna.
Ida and Pingala represent the two dimensions of life which we symbolize as feminine and masculine. This is not in terms of gender or about being male or female, but in terms of certain qualities in nature. Certain qualities in nature have been identified as masculine, while other qualities have been identified as feminine. You may be a man, but if your Ida is more pronounced, the feminine may be dominant in you. You may be a woman, but if your Pingala is more pronounced, the masculine may be dominant in you. It has nothing to do with you being a man or a woman. When we say masculine and feminine, on the level of your mind, Pingala represents the logical dimension of the mind; Ida represents the intuitive dimension of the mind.
Another way of looking at this is to symbolize these two aspects as sun and moon. Pingala is represented by the sun and Ida is represented by the moon, because one is outgoing and aggressive, the other is reflective and receptive. The outgoing nature is considered masculine. The reflective and receptive nature is considered feminine. These are two halves of life. Without one, the other cannot happen. All energy also functions this way. Electricity cannot function without positive and negative. Nobody can say which is more important than the other because one cannot exist without the other. These two aspects of life are represented by these two channels of Ida and Pingala.
These are two different dimensions of function on the planet. Some people are operating out of the moon within them, some people are operating with the sun within them, but both are problematic. A few people are operating using both of them evenly; they are the solution for this planet. Most people live and die in Ida and Pingala.
Sushumna, the central space, is the most significant aspect of human physiology. Life really begins only when energies enter into Sushumna, but for the majority, it remains dormant. Fundamentally, Sushumna is attribute-less, it has no quality of its own. It is like empty space. If there is empty space, you can create anything you want. Once energies enter into Sushumna, we say you attain to Vairagya. “Raga” means color. “Vairagya” means no color, you have become transparent. If you have become transparent, if what is behind you is red, you turn red too. If what is behind you is blue, you turn blue. You are unprejudiced. Wherever you are, you become a part of that, but nothing sticks to you. If you are among red people, you can be totally red because you are transparent, but the redness does not stick to you for a moment. Only if you are in a state of Vairagya, will you dare to explore all dimensions of life. If any color sticks to you, if red has stuck to you, you will resist going into the green. If green has stuck to you, you will resist going into the blue. If anything sticks to you, you will resist the next one, because you developed a prejudice of “this is right, that is wrong, this is okay, that is not okay.” [I like this, i don't like that] It restricts the flow of life. Above all, once the energies enter into Sushumna, you attain to a new kind of balance. Right now, you may be reasonably balanced, but if for some reason the outside situation goes crazy, you will also go crazy in reaction to that because the nature of Ida and Pingala is reactive. But once the energies enter Sushumna, you earn an inner balance. There is a certain space within you which never gets disturbed, which is never in any kind of turmoil; a space which cannot be touched by outside situations. Only if you create this stable situation within yourself, will you dare to scale the peaks of consciousness. If we want to explore other dimensions of life within ourselves, it is very important that we create a certain stability that the fear of suffering is taken away. Only when you create that, you will dare to explore different dimensions of life.
CHAKRAS - JUNCTION POINTS OF THE NADIS
Sadhguru: Chakras – there is too much chakra talk going on everywhere. Especially in the West, wherever you go, there are “wheel alignment centers” where they “align” your chakras and this and that. From yoga studios to chiropractic doctors, everybody is “doing” chakras these days. It has become a fashion.
What is a chakra? There are 114 chakras in the body. There are actually many more, these are the major ones. You can see them as 114 junction boxes or confluence of nadis. These junctions are always in the form of triangles. Chakra literally means a wheel or a circle because it symbolizes movement from one dimension to another. It is referred to as a chakra, but it is actually a triangle. Among these 114, two are outside the body and 112 are within the body. Among these 112, there are seven major chakras. For most people, three of these are active, the remaining are either dormant or mildly active. You do not have to activate all the 114 chakras to live a physical life. You can live quite a complete life and go with just a few of them. If you activate all the 114, you will have no sense of body; you will have no feeling of body at all. This is the essence of yoga – to activate your energy system in such a way that your sense of body is constantly being lowered. If you sit here, you are in the body, but you are no longer the body.
If I sit here for two or three days without food or sleep, I will carry on the same way. If your energy is in a certain way, you will have no sense of body; you never think of food or toilet. When you have the time, you eat, you relieve yourself. If there is no time, you can go the whole day without food, simply because your energies are in a certain hyped state that they do not constantly require anything external.
What is it that the chakras do in the system? What is their role within you? The seven fundamental chakras are known as Muladhara, Swadhishthana, Manipuraka, Anahata, Vishuddhi, Agna, and Sahasrar:
Physiologically, Muladhara is located at the perineum. There is a little space between the anal outlet and the genital organ – that space is Muladhara. “Mula,” means the root or source, and “adhar,” means the foundation. In the engineering of the body, this is the base. If you wish to grow, you need to cultivate this. If I speak in terms of lower and higher chakras, it can easily be misunderstood. It is like comparing the foundation of a building to the roof – the roof is not superior to the foundation. The foundation of the building is more basic to the building than the roof. The quality, life span, stability and security of the building depend, to a large extent, on the foundation rather than the roof. But in terms of language, the roof is higher, and the foundation is lower. In the physical body, your energies need to be in the Muladhara chakra to some extent. Otherwise, you cannot exist. But if the Muladhara chakra alone becomes dominant, food and sleep will be the predominant factors in your life. Chakras have more than one dimension to them. One dimension is their physical existence, but they also have a spiritual dimension. This means that they can be completely transformed into a new dimension. For example, if you bring the right kind of awareness, the same Muladhara that craves food and sleep, can become absolutely free from the process of food and sleep. If one wants to go beyond food and sleep, one needs to transform the Muladhara to an evolved state.
The second chakra is Swadhishthana. Swadhishthana means “the abode of the self.” If your energies move into Swadhishthana, you seek to enjoy the physical world in so many ways. If you look at a pleasure seeker, you will see that his life and his experience of life are just a little more intense than someone who is only about food and sleep. The Swadhishthana chakra is located just above the genital organ.
If your energy moves into the Manipuraka chakra, located just below the navel, you become a doer in the world. You are all about action. You may be a businessman, or a politician or some other field where a lot of activity is needed. Manipuraka is the maintenance center. It is the only point in the whole body where all the 72,000 nadis meet and re-distribute themselves. If you have a certain mastery over your Manipuraka, you can fix the time and date of your death. Generally, it is very important for a yogi to know when he will die, or otherwise, he fixes his time of death himself, because he wants to die gracefully, as he lived gracefully. It is very important for him how he dies, [how he sheds his body].
If your energies move into the Anahata, which is just below that spot where your rib cage meets, you are a creative person. “Anahata” literally means the “un-struck.” If you want to make any sound, you have to strike two objects together. The un-struck sound is called “Anahata.” Anahata is like a transition between your lower chakras and higher chakras, between survival instincts and the instinct to liberate yourself. If you look at the chakras as two different dimensions, the Manipuraka, Swadhishthana, and Muladhara are more concerned with keeping the body stable and rooted. These are the earth qualities. The more you ascribe your energies to these three centers, the more your qualities will become earthy, more in the grip of nature, [more about protection and security.] The upper ones, the Vishuddhi, Agna and Sahasrar, are three centers which are always taking you away. If your energies become dominant in these centers, it will take you away from the pull of the earth. These centers make you receptive to another force which we normally refer to as Grace, [and ever expansion and boundlessness] Between the first three and the last three, the first three are pulling you towards the Earth, the last three are pulling you away from the Earth. Anahata is a balance between the two.
It is symbolized by two interlocked triangles, one pointing down, another pointing up, forming a star between them. Many religions in the world have used this symbol, because somewhere in their culture, somebody realized his original nature through Anahata and naturally found this interlocking triangle within himself, because that is how the Anahata meets.
The next chakra is the Vishuddhi, which is located in the pit of your throat. The word “Vishuddhi” literally means a “filter,” because if Vishuddhi becomes powerful, you have the ability to filter everything that enters you. Poisons can enter you in so many ways. A wrong thought or emotion, the wrong kind of energy or a wrong impulse can poison your life. If your Vishuddhi is active, it filters everything and saves you from all these influences. Or in other words, once Vishuddhi is very active, that person is so powerful within himself that external nature has no influence on him. Whatever is around him does not influence him anymore. He is established within himself.
If your energies move into the Agna chakra, located between your eyebrows, you are intellectually enlightened; you attain to a new balance and peace within you. The outside no longer disturbs you, but you are still experientially not liberated. Once someone has attained union on the level of Agna, suddenly the intellectual types look stupid in front of him.
Sahasrar is the seventh chakra. It is not in the body, it is just outside the body. On top of the head, there is a spot known as Brahmarandhra or “the opening.” When a child is born, there is a tender spot where the bone does not form till the child grows to a certain age. Just above that is Sahasrar. For most people it is dormant, it is not active. If some sadhana, or inner work, comes into your life or because of a very intense way of living, it can become active. If energies move into Sahasrar, you will become ecstatic. If there isn’t sufficient sadhana to create the necessary physiological and psychological balance, this ecstasy can become uncontrollable. You are simply so ecstatic that you do not know how to handle any other aspect of your life. So generally, as far as people are concerned, you will seem to be mad. When a person becomes like this, in the tradition they used to call them Avadhutas – they do not know how to handle their life. Somebody has to feed them, clean them, and take care of them. They are just ecstatic, that’s all. A very wonderful state, but most people cannot afford it for so many reasons.
Certain techniques in Yoga consists in using Prana guiding its circulatory movement through Ida and Pingala down to the base of the spine into the space where the opposite forces circulating in Ida and Pingala will be unified and then rise up in Sushumna, energizing the seven chakras.
From Muladhara chakra, Ida and Pingala alternate from the right to left sides at each chakra until they reach Agna chakra where they meet again with Sushumna. Continuing beyond Agna chakra, Ida and Pingala end in the left and right nostrils respectively.
Once the energy has ascended through Sushumna to Sahasrar, the highest chakra, it is made to reverse its course and return to rest in the base center again.
Each of the chakras, according to the Tantras, corresponds to one of the elements: Muladhara represents solidity; Swadhishthana, liquidity; Manipuraka, the gaseous (fire); Anahata, the aerial; Vishuddhi, the etheric. One can see the whole process as a progressive transformation of the elements, with an increase of volatility.
This ascent through the chakras can be viewed as an upward journey through the self which refines and subtilizes the energy that, until at the sixth chakra, the Agna, a qualitative change has taken place.
Fundamentally, any spiritual path can be described as a journey from the Muladhara to the Sahasrar. This journey is an evolution from one dimension to another. To move your energies from Muladhara to Agna, there are many spiritual processes and several ways, but to move from Agna to Sahasrar, there is no path. There is no particular way. One has to either jump or fall into it.The reason why in the spiritual traditions, so much stress was always laid on the Guru-shishya relationship – the master- disciple relationship – is simply because of this. Paths can be charted out and methods can be taught as to how to move your energies to Agna. But to stabilize themselves at Agna and move to Sahasrar, where there is no path, where there is no particular method, it simply needs trust. Without trust, one will not know how, because it is like jumping into a void.
Sadhguru: What you are asking is essentially, how is breath connected to your wellbeing? How you breathe decides many aspects of who you are right now. Have you noticed, for different levels of thought and emotion that you go through, your breath takes on different types of patterns? If you are angry, you breathe in one way. If you are peaceful, you breathe another way. If you are very happy, you breathe another way. If you are sad, you breathe another way. Whichever way you breathe, that is the way you think. Whichever way you think, that is the way you breathe.This breath can be used in so many ways as a tool to do other things with the body and the mind. Pranayama is the science where, by consciously breathing in a particular way, the very way you think, feel and understand and experience life can be changed. Shambhavi, a powerful yogic practice which uses breathing techniques to generate and direct the flow of prana (vital life energy) in the body, we use a very simple process of breath, but it is not about the breath. Breath is just a tool; it is just an induction. What happens is not about the breath.
Though in many ways, physiologically, the breath is the basis of your life, most human beings have never really experienced their breath. If I ask you to watch your breath, which is the most common practice people do these days, you think you are watching the breath, but actually you are not. You are only able to notice the sensations caused by the movement of air. It is like, if someone touches your hand, you think you know the touch of the other person, but actually, you only know the sensations generated within your body; you do not know how the other person feels. Breath is like the hand of the Divine. You don’t feel it. Breath is not just the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide. In fact, the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide is a consequence of "breath." Along with the transaction of air that is coming in and going out, there is another level of transaction required for the physiological process to happen. Even after a person is medically dead – the movement of air, the heartbeat, and brain activity have stopped – he is still "breathing" for some time. That “breath” process is still going on, but it is not able to pull in oxygen and push out carbon dioxide. It is like an old siphon that is still pumping, but the liquid does not flow, because there is a little leak. Similarly, this “breath” process is still on, but the oxygen-carbon dioxide exchange has closed down. This "breath" that you do not experience is referred to as Koorma Nadi. I am not referring to the sensations caused by the air, I am referring to the breath itself. Koorma Nadi is referred to as a string which ties you with this body – an unbroken string that goes on and on.
If I take away your breath, you and your body will fall apart because the you (being) and your body are bound by the Koorma Nadi. This is a big deception. There are two, but they are pretending to be one. It is like marriage – they are two, but when they come out they pretend to be one. There are two entities here, [you] the being and the body, two diametrically opposite ones, but they pretend that they are one. If you travel through the breath, deep into yourself, to the deepest core of the breath, it will take you to that point where you are actually tied to the body. Once you know where you are tied and how you are tied, you can untie it at will. Consciously, you can shed the body as effortlessly as you would shed your clothes. When you know where your clothes are tied, it is easy to drop them. When you don’t know where it is tied, whichever way you pull, it does not come off. Similarly, if you do not know where your body is tied to you, if you want to drop it, you have to damage or break it in some way. But if you know where it is tied, you can very clearly hold it at a distance. Once you can hold your body at a distance, all your trouble and suffering will be over. All the trouble and suffering in your life arise from your body and your mind. If you can hold your body and your mind at a distance to yourself, this is the end of suffering. And only when there is no fear of suffering, a human being will dare to explore his life at full stride.
Sadhguru: If you want to move into a higher level of consciousness, a higher level of awareness, you must prepare your body, your mind and your energy. The fundamental principles of yoga prepare and mature your [body and] mind in a certain way. Yoga asana helps you prepare the body to receive higher levels of energy. Pranayama intensifies and directs your prana, the vital energy linked to the breath. Pranayama will make you feel more healthy, active and alert. But that’s not the end of pranayama. Pranayama is a powerful practice that can slowly and naturally move you into a higher level of experience. It is a tool that can transform your very experience of life. Pranayama can take you beyond the physical limitations of the body in order to realize a deeper inner dimension. Pranayama is a complete path to self-awareness. Pranayama is one of the eight limbs of yoga: yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and samadi. The first two are dos and don’ts for a beginner, more like a simple moral code that will assist one’s growth. Many people think yoga is only about asana. Asana is about the body. The body is a big faction for people, it rules them in many ways. If you don’t keep your body in a certain level of health and vitality it will not allow you to think beyond the small realities of the body. So yoga asana is not just for fitness, it helps prepare the body to move from a grosser level to a subtler level. Similarly, a person’s energies can be gross or subtle. See, right now, if you look at the creation, today modern science proves to you beyond any doubt that the whole existence is one energy. The same energy is lying here as mud, the same energy is crawling like an ant, the same energy is standing up as a tree and the same energy is here as human beings. The energy you refer to as [divine] is also the same. It is the same energy manifesting itself in different ways. So from the grossest level to the highest level, the energy has moved. The lowest one you call as physical substance or inanimate things; the highest you refer to as [divine]. The whole process of yoga is to cultivate your energy; to make it subtler, subtler and even subtler so that you go from being just earth to becoming divine. If transforming your energy to the subtler planes within yourself can happen, your body has to cooperate, your mind has to cooperate, your energies have to cooperate. Otherwise it won’t happen.
Sadhguru: Breath is very directly connected to how the mental fluctuations happen. For example, in our experience, a normal person is breathing around 15 times per minute. Suppose naturally, not by effort [but by doing certain practices such as pranayama], the breath drops below 11 times per minute. Then you begin to understand various reverberations that are happening around you in terms of all the subsonic sounds in which the animals are communicating becomes very obvious to you. If breath drops below nine times per minute naturally without controlling it, then what the plants are exuding, the plant life, what it is doing, becomes very obvious to you. If your breath drops below six, then what the inanimate things are doing, how they'er reverberating becomes very obvious to you. This is known as Ritambhara Pragna. That means the reverberations of every form and the sounds attached to it become very clear to you or in other words, the nature of the universe can be grasped if you know the language of the inanimate. Every form, how it is made, what is its nature, what it is right now, and what it will evolve into or what it was yesterday - all this is becoming apparent to you. As the concerns of survival recede, human beings will naturally evolve into perceiving higher things. But the important thing is the level of static. Because the breath is a survival process, if you sit still it goes down. The more still your body becomes, the less you breathe. If you bring your whole system to a certain level of stillness, not being in a hyper ventilated state, then your perception goes on increasing. So as the stillness deepens [the perception and intelligence increases]
INFINITE EXPANSION, THE ULTIMATE INCLUSION
When it comes to external realities, each one of us is differently capable, but when it comes to inner realities, all of us are equally capable. It has not happened to people because people have never applied themselves in that direction. People have never paid attention to the inner. They always believed that if we fix the outside, everything will be okay. But the affluent classes in the world are sufficient proof that fixing the outside is not enough for life. You need to do something about yourself too. Once your interiority is fixed, then whatever the kind of external situations, you can still live a full life. If your interiority is not managed, it does not matter what we have achieved on the outside, everything goes waste. With great effort, people reach success, only to suffer success. How much effort it has taken! But when they get there, they cannot enjoy it, they only suffer it because the internal has not been taken care of at all. It takes a certain amount of awareness for a human being to realize that the essence of his life, the quality of his life is not decided by what is outside, but by what is within him.
This has been completely misinterpreted. People concluded that if you want to be spiritual, you must give up everything outside. It is not about giving up or not giving up. Whether you are spiritual or otherwise, you anyway breathe, eat food and drink water. Whether you eat good food or bad food is the only choice you have. So it is not about giving up. It is a shift of focus where you see that if you do not handle the internal appropriately, the quality of your life cannot be good. The quality of your life is decided not by what kind of clothes you wear, what kind of car you drive or what kind of home you live in, but by how peaceful and joyful you are within yourself. This is essentially the quality of your life. Everything else is done to get there. If this does not happen, everything else goes waste.
But being healthy, peaceful and joyful should not be the end goal of life nor are they the purpose of yoga. In fact, being healthy, peaceful and joyful should be the basic qualities of everyday life and not some qualities you attain at the end of your life. In yoga, these qualities naturally develop as side effects, and in it of themselves are not the goal of yoga.
One fundamental aspect of yoga is learning to use your body and mind like instruments. Most people are so identified with their bodies and minds that they experience them as themselves.This human system is not a simple mechanism. You can play on it and do the kind of things that you would never have imagined possible. In your experience, when you are identified with your body and look at it as “myself,” either you are proud of it or ashamed of it. Once you have such problems, you cannot use this as an instrument.
There is a way to live where you can make this body an instrument that becomes the very axis of the universe. In yoga, we refer to the human spine as the Merudanda, which means the axis of the Universe. “How can my spine be the axis of the Universe?” If your experience of life is limited, you will only perceive whatever is within the boundaries of your sensation as “you.” If you touch an inanimate object, do you experience it as a part of yourself? The water in your cup, is it you? What if you drink it? Does it become you? Anything that you include into the boundaries of your sensation becomes you.
Today, it is a medical fact that the boundaries of your sensation, or your sensory body, has a presence beyond the physical body. Doctors are clearly saying that when a man’s limb is amputated, even if the physical leg is gone, the sensory leg is still intact. He will feel pain or sensation in his limb, even though it is gone, because the sensory body has a separate experience of its own. If you make yourself very exuberant with joy, love, or ecstasy for example, the sensory body becomes very large. If you make yourself depressed and sad, even if somebody physically touches you, you may not even notice it, because your sensory body has shrunk below the size of the physical body.
How the energies in your spine are functioning right now determines just about everything about your life. That is why yoga attaches enormous importance to the human spine. Medical science unfortunately has not given it that kind of significance.The evolution of animals from invertebrates to vertebrates – from being spineless to having a spine – was a huge leap forward, in terms of development of the body. After that, moving from a horizontal spine to a vertical spine was an even bigger step in the development of the brain.There is enough scientific understanding to show that the development of the brain began only after the spine became erect. It is from this understanding that certain yogis never lie down. Even if they have to sleep, they sleep sitting up, because when someone is trying to evolve in a great way within this lifespan, remaining in vertical postures as much as possible is very essential. If you know how to be sufficiently relaxed in your erect postures, you will see that the need to lie down and the need to sleep will come down quite dramatically. Only because you are tense in your vertical posture, the need for sleep goes on increasing. A yogi is somebody who is transforming his body and making it like a ladder to heaven. For that, having a little bit of mastery over the spine becomes essential. That is why in tradition, it is said that there are thirty-three steps to heaven. Some people started drawing artwork depicting heaven with God sitting at the top of thirty-three steps. That is not the point. There are thirty- three bones in your spine. This can be a painful spine, or this can be made into a ladder you climb upon and reach the highest level of consciousness, pleasure, and blissfulness within yourself.
There are methods to crank up the voltage in your system through the spine and expand your sensory body. Suppose you expanded your sensory body where you could experience everything as a part of yourself. As you experience the five fingers on your hand, you can experience anything you are willing to include, as a part of yourself. If even for a moment, you experience everyone around you as a part of yourself, after that do I have to teach you morality – “Be good to this person, don’t harm this person, don’t kill this person?” Anything that you know as “myself,” with that you are in harmony, with that there is no conflict, there is no problem. It is the other, which is the problem. You can expand your sensory body to include everything; you can include the whole universe as a part of yourself. That is what we are referring to as yoga. Yoga means union. That means, the individual and the universal have become one. In your experience, you have transcended the limitations of the individuality and only you are. Everything is you. The moment you know this experientially, not as an idea or a philosophy but in reality, when you have experienced everything as yourself, nobody needs to tell you how to be. You just know. Everything has become one within you because your sensory body has expanded in a limitless way. You have included everything as yourself.
TOOLS for upgrading your ENERGY
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Rhythms of Earth, Cycles of Life
Sadhguru: Today, at least in cities, I would say 95% of people do not know what phase of the moon it is right now. If you ask them, they will Google it, they won't look up in the sky! The phases of the moon and the impact that it has on your physiology and your psychological structure is phenomenal. It is capable of pulling up the whole ocean, but you think nothing is happening to you? It definitely happens to you. It is just that we have become a society of accumulated knowledge, not experiential knowing. For everything, we have to read a book [or now a days google it]. Slowly, we are becoming more and more of an incubated life rather than a real life. This will cause various things. Many more things will happen if we don't take care of it now. We are still at a place where we can turn it around, but if you cross certain lines, turning around is not going to be easy.
The Solar System as Potter’s Wheel
In yoga, we see the solar system as the potter's wheel out of which we have been churned. The relationship between the solar system and the body is recognized and a whole lot of practices are designed to be in sync with that. There are 72,000 energy channels in the body, which meet in 114 places in significant ways. Out of these 114, two are outside the physical body. With another four, there is nothing much you can do. So there are only 108 which you can practically work with.
108 has been held as a significant number in Indian culture. According to the Surya Siddhanta, an ancient Indian astronomical work, the sunlight moves at a speed of 2,202 yojanas in 0.5 nimisha. One yojana is nine miles. 2,202 yojanas amount to 19,818 miles. One nimisha is equal to 16/75 of a second. Half a nimisha amounts to 8/75 of a second, which is 0.106666 seconds. A speed of 19,818 miles in 0.10666 seconds equals 185,793 miles per second. This is approximately in line with the modern calculations, according to which the speed of light is 186,282 miles per second. Modern science has arrived at this number with great difficulty and all kinds of instruments, while a few thousand years ago, they got this number by simple observation of how the human system and the solar system function together.
The distances between the Sun and the Earth, the distances between the Moon and the Earth, the way the planet rotates and the impact it has – all these things have been looked at with great care. The diameter of the Sun multiplied by 108 equals the distance between the Sun and Earth, and the diameter of the Moon multiplied by 108 equals the distance between Earth and Moon. The diameter of the Sun is 108 times the diameter of the Earth.
I could go on with all kinds of fabulous figures, but the most important thing is the deep connection between the making of time [rhythm] and the making of the human body. You know, the planet is approximately round and it has a slightly tilted orbit. As it travels, as it spins, it forms a circle. Today we know it takes 25,920 years to complete this cycle. This tilt mainly happens because of the gravitational pull of the moon over the earth. And that many years are called one cycle of yugas. Each of these cycles has eight yugas.
Earth and man
Back to one cycle of axial precession – 25,920 divided by 60 (which is also the number of heart beats per minute if you are healthy) – comes to 432. Four hundred thirty two is a number that comes up in various cultures – the Norse culture, the ancient Jewish culture, the Egyptian culture, the Mesopotamian culture, and very much in the Indian culture here. Why 432? If you are in good health and in good condition, your heart beats about 60 times per minute, which is 3600 per hour, and 3600 x 24 equals 86,400 heartbeats per day. If you divide 864 by 2, again you have 432.
If you are healthy, you take about 15 breaths per minute. If you have done lots of sadhana, it could be only 12. 15 breaths per minute means 900 breaths per hour and 21,600 per day. 216 multiplied by 2 becomes 432 again.
If you take the circumference of the earth – there is something called a nautical mile which is the real mile in the sense that it has something to do with the way the planet is. The other units of measurement were created for ease of calculation. You know there are 360° in a circle. Likewise, there are 360° upon the planet, and each degree is divided into 60 minutes. One of these minutes accounts for one nautical mile. That means the circumference of the earth at the equator is 21,600 nautical miles – that is also how many breaths you take per day. That means the planet is spinning on time and you are doing well. If the planet was not spinning on time, it would be no good at all for us. If you are not in tune with it, it is also no good for you.
This is to show you time is not a concept that we invented – time is deep-rooted in the system, in the very way we are made. I want you to look at the impact of time in human life from a different context. This is not something that someone thought up – this is a phenomenal and profound science. Yoga has always been deeply involved with this. It is just that we don’t believe in propounding theories about it. By practice, we try to attune the body to the times and spaces of creation, because without being in tune with them, you do not get very far. If you are not riding the time, you will live a mediocre life – probably a suffering life. Only if you are riding the time, you will live an extraordinary life, which is what a human being and the human brain are designed for.
The Peak of Evolution
15,000 years ago when Adiyogi, the first yogi, was transmitting yoga to his seven disciples, the Saptarishis or seven celebrated sages in India, he charted out how a human being has evolved.
A Saptarishis asked, “Can't a human being evolve further?” Adiyogi said, “Unless there are drastic changes in the solar system, your body cannot evolve further; the physical laws will not permit that.” He said the first form was a fish, then it was a turtle – an amphibious creature. Among the mammals, the first one is a wild boar. Then he talks about half man-half animal, then a dwarfed man, then a full-fledged man, but emotionally volatile. Then he talked about a peaceful man, a loving man and then a meditative man. After this is a mystical man – a man who is capable of experiencing other things – will come. When he talks about a man, he is not talking about an individual man. He is talking about humanity evolving on this planet.
It is very uncanny that today, modern neuroscientists are saying something very similar. When people ask, “Can't we have a bigger brain than what we have so that we can do more things?” They are saying, “The human brain cannot evolve any further, not because of neurological principles but because of physical laws. We can only learn to use it better, but we cannot evolve it further because the only way we can do that is to pack more neurons in it. If we do that, clarity will go away.” Many children are born like this – they have phenomenal intelligence but they have no clarity. Over a period of time, natural cycles will kill some of the neurons and bring them down to a balanced state. If they don't come down, they will be not normal.
The other way for the brain to evolve is for the neuronal size to increase, in which case the brain’s power consumption will be so high that the physical body cannot sustain it. In a restful state, twenty percent of your energy is consumed in your brain. If you increase the size of the neurons, the volume of energy that it will consume will be so high that the physical body cannot sustain it. This is because of the physical laws, not because of neurological principles. Adiyogi said this 15,000 years ago.
In yoga, we evolved a whole system of practices as to how to stay in sync with the solar system so that your physical health, your mental balance and your spiritual well being is not even an issue. It is something that naturally gets handled once you fall in sync with the whole system. Today we ignore everything and try to live. You can't be well that way.
We have strived to produce societies and world with all kinds of conveniences. But we have not invested enough on the inner well being of a human being. We need infrastructure which delivers inner possibilities without fanciful belief systems; an infrastructure where a human being can turn inward and explore himself. I am talking about inner exploration as an experience, not a psychological analysis. If that doesn't happen, becoming ecologically sensitive is going to be just a fashionable or a freaky thing.
Sadhguru: In the yogic system, we have said that of all the life upon this planet, the human being is not only the most dominant, but that life cannot evolve beyond this in terms of body and in terms of brain any more. He can only learn to use it better, but he cannot evolve. How we arrived at this is by looking at the life cycles of various creatures from worms, insects, birds, animals to plants. We found that the human cycle is perfectly in tune with the cycles that happen in the solar system, because life upon this planet is just a manifestation of the energies which work upon this solar system.
In terms of the solar and lunar cycles, the human body is perfectly matched. Life cannot go beyond this – this is the yogic perception. We can only see how to use this better; we cannot make anything more.
This body is a piece of earth powered by the sun. You are a solar powered life. If the sun does not come up tomorrow, the scientific data says in eighteen hours’ time, all the water in the oceans, your blood, your brain – everything – will be frozen solid. So today morning the sun came up – that is not a small thing; it is everything. You may not be conscious of this, but your life is very directly connected to what happens with the sun and the relationship between the planet and the sun. Every twelve-and-a-quarter, to twelve-and-a-half years, one solar cycle is completed. If you are conscious, you would notice every twelve to twelve-and-half years, every human being’s life goes through a certain cycle. Many changes will happen in the physiology, in the mind-set, and in the life situations of every human being. It is just that twelve-and-odd years is a little too much for people to keep track of. Because of that, they do not notice it. Something probably that nobody can't help noticing is the moon and the cycles of the moon. We clearly know that if our mothers and their bodies were not properly tuned to the cycles of the moon, we would not be born.
So in terms of the solar and lunar cycles, the human body is perfectly matched. Life cannot go beyond this – this is the yogic perception. We can only see how to use this better; we cannot make anything more.
So being in tune with the cycles of the sun and the moon in the making of this body is essentially the physics of the body. The physical laws will not permit us to go further than this. This is something that we have known for thousands of years. Right now, life in this solar system has reached its peak. It is for you to put it to better use than the way it is. Once we have come as humans, only one end of life is fixed, the other end is wide open. For every other creature on this planet both the ends are fixed. This is the human problem, that human beings are not suffering their bondage; they are suffering their freedom. With one end closed, the other end open means you are free; you are not only free – you are protected. If both ends were open, that means you are free but unprotected. But one end closed and the other open means you are protected but you are free.
It is more than fantastic that people who are studying the microbiology of a human being are saying, “Human cells are unique.” When I was talking about this in the United States, a microbiologist came up to me after the talk and said, "What you said is truly incredible. This is something that we know that the human cell is different from every other cell found on this planet. The very way it is structured, one end is open." Your very cells in the body are created like that. They are open-ended cells. No other cells on the planet are created like this. What it means is that nature has done everything that it can with you. The rest that needs to be done with this is just you and you and you alone. Because all that nature can do with you it has done! It is just you. And isn’t it wonderful it is all in your hands?