LOOKING FOR THE GURU


Guru simply means teacher. The word has gathered baggage in our culture. We’ve all heard stories of teachers who have, to our perception, taken advantage of their followers; cults providing the leader with expensive cars and harems of devotees. Often these seemingly duped followers are made up of the college-educated middle class, with whom we may identify, making these stories more intriguing, mysterious, and perplexing.
Our culture has given us very little meaningful instruction in that most basic of understandings – what is life all about? There are a lot of very unhappy people. When someone comes along who appears to have the answers, it can be very seductive. There are many insights into the human condition in other cultures that may have been overlooked or forgotten by our contemporary society. A charismatic individual, with an admiring group expressing feelings of improvement, can fuel a dynamic.
In the final analysis, if these are capable adults, shouldn’t they be allowed to make their own choses? The question arises though, with materialism and wanton sexuality experientially such a damper on spirituality, what allure do they provide for a supposed spiritual teacher?

II
Historically acolytes would spend years learning in the presence of the guru. Teaching was passed down orally and conduct taught through example. Buddha’s immediate followers grouped around him from his enlightenment to his death over forty years later. Normally the apprentice shadowed their mentor until they were kicked out of the nest or their guru died.

III
With the rebirth in the West of interest in spiritual introspection and efforts toward self-realization, the tendency was to copy the guru/disciple model. With the emerging popularity of yoga it seemed everyone was running around looking for a teacher. Some searchers were able to hookup with a guru and become long-term followers. Most seekers would try a teacher or school, feel disillusioned or a need for more, and move on. A form of sampling developed. Taking what one school would offer, but rather than becoming a lifelong devotee, moving on to another discipline. This is a reflection of our modern world with many sources of information, ideas and concepts coalescing from a wide variety of sources, a synergism. The spiritual transformation going on now is occurring very rapidly. Many old souls need only be reminded of learning that took place in past lives. With the world population so great – how close can we be to having everyone who ever lived incarnate at the same time?
A great shift in consciousness is taking place. We’re just passing a crucial point in human history; a balance so decisive as to decide whether mankind continues or topples. Equilibrium is to be restored through the personal efforts of many individual souls.

IV
As an individual, be with the guru within. Listen to your inner understanding as part of the wisdom directing all creation. Hear the voice of that understanding expressed all around you. When attending a yoga class, don’t hold on to the ways you have performed in the past. Give yourself up to the teacher. You already know what you know. Through trust, dare to be fully alive and try other ways. Listen. Listen to the teacher and the world around you – the words of a child, lyrics of a song, the wind rustling the leaves. The Divine is in everything. Living now in each moment, pay attention to all and learn. This is part of awareness. Be aware.
“Be one with the guru, both inner and outer,” and understand one of many attempts to describe the indescribable – Samadhi.

 

MIND

STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN    VII

MANOMAYA KOSHA (Mental Body)

The sheath of the mind, the Manomaya Kosha is often called the mental body. It is the tool consciousness uses to perceive the world. The mind uses the brain to process information and performs at every level of the body. It utilizes the sense organs to gather stimulus and the mind stores and sorts information drawing conclusions.

The intellect’s sense of self, the ‘I” that is the ego (composed of memory, everything you’ve been taught about the world and about yourself) is also within this sheath. The Manomaya Kosha is also the seat of the emotions. The Manomaya Kosha must be tamed to allow you to be at home in the more subtle koshas.

'Beyond Vanity' artist Kate Clark

‘Beyond Vanity’ artist Kate Clark

 

 

SELF

STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN    III

Yoga technique allows direct personal experience of complete SELF. We exist as physical enigma. What animates our chemical and mineral composition into a living being? What intelligence organizes the multitudinous balanced relationships vital to a single cell? A sentient being?

All spiritual traditions assume that the physical body isn’t the only vehicle in which consciousness can express itself or in which the Self or Spirit manifests itself.

KOSHAS

KOSHAS

In yoga, five sheaths (the five koshas ) are recognized as occluding the pure light of the transcendental SELF.

ENERGY

STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN VI

PRANAMAYA KOSHA  (Energy Body)

The sheath of energy (life force) animates the physical and mental bodies. The Pranamaya Kosha energizes the minerals and chemicals composing the physical body into a living being; supplying energy to all components. The air element, or pranic force, creates vibration and life. Prana rides the breath. It allows our True Self to animate in the physical universe. It initiates life. The Old Testament tells of God breathing life into Adam.

courtesy Spirit Science Metaphysics

BODY

STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN    V

ANNAMAYA KOSHA (Physical Body)

The outermost of the koshas is the physical body (the Annamaya Kosha). ‘Anna’, in Sanskrit means food, and this is the body formed by the ingestion of food. It is sometimes referred to as the ‘gross body’, the least subtle of the koshas. The physical body is the temple of the soul. It houses organs that make it possible for consciousness to exist on this physical plane. It deserves care and respect. The reasons for being on the physical plane are the lessons that can only be learned in this material form. If the physical body is not properly maintained, it can be more difficult to advance spiritually.

Another paradox: the Annamaya Kosha is the most gross and dense of the koshas, but it is the most malleable. It is actually a manifestation of the unseen, more subtle koshas, and balanced sincere effort toward spiritual awareness echoes throughout the body and is reflected in the physical form.DSC0020-web

YOGA REVERES BALANCE

If the earth were a little closer or further away from the sun, if the moon wasn’t balanced in orbit acting as a stabilizer, the planet wouldn’t have been able to foster consciousness in this human form. An intricate balance of hot and cold gasses, liquids and solids form this womb, Mother Earth.

BALANCE IN BODY, MIND, AND SPIRIT weight loss through yoga, jewel in the lotus

BALANCE IN BODY, MIND, AND SPIRIT weight loss through yoga, jewel in the lotus

The human body is a finely balanced vessel for awareness. Multitudes of balanced chemical and functional relationships are requisite for our being. Just as the earth revolves in its perfect orbit without the coaching of our minds, so our infinitely complicated bodies draw upon a higher order. Our bodies are always woking to maintain a proper relationship among the gases, liquids and solids animated by the life force into a living organism. This sacrosanct coalesce is constantly going on without direction from our thinking mind.

 

Weight Loss Through Yoga, Jewel in the Lotus        Page 44

INTUITION — YOGA THOUGHT

After doing yoga and meditating for a while — getting more acquainted with your complete self — many things are going to start to become clear. Living fully in all of your koshas will facilitate a new form of understanding. The Knowledge Body Kosha knows beyond sensory perception. What existed as concepts or murky theories suddenly becomes obvious.

 A Higher Form of Thought — INTUITION — courtesy of Weight Loss Through Yoga

A Higher Form of Thought — INTUITION — courtesy of Weight Loss Through Yoga, Jewel in the Lotus

To the yogi, the highest form of thought is ‘intuitive’, but beyond the way the word is commonly used to describe having a ‘hunch’. In this context, intuition is an absolute understanding that just is. Suddenly it is so obvious, you wonder how you didn’t always have this understanding. Then you realize, of course, a part of you (your higher self) always did understand, but you didn’t consciously inhabit that part of the self. Now your increased awareness through yoga, simply sees and knows.

SHAKTI AND SHIVA

DANCE OF SHIVA

DANCE OF SHIVA

Consciousness is purusa, unchanging. In order to exist as a material life form it must combine with matter that is always changing, prakriti. This is a paradox. The Hindu yogic tradition uses the myth of Shiva and Shakti to explain.

They are a divine couple, lovers in the fields of creation. Shiva is the seer, purusa, never changing, and Shakti is energy, prakriti, always changing. Shakti, the lover, wants to play a game of passion and creates a world inviting Shiva, the beloved, in to join her. Shiva points out the world is always changing and he is always the same. How can he play in her creation?

“You be the center,” she replies. “You remain in your unchanging bliss and I’ll intermediate between you and the outside world. I will build sheaths through which you can experience the fun of my world while doing nothing in eternal bliss.”

Five koshas (sheaths) surround Shiva, allowing the lovers to experience passion as the embodied soul.

 

Weight Loss Through Yoga, Jewel in the Lotus        page 69

 

 

 

SHIVA AND SHAKTI

STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN IV

Hindu yogic myth explaining how the soul assumes corporeal form:

YOGA = UNION

YOGA = UNION

They are a divine couple, lovers in the field of creation. Shiva is the seer, purusa, never changing, and Shakti is energy, prakriti, always changing. Shakti, the lover, wants to play a game of passion and creates a world inviting Shiva, the beloved, in to join her. Shiva points out the world is always changing and he is always the same. How can he play in her creation?

“You be the center,” she replies. “You remain in your unchanging bliss and I’ll intermediate between you and the outside world. I will build sheaths through which you can experience the fun of my world while doing nothing in eternal bliss.”

Five koshas surround Shiva, allowing the lovers to experience passion as the embodied soul.