Are you free?

We’ve got plenty of notes, but not plenty of time.

We’re heading off to our final Mysore practice, we have to get packed up (and, we think, checked out mid-way through this final Confluence day) and so we are a bit rushed.

Thus, a quick highlight from the Saturday panel of the senior teachers on the eight limbs of yoga.

We’ll turn to Eddie Stern, who wound an intricate and web-like description of the principles that lie behind the yamas and niyamas. It was a fundamentally Vedic offering, moving from the atomic to the breadth of the cosmos. (It was, as I look back, one end of a continuum here at the Confluence; Naren’s wonderful kirtan last night was at the other.)

In the Vedic tradition (and with all these talks, I’m doing him about 1% of the justice he deserves), the closest word they have to what we translate as “spiritual” means “moving toward your inner being.” And one has to have a clear understanding of what and how you’re moving forward or toward that goal — thus we have our maps and systems (eight limbs of yoga, five breaths in a pose, etc.) — in order to start on the path. It isn’t willy-nilly. (That’s me, Eddie never put it that way.)

In the Vedic tradition, the nature of this inner being is freedom. It is pure consciousness, pure truth and pure bliss. (These align up to our physical body, energy/mental body and bliss body.)

Freedom is not how we see it in the West: As being able to do whatever you want, when you want. That sort of false freedom is bogged down in attraction and attachment. After all, when you are free to do whatever you want, what do you do?

You drink. You party. You neglect your duties. You keep living in the maya. (Eddie later talked through karma and kriya. We’ll get to that, I’m sure.)

But you aren’t free. You’re still caught up in all your stuff. You’re still trapped.

Posted by Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

4 thoughts on “Are you free?”

  1. Yes, yes “the self, or ‘Who Am I?’ I love Vedanta and the knowledge that we already are bliss and we already are perfect it’s just we have to strip away everything the mind builds in front of our true selves. Everything we want we already possess! Here are a couple of videos that have greatly informed me! Om, Shanti, Shanti, Shanti

    Abide As The Self ~ Ramana Maharshi

    Awaken To The Eternal Nisargadatta Maharaj ◦ Awaken to the Eternal

  2. “The World
    Creation: The main purpose of the scriptures is to expose the illusory nature of the world and to reveal the Supreme Spirit as the only Reality. They have built up the theory of creation with this sole end in view. They even go into detail and entertain the lowest order of seekers with the narration of the successive appearance of the Spirit, of the disequilibrium of reflected consciousness, of the fundamentals of elements, of the world, of the body, of life, and so on. But for the higher order of seekers the scriptures would say, in short, that the whole world appears like a panorama in a dream with an apparent objectivity and independent existence due to ignorance of the Self and consequent obsession with obstructive thoughts. They seek to show the world as an illusion in order reveal the Truth. Those who have realized the Self by direct and immediate experience clearly perceive beyond all doubt that the phenomenal world as an objective, independent reality is wholly non-existent.

    Since the Self, which is pure Consciousness, cognizes everything, it is the ultimate seer. All the rest: ego, mind, etc, are merely its objects. The subject in one line becomes the object in the next so each one of them except the Self or pure Consciousness is merely externalized object and cannot be the true Seer. Since the Self cannot be objectified, not being cognized by anything else, and since the Self is the Seer seeig all else, the subject-object relation and the apparent subjectivity of the Self exists only on the plane of relativity and vanish in the Absolute. There is in truth no other than the Self, which is neither the seer nor the seen, and is not involved as subject or object.” Sri Ramana Maharshi

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