Yoga means union. What I often hear yoga teachers say after that is “union of the body, mind and spirit.” And that’s very nice, but then I wonder about everything that’s outside of me. What about other people, plants and animals, my noisy neighbors with the dog who poops in my echinacea? My son’s patronizing music teacher? Lady Gaga?
My 6 year old’s sweet bedtime story says, “All I see is part of me.” That sounds good. I realize my annoyance with people is Spirit’s way of waving a big black flag at the drag race in my head – “Violation! Pull over!” But perhaps thinking everything is my creation could send me down the slippery slope of indulgent self-importance, which sounds kind of antithetical to yoga.
Do I just find my own private union on my own little Manduka mat island and ignore the annihilation of the Gulf of Mexico? Blowing off the world’s problems and focusing on only my own personal liberation sounds like spirituality’s version laissez-faire capitalism. But I come from a culture that has a tendency to celebrate pluralism and radical individualism and ignore the toxic, narcissistic byproducts that it off-gases.
Am I directly responsible for the oil spill? Yes and no. In an Ultimate Spiritual Truth kind of way, yes, I created it, I need to fix it. In an everyday, relative lower case “truth” kind of way, no, but I still should help fix it.
How? I’m a yoga teacher not a petroleum engineer.
My favorite Einstein overly quoted quote:
“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”
The yogis broke down the human being into 5 layers or koshas – the body, the prana, the mind, the supermind or (wisdom mind), the layer of bliss. The system of yoga practices, with a focus on meditation, help to expand the self into the higher koshas. Get us out of the mind that created the problem, escort us deeper into the layers that can solve it. The world is screaming for higher consciousness.
There’s this thing you might have heard of called Distributed Computing. It combines the unused processing-power of multiple Internet connected computers for number crunching. So when you’re not using it, your computer uses its idle time to do research. One of the standouts is Standford University’s Folding@Home which is using the computers of millions of people to do research on Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and cancer.
So I got to thinking… What if all meditators participated in Distributed Consciousness? Every time we meditate we intend part of the concentrated consciousness of our higher minds to be used by a central consciousness server, to solve problems – like the Gulf, or Haiti, war in Afghanistan, or a suffering relative. Maybe we’re not even aware of how it’s being used, but we offer it up. Use our mindspace to do the necessary calculations to solve problems. Find that level of consciousness that Einstein says we need to work from.
Maybe the central consciousness server will upload our data and deliver it to the right person or people. Teilhard call this collective intelligence the no-osphere. He believed that we are co-creators of our destiny, that we have a direct hand in it. And that an overarching Consciousness is always there waiting for us to tap in and fiddle with it.
“Not only do we read in our slightest acts the secrets of [evolutions] proceedings; but for an elementary part we hold it in our hands, responsibile for its past to its future.”
Maybe real union is not just about our own personal liberation but about coming together in a synergy of consciousness – both in our practices and also out in the world.
The Transcendental Meditation experiment in 1993 showed a dramatic drop (23%) in violent crime in Washington D.C. when 4000 people meditated for peace between June 7 and July 30.
Why stop the experiment? How much chaos and trauma has to be created before we reach a critical mass of people willing to sit down and expand their consciousness for the good of all?
Something from Andrew Harvey:
“I know there is only one way out of our horror – that of a global revolution in consciousness that expresses itself urgently in radical wise action. And I know too, that if enough human beings became revolutionaries of sacred love the species could be transformed and co-create with the divine a new way of being and doing everything. I know also that my responsibility in knowing these truths is to embody them as completely and humbly as I can…”
What if we all sat down and closed our eyes and allowed our mindspace to be used for research?
Phew that’s powerful. I too read the publishing of that research in designing a mock research study for class last year. Powerful stuff! I guess it goes to show that what you’re doing you’re not doing for yourself alone but for all. That’s comforting to know.
The idea of true liberation is one that has perplexed me for a long time. Can one person become totally liberated without the whole of humanity being so? Certainly the Mahayana Buddhists would say “no.” And indeed I have felt, the higher you get on the spiritual path, the more you become a servant of the people. Then, gradually your only desire is to help others. Then you start using your creative power to cure the planet, clean up the oil spill, help the needy, etc. etc. And being in a state like that sounds like a being who’s made a commitment to stay on with humanity as an “employee” of God until the end. A true Bodhisattva.
So I pose that question: “Is personal liberation possible without the liberation of all of humanity? Would we even want that?” And the intention: Let me be a Bodhisattva today.
Thanks for the comment Nick, your question, “Would we even want that?” is so profound. The goal of yoga might be liberation, but if that means leaving everyone else behind, what’s the point? Those who have recognized this and who’s lives truly flow in a stream of service are the saints walking amongst us.
There’s a Krishna story about a boy who gives the dirt of his feet to cure Krishna’s illness – no one else will do it because it’s an unforgivable sin for a Hindu. But he doesn’t care if he goes to hell for it, he’ll bliss out in his love for Krishna no matter where he is and he simply wants Krishna to be happy.
Even if you don’t believe in a personalized higher power, the idea of giving up our own personal comfort at the service of Life itself is perhaps the highest calling.
May all beings be free and happy…
It reminds me of the Tibetan Buddhist tenet of Bodhicitta – attaining enlightenment for the sake of all beings. Why do we want peace? I used to want peace for myself. Now I want peace for myself that I may serve. As long as I exist as a distinct ego-self it’s the highest thing I can do.
Oh by the way, Kaoverii, I am the Nick that I believe Sid Jordan has spoken to you about regarding a potential internship/teacher training at Prama Institute. Today I was looking through some websites online, and saw a place in San Francisco that teaches yoga and meditation to youth, particularly disadvantaged. I said, “This is it.” Along with teaching and counseling with Science of Mind principles, that’s my goal. I have a Master’s in Social Work and will be attending your seminar at MAHEC next Wednesday. See you then.