Reviewing life’s lessons

Once you’ve studied the yogic philosophies such as the Gita, Patanjali’s Sutra’s and the Upanishads, it is useful to review your life and see what you have learned along the way.

So what was I learning in my teenage years to equip me to become a yoga teacher and, finally, the chairman of a yoga society? I learnt about the complicated games that people play. I learnt that people may be beautiful on the outside, but not on the inside. I learnt to use and to appreciate humour. And I found about the images that people put out into the world. Anyone meeting my family for the first time may well have thought of us as successful and harmonious. We were all good actors in our own way. I look back and count my blessings that we always had animals. I believe they kept us grounded and constantly in touch with unconditional love. We all loved animals. This was perhaps the only constant that the four in my family shared.

As a teenager, I experimented with a more noisy version of myself. I was intent on being heard. I also had my first experience of deja-vu. It was on a visit to Switzerland that I visited Chateau Chillon. Suddenly, in my head, there was the sound of battle. I was a young lad of about twelve, dirty and skinny but alive with a mission. I was running up the steps to do my master’s bidding…The past-life flash was fleeting and vivid, but I knew it to be real. I realise now that along with this noisy, teenage version of myself, my Inner Spirit was growing and developing too.

Smiling is infectious

How powerful is the simple smile! It brings about connection. I learnt, as a child, that when you approach someone with your heart open you break down barriers. We’ve been doing a series of heart meditations at the end of this term. Sitting in your heart, and smiling from your heart, can change your world, and the world of everyone around you. In the beginning, it takes a conscious effort, and then it becomes the norm. Even my dog knows that, when I smile at him, all is well in his world.

Perhaps having an open heart and smiling is a signal to Spirit World that we are ready to serve. There are forces at play which guide us. growing and developing allows us to meet our destinies with commitment and enthusiasm.

When we take a photograph, catching a moment in time, we say, “Smile!” And every time someone looks at that photograph they smile too! Smiling is infectious…

Play out the hand that you have been dealt

It seemed to me, as a child, that I was not on a level playing field. My brother was clearly regarded as being more important than me on every level.One of my challenges was to live alongside that and to play out the hand that I had been dealt. I guess when I sat in Spirit World and planned this incarnation, I decided that I needed to learn about human dynamics. I must have had to learn about confusion, and about living the questions. I developed a little world of my own. It was a place where I felt safe and where I could listen to my intuition, teaching from within.

It is said that when we pray we talk to God  (or Brahman,) when we meditate we listen to him.

A blossoming yogi

At age seven, I learnt that your body manifests what is happening in your mind and your emotions. My brother was sent away to boarding school and I came out in a rash from head to foot. I found that very interesting, so my curiosity about health and well-being was stimulated. Curiosity is a great foundation for yoga practice.

I also learned about being alone, and I discovered that in quiet time you are never completely alone. I learnt to trust my Inner Self, my Inner Guru or teacher. Yoga was always waiting for me…

Yoga is a way of life

I believe that I am continuing my yoga practice from a previous incarnation. At three years old, I sat in meditation posture and asked of my mother, ‘Why am I here this time?’ Clearly I chose my family for this lifetime in order to learn many lessons. My parents and my brother were volatile. I learned to be a peace-maker, to try to heal relationships. Yoga always beckoned me and showed me the way to harmony. I learned unconditional love from our pets.

Yoga reflects life. Yoga is life. Simply returning to the breath brings us back into the present moment, brings us back to the body.When life just seems overwhelming, breathe in OM and breathe out OM. Reset.

All is well and all shall be well.

Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.

Brahman is the friend and the refuge

Brahman is the friend and the refuge of all…

The Self is hidden in the heart of all creatures..

If the truth of these scriptures are meditated upon by a man in the highest degree devoted to God, and to his Guru as to his God, they will shine forth. They will shine forth indeed!

OM…Peace-peace-peace

Svetasvarara Upanishad.

.That brings us to the end of our study of the upanishads. When you train as a yoga teacher, you immerse yourself in three great works, ‘The Bhagavad Gita’, ‘Patanjali’s Sutras’, and ‘The Upanishads’. The ancient teachings guide our steps.

His eyes are everywhere

Brahman dwells within man, and within all other beings. He projects the universe, maintains it, and withdraws it into himself.

His eyes are everywhere: his face, his arms, his feet are in every place. Out of himself he has produced the heavens and the earth, and with his arms and his wings he holds them together…

This great being has a thousand heads, a thousand eyes, and a thousand feet. He envelops the universe. Though transcendent, he is to be meditated upon as resident in the lotus of the heart, at the centre of the body, ten fingers above the navel.

Svetasvatara Upanishad

The yogi is pure

As a soiled piece of metal, when it has been cleaned, shines brightly, so the dweller in the body, when he has realised the truth of the Self, loses his sorrow and becomes radiant with bliss.

The yogi experiences directly the truth of Brahman by realising the light of the Self within. He is freed from all impurities – he the pure, the birthless, the bright.

Eternal bliss

Strive earnestly for eternal bliss…

Be purified by the light of the Inner Reality…

The wise control their minds, and unite their hearts with the infinite…

Control the vital force…

Unite the light within you with the light of Brahman…

Turn the senses and the mind inward to the lotus of the heart…

Meditate on Brahman with the help of the syllable OM…

The first signs of progress on the path of yoga are health, a sense of physical lightness, clearness of complexion, a beautiful voice, an agreeable odour of the person, and freedom from craving…

Svetasvatara Upanishad

Truthfulness and meditation

Like oil in sesame seeds, butter in cream, water in the river bed, fire in tinder, the Self dwells within the soul. Realise him through truthfulness and meditation. Like butter in cream is the Self in everything. Knowledge of the Self is gained through meditation. The Self is Brahman. By Brahman is all ignorance destroyed.

To realise God (Brahman), first control the outgoing senses and harness the mind. Then meditate upon the light in the heart of the fire – meditate, that is, upon pure consciousness as distinct from the ordinary consciousness of the intellect. Thus the Self, the Inner Reality, may be seen behind physical appearance.

Svetasvatara Upanishad