Discovering inner peace 25/4/2016

This week, we begin with a reading from the Mundaka Upanishad. We’re continuing to find ways to move aside the clouds, the veils, the busyness which covers our inner peace.

Lying on our backs, we will work with supine postures. Bending one knee, we will place the foot on the opposite knee-cap. With the help of the hand, we will move into a twist – the hand gently guiding the bent knee down to the mat on the opposite side. We repeat this the other way. Then, with both knees bent and the feet hip-distance apart and touching the mat, we will work with the gentle twist. Let’s follow that with a deeper twist, where the knees are drawn in to the rib-cage, (Vakrasana).

Now, we will move into the bridge postures, (Sethu-Bandhasana). We will explore all forms.

Still on the back, we’ll continue with nose to knee poses, (Apanasana).

If there is time, we’ll repeat the twists, and then sit up through the boat,(Navasana)

Now it is time to meet the challenge pose, the tortoise, (Kurmasana). We’re working with this one each week this half-term, and will cover all forms.

The Pranayama exercise is alternate nostril breathing, (Nadi Shodhana), and the Meditation will be breathing in peace and breathing out peace. For the long relaxation, we will use the breath and the magic of yoga to take us into  deep state of inner peace.

OM Shanti Shanti Shanti. (Shanti means peace.).

As rivers flow into the sea…

“When death overtakes the body, the vital energy enters the cosmic source, the senses dissolve in their cause, and karmas and the individual soul are lost in Brahman, the pure, the changeless. As rivers flow into the sea and in so doing lose name and form, even so the wise man, freed from name and form, attains the Supreme Being, the Self-Luminous, the Infinite.He who knows Brahman becomes Brahman.”

It’s like a magnetic force. Within us there is a divine spark – the Atman – and this is always drawn towards the Supreme Being – Brahman. Once you feel that magnetic connection, you experience oneness and you look at life differently forever…

And so we finish Mundaka Upanishad. OM…Peace – peace – peace.

These words

These words are so lovely from Mundaka upanishad:

” Like two birds of golden plumage, inseparable companions, the individual self and the immortal Self are perched on the branches of the selfsame tree. The former tastes of the sweet and bitter fruits of the tree; the latter, tasting of neither, calmly observes.

The individual self, deluded by forgetfulness of his identity with the divine Self, bewildered by his ego, grieves and is sad. but when he recognises the worshipful Lord as his own true Self, and beholds his glory, he grieves no more.

When the seer beholds the Effulgent One, the Lord, the Supreme Being, then, transcending both good and evil, and freed from impurities, he unites himself with him.

The Lord is the one life shining forth from every creature. Seeing him present in all, the wise man is humble, puts not himself forward. His delight is in the Self, he serves the Lord in all. Such as he, indeed, are the true knowers of Brahman.

This Effulgent Self is to be realised within the lotus of the heart by continence, by steadfastness in truth, by meditation, and by superconscious vision. Their impurities washed away, the seers realise him.”

Note the use of the lower case ‘s’ in the individual self, and the capital ‘s’ in the immortal Self.

Tranquil souls

“But wise, self-controlled, and tranquil souls, who are contented in spirit, and who practise austerity and meditation in solitude and silence, are freed from all impurity, and attain by the path of liberation to the immortal, the truly existing, the changeless Self…”

My word, we need more of those tranquil souls in our world, don’t we?!

“Affix to the Upanishad, the bow incomparable, the sharp arrow of of devotional worship; then, with mind absorbed and heart melted in love, draw the arrow and hit the mark – the imperishable Brahman. OM is the bow, the arrow is the individual being, and Brahman is the target. With a tranquil heart, take aim. Lose thyself in him, even as the arrow is lost in the target….”

“Within the lotus of the heart he dwells, where, like the spokes of a wheel in its hub, the nerves meet. Meditate on him as OM…”

I love the phase, ‘And heart melted in love’. These lovely words come from Mundaka Upanishad.

We learn more of Brahman

From the Mundaka upanishad, we learn more of Brahman: ” As the web comes out of the spider and is withdrawn, as plants grow from the soil and hair from the body of man, so springs the universe from the eternal Brahman. Brahman willed that it should be so, and brought forth out of himself the material cause of the universe; from this came the primal energy, and from the primal energy mind, from the mind the subtle elements, from the subtle elements the many worlds, and from the acts performed by beings in the many worlds the chain of cause and effect – the reward and punishment of works. Brahman sees all, knows all; he is knowledge itself. Of him are born cosmic intelligence, name, form, and the material cause of all created beings and things.”

Moving on to Mundaka

Mundaka upanishad begins with: “Since the manifold objects of senses are merely emanations of Brahman, to know them in themselves is not enough. Since all the actions of men are but phases of the universal process of creation, action alone is not enough. The sage must distinguish between knowledge and wisdom. Knowledge is of things, acts and relations. But wisdom is of Brahman alone; and, beyond all things, acts, and relations, he abides forever. To become one with him is the only wisdom.”

This reminds us of the wise teachings of Krishna to Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita.