IndiGlow - The Ordinary Illuminated

IndiGlow - The Ordinary Illuminated

Who's Got the Reins?

Friday, April 12, 2013

Attachment, Aversion, or Apathy:  How We Relate to the World Around Us


Our conditioned existence is perpetuated by our lack of control over our senses.  Like a chariot driven out of control by a horse with broken reins, our reactions to any given situation leaves us in a constant state of stress and tension.  Our reactions tend to fall into these 3 major themes:  attachment, aversion, and apathy.

When we firmly grasp at something we have developed an attachment for it.  That feeling that we absolutely NEED this particular thing (food, money, sex, substances, relationships, etc.) because we’re addicted to the chemical responses that happen in our bodies when we relate to whatever it might be.  Gratuitous experiences bring momentary ecstasy and the fear of losing that feeling causes us to grasp very tightly to them.

But then, what happens we have a very negative experience with a particular attachment?  Very easily we can develop the flip side of this, which is aversion.  Hating, despising, turning or pushing harshly away from something is another strong fear-based reaction to a thing, substance, person, etc.   How easily can the human psyche switch from one to the other?  Each can lead to great mental & emotional anguish and suffering. 

I believe that out of this suffering we begin to develop apathy towards the outside world.  No longer do we desire or despise…we stop caring and become hardened.  The phrase, “I just don’t give a shit anymore,” comes to mind.  

All of these states of being lead to suffering and can shut down the emotional, spiritual, and physical energetic centers of the body. 

There are at least 7 main centers of energy, known as “chakras” that govern all the functions of the body.  From these spinning, energetic vortices flow rivers of energy (or “nadis”) throughout the entire being and field of consciousness.  When these areas become affected they slow down, become sluggish, or can become completely clogged or closed off. 

After these subtle energies become affected, like dominoes the effect moves through the layers of the body and eventually manifest as physical symptoms, dis-orders, and dis-eases.  Patterns and cycles of reaction/pain/suffering begin to repeat themselves and the attachment/aversion/apathy wheel continues to spin.  Suffering ensues.

Enter yoga, meditation, and mindfulness!  We absolutely have the power and ability to change these patterns and transform suffering into peace, deep contentment & joy.  The reason for these practices is to develop equanimity (mental calmness, composure, or even-temperedness especially in difficult situations).  Through the practice of observation, awareness, breath control, physical conditioning, and deep concentration we can begin to ‘repair the reins of the wild horses’ or control our senses by learning non-reactiveness.  With these tools we can give space to our conditioned reactions…observe them mindfully…acknowledge the emotion is there but look at it through compassionate, non-judgmental eyes without grasping.  In time, the ‘chariot ride’ becomes smooth and the stress and tension melt away.  These emotional/mental shifts bring about health, vitality, and life-force to the energy centers improving not only the physical health of our bodies but also the way in which we relate to food, money, sex, relationships, etc. 

Whole health functions on many, many levels.  The more conscious we become of these subtle energies and relationships, the less we suffer in this existence.  With continued awareness and practice of letting go of attachments, aversions, and apathy we can transform our suffering into liberation and joy.  It sounds like a big task, but by taking small steps everyday (with patience, persistence, and practice) we can really learn to enjoy the process of the journey within.

Namaste,

IndigoGrrl


The one Sutra I've memorized...

Friday, March 08, 2013

is said to be the one in which the entire science of Yoga is based upon.

Yogas Citta Vrtti Nirodhah

Yogas = Yoga; chitta = of the mind-stuff; vrtti = modifications; nirodhah = restraint

"The restraint of the modifications of the mind-stuff is yoga."

(Book I, Sutra 2 in the "Yoga Sutras of Patanjal")


I like Satchidananda's commentary on the subject.  "If you can control the rising of the mind into ripples, you will experience yoga."  I find my mind rippling to the point of tidal waves on many occasions.  I spend hours of my life contemplating the deeper aspects of yoga...especially since I teach the practice to others I am always praying in my heart for more refined/more effective ways in which to share my understanding of what yoga "is" (and what it isn't).

When I find myself struggling to better explain the heart of yoga, my heart/mind comes back to this sutra.  Satchidananada goes onto to summarize it in this way, which really resonates with me:

"The entire outside world is based on your thoughts and mental attitude.  The entire world is your own  projection.  Your values may change within the fraction of a second.

...That is why yoga does not bother much about changing the outside world.  There is a Sanskrit saying, "Mana eva manushyanam karanam bandha mokshayhoho." "As the mind, so the man; bondage or liberation are in your own mind."  If you feel bound, you are bound.  If you feel liberated, you are liberated.  Things outside neither bind or liberate you; only your attitude toward them does that." 


I am reminded also of the Ken Wilbur Meditation, "I have a body, but I am not my body..."

What a liberating concept to know that the essence of our very being is eternal...can never grow old...never gets sick, and never dies.  While this 'organic bodysuit' we inhabit while we live this precious life will not last forever, the true Self is perfect, pure, radiant Energy.  To glimpse at this within ourselves is to know God.  To honor it within each other is to share God.  

This is yoga.

Namaste,

IndigoGrrl



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