#4650 - Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - Editor: Jerry Katz
- View Source#4650 - Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - Editor: Jerry KatzThe Nonduality Highlights - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NDhighlights/Considering the previous two issues of the Highlights were about Dr. Jean Klein, I invited James Traverse, who studied with Jean, to compose a piece for the Highlights. It's a beautiful essay. Thanks, James. James has been a Yoga and nonduality teacher/educator for over 25 years and was one of the early contributors to Nonduality Salon.
What You Are is Prior to Consciuousness
by James Traverse
The only accurate test of what you truly are is experiencing. Authentic yoga is a means of this.
Patanjali, who is said to be the father of language, medicine and yoga, provided the definition of yoga within the first four sutras of his Yoga Sutras as follows [it is important to notice that the definition Patanjali gives in these sutras is twofold as what yoga is and what it isnt]:
atha yogā 'nuśāsanaṃ
Now Yoga [now, after appropriate preparation, communication of yoga-now]
yogaś citta vṛtti nirodhaḥ
Yoga is the cessation of the whirling, the wrong turning, of the mind
tadā draṣṭuḥ svarūpe 'vasthānaṃ
then the Seer, Awareness, abides in its own nature
vṛtti sārūpyam itaratra
at other times the Seer, Awareness, assumes the forms of the mental fluctuations
When you explore the rest of Patanjalis Yoga Sutras you will discover that he, and every other sage, directs you to Know Thyself and that Patanjali plainly states that this is the aim of authentic yoga.
In light of the fact that yoga is truly about Knowing Thyself, it is clear that it is not about being able to do some contorted yoga pose or developing some extraordinary powers. This means that everyday activities can be a yoga practice and two particularly appropriate ones are to take note of the experiences of falling asleep at night and waking up in the morning.
The great benefit of taking note of falling asleep and waking up is the fact that you do not have to believe anything; you simply observe the fact that these events happen. At night, when you fall asleep, ask what is it that falls asleep. Then in the morning ask, what is it that wakes up, and, most importantly, ask, what is it that sees this?
These questions are answered experientially. Most folks would say, I fall asleep and I wake up, and they would be correct, yet they miss the fact that there is a knower, which is Awareness or the Seer, that sees the falling asleep and waking up. This fact is obvious once it is pointed out, and then the same folks realize that it is consciousness that falls asleep and it is consciousness that wakes up. Thus it is experientially self-evident that what you are is Prior to Consciousness and that it is Present and Aware.
The other mind-altering insight that is available here is that the experience is determined by ones stance. Most folks have been conditioned to take the stance of identifying with the mind and body, which is another way of saying that they have identified with name and form [or as Patanjali says, at other times the Seer, Awareness, assumes the forms of the mental fluctuations]. When they see the simple fact that there is a knower, a Seer- Awareness, that sees consciousness arising in the morning and falling away at night [this is seen during sleep or when under anesthesia and later waking up] then there is the invitation to Stand as Awareness such that experiencing is Knowing as Being.
Knowing as Being is knowledge yet it is not the knowledge of book-learning that is associated with the conscious mind. It is an order of knowing that is beyond the conscious mind because it is non-conceptual - and everyone has had the experience. It is the realm of being when there is astonishment, a crisis situation, real welcoming, and/or in true Love.
Thus authentic yoga practise is a means of knowing your true nature as Awareness, which is prior to consciousness, and taking stance as such. Then all appearances, including consciousness, are described by the conscious mind as arisings in Awareness, like waves in the ocean or branches of the same tree, such that the only thing available for them to be made out of is yourself, Awareness, in the form that has arisen.
In this way authentic yoga is knowing as being, which can be most appropriately stated as Love.
Peace Now ~ Love Always