Words of Wisdom by Swami Satchidananda
- Why We Practice Yoga
"Normally, the mind is supposed to be like a
lake without any waves. Once a desire goes into
the mind, it is something like a stone falling
into a lake. Once the stone falls in, it creates
a depression. Simultaneously, when a depression
is created, a crest forms. That is why, very
often, you say, `Oh, I am very depressed.'
Knowingly or unknowingly, you even use the
appropriate words. What's more, to get out of
the depression, you try filling it with things.
Then once you fill it up, what happens? You come
back to the original level. The depression is
filled and you no longer feel depressed. Learning
how to keep the stones from falling into the mind
is why we practice Yoga.
"God bless you. OM Shanti, Shanti, Shanti."
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- Watch your mind. Watch your breath. Become an observer, which is the key to Jnana Yoga. Don’t worry about particular techniques. Just sit back and observe the breath, mind, and thoughts. Just see what’s happening within you. Become a witness, which is a wonderful form of meditation. Be still and watch what is happening in your mind and in your body. Maybe you have been repeating a mantra or focusing on one object for a time. You may then relax and sit calmly and watch the mind; observe the peaceful vibrations that come. Listen to the silence completely. Observe your own brain. See how peaceful you are. The mind seems to be totally at rest. You might think the mind is almost asleep, yet you are still conscious of the whole thing. The body is resting. The breath has very much slowed. The mind is almost sleeping but you are aware of everything.
Ask yourself, “Who is aware of them? What is this awareness? Who knows all these things? That is You, the Knower. You are totally different from your body, from your mind. You are the witness—what you call the Self, the pure Self—the witness of the body and mind. If you could maintain this witnessing constantly, still knowing you are the witness all the time, you would reach Self-awareness or
Self-realization. Keep up this awareness, even in your day-to-day activities. When you are eating, when you are walking, and especially when you are distressed, you can still witness. You will constantly enjoy supreme peace. Through this practice you become the master of your own body and mind. You’ll walk through life like an undisturbed sage.