Lately I’ve been exercising too much, yet again! You would think that a lesson would have been learned, that the vast humbling related to pushing the body about via strenuous exercise would be no more.
Yet, on most days, I breathe in, breathe out, with steady, rhythmic flow. Sometimes the breath is even deep…what, you don’t think breathing is exercise?
My hour long yin yoga meditation and breathing program is in full effect. It does to me, though, what a marathon does to the neophyte runner.
I sit in a simple meditative posture (think static (unmoving) cross legs with a twist -without the active and forceful postures of mainstream yang-style yoga). These simple meditative postures are accompanied by deep breathing (called ujjayi pranayama and often referred to as the ocean breath as it sounds much like the incoming and outgoing tide when practiced correctly)
Ujjayi Pranayama means: victorious breath, for in using this breathing practice, one rises over the habitual conditioned states of mind. It is an ancient yogic breathing technique -that on the physical level – based on Western science studies: relieves tension, diminishes sense of pain, relieves headaches, lowers blood pressure, decreases phlegm and much more.
Yet on the more psycho-emotional and spiritual realm, ujjayi pranayama breathing increases the prana or life force, which naturally calms the mind, keeps the focus on the present moment, and stimulates the subtle energy body. I truly feel this style of breathwork brings the soulforce or our true Self to the forefront of consciousness.
After practicing for an hour and because of whatever organisms and karmic forces are working on this body, I often must take a nap.
So let me assure you once again: breathing is exercise-at least for this guy!
As I stated in the last blog, our Age or Yuga (an Epoch or Era showing the Consciousness of man’s evolution of Soul) is one where lack of consciousness tends to be the predominant aspect for most humans. Lust and Greed rule the day. As one sage called it: Woman and Gold–so as to warn his monastic disciples to maintain continence and celibacy.
Spirituality in the West today is of an immature variety because in our current Age, we are only about 27 percent conscious-you might say. Most of our attention is still on filling ourselves with ego-centered things as much as possible: Sex, money, activities, or other acquisition that ‘I’ can add on to my list of experiences, like a notch on a belt, a checklist – or getting higher up some illusory man made totem pole…so I can have enough for ‘me’ or perhaps ‘me and my immediate family’.
This is the way of things now. There is nothing inherently wrong in it, just the way things are.
And spirituality is in an infantile stage. Our new age culture in the West likes to take the ancient and timeless teachings, many of which came from the Age of Truth (Satya Yuga) and mold them into our fledgling culture. In this way ego simultaneously calls the timeless and eternal teachings outdated but also twists them to fit into whatever spiritual belief system one currently holds.
No matter what form of religion or spiritual path one is on, whether it be: avid Sunday churchgoer or Gumby-like yogic practitioner–and everything in between – most Americans have a very superficial spirituality, especially when measured against a true lover of God, a being who lives, practices, worships, meditates and prays 24 hours a day.
American spirituality is likened to a bird who has just gotten wings and finished its first 5 second flight but thinks it is an ace flyer or a man standing next to an oven that is preheating but feels they have been baked at 450 for an hour.
Take this account of a true lover of God–to make the point a bit more clearly:
“…an ordinary man couldn’t have borne a quarter of that tremendous religious fervor (that he underwent). It would have burned him up. I had no sleep at all for six long years. My eyes lost the power of winking. I said: ‘God is this what happens to those who call on you?’ I saw that the body didn’t matter – it was of no importance. Finally God appeared to me and comforted me, freeing me from all fear…”
We all live in our own world; a world created by the mind (thoughts and beliefs). The thought-free state is in truth the natural state. Then we no longer inhabit the world as a separate entity, nor create a world by our beliefs.
The world them becomes what it is in reality: Oneness—all is the Absolute Consciousness-GOD.