Throughout history, humanity has experienced leaps in consciousness through revelation. Whether it is the prophet Moses, Jesus, Buddha or the founders of various other religions, awakening of the kundalini and subsequent ascension of the individual to a state of illumination is accompanied by revelations that then gather a following, become part of religious practices.
Depending on the era of birth, the geography of the individual, his level of education and creative abilities, there are wide variations in the resulting revelations. They all point to the same reality but they are all expressed differently. As mentioned in my previous post, these methods are ours to use as we see fit and the path taken towards self-realization which works for one most likely will not work the same way for anyone else. This needs to be understood before accepting a rigid set of techniques and before proselytizing others.
|Tied at Mooring – Tranquil Summer Days|
Jnana Yoga: Jnana Yoga is the path of knowledge, wisdom, introspection and contemplation. It involves deep exploration of the nature of our being by systematically exploring and setting aside false identities.
Bhakti Yoga: Bhakti Yoga is the path of devotion, emotion, love, compassion, and service to God and others. All actions are done in the context of remembering the Divine.
Karma Yoga: Karma Yoga is the path of action, service to others, mindfulness, and remembering the levels of our being while fulfilling our actions or karma in the world.
Raja Yoga: Raja Yoga is a comprehensive method that emphasizes meditation, while encompassing the whole of Yoga. It directly deals with the encountering and transcending thoughts of the mind.
The most common is the path of devotion, known as bhakti yoga. Praying twice a day, attending mass on Sunday, reciting the Lord's Prayer are all forms of bhakti yoga. This path, of faith, of absolute surrender to the divine is the most common form of worship. This may suffice for the average individual that worships out of a sense of social obligation, but not for the seeker on the path. Praying or meditating for an hour still leaves about 15 waking hours in the day that are not devoted to the quest. It is not just impractical to meditate or pray for hours on end while ignoring worldly duties, it is also unnecessary.
|The Rising and the Falling|
Essentially, it is a process of removing conditioned responses and ingrained patterns that have long kept us enslaved. For the first time, we taste true freedom. A freedom from the human robot bound by those repetitive patterns and conditioned responses. A freedom to be spontaneous and "in the moment," seeing, for the first time, the world as it is, without the baggage of preconceived ideas, labels and notions of how the world should be.
Integral Yoga understands the need to incorporate the different forms of yoga and devote each waking hour to the contemplation, service and realization of oneness with the absolute. Expressed differently, to know that one is a creation of that almighty intelligence, and can never be separate from it, one needs to provide methods that constantly awaken the consciousness from the slumber induced by our mundane "reality."
|Motor Highway Fest|
Knowing this, the various forms of yoga and techniques associated with them can be seen as methods of helping the individual see beyond the ego, to align the ego with the path of spiritual progress until it realizes its role as an interface with the outside world and not as the true self. At their most basic, methods of worship inculcate positive patterns into the psyche. A lifetime spent reciting a mantra and activating a state of surrender to the divine molds the brain, creating neuronal pathways that eventually allow the self to see itself clearly.
It is important to have control over who programs your mind and what it is being programmed with. If I am doing it myself, aware of the effect of that course of action, I have a better chance of reaching my true self. If I allow friends, social groups, or worse, television commercials and the approval-disapproval control mechanism, high-school popularity contest that is the Facebook "Like" button, I remain stuck in the realm of ego, bound by the senses and the ego's craving for comfort and its tendency to create a false reality favoring a selective image of itself.