Sensory Impressions

I watched the fiery sun rise over the Ganga (Ganges River) in Varanasi.  Surya wiggled through the layers of clouds and became round again, reflecting across the water shining in my eyes.  People around me were doing other things:  watching a passing sheep, playing with a ball, washing laundry on the stones, walking and talking about important things.  I watched the sun.  It took about 3 minutes.  Now I can replay in my mind the orange sun any time I choose.

Sensory impressions.  You need a better quality of sensory impressions layered in your mind.  Whatever impressions you’ve stored in there are going to replay. This is the mind’s function.  Make choices about what sensory impressions you are going to layer in there.

As I watched the sun, I felt my place in the cosmos, an individual on a planet enlivened by the light, fed by the plants that are nourished by this fiery ball in the sky.  I am so small, a speck in the universe, part of it all yet encompassing it all, outside and inside, all at the same time.  I feel this still.  I don’t need the sun to remind me of who I am.  Yet he does every morning, again and again.  What a glorious world this is!

Fill your mind with a better quality of sensory impressions.  The stuff you usually pour in there is simply not good enough for you.  You are an incarnation of Divine Consciousness but you fill your mind with dreck.  Later your mind plays it all back for you, so you get to experience the poor quality of stuff you fed your mind again and again.  Uplift your senses and you will uplift your mind.

When your mind does its usual thing, it is taking in new sensory input or regurgitating impressions from prior experiences.  Probably everything that runs through your mind is about something outside of you.  This is because your mind is doing its job well, keeping you outward-turned, always looking for something outside of you to fix the way you feel.  You need a fix because you are not feeling your inherent is-ness.

Thus yoga’s practices all turn your attention inward.  When you turn your mind inward, it automatically stills.   In that stillness you find your Self.  The pain relief, spinal decompression, mental and emotional healing and stress release all come from the power and peace of your experience of your own Self.   When you experience your own Self, your only desire is to know your own Self all the time.

This might make you want to resign from the world.  That small cabin in the woods, off the grid, sounds more attractive by the moment.  NO!  It is true that yogis ran away in ancient times.  They moved into the woods, lived in communities and shared their lives with others dedicated to knowing the Divine Within.  About 5,000 years ago, at the changing of the era, a great teacher brought forth a new teaching — do it in the midst of life.  In the Bhagavadgita, Shree Krishna lovingly explained that if the yogis leave the world, who will bring peace?  You are the one who has to do this.  You have to be a yogi in the world, in your life and in your family.

Fill your mind with sensory impressions that induce peace, inspire joy, uplift your heart and make your eyes shine.  When these sensory impressions replay later (and they will!) you get to re-experience that same inner surge again.  This is a good use of your mind!

Swami Nirmalananda Saraswati leads Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram in Downingtown PA. Honored both in India and America, she is an inspiring teacher with a loving manner and a great sense of humor. Before becoming a swami (yoga monk), as Rama Berch, she served the yoga community as the founding president of Yoga Alliance. Traveling and teaching nationally and internationally, she is authorized to initiate people into deep meditation through Shaktipat, as did Swami Muktananda, her own Guru. The Ashram website features extensive Freebies, including articles and audio recordings on the principles of consciousness as taught by the sages of India, as well as how to apply them in your life today.

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