Friday, 4 December 2015

On the road to bliss-The koshas part 3

Yogis think of the body as being composed of 5 layers or sheaths, arranged one inside the other like the layers of an onion. The yogic path to self-realisation involves moving in through the layers to reach the innermost layer, bliss, the part of us that is divine.

Before we can reach a state of bliss, the innermost layer, we must gain control over this layer, the mental layer, Manomaya Kosha. This is not easy because people tend towards possessing what yogis call 'monkey mind' where the mind constantly flits from one thought to another like a monkey flitting from tree to tree. See Mindfulness - mindful of your thoughts.  

Meditation is a way of accessing and controlling a deeper level of the mind, the subconscious. Imagine meditation creating a ‘tunnel’ through the conscious mind. Each time you meditate you extend this tunnel until you reach your subconscious mind. The subconscious mind governs much more of our behaviour than people realise and it is in this part of the mind, the ‘inner critic’ and negativity reside. Don’t be surprised if when you start meditating suppressed emotions arise. Try not to judge but be accepting, it is all part of the healing process that will allow you to gain access to your true self which is kind, and compassionate. 

Below are some of the ways you can meditate:-
• Focus on the breath – just watching the breath move in and out of the body (do not try to change the breath in any way).  If any thoughts arise, simply let them drift away like clouds passing by and return your focus to your breath
• Count the breath – breathe in, breathe out, count one, breathe in, breathe out, count two etc. until you get to 10 then start the count again. If a thought or feeling intervenes start the count again (most of us cannot get beyond a count of three at first)
• Focus on a mantra– this might be a word such ‘om’, ‘peace’, ‘love’ or a phrase such as ‘om shanti om' - peace to all).  You can even use your own name saying your first name as you breathe in, you surname as you breathe out (or the first syllable of your first name as you breathe in, the second as you breathe out). If a thought or feeling arises gently but firmly return your focus to your mantra. One of the first people to meditate in this way was Tennyson (see below).
• Focus on an object – this might be a candle, flower or any object you wish to focus on. If thought or feelings arise gently but firmly return to focusing on your object.

Lord Alfred Tennyson had this to say about meditation
". . a kind of waking trance — this for lack of a better word — I have frequently had, quite up from boyhood, when I have been all alone. . . . All at once, as it were out of the intensity of the consciousness of individuality, the individuality itself seemed to dissolve and fade away into boundless being, and this not a confused state but the clearest, the surest of the surest . . . utterly beyond words — where death was an almost laughable impossibility, the loss of personality (if so it were) seeming no extinction, but the only true life. . . ."

As this suggests, once you gain control of your mind, you gain greater clarity and this leads nicely onto the next layer which is the wisdom layer.

If you missed the other blog posts in this series, the links are below:-

There is also a yoga video on this kosha on my YouTube Channel-

Janet x

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