Watching for Boredom Within Contentment
Humans have a love affair with drama. The action, suspense, fall from grace, and the phoenix rising again from the ashes. Even in the surprisingly few times life is not delivering us the drama of one fire to tend and another to put out, we go looking for a spark. And then we blow. Why? Because the adrenaline fire of drama is exciting and oh so familiar. No fire feels boring, so the subconscious returns to what is known, even if it is agonizing, in order to feel alive.
The Yoga Sutras encourage the practice of santosha or ‘contentment with oneself and others.’ Far from boring, this practice requires a totally different kind of engagement with the unfolding drama of life than our typical role as flame fanner or fire extinguisher. Maybe those yogis knew how can we feel challenged and alive without burning down the house. Maybe can we cultivate a state of equanimity without it feeling boring.
Webster’s dictionary defines boredom as “the state of being weary and restless from a lack of interest.” Just try to practice santosha or contentment with a lack of interest! Notice first the impulse to ‘do’ but resist the urge to move into dramatic action. Next, observe the tendency to ‘analyze’ but surrender what has been as a good rehearsal. Finally, attempt to be completely absorbed in the action of the fire in front of you – its variety, intensity, and vibrancy – without reaching into the flame.
A different kind of internal spark alights when we practice contentment. Whereas boredom is passive, santosha is unequivocally active. Patanjali’s injunction to be content with oneself and others begins to loosen our overbearing direction of life’s drama. Rather than follow the compulsion to act at every turn – fixing, helping, analyzing, changing, improving, eliminating – we can watch until these urges subside.
Of course we must guard the danger of a swinging pendulum, from one extreme to the other, being neither frenetic fire dancer nor comatose marshmallow roaster. The still point in the middle is where we balance sensory desires and distractions with attentiveness and nonattachment . The lifetime quest of the true Yogi is the effortless embracing of equanimity and receptivity to the Divine moving into manifestation in ever-new form.
Liberation comes when we ‘no longer feel the need to act’ according to Nischala Joy Devi’s translation of Sutra 11.27 in The Secret Power of Yoga. Then, she writes, our constant companions are joy, faith, and clarity. A truly exciting and creative project usually requires that we embrace an uncertain ending. If we refuse to blow on the spark of drama, no matter how familiar the fire feels, we allow santosha to show us the way to peace. In this way we befriend the unknown and watch the magic of our story unfold.
This article is part of an ongoing series on the yamas and niyamas. For the full 10-part series click on each link below:
The Secret of Namaste
Namaste: I honor, respect, recognize and bow to the light in you and me.
This sacred gesture, used in many yoga practices, meditations and prayers, holds a secret wisdom. When the mind and senses bow to the Heart Chakra, the union between body and soul is achieved. The key, however, is to go deep into the Heart Chakra where the soul glows its life-giving presence, bringing breath and heartbeat to your body.
The Heart Chakra
Why does one need to go deep into the Heart Chakra, and how does one achieve this process? The reason for going deep into the Heart Chakra is to guide the senses that are controlled by the mind and also control the mind, into the Heart.
When the senses are only aware of the life around your body, the senses cannot be fully aware of your soul in the Heart Chakra. The senses must be withdrawn; in Yoga this is called “Pratyahara.”
By withdrawing the senses, your mind’s awareness turns inward. To withdraw the senses and still be in the mind is not pratyahara.
True pratyahara is withdrawing the senses from the outer story of separateness, into the inner Truth of oneness that glows in your heart.
Essence of Oneness
The experience of oneness is held in the Heart Chakra, not the mind. The feeling that reveals you are in oneness is pure love. Love not based on the material world image, but the pure true love between body and soul, creation and creator.
When the mind and its minion senses are gathered together and guided inward, the gifts of the senses are now in a different reality. This reality is called oneness, innerworld, intuition, soul, spirit, Divine, union, source, etc. The more focused the mind is in its ability to gather the senses, the deeper purity and truth of the experience of oneness — love. When the senses finally enter the Heart Chakra, the senses become calmer and more in your control.
The secret to this whole process of pratyahara, and going into the Heart Chakra requires humility. Humility is when the mind and the personality it created through senses (known as ego) have reached a willingness to change. The aspiration to transform and discover a new perspective of oneself and life is also the feeling of humility.
So how does one achieve pratyahara, humility and a focused mind, in order to discover what is inside the Heart Chakra?
New Technique for Accessing the Heart Chakra
A very special technique came to me in my mid-20s when I had reached a direction in my life where I was humbled and willing to change. This humility came forth due to the death of my parents in an aviation crash when I was a teenager and my sister’s murder shortly thereafter, resulting in my many illnesses and losing my will to live.
With these techniques, by bowing into the heart, I discovered the purpose for life and found self-love. The process of this technique begins with a beautiful feeling such as love. The ability to feel this feeling build in us is the presence of the Soul.
Remember, light is the image of love.
Mental Centering™ Technique by Savitri
Centering Mental Energy (1 ½ minutes)
Sit erect with your eyes closed. With the middle finger of each hand touching the front of each armpit, trace a horizontal line to the center of your chest. With the middle finger of your right hand touching your skin, you will feel a sensitive area on your sternum. Massage gently for a few minutes. This is your Heart Chakra, the doorway to your soul. Imagine light glowing lovingly in the Heart Chakra.
- With your eyes closed, place your hands with your fingers together, slightly cupped, on the right and left sides of your head, facing your ears. Your hands should be approximately 3 inches away from your head.
- Exhaling, move your hands together in Namaste, not more than 1 inch away from your face, with the tips of your thumbs at the same level as your eyebrows.
- Inhale. On the next exhalation move your hands down slowly to your Heart Chakra. As you do this, imagine your mind following a straight line in the center of your body and offer your mind to your heart.
- Say inwardly, “I offer my mind and senses to my loving soul within.”
- Do this technique 3 or more times and breathe slowly and peacefully.
Increases the power of Namaste, intuition, self-love, respect, and conscience bringing calmness to the mind and body as they discover the soul’s presence.
Notice at the end of this technique the hands end up in Namaste. This is the exact energetics of what happens to us when we say Namaste or bring our hands in prayer. The mind withdraws its ego perception of another and bows inside the Heart Chakra to the true perception the Soul-Light holds.
The mind now is awakened to the love and light that is in your body; this always recognizes the love and light in anyone or anything.
The first level of enlightenment is to keep this connection consistent. Namaste is the energetics and action of self respect and respect for others. Respect is one of the keys to the teachings of yoga. This union of self-respect between mind, body and soul, and respect for others, is the feeling of love. And through this love the soul can shine freely through your body and to others.
Let the secret gift of Namaste bless your yoga journey on and off the mat. Namaste.
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