This past Friday and Monday I checked out some meditation events put on by the kriya yoga branch of Vancouver in celebration of a guru coming into town from India. Although I’m not very familiar with kriya yoga, other than that knowing that its practice is grounded in meditation, I decided to check out some of the events anyways. My reasoning was two-fold. I meditate most mornings and attend yoga classes more days of the week than not, so kriya yoga seemed like it might be right up my alley. Further, it’s not every day that a meditation guru comes into town. So attend I did. Below are some highlights of what I learned from practicing with Swami Shree Yogi Satyam.
Why meditation connects us with the Source of Creation: According to my understanding of the guru’s talks, by focusing our awareness inside our body (the “head-to-toes” as he kept calling it) we are connecting with God. He explained it like this; you are a part of your parents, because you were created from them. Half of you is a result of your mom’s DNA and half of you is of your dad’s. Your parents, in turn, are part of their parents, who are a part of their parents and so on; and you, as a child of your parents, are also therefore a part of your grandparents and all of their ancestors. If you trace back the lineage of humans eventually you will reach the original “mother” and “father” – the “Adam” and “Eve” of Creation, if you will. The original “Adam” and “Eve” are a creation of some Greater Power (“God”) and in being created by this Power, they are also a part of it. I think that even if you don’t believe in the Story of Creation but conceptualize the existence of mankind in terms of evolution, the same logic applies. Even if we evolved from apes, these apes evolved from something else, and thinking beyond us – the very earth that we live on and that gave us life came from something greater than anything we can imagine – and by being a “child” of this Life Source that created earth and the Universe in general, we are also a part of the Life Source and It is a part of us. Therefore, by tuning into and connecting with ourselves, we are also connecting with the Source of all Life.
Why tuning into the sensations in your body helps you develop an anxiety-free approach to life: A way to connect with the Source of Creation/Life (the guru referred to It as God) is by connecting with ourselves through meditation. While meditating on Monday, we did a lot of contracting and releasing various muscle groups and body parts, as well as other active forms of meditation like shaking limbs and moving them in different motions. Apparently, by becoming in tune with the sensations in our body, we will eventually come to realize that there is no such thing as pain or pleasure. Everything is just a sensation and it is us that attaches meaning to these sensations. We are both the Creator and the creation – not only through our own existence, but also through our experience of the world. This applies not only to what is going on inside our body, but also to what is going on outside of us. The key to happiness and lack of anxiety is accepting things as they are and being content with them without attaching meaning to them. Anxiety is a result of the labels we put on events and situations and of our projections for what is and/or will happen and our perceived inability to deal with it. The moment that we stop judging things that happen around us and just allow ourselves to experience them, like the sensations within our body, is the moment that we begin to live life in a state of anxiety-free presence. This makes me think back to the parable of the Taoist farmer – nothing is good or bad, everything just is.
I consider myself fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn from Swami Shree Yogi Satyam. Although I feel that he is not the spiritual teacher that I have asked Universe for, he gave me some interesting ideas to gnaw on… and some further insight on the importance of meditation, connecting with oneself, and experiencing life without labels and judgments. Further, by seeing what I don’t want, I also have a better idea of what I am looking for in a spiritual teacher – someone whose energy I feel when she/he walks past me (especially when my eyes are closed); someone whose eyes and Being radiates of compassion, patience, love and kindness for all of Universe’s creations – big and small and whose teachings are grounded in this; and someone who sees the Universe with the joy and wonder of a child, while having the wisdom of an old and wise Soul. Perhaps I am looking for [someone like] Pema Chodron – someone focused on cultivating loving-kindness. Regardless, I am one step closer to obtaining what I have asked for and even more focused on tapping inwards in order to Shine outwards.