It can seem to be a bit navel-gazing, all this personal healing that we do. Your journey within is completely unique, mysterious and exciting. One can easily get distracted by the phenomena and surprises along the way. We had the opportunity to examine this question in great depth, this past week. Some 27 students and 7 instructors gathered in Dénia to study the yoga sutras. I am privileged to be amongst that group. We turned over and around sutras 3:1-38, delving into the siddhis that appear when one practises samyama upon different points in the body. This is pretty esoteric stuff, and it is also information that is privy to the study group. But, it suffices to say that
, with the regular yet detached practice of yoga principles (yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara), one develops the capacity to perform dharana, one-pointed concentration on an object. Dharana leads to dhyana, and dhyana to samadhi. The practice of one-pointedness is called samyama. Our relationship with linear time is altered and we become able to understand the past and the future. (3:1-15)Along the way, as the nervous system becomes purified and the sensibility heightened, whilst preserving detachment from the information sent to the brain by the sense organs, hearing, seeing, tasting, smelling and seeing, we become more sensitive to other information being subtly transmitted by the person or thing in front of us. This subtle information is unspoken, but it manifests in thought, action, deed and reaction. We find ourselves with the ability to see things that are hidden, or in the past or future. We find our intuition honed and receptive. We may perceive luminosity, sweet tastes and fragrances, murmurs of sound reverberate and are heard. These delights are real and reproducible - as is everything that Patanjali has thus far described. Practice makes perfect balance and union. But! Beware. Do not identify with these powers. If the ego grabs hold of them, it only becomes stronger. Even the most purified mind, if there are still vrittis of rajas in there, is prone to fall into the trap of identification, exultation and emptiness. If you feel these powers manifesting in you, by all means use them. but use them for the good of man and womankind. Which brings me to the topic of my post. Why heal? What is the point of all this consciousness-raising? What changes if we are healthier, suppler and more emotionally and mentally balanced? Well, everything. There is only one way that humankind is going to get itself out of this eco-econo-fear-based decadence and back onto the path of the soul: join together, working for peace and understanding and harmony and an end to war, forever. How do we do this? By understanding, accepting and healing ourselves, we create space in our energetic field for the joys and sorrows of the other. By loving our neighbour as ourselves, by shining our divine light out and letting it meld with the divine light of the other, humankind unites in fraternity and sorority. We heal so that we can love. We love so that we can grow and throw off our shackles. We grow because there is no other way. If you don't grow, you shrivel. Heal yourself, heal the world. The guru is in you.