Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Yoga and C-Virus - From the Lips of Patanjali

When the panic began to ensue about Covid-19, I first plugged into it as well. I felt the fear rising in the pit of my stomach and was overcome with emotions. It was an odd feeling because I knew immediately that it was not my true feeling to be fearful, yet I was connected to this collective consciousness at the same time. I did some yoga and grounding work and released it pretty quickly and then was able to sit back and witness.

I began to see that this whole current situation unfolding, this global pandemic, is exactly what  all of the yogic and other spiritual teachings that I have ever had were talking about. I saw it all coming together - this is what we have been learning for - for this moment right now. And yet, so many teachers, healers and spiritual people are struggling.

First of all, I get it. I am not shaming or putting anyone down for feeling the stuff. This is a new place for many of us and we are riding in new territory everyday. But I want to ask those who are on a spiritual path to get back to their spiritual guidance, books and teachers/ascended masters and take a second look at the teachings.

Let's do that now....

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Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the compilation of the teachings of yoga in one book with four parts. The first part, or Book One, begins:

1:1 Now the exposition of Yoga is being made.
1:2 The restraint of the modifications of the mind-stuff is Yoga.

The teachings of yoga begin with telling us, up front, that the real practice is all about sailing the fluctuations of the mind. When this C-Virus became named an actual "Global Pandemic" there was a huge shift on the planet. Everyone tuned into the news to hear what was happening and to listen to the rise of both confined cases and deaths. At first there was a lot of misinformation, and we still are trying to understand the nature of this virus. Some people are holding onto strong theories about what this is "really" about and others are in sheer panic. Then there are a few in the middle, riding the wave.

Yoga tells us that we have fluctuations of the mind and that these modifications are going to cause us great suffering. The true yogi (or yogini) resides in his or her true nature, this means that he or she knows the truth, inherently, within him or herself. There is no need to turn on the television or to inquire what is "really" going on. The true yoga, already understands. The problem is that this very real test is proving that most of us are not really the yogi or yogis that we profess to be...self included.

1:4 At other times the self assumes the forms of the mental modifications.

That's right...most other times, and certainly in these times, we are letting the mind run free, and it is not pretty at all.

The yogic teachings discuss five such fluctuations which are painful or painless:
1. Right knowledge
2. Misconception
3. Verbal delusion
4. Sleep
5. Memory

Let's begin with right knowledge. My favorite question for my teacher trainees is always, "how do we know what we know?" Yoga tells us that right knowledge is sourced from either direct perception, interference or scriptural testimony. It is said that the truth will never be changed. Think about how we still don't understand this virus and that there are still a lot of untruths out there. We do not know if everyone is reporting correctly, we do not know if the rapid test results are giving pure results, and we most certainly do not have any longevity with this virus to connect us to actual data. We are going with the flow and doing our best. Our direct perception is one of confusion, at best. With interference a reliable person of authority who really understands the issue gives the information to us. We could spend all day discussing who or what is a "reliable person" today. We can only go with the doctors who are working with the virus daily, and their expert opinions. Anyone else - regardless of their stature on their podcast, private blog or other media source, is questionable. Note I am not saying incorrect, just questionable. And then there is spiritual testimony. What has our spiritual text taught us about the nature of the mind, fear, and illness? That is a broad question, so I will leave it to you to find depending on your own spirituality. I am interested in what you find out.

1:8 Misconception occurs when knowledge of something is not based upon its true form.

So how do we know what we know about Covid-19? The truth is still emerging. We are still understanding. We do not know what is right knowledge or misconception. But we do know what we are told to do to prevent the spread, based on what the Chinese did for the past three months to contain their situation. Based on authority and best understanding, this is our only recourse.

Let me ask you this...

How much energy are you spending trying to determine the truth in this situation? Right knowledge may be a painless fluctuation of the mind, but in this instance, it is causing pain. At what point does allowing yourself to be immersed in the fact finding no longer serve us? Has it caused great pain and suffering to the point of anxiety and depression? Perhaps then, according to yoga, it is time to let it go.

Verbal delusion occurs when we hear something and react without any reality at the basis. The very words "Global Pandemic" strike fear and panic into most people. Being told to stay inside and to social distance are more fearful words. Watching people post videos and pictures of empty supermarket shelves and post toilet paper memes incite more fear and lack. Time to stop tuning in to all the external dialogue and pull yourself out of the pit of despair. It is one thing to stay informed, it is another to lock yourself in.

Sleep. Is anyone sleeping? I am because I am exhausted every day. If you are not sleeping well then your mind is not functioning optimally. You need proper sleep to rest and rejuvenate the body-mind. Find a way to relax through meditation, yoga or deep breathing. Rest is important and your mind needs this calming avenue now more than ever.

Memory is the modification that occurs when we remember something that we had forgotten. Well, it is difficult to forget anything about Covid-19 at the moment. But somewhere in the future it will be a memory. And I hope that we all remember the important lessons that come from this time that we are in.

So, there are these modifications of the mind and yoga tells us that the way to really get them in check is to practice non-attachment. Through steadiness of mind and consistent practice, we can master our cravings. When we master our cravings we will have found Purusha, or the True Self, and through finding the Purusha we will join in the culmination of the practices of yoga or a place called Samadhi.

In Samadhi there is complete cessation of the mental modifications. For some, they actually leave the physical body, but for many others Samadhi is gained through faith, strength, memory, contemplation or discernment.

1:22 The time necessary for success further depends on whether the practice is mild, medium or intense.

1:23 Or Samadhi is obtained by devotion with total dedication to God (Isvara).

So, we can do this the short way or the long way, the easy way or the hard way, but either way, it is going to take us through the ringer. Our faith will be tested. We will have to find great inner-strength. We must discern the truth.

Isvara is known by many names to many different faiths. God. Goddess. Elohim. Yeshua. Allah. Great Spirit and many other names. The name is of no consequence. The idea is the same: omniscience. The infinite and all knowing teacher, creator of all that is and ever will be, unconditioned by time must be reflected upon. How do we do this in yoga?

OM. The vibrational sound of omnipresence is the mantra OM (AUM). OM is said to be God's name in form and to repeat it with reflection, brings us great aid in accomplishing what we set out to do - to still the fluctuations of the mind.

1:29 From this practice all the obstacles disappear and simultaneously dawns the knowledge of the inner Self.

From this practice we gain insights because we are now aligned with the Universal omnipresence. We are no longer limited by the mind - or the body for that matter. All of the obstacles to transcendence have been eliminated and we are free. It is easier to say that nearly everyone is not at this place. There is much work to do and be done on a global level, but it must start on a personal level. We are all uniquely and individually responsible for shifting energy and getting involved in this process. The time has never ever before been as ripe for this work as now. Distractions are everywhere. Focus and discipline is most needed.

1:30 Disease, dullness, doubt, carelessness, laziness, sensuality, false perception, failure to reach firm ground, and slipping from the ground gained - these distractions of the mind-stuff are the obstacles. 

And there we have it. The very first word in this sutra: "Disease." How can we ever move forward on the yogic path if we are focused on this? And how can we remain responsible today while focusing elsewhere? I must admit, this has been my entire focus since March. I am much aware of what is going on in the world. And as a business owner and founder of a wellness center, I know it is my duty to be aware of health related issues. I have to be aware, but I cannot be mentally involved or fatigued by it. It does not serve my Highest Good - nor anyone else's. So, I detach as much as possible, everyday, and all the time. Of course it is brought up everywhere so there is no escape. But the work is non-stop non-the-less. I will not allow my mind to be distracted by my purpose of helping others through yoga and other holistic avenues. So I keep moving beyond the focus on illness or virus and disease. Instead I focus on health, healthy thoughts and holding space for others to move into their own with respect to this. 

1:32 The practice of concentration on a single subject is the best way to prevent the obstacles and their accompaniments. 

And so I focus more and more, continually, on Higher Light Energy, alternative reality systems, and the best possible outcomes. 

1:33-39 Patanjali lists several things to concentrate on to keep the mind focused and calm, including breath control practices, the blissful Light within, the way a great Soul lives, etc. All of these items are methods that are entirely available to the average person, if only practiced with regularity and with complete dedication. So the yoga practice, accompanied by the philosophies and adherence to the guidelines of one's teacher can all assist in this process. 

1:40-1:51 The final section of Patanjali's Book One of the Yoga Sutras discusses Samadhi, the final stages of yoga, upon which the yogi reaches a blissful state of complete Oneness and transcends the ordinary being. According to Patanjali, this is attainable. But even those who practice daily and concentrate will struggle to get there fully because of the mind. So, where we began, we end: the mind-stuff and how to still it. In the end, the yogi transcends because he or she has done all the work and has realized Universal Oneness, but not without great and continual effort. 

If I were to compartmentalize these teachings into the current C-Virus world that we are living in, I would say that, according to the Yogis, there is no room for any virus in a transcended world. There is no place for anything of this level because the yogi has attuned him or herself to a higher energy field. And since everything is, in the end, energy, we can eliminate the lower vibrational field of any virus or situation with enough effort and concentration on what creates higher energy. And therein lies the rub.

Our complete focus, globally, is on the lower energies of the virus and overcoming it through modern medicine, when the "reality" remains that we can eradicate it by changing its vibration. Most will say that the science is not there. Ok. You're right, the "science" may not be there to prove this. But, Yoga is a "Science" of "Self-Discovery," and therein is more vast than any other opinion. And as vast beings, we have the capability to create, heal, and transcend..and we have a system that shows us how. The fact that I, nor you, have risen to the place yet where we can say that we are living in this state means that we must adhere to mindful resolutions of our humanity right now - and that may mean implementing practices such as distancing. 

So where do we yoga practitioners go from here? 

I began writing this blog back in March...it took me until December to finish and publish it because we are in the exact same place that we were back then. Nothing globally has changed with respect to the pandemic, except for some reopenings - and more subsequent shutdowns due to recent spikes of cases. And now we have vaccines being fast-tracked and released in hopes to get a hold on the situation. I ask myself, as a yogi, how should I live? How do I live in the world today, honoring my practice and that of humanity and the current situation?

To that I say, as a yogi, I continue to focus and concentrate on global healing and aligning with the energy of Oneness and Higher Light vibrations. I do that work because it is what is necessary and what I know to be true due to what I have learned through my practices. My hope is that I can be a light that will guide and inspire others to do the same. And while I do honestly and earnestly live in this fashion, I respect my obligation to my fellow-humans on this planet to be mindful and respect that we are all still aligning to our Greatness and Vastness and that the presence of very dark energy exists, like it or not. I can still get sick. I can get you sick. And if I truly believe in Oneness, in that energy I do my very best to take care of us all in the best ways that are known to us all at this time. 

What else can be said? The unprecedented unveiling of dark, lower vibrational energy on our planet, masked as a virus is complicated, at best. And I do not claim to have every answer. But, I do promise that I am on to something in aligning us all in the Highest Light, stilling the lower energies of the mind to the best of our ability, and striving to live in the light of love. 

In love, service, and wisdom.
Dr. Tracey L. Ulshafer  

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