"Dum Spiro Spero" - Shams & Tabrizi - 2017
Translation from Latin: "While I Breathe I Hope"
This has been one of my favorite latin quotes since a friend at work told it to me a couple of years ago, and I feel that it really encompasses what I am after in expressing my research into the practice of yoga and meditation with everyone. “While I breathe, I hope,” means to me, that the improved breathing and concentration that arises from practicing yoga and meditation - along with other spiritual disciplines - will I hope will help others understand the deeper meanings of what having a dedicated yoga, meditation and spiritual practice means as a whole.
I am starting this new blog, where I will be sharing aspects of my practices. I will be sharing my research into yoga, meditation, and other mystic disciplines - not necessarily from their physical attributes - of which there is already a plethora of information, or from their historical aspects - of which again, there is already a ton of knowledge already on the subject.
I am more interested in sharing what I have learned from the energetic, scientific, and spiritual study of yoga, meditiation, and spiritual disciplines. I really like this quote from Indian saint Babaji - from Paramahansa Yogananada's lineage:
In Sanskrit, the word yoga comes from the root yuj which means "to add", "to join", "to unite", or "to attach" in its most common senses. There are also very many compound words containing yoga in Sanskrit. Yoga can take on meanings such as "connection", "contact", "union", "method", "application", "addition" and "performance".
With so many words and definitions to describe the practice of yoga, and the many different schools of thought associated with what it means to practice yoga - it can be daunting to figure it all out. What is yoga? Well, that depends on a myriad of definitions.
That is awesome for me, because I have studied so many different traditions, that nothing I have a wealth of information to share. Each person has their reason(s) for why they practice. For some, it’s to improve their health, for others, it’s to quiet the mind, and for some, it’s a spiritual quest; for attaining enlightenment, for contacting the infinite, becoming one with the universal mind; or to attain the final goal of moksha - or liberation, from the world of illusion (when you begin to understand what that means, whoa, you really get it).
After reading this, it can be safe to communally agree that yoga is a journey. A journey, which each practitioner undertakes in order to reach a goal. What that goal is, truly differs from practitioner to practitioner.
I will be taking a look at a wide range of influences and subjects, and how they relate to the practice of yoga. Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras will be used as a guide post, mainly because, it was written to be exactly that. I believe that the Yoga Sutras were written in hindsight, as a looking back over a lifetime of practice, and written down so that others may be able to gain some idea of where they are in their journey. To get an idea of the highs and low of the practice of yoga and meditation. To not be discouraged when they feel like they are stuck, or not making enough progress.
When you practice, you are always making progress, it just may not be readily available to you what that progress is in that present moment. So you just keep going!
I also believe that yoga is a science, and that when certain practices are undertaken, particular results are achieved. Throughout the history of yoga and meditation, so many different schools of thought have emerged, because when these certain practices are done by a group of people, they attain similar enough results to keep the movement going. If the results can be replicated, by following particular steps laid out by those who have come before, then there is an aspect of the scientific method within that system.
I am taking a beginner's mind to this, because like one of my great teachers so powerfully said:
This brings me to my next point. A lot of the information related to the practice of yoga and especially meditation, live in a domain known as religion, or spirituality (I tend to like the second term more for it’s inclusiveness).
B.K.S. Iyengar wrote in Light on Yoga that, “Yoga is not a religion, but a science of religions.”
Paramahansa Yogananda, tells us that Kriya Yoga (a particular meditation and breathing technique taught to him by his gurus), is a spiritual science.
So, yoga can be seen as a science - a science I like to term “Right-Brained” science, for the western practitioner.
In regards to meditation, and the definitions associated with the origin of the word yoga and it’s many meanings, I have studied many different religions and spiritual systems. Most specifically, the mystical aspects of those religions; and the writings of their saints, sages, buddhas, lamas, babas, rishis, & roshi’s etc.
Hindu & Tibetan Buddhist Tantra, Taoism, Zen, Sufism, Shamanism, Christian Mysticism, Catholic Saints, ancient Toltec teachings, sacred geometry, and there's many more - because that is where the plethora of research on meditation lives. I went searching, and I found the most quality information to live within the practices of these teachings, simple as that. Most modern research does not have the depth that these traditions have, and really only scrape the surface of what having a daily yoga and meditation practice entails.
Each system shares similarities - breathing and visualization techniques, aims of practice, etc - and I strongly feel that when a bunch of them are studied together, the practitioner begins to understand how related they all are. The more time one spends studying other traditions, outside of what they were brought up in, they begin to see each set of teachings as separate puzzles pieces, that when put together - provide a clearer picture of the whole.
While I breathe, I hope to share these findings with everyone. To show that as human beings, and souls, we share a Oneness that is the "human body."
If everyone understood the profoundness of that final sentence, I wouldn't have to write another blog post.