RYS 200, 300, 500 in Rishikesh
The lake lies still and quiet in the morning mist. A pale sun is climbing the gray sky and our steps on the deck are the only sound breaking the silence. We stop and look at the sun which has been absent for so long, concealed behind a thick veil of gray clouds for months now. I don't think I've ever looked at our celestial father in the sky with such appreciation as I did this morning... Surya namaskar!
The topic of today is pain. What is it, why do we experience it and how can we be freed from it? As I see it, pain is the consequence of exaggerated attachment to the ego, the body and the mind. When we become identified with any of these, we suffer. We have forgotten that we are none of these.
The body is of great concern to us. We are in it almost all the time, it is our constant life companion whether we like it or not. Likewise, the mind is very difficult to separate from. Separating from our own thoughts, which we identify as an expression of ourselves and charged with social, cultural, political or religious values can indeed be a lifelong challenge. Divorcing from the body and the mind to some extent, is a form of suicide but also a basic element in spiritual growth. Something must die for something else to be born; the ego must be sacrificed.
But how to drop it? Most of us are clueless on how to take on this seemingly difficult task, because the mind is very reluctant to participate in its own execution. We need the body so we can not separate entirely from it, hence it can never be a complete split... isn't it so? Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev says that there are only two kinds of pain; physical and mental. Pain may be physical but suffering is always mental and therefore we command our own suffering, don't we? But how to not suffer when we are rejected, disappointed, in grief or generally fearful? It sounds almost superhuman to be able to seize to feel pain, but I'm beginning to realize that perhaps it is possible, not only for advanced Himalayan yogis, but for all of us, if we just make a little bit of an effort, say 30 minutes twice daily for 40 days. The keys are (again) detachment and awareness.
Some people wrongly interpret detachment as lack of emotion or with having to withdraw to the world in some sort of escapism, but that is far from it. Detachment is merely creating enough space and perspective between your authentic self and what you up until now have associated yourself with. Enjoying the capacity of the mind, but clearly seeing that it is not you. Enjoying the body but not being identified with it and becoming a witness. Suddenly and effortlessly you will experience less of pain, anger, frustration and an increased feeling of bliss and serenity... as that is your true nature. But how to get there?
Recently I was taught a very simple kriya, which the master encouraged us to share with as many as possible. It may seem childishly simple and it is, but the result is amazing.
Begin by making sure that you can remain undisturbed for the next 20-30 minutes. Place yourself in a comfortable crossed-leg position, gently pressing the left heel against the pelvic bone as this will stimulate the muladhara chakra and make you less prone to hunger, thirst or any other physical need during the kriya. Let your hands relax on your thighs, palms facing upwards. Tilt your head slightly backwards, as this will automatically shift your focus to the point between your eyebrows. Close your eyes and relax. As you inhale, silently say to yourself: "I am not the body" and as you exhale "I am not even the mind". Be aware of the smooth movement of your breath, making sure that the inhalation and exhalation lasts for the entire length of these sentences.
Repeat this silently to yourself with conviction for approximately 15 minutes and afterwards utter the sound "aaa" (as the beginning of the mantra aum) seven times. As you utter it, pay attention to the vibration created just below the navel. This sound activates the point in the body, 3/4 of an inch below the navel, where all the 72 000 nadis of the body meet. When you take your intention there, the message goes viral... it is sent to every single cell in your body.
After this, just sit quietly for a few moments with complete awareness of the movement of the breath, the energy moving through your body and then.... slowly, very slowly, open your eyes. After some time you will feel as if when you're opening your eyes, you have returned from a very long journey. You're once again back in the room but your vision is refreshed, more objective... if you can just create a little space between you and the body and you and the mind... that will be the end of suffering. Then, at any time, you can exit suffering because you're no longer identified, no longer a slave to the mind or the body's compulsiveness. That it the first step towards real freedom...