In previous posts I have talked about there being this universal sea of intelligence that sits beyond time, space and form. And that every droplet of that sea is a individual soul. And that each of these souls attaches itself to a form in order to work through its Karma.
One might ask, that all sounds great, but how do we know this?!?!
Well the human being exists (whether you believe in souls or not). We are a species. We have a physical body, an emotional body and a mental body.
I like to think of it like this – many thousands of years ago there was a human being living in India – and they were sat, perhaps contemplating the world, contemplating life etc. etc. And during this time of deep contemplation they withdraw from their physical senses, they cleared their minds and they drifted off into a deep meditative state – it was that deep that they were able to (metaphorically) see this universal sea of intelligence and the sea of souls … and that when they ‘returned’ to earth/consciousness they rushed off to tell others about their experience, about this new understanding of the ‘bigger picture’ that they had. Upon hearing this amazing experience that their friend/family member had experienced they too wanted to experience it for themselves. So they too sat, they contemplated, they aimed to withdraw from their senses, they aimed to clear their minds – they (as we now call it) ‘Meditated’. Perhaps for some with success, perhaps for others without – but they kept on practising. And they would pass this story on to their children and so they too would practice, all seeking this experience. And it was from this point that human beings began the practice of meditation.
Along the way the goal of meditation for many hasn’t changed. We still meditate in order to reach that higher state. But the practice of meditation has evolved.
Yogis have studied this concept for many many years. and new elements have been added in i.e. Asanas and Pranayama to help us to reach this ultimate experience. For example, Monks would sit for hours and hours meditating, trying to reach this higher state – but they became uncomfortable, their physical body began to ache – and so they moved as a way to relieve this physical discomfort – and here the practice of Asana was established – which in itself has evolved immensely over the years. They realised that the control/restraint of the breath aided them to concentrate and still the mind – and so the practice of Pranayama began. This is what we refer to as the Yoga of Meditation.
Many Yogis have attempted to explain this and to offer guidance to others on how to achieve the ultimate goal of Meditation/Yoga. For example, Patanjali’s eight limbs of Yoga and the Yoga Sutras – which are recordings of his teachings on Yoga and Meditation.
Over the years many others have followed and offered their own guidance, which has led to different methods of practising Meditation and Yoga.
We have also realised that all of these practices come with other benefits too which can help us live much happier and more fulfilled lives. And so the practice of meditation/yoga has taken on many forms and variations – you could say it’s taken on a life of its own!
It’s perhaps also worth a note here that there are many Paths of Yoga – different belief systems about how you can reach this higher stage. There is the Yoga of Meditation, the Yoga of Action, the Yoga of Devotion, the Yoga of Knowledge/Wisdom, the Yoga of Sound and many more. These are different traditions, but they all have that same ultimate goal, which is to experience that higher state. There are just different beliefs of how we can reach that experience.
Now you don’t have to believe in the concept of the soul, and you don’t have to have any interest in achieving this higher state of being to be able to practice meditation and yoga and to reap the many other benefits. This practice is here for everyone.
But I just think it is worth knowing/understanding and remembering why it came about in the first instance and that was to enable us to experience that higher state – to see that the soul (which we house in our being) is part of a universal sea that extends far beyond our physical form, far beyond time and far beyond space.
I guess it’s about acknowledging that we (as human beings) are only a very small part in the much much bigger picture!