Without Words

My mind has been jumping from one interest, obsession, task and thought to the next over the past week. And although there has been a perceived busy-ness in my life, I am unable to pick one topic to focus this week’s post on. So I have decided to start writing and see where it will lead me. For me, at any point in time in my life, to complete a task successfully, I need a point of focus where I am able to only concentrate on the task at hand. Working on my computer, which is where I spend most of my time, is often tempting my mind to wander off to ‘greener’ pastures. There are always e-mails to read and answer, my Kindle wish list to work on, and Google’s many tempting avenues to explore that leads to subjects as diverse as sprouting, and financial freedom to travelling adventures in India….. The list just goes on and on. And the end result is often that I spend a whole afternoon in front of my computer, feeling uplifted and wonderful, yet without achieving what I originally set out to do. At times this habit can be extremely frustrating, but I mostly find great pleasure in the wild travels I embark on in cyberspace.

In Yoga there are eight steps or eight limbs that help us on our spiritual journeys and result in self-awareness and the discovery of our true selves. These teachings from Patanjali are both inter-related, in other words, they cannot function on their own, but they are also steps that have to be followed in a specific order. These steps are self-restraint (Yamas); fixed observance (Niyamas); posture (Asana); breath regulation (Pranayama); abstraction (Pratyahara); concentration (Dharana); contemplation (Dhyana) and trance (Samadhi). As spiritual journeys go, one often gives one step forward and two steps back, but with time and practise there is always progress.

I should, strictly speaking, look at these steps in the order in which they should be approached, but seeing that my mind is all over the place, I have decided to take a quick look at Dharana, or concentration, as this is the limb I am most at need of at the moment. In this step you bring your mind to one object and in doing so give direction to your consciousness.  This will allow thoughts to disappear as, according to Osho, thoughts are only possible when our consciousness wavers. And when our consciousness wavers, our minds are flooded with many voices chattering, distracting us, tempting us, deluding us, and often create stories that are full of lies. And when we start to believe the stories of the mind, we are often trapped in emotions that over-power us and hinder any real contentment with our lives and ourselves. It is therefore very valuable to remember that we are not our thoughts. That thoughts simply come and go, while our true selves are constant and unwavering.

But spiritual growth and Dharana have to wait for another day, as I have just noticed an unread e-mail…and then I need to get on my mat, and pick up my new passport!

 

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