By Swami Nirmalananda Saraswati
Your mastery of the poses depends more on your mind than your body. When you’re upset, your yoga poses imperfect, even harder to do. When you can’t focus, you’re more likely to injure yourself while practicing. If you think mastery is about your body, you’re missing the point. Yoga’s practices are all for your mind, not merely to change the content of your mind but to get you beyond your mind.
You know what it’s like to get beyond your mind. When you walk out of class and your mind is clear, light and open, you’re experiencing an inner spaciousness without boundaries. You can get the same feeling by standing at a lookout point and gazing at a beautiful view. It’s because you get free from your mind, even if only for a few moments.
What would it be like to live in that clear inner space all the time? That’s the goal, as described by yoga’s great masters throughout the ages. That’s why I went to live and study with my Baba, because he clearly lived in that depth, openness and ease. It was easy to see in him, plus he explained it all. Most valuable, it was completely contagious. His inner bliss radiated off him, which is why I loved to sit with him. I found my own Self when I sat with him; I knew who I was and why I’m here.
Your own Self is who you really are, beyond who you think you are. Your busy thoughts construct a superficial sense of self, but there is more to you than that. You have proven this by changing friends, jobs or even partners, moving on from who you used to be — to find out who you are now. That inner resiliency and sense of continuity arise from a deeper inner level. The source is your own Self.
Meditation masters propel you into the experience of your own Self. They don’t just tell you about it, they give you the experience. They don’t merely share techniques, their deep presence opens you up to a new level within. They don’t try to fix you or improve you. They recognize and revel in your inherent Divinity, which makes you able to do so too. I know because I sat with one who gave me all of that and more. I serve him by serving you.
so, would it be fair to say that in a non-yoga world the word Self is close in meaning to “intuition”?
It’s a start. Intuition is an inner answer for an outer situation. Intuition is an inward-arising “bubble” of information, but yoga looks for “where does it arise from”? It arises from a deeper inner source, which yoga calls “Self.”