The Yoga of Self ~ Maharishi’s Transcendental Meditation

This was a presentation I gave as part of my Yoga teachers training course in December 2009. I wanted to write this from my own understanding and experience of Yoga, because the description of the path of Yoga being taught was different to my own understanding. In Yogic practice meditation is seen as something difficult to perform, and self-realisation is something only the most developed Yogi’s can achieve after much purification of mind and body. I wanted to show that Yoga can be interpreted differently, and that the Path of Patanjali’s Yoga beginning with Yama’s and Niyama’s are actually the result of Being and not the cause.
We live in a world full of sensory experience, in fact that’s how we experience ourselves, others and the world around us. We like experiencing new things and enjoy the excitement and the challenges life brings, but all too often the happiness is short lived. We are rarely content with just one thing. We crave more and more new experiences, relationships and material possessions. The society we live in encourages us to work harder and consume more. This creates stresses of all sorts, addictions, disease, depression and unhappiness. The majority of the population is totally caught up in this cycle. We search for some remedy some natural panacea, but we don’t know what it is. It’s a fact that we always look outside ourselves for the answer first. Our relationships also suffer as a consequence of our own expectations; we are hoping that our partner will make our life happy and complete, somehow filling in the missing gaps in our own shortcomings and inadequacies. This is a pattern that is often repeated over and over again and leads to dissatisfaction on both sides. One thinks that he or she doesn’t match up to you ideals, and they are feeling inadequate because they can’t give you what you want.
 If we can transcend the superficiality of life then we can enjoy the relationships we have with our self and with others.
  Through the simple technique of deep meditation we can literally transcend the limitation of our mind and body. We come out of activity and go into silence, and as the mind settles down the thoughts settle, and when we transcend we go beyond conscious thought to the transcendental level of life, which is silent yet dynamic. It is the field of all possibilities, this is how we establish Being ”I ness” or Self Awareness, by connecting with this field of Pure Transcendental Consciousness. The mind will always move to the area of greatest charm, seeking joy and bliss, the process of transcending helps to establish this bliss within the mind and nervous system. It is a pleasant and relaxing experience. But it’s the effect of meditation, what we do out in activity that’s important.
 The deep rest gained through 20 minutes of transcendental meditation is equivalent to the deepest part of the sleep, which, usually takes between four to five hours. During this time the breathing slows, the heart rate drops. Stress hormones in the blood, like cortisol and adrenaline are lowered. Levels of melatonin and serotonin are increased in the bloodstream. Levels of Ojas as are also increased. Ojas is a precious fluid, which gives immunity, strength and lustre to the skins and eyes. Afterwards you feel relaxed and refreshed. Meditators on average have a biological age ten years younger than their chronological age. Regular practice of meditation cultures the whole nervous system
and mind.
 Each time you come back into activity you take a bit of that stillness and calmness with you. Maharishi used to make a very good analogy with the dyed piece of cloth. A piece of white cloth is dipped in dye and hung out to dry in the sun, after it is washed some of the dye remains leaving a stain upon the cloth. Each time the cloth is dipped in the dye, dried in the sun, then washed the stain becomes stronger.
 So it is with the regular practice of transcendental meditation. In time this inner awareness stabilises in the mind and physiology, so that when you are in activity a part of you always remains silent and still. This state of being is called Transcendental Consciousness.
 Once established in the Self, Self- Referral Consciousness starts to develop, whereby spontaneous right action occurs. Yogastah Kuru Kamani, (established in self perform action.) You start to live in a way, which helps your own evolution, and doesn’t go against it.
 You care for your body by eating pure healthy food. A vegetarian diet becomes a natural evolution and not something that’s forced or unnatural. Addictions start to leave you and not the other way round. Your health and immunity improves, and even if you do get sick, you are not overwhelmed by the burden of ill health, a part of you is well even in sickness. It doesn’t mean you turn into a saint over night, but in time you are more in control of your thoughts and actions and your relationship with others improves.
 As time continues the intellect grows and expands, because the intellect or buddhi is not caught up by the limitations of the mind. The mind and ego, is bound by the Three Gunas, satva, rajas and tamas, which are connected to our physical body, sensory perceptions and emotions, but when we transcend we also transcend the physical limitations of the three gunas.
 The intellect or buddhi experiences this ocean of silent pure awareness. “Knowledge is structured in consciousness.” (ref: Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.) Knowledge and self- enquiry start to grow. This is Jnana Yoga. (This is how the Rishi’s were able to cognise the whole of the workings of the universe through deep meditation.) Inner awareness and intuition also grow and in time you instinctively know something to be true, without having to study it; Ritambhara Prajna, the spontaneous realisation of something. As knowledge and self- enquiry grow so does the love of God, the divine aspect of your Self. The Sadguru within and of the Absolute. Bhakti Yoga, the growth of love and devotion spontaneously develop. The love of the divine aspect of ourselves and the love of the absolute. They become one and grow together on the path of Self- Realisation. This is the path of Yoga that Shankara, India’s great teacher and saint also extolled. Many have mistook his teachings as two separate paths but in reality this was never the case. This was also the sad fate of Buddha’s teaching, many hundreds of years later the devotees lost that connection to Being and mistook the path as the way to enlightenment, not the result of it. Guru Dev, Maharishi’s great teacher and master said,” When the foundations of a house lay hidden from view, the foundations are forgotten.” In the same way a house that is built on faulty foundations, sways in the wind and in time falls down. Without being, confusion of cause and effect pervaded every field of understanding. Even the most practical path of Yoga was misunderstood, Karma Yoga, (attainment of union by way of action) began to be understood as based on karma, (action) whereas it’s basis is Yoga, Union- transcendental consciousness.
The founder of Yoga philosophy Patanjali was also misunderstood, the order of the path of his Ashtanga Yoga was changed to begin with Yama’s and Niyama’s (the secular values), whereas in reality it should begin with Samadhi. Samadhi, Self Realisation cannot be gained by the practice of Yama and Niyama. Proficiency in the virtues can only be gained by repeated experiences of Samadhi. It was because the effect was mistaken for the cause, that this great philosophy of life became distorted and the path to Samadhi was blocked.
 It is to Guru Dev we thank for restoring this beautiful knowledge in its entirety and to Maharishi for bringing it to us in the form of Meditation that everyone could enjoy. For fifty years he worked to restore the purity of the Vedas and helped to raise man to a higher level of consciousness. He wanted to create an ideal society, where man could live in peace and harmony. “Jnana” knowledge, and “Bhakti “ devotion, are the fruits of this Transcendental state. It is not something separate, it’s part of this whole process of evolution, from Transcendental Consciousness to Cosmic Consciousness, whereby the workings of the of the cosmos, living in harmony with nature become one. In God consciousness, we recognise our own divine nature and that of others and of the absolute reality of life. And of Unity where there is no separation of thought action and deed, God is within all and everything. Sat Chit Andanda “Unity in the diversity of life.” Bliss and joy in Self Realisation, in Being. This is liberation, Moksha. There is no need for renunciation, for sacrifice. The Sadak doesn’t feel his is sacrificing anything, this is the play of consciousness, the true reality of life.
 It is important for everyone to realise that they can be self-realised if they choose. All they need is the right technique and the discipline to do the practice. Maharishi gave the world such a beautiful gift of Transcendental Meditation for everyone to enjoy.
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