In these modern times, when changes are occurring at a mind boggling speed and technology and its benefits overwhelming us; why is that all of us, young and old, look to the age old fountains of Wisdom? In Religion?, in Faith? and in Philosophy? Greek philosophers still reign supreme in the western minds. Descartes from 15th Century still influences the philosophy of the practice of Medicine even though the technology is 21st century made. In the east, Buddha’s words of 2500 years ago still ring true to millions today. Age old every day problems of illusion and reality cannot be solved by modern technology; the ancient philosophies such as Yoga may be helpful. Unlike technology with its rapid pace outdates itself quickly, Philosophy does not change over time, but may evolve slowly over centuries. A compilation of Yoga Sutras by Patanjali is eternal in its message, filtered as it were from centuries of knowledge that existed before that time.
This path to self-realization is helped by the use of appropriate techniques of Yoga that would remove the obstructions or structural defects in the mind of the practitioner of Yoga. The Practice of Yoga may not make you Spiritual but it certainly heightens the spiritual awareness that is already present in the person. To remove the obstructions in our own minds, we need discipline and self-study.
All ancient systems of healing have one thing in common, whether it came from the American continent or Asian Continent: persistent, repeated practice (perseverance) in the context of a general well being of the body, achieved through a balance between the physical body and external elements: Food, Stress, Work, Family, Society. No one can claim that one shot of Insulin will cure Diabetes or one session of Ayurveda massage would cure Arthritis.
How to arrive at this balance through the improvement of oneself, achieved through self realization (which is Yoga)? Majority of the physical complaints have a psychological or emotional component, which can be traced to the imbalance in the Personality Complex.
Balance is a concept understood by all ancient civilizations.
Chitta or the Personality Complex consists more than just mind but constitutes: Ego, Mind and Prana. Mind is the coordinator of the five senses of perception and the five senses of action. Prana is the subtle bio energy, which helps in the metabolism of the body.
The 17 different components are in constant motion of “collecting” sensations and generating ideas, thus making it the repository of “Personality”. This process is very susceptible to imbalance. Yoga is a technique of achieving a balanced state of Personality Complex, amidst the challenges of every day life.
All of us who live in this fast paced modern life know that Perseverance is a necessary attribute to succeed. A task cannot be completed, whether at work or at home, successfully without perseverance. In Yoga, it is all the more important.
Yoga cannot be a half-hearted attempt. One must wait until one is ready to attempt Yoga, Starting, Stopping and Resuming is not desirable and would not be beneficial for the control of Balance. Like many “successful” people in every day life, the effort at Yoga has to be focused and continuous. In our modern world, most people are seeking Spirituality, that which transcends us and our immediate relationships and searching for our role in the greater Universe, which comprises humans, animals, plants and inanimate world. Yoga can help you achieve this state.
The practice of Yoga, this path to self-realization is a CONTINUOUS one and should be done without interruption once a momentum is created. It is also important, especially for us living in this fast paced materialistic society that it has to be done NOT CASUALLY or IRRESPONSIBLY, as if we are doing something mechanically. It has to be done with Feeling and Sincerity.
We are VOLUNTARILY trying to bring changes in ourselves. It is only possible with continuing interest on our parts. This is not possible without effort: strong, clear and continuing.
The students have to be warned that while the efforts are long, the results are slow in coming.
Changing one’s nature and personality is not a short-term process; any one who has attended sessions with a psychiatrist or psychological analyst would know this.
Over and over, in medical literature, life style changes have been shown superior to pharmaceutical therapy in the prevention of Diabetes, Obesity, Heart Disease and High Blood Pressure and the other scourges of our time. But then why is that the average person not willing to follow this non-violent, natural way of doing things rather than swallowing a pill? In a recent study, it was shown that most health care professionals were not educated well enough to offer lifestyle management.
If you are interested in changing the quality of your life, Raja Yoga demands that you bring to it, PERSEVERANCE, not just the desire but also a devotion to that desire, you should make your mind ready to accept the changes that you wish for yourself, by preparing the mind with faith and knowledge, Come prepared with a deep conviction that you wish to change and you would be rewarded with that change.