What about the Ups & Downs?
Life is all about Ups & Downs. I am sure each one of you can confirm on that.
But speaking for myself I confess that I often think I could do well without any Downs 😉
Why Downs, if they actually make us feel unhappy, at times limited in our choices and without any driving force, up to a sensation of even being less worthy?
The power of consciousness is unchangeable, does not engage with objects, has the objects shown to it , is pure and infinite (Yoga Sutra 1.2, Sankara on the Yoga Sutras)
Yoga & the Opposites
This is where Yoga steps in…and I just love it 🙂
The way I understand the yogic texts, there is a belief in Yoga that each one of us is in search/ a thrive for clear knowledge without being thirsty for objects seen or heard.
The Yoga Sutras talk about Purusa (the permanent – the Spirit,Soul), a state of enlightment (Samadhi), being one with All-our true essence & detached (Vairagya) from Prakriti (the continual change of all matter which is a comobination of the three gunas – Sattva-purity, Rajas-activity, Tamas-stability).
The Tree of Life
There is a beautiful poem telling the story of a teacher and a student both identified as two birds sitting on a tree. The branches of the tree differ very much from each other.
The student urgently wants to reach out for the place of the teacher, who is sitting in the center of the tree quite firm &safe, while the teacher explains him that at first he has to explore all the branches of the tree before he could eventually come back and share the seat with him.
For me the teacher sitting in the center of the tree symbolizes the clear knowledge that is attained without any attachment to matter(outer world) in a state of Samadhi (Pure Being).
The teacher knows that only through the experience of the opposite (the attachment), the student can eventually perceive a notion of ceasing and practice keenly intense (the non-attachment).
It is by constant practice of non-attachment to the changes of Nature (represented by the different branches of the tree) that the student hopefully ends up having no thirst for the gunas.
Coming back to Yoga practice it is all about cultivating the opposites.
How can you possibly urge for Samadhi, being one with All there is (your true home), when you don´t know what it means to be caught by the endless waves of your thoughts (vrttis) made out of misconception, imagination, valid cognition, sleep and memory & when memory is not letting drop the experienced object (emotional attachment).
He in whom knowledge attains the ultimate, is omniscient. And he is a special Purusa. (Sutra I.25; Sankara on the Yoga Sutras)
True Meaning of Ups & Downs
In Life as in Yoga “Downs” are necessary to be aware of the “Ups” that follow. To appreciate the moment of a “Down” as much as appreciating the moment of an „Up“. Both are lessons in Life that move us forward exploring the branches of the above mentioned tree.
And yes, at times it seems that we are stucked on one branch. I agree :-).
But instead of being upset about it, try to step out of our own Life movie and observe, reflect.
For some reason it might not yet be time for you to leave that branch. Something is still missing for you to move on easily. Instead of paying too much attention on what is NOT unfolding, pay more attention on what IS unfolding.
I truly believe that nothing happens by coincidence. Enjoy the ride of Life. Fill up the little moments that make Life a big Adventure.
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