CLEAR SEEING: FROM PROJECTION TO CLARITY &
THE ART OF USING MUCK TO BECOME WISE.
WHEN YOU LOOK THROUGH IT YOU SEE THE WORLD.” – ROBERT CAPLAN
WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE MIND, YOU SEE NOTHING
LOOK THROUGH IT AND YOU SEE EVERYTHING.” JOSEPH GOLSTEIN
FROM PROJECTION TO CLARITY:
SUTRA 1.3: TADA DRASTUH SVARUPE VASTHANAM
AKA– With the attainment of a focused mind, the inner being establishes itself in all reality. Drastuh is sanskrit for “inner being” or “seeing entity” or what we call the “witness.”
SUTRA 1.36: VISOKA VA JYOTISMATI
- Steadiness of mind is gained when the mind is pain free and luminous. (Edwin Bryant)
- Objective sensory perception stabilizes and focuses thought. (Bernard Bouanchaud)
- Inner stability is gained by contemplating a luminous, sorrowless, effulgent light. (B.K.S. Iyengar)
LUMINOSITY – JYOTISMATI:
Here, luminosity (jyotismati), is not optical light, but the light of awareness. The illuminative quality that knowledge has, is it’s capacity to reveal things as they really are.
“Digestion begins in the mind. Awareness is metabolism. The power of awareness to catalyze nutrient assimilation, digestion, and calorie-burning ability is best exemplified in something scientists call cephalic phase digestive response–CPDR. Cephalic means “of the head.” CPDR is simply a fancy term for the pleasures of taste, aroma, satisfaction, and the visual stimulation of a meal. In other words, its the “head-phase” of digestion. What’s amazing is that researchers have estimated that as much as 30-40% of the total digestive response to any meal is due to CPDR–our full awareness of what we are eating.” – Marc David in his book called “The Slow Down Diet”
“Objective perception of self and others prevents projection. We face our difficulties and problems, no longer seeing them as larger than life, but as relative to everything else….On a concrete level, a high level of objectivity refines sensory perception; sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch, as well as consciousness of self in relationship with another. Without doing or saying anything, by his or her simple presence alone, the observer already influences the one observed.” -Bernard Bouanchaud
This sutra is about how, once we cultivate our “Witness,” or our ability to perceive objectively, that we also gain insight into our true nature, that this very process reveals it. What looks out, suddenly realizes that there is something looking out…and instead uses looking outwards to look inwards. What is seeing? Who is seeing? This is a moment when one sees what they have been seeking, AND not only sees, but unites, that union which is the definition of yoga… happens. This is the grand realization of the Self.
LOOKING HERE, LOOKING THERE.
YOU LOSE SOMETHING?”
THE ART OF USING MUCK TO BECOME WISE:
IN MY OPINION, INQUIRY IS ONE OF THE SINGLE BEST TOOLS FOR USING MUCK TO BECOME WISE! THE FIRST STEP IS LEARNING HOW TO OBJECTIVELY WITNESS. THESE QUESTIONS HELP TURN INTELLECTUAL UNDERSTANDING INTO LIVED EXPERIENCE.
“There is a tremendous balance to be achieved between the philosophical life and the practical life. If you can learn that, then you are a practical philosopher. To philosophies pure philosophy is not a great achievement. Philosophers are dreamers. But we must bring our philosophy into day-to-day life, so that life with its hardships and joys can be informed by philosophy. While being true to our own evolution and development, without giving up our individual path, can we at the same time live in society successfully? That is a practical philosopher.” – BKS Iyengar
- IS MY PERCEPTION OF MYSELF AND OTHERS OBJECTIVE?
- AM I MORE OBJECTIVE IN FAMILY SURROUNDINGS, AT WORK, IN STUDY, OR IN LEISURE PURSUITS?
- CAN OTHER’S REMARKS ABOUT ME ENCOURAGE ME TO WORK TOWARD THIS HIGH LEVEL OF OBJECTIVITY?
- WHAT ATTITUDES ARE OBSTACLES TO OBJECTIVITY?
JUDGE YOUR NEIGHBOR – BYRON KATIE WORKSHEET
MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE TOOL FOR CLEAR SEEING WHEN FACING CHALLENGING EMOTIONAL SITUATIONS WITHIN RELATIONSHIPS.
A YOGA SEQUENCE FOR TURNING MUCK INTO WISDOM:
This is a yoga sequence from Iyengar teacher, Marla Apt. She has written some of my favorite sequences! It settles the mind and alters the state of the body just enough to shift you out of being in a “triggered” state and into a state that you can begin to work with the mind —- start turning the muck into clarity! These postures help you create the conditions for clear seeing to arise. For a full write-up of the sequence head to: http://www.yogajournal.com/article/practice-section/free-from-worry/
- Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose), supported – 2 minutes
- Adho Mukha Vrksasana (Handstand) – 1 minute
- Viparita Dandasana (Inverted Staff Pose), supported – 5 minutes
- Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose), supported – 5 minutes
“This blanket setup is different from the typical Shoulderstand. Here, the head is elevated and the back of the neck lengthens, which allows the face to recede and concentrated tension to dissipate. To begin, roll up one blanket. Then make a thicker roll with two blankets. Open your mat against a wall and place the thin roll against the wall and the thicker roll about 1 foot away from the wall. Place a bolster lengthwise against the second roll. Lie on the bolster, shoulders on the thick roll and your head on the thin roll. Bend your knees, lift your pelvis, and place your feet on the wall. Walk your feet up the wall and straighten your legs. The thin roll supports the back of the head so that the back of the neck lengthens between the two rolls. If the head touches the wall, move it closer to the bolster. Relax the arms, bend your elbows, and rest the back side of your hands on the floor.
Although you’ll feel a stretch in your neck, most of your weight should be on the shoulders. Your neck should feel relaxed. Do not push the back ribs toward the chest, as you might in other versions of Shoulderstand. Instead, allow the sternum to move away from your chin and the upper back to round slightly. Relax the temples and keep the jaw soft. At first, this variation may feel awkward. Practice it several times to experience the desired effect. If you can, hold for 5 minutes. ” -Marla Apt
- Paschimottanasana (seated forward bend) supported – 3 minutes
- Viparita Karani (Legs-up-the-Wall Pose), supported – 5 minutes
Notes from me on sequence:
- During vip. Dand. massage out back of occiput, hinge in back on neck where your vertebra meet the skull, back of third eye space… this is a bit of a “collection” spot. See if you can open it up.
- At end, rub out forehead, pulling skin downward and pressing downward… then massage gallbladder meridian on skull just by using fingertips and rubbing out the sides of the skull… And then with nails, pull the hair from the back of ears – refreshing – alivening – and back of skull, in fact, pull hair from all hairlines with the back of your fingernails… then massage out the base of occiput again and extend the length of the neck.
- Use tennis balls between shoulderblades – get out knots (before starting the sequence)
- Use long skinny medium height block to get between shoulder blades too.
- Note: when in the bridge pose variation… this is a pose that brings us to parasympathetic state, so there is often a release of anxiety… which can feel like a wave of discomfort or impatients… stick it out until you feel the abdomen settle and suddenly the back of neck and shoulders become aware and sink into a comfortable place on that bolster… like the bolster suddenly becomes really delicious. At first a lot of discomfort surges through… that’s the anxiety and tension leaving like a wave…it’s what the pose does, have to release it first before we can settle. It’s a part of settling. It just means it is working. (Of course, use judicious choice! If it doesn’t appear to be a wave, find a way to become more comfortable.)