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“Forsooth, mind departed from the body. It returned after a year’s absence and enquired of the organs: ‘How did you survive my separation?’ ‘In the same way’, replied the organs, ‘in which an infant not possessing the power of reflection breathes through the agency of his respiratory organs, speaks through the organ of speech, sees by his eyes, hears by his ears.’ Mind resumed its place. Then did mind say unto Prana, ‘The quality of containing all, which belonged to me, is due to thee. ‘The function of mind belongs to Prana; from Prana or life, proceed all.”
-Chhandogya Upanishad, V-xiv-15.

“The mind depends on the Prana or life. Prana is, therefore, Brahman, the Innermost of all.”

In recent days the topic of Prana has come my way, encouraging me to reflect on my experience and relationship with it.

In a recently debate of spiritual fair, I attempted to hold my ground in what I believed to be the more subtler approach to moderating the mind, feeling and body….through the control of this subtle vital life force energy. Alas, I was without the words at the time.

Everywhere we go, everything we do, we are constantly pushed and pulled in many directions by the things that meet our 6 sense doors…sight, smell, taste, touch, hearing, and mind/thought.

Constantly our energy is drawn out like a magnet to these various playing fields, hooking and sinking down into them and dwelling in their limited consciousness for some time before bouncing to the next playground. Like this, Prana gets pulled around unconsciously as the average human being and forms tendencies and patterns in its flow….it forms ourselves as we know ourselves…body, mind, feeling, emotion, identity.

In sitting down, closing the eyes, becoming quiet and increasingly still inside and out, we begin to internalize our attention deeper onto ourselves and we begin to unpick the various woven layers of ourselves.

In scrutinizing ourselves under our own internal lens as yogis, we begin to see the physical body as physical body, sensations as our subtle sensory body, thoughts as thoughts, emotions as emotions, perceptions and perceptions, beliefs as beliefs, memory as memory, conscious as conscious, subconscious as subconscious, unconscious as unconscious. We leave no aspect of ourselves unturned in our experince.

Soon we see that in fact, all are driven by a subtle life force that renders the ‘stories’ of those realms, without words. The pages drop from the book of our life, because our story has been completely exposed in a deeper level of understanding and can no longer hold true no matter how we re-read or re-write it.

This can be quite painful for the mind to fathom but this is the truth of self realization, to see all of ourselves in this way even if it forsakes us. For some, it happens in an instant, for others, over time…. and it matters not, the time frame. All is divinely planned.

The eye that sees the last unknown, is GOD’s eye…. your very Heart… YOU…completely expanded and full of speechless love.

Through my practice on the mat, the subtle forces that drive the body and drive the mind have become ever so slightly more apparent to me. There is some understanding developing of the notion of Prana. What I am now beginning to see, moderate and consciously direct in myself is what I can only call a ‘subtle life force’, a force the governs my life, my mind, my feelings, my body, my whole personality.

In my physical asana practice, I direct, balance and stabilize that subtle force to drive my physical body, exercising with greater awareness of this energy, seeing how it can be moderated to move my body in a more whole, controlled and conscious way. I can power up in Vinyasa, I can power down in Yin. We have more control that we realise.

Practice becomes much more than achieving a final shape or form….It becomes about our ability to send forth with the power of awareness, the most balanced level of subtle life force to the nervous system, directing the musculo-skeletal system in a much more conscious way to move as we command from our heart.

Our practice also becomes about controlling this vital life force in moderating our autonomic nervous system to induce a more relaxed state of being. Even during the most demanding of physical activity, we can learn how to control the vital life force to govern our autonomic nervous system to make the body, breath and mind feel deeply at rest. Initially we learn to do this through breath manipulation, but eventually we see that it is even more subtle that breath and we can simply work in the realm of the intuitive feeling heart to moderate and direct this energy.

In my meditation practice, the process of moderating the mind and cultivating a more stable focus and penetrating awareness is revealing that there is a more subtle force at play that drives the mind into its habitual patterns. In our moments of mini awakenings from our daydreams, we re-direct this subtle life force which whips the mind back to its conscious intention and meditation object. We are not controlling the mind directly, but on a more subtle level, we are refining our knowledge and control of the vital life force energy.

My day to day life is becoming a means to explore all aspects of Shakti, life’s subtle energy and all its manifestations. Every challenge gets looked at deeply and honed into awareness, even every joy becomes an exploration. It is no longer a chase for the seemingly better over a perceived worse…this judgement is only of the mind. Life is simply a means to truly see what life is all about…. and so, why not live it to the full?

That is where I am right now, with my thinking and life’s practice. No more do I have the desire to retreat into a spiritual cave….my gut is telling me to get out there and get messy with life again, even engage in some profundities and let life reveal to me all my hidden treasures…. …and so life should go….

When you feel anger, close your eyes, and notice what anger is. When you feel sadness, close your eyes & feel what sadness is.
When you are happy, close your eyes & feel what happiness is.
When you feel lost, close your eyes & feel what lost is.
When you are found, close your eyes & feel what found is.
When you feel desire, close your eyes and feel what desire is.
When you feel aversion, close your eyes & feel what aversion is.
When you feel fear, close your eyes and feel what fear is.
When you feel ‘you’, close your eyes and feel what you is.
When you feel eternal peace, close your eyes & feel what peace is.

The process of perceiving deeply is our liberation. Immediately and instantaneously, we are freed from that which we are able to perceive. When we begin to perceive the subtlest motions of Shakti driving our whole being forward, like a puff of smoke, her trance over us releases and we need not do anything else. Life continues its course. Shakti continues to dance our life, and yet we have dissolved into the space of pure Love where we can watch her divine sway in all of life with devotion and delight.

I love you all.
Be well and happy.

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