Self-Knowledge

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Mind is a mirror in which

the light of the soul reflects.

Baba Hari Dass

“Our mind is like a mirror in which all our past actions recur and be seen as images of the present.” B.H.D.

We start life with the soul, atman, and the mind, buddhi. Over time our actions create samskaras–conditioned behaviors and ingrained impressions–that reflect in the mirror of the mind. As time passes if we do not deal with these conditioned responses, the samskaras will obscure the reflection of the soul. The atman is never lost, but it becomes difficult to see. The path back to the soul is through understanding how our thoughts, desires, and memories have left imprints on our essential being.

A person’s essential being is called svabhava. It translates as “the lord seated in the heart which makes each one revolve as if mounted on a carousel.(BG18.60) It refers to our natural or inherent disposition.

By practicing yoga we wipe the mirror clean and can see the soul clearly. This can take a lifetime, or more.

Each of us is born with a unique temperament that we take with us though our lives’. In yoga there are three broad qualities that make up each of us. These are referred to as ‘gunas‘ and are:satva, rajas, and tamas.

Although we each have elements of all three, one of gunas will be more dominate than the other two. It is useful to understand how the gunas affect us so that we can use this knowledge to effect change. Satva guna brings clarity,, purity, and attentiveness, rajas brings passion, activity, and egos, and tamas is sloth, inertia, and passivity. Discovery of our svabhava, our essential nature, will lead to self-knowledge.

In yoga therapy we work with each person’s unique  constitutional guna to bring about transformation from tamas guna to satva.

You must learn how to be lucid in all your actions;

that is, you must not only be aware of the time, the place, and the circumstances,

in which the action takes place, but also of yourself, the player, of your body

and what is happening at any moment.

It is not only a question of seeing things as they are, but of seeing yourself at the same time,

and the reactions that take place within you.

In other words, you absorb the whole thing within you and you become complete.

                                 —Swami Prajnanpad

 

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