Your Nature is Divine
Your Nature is Divine
From the Yoga Sutras
1.2 Yoga is the uniting of consciousness in the heart.
Yoga, meaning “yoke” or “union,” is described in second sutra of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, as Yoga Chitta Vritti Nirodaha, Yoga is the uniting of consciousness in the heart.
Deep within our hearts, we abide as pure Divine Consciousness. But with the material world pulling us every which way, our consciousness is drawn outward. As our knowledge of the Divine Self slowly fades, it takes with it the understanding of our true nature.
In trying to comprehend Yoga Chitta Vritti Nirodaha, look to the vibration of each word. Chit is pure universal consciousness and chitta is the same consciousness individually expressed. Chit is the ocean of consciousness, vast and unlimited. At birth each of us gathers a small quantity of this vastness and encases it in the temple of our heart, as chitta, individual consciousness. Held for many years, it remains unchanged. Then, at the end of our life, it is released back into the ocean of consciousness; the recognition of oneness causes the chitta to instantaneously re-unite with the chit.
Many translations of the Yoga Sutras link this sutra to notions of controlling one’s mind, thoughts and emotions. They assert that Meditation is the way to achieve that. Trying to gather and control the multitude of thoughts and emotions with no knowledge of their origin is a daunting idea and a very difficult task.
It seems to be a compromised way of explaining the concept of consciousness to a culture that does not have roots in the belief that we are all Divine. It then reverts to a means of control which might work well in the world, but less so in the subtle realms.
The Scriptures seem to adhere to the belief that consciousness abides in the heart, rather than in the mind, as many believe. But when we realize that it is the heart that is the holder of our consciousness, reunion-once understood to be a difficult task-seems more likely.
When this sutra is translated referencing only the mind, the emphasis is on control, restraint, or some form of restriction. It encourages students to be harsh with the consciousness. But the heart responds more readily to tenderness and gentle, caring treatment of that consciousness. It is the best way to liberate it.
As consciousness unites, the mind, emotions and senses balance and become calm like a deep mountain lake, clear and still.
Imagine consciousness in all its purity as that clear mountain lake. Gazing into the lake, we can see the mirror image of the mountains that surround it. This pristine illumination mirrors our Divine nature. While all is still and calm, the heart rests in its Divine nature, as we experience love and oneness for all.
A gentle wind blows across the lake, and the clear images become slightly wavy. The crystal-clear reflection of the light is disturbed, yet the distorted image can still be seen. If the wind continues to strengthen, the reflection of the mountains is soon completely obliterated.
The wind represents our thoughts and emotions, at first gentle and then strengthening. As the wind increases, it stirs up the bottom of the lake, and the clarity of the reflection is replaced by muddy turbulence. It may happen occasionally at first, and then slowly without our realizing it, it becomes more and more frequent. Eventually, our Divine nature is no longer being luminously reflected.
After some time, this motion causes the shore to wash into the lake, forming sandbars. Our thoughts and feelings form these clusters of habitual patterns, tendencies, and potentialities called Samskaras. The Samskaras accrue by the constant churning of the thoughts and emotions. Whenever any thought or feeling encounters the wind it is easily fed into one of these patterns. Then our habits and tendencies become set and the mountains, once reflected in the lake, disappear from view.
The pattern of habit, or Samskara, is difficult to change, as our consciousness is often unable to reconfigure the obvious. An unexpected change in circumstances can be missed if we look only for the predicted course. Once the sandbars have developed, it takes a great wind of change to modify their shape.
To achieve this state of peace and stillness, we practice steadying the mind, emotions and senses. This allows the heart to expand and for us to dwell in higher levels of consciousness.
When we understand the importance and are able to actualize this union, we find we are filled with Ananda (joy).
From the Yoga Sutras
1.3 United in the heart, consciousness is steadied, then we abide in our true nature, joy.
When consciousness reunites and remains undisturbed, our true Divine nature is revealed as joy. The expression of this joy is infinite love, which encompasses and then transforms everything it touches. Everywhere we look, we see the reflection of our Divine and joyful nature.
Many of us have had a glimmer of this feeling when falling in love. Everything looks brighter; even gloomy days cannot dissuade us from our bliss. We radiate joy and greet the world with openness and clarity. People smile at us, mirroring this loving energy back to us. This then serves to reminds us of who we truly are, and the glorious cycle continues.
It is important to understand how fragile this state can be. We are cautioned by Sutra 1.4
From the Yoga Sutras
1.4 At other times, we identify with the rays of consciousness, which fluctuate and encourage our perceived suffering.
Identifying with murky thoughts and feelings is like looking in a distorted mirror or a muddied lake. Those images are often reinforced by the outside world. When we identify with grumpy or angry thoughts, the mind beams them outward. Similar thoughts and similar people are attracted to us as if magnetically. When we feel sad or fearful, friends who feel the same may call us. After all, misery loves company!
As we come to understand that our nature is joy and love, the perception of suffering is unable to take root. Realizing that we do not have to be bound by any one interpretation, we alter our mode of identification. We then recognize and relate to our highest consciousness.
Imagine yourself standing in front of an enormous structure, one so large that it does not appear to have any boundaries. It is adorned with many images, sayings and words, that keep you engrossed. Even if at times the writings and images are disturbing, you remain attentive. Finally glancing around for a moment, you spot a small opening, not much larger than your eye. You never imagined this structure had any kind of depth. Its surface seemed so complete and all-encompassing.
Pressing your forehead to the wall, you peer through the small opening and are instantly transported to another reality, an incredibly beautiful scene filled with radiant light and glorious color. The disturbing images and messages that seemed so real only moments ago evaporate like rain touched by the sun’s radiance as it emerges from the clouds. You are transported through the portal to a peaceful vision. Once you taste the joy of living in beauty and love, you no longer find anything captivating about suffering.
Only with this clarity is the state of Meditation possible.