Yoga Science teaches the individual how to optimize our relationships with our body, breath, mind, soul, and ultimately, the universe itself. It provides a verifiable scientific template for understanding life’s most important questions: Who am I? From where have I come? Why am I here? What is to be done, and where will I go?
When I began the study and practice of Yoga Science, I started noticing that my vision and associated decision-making abilities were compromised. In many situations I felt as though I were driving an automobile with a dirty windshield. It was hard to see clearly and rather unsettling to deal with the world from such an inaccurate and unreliable perspective.
As my meditation practice deepened, I began to contemplate what it is that obscures our vision. What are all those metaphoric dead bugs, pine needles, dust, dried leaves, bird droppings, and road spray that cover the windshield of the human mind? Like you, I could cite parents, siblings, children, illness, work––even the President of the United States––but all those seemed more like symptoms than causes.
By turning my own mind-body-sense complex into a laboratory for experimenting with the truth, I discovered that a great number of undesirable concepts and attachments are hiding out in the dark recesses of our unconscious minds. And like some anonymous internet hacker halfway around the world, these mischievous evil-doers seem to revel in compromising our ability to see accurately.
Of all the unconscious factors I examined, the most insidious force skewing my perceptions was a sense of lack. A lifetime of false (but convincing) input from the senses, ego, unconscious mind, and culture has most of us hypnotized into believing that “I” am a separate individual––living in a vast universe of objects and relationships that have the power to make “me” happy and secure. And motivated by this popular, but erroneous perspective, we human beings scramble to fulfill as many desires as possible.
Unfortunately, when we act on this faulty philosophy, just the opposite occurs. When we fulfill a desire, we immediately begin to fear that we might lose what we have. And if our desires are thwarted, we experience anger. If anger cannot fulfill our desires, we repress the anger and experience depression. The actual consequences of such a defective paradigm (based on the limitations of the brain and senses) are two-fold. First, we remain enslaved to the delusion that as an individual, “I” lack. Second, in the face of our failure to find fulfillment, we try to compensate ourselves through imprudent lifestyle choices. We take a literal or imaginary vacation by having too much or too little food, sex, sleep, or self-preservation (fear or worry) that soon returns us to a familiar state of unhappiness and insecurity.
But through a consistent practice of Yoga Science disciplines like meditation, we can recognize that our sense of lack is birthed from our reliance on external objects that are subject to change. For example, when feeling insecure, we might decide to purchase securities. That makes us feel happy and secure when the stock market goes up, but when the market goes down and the stocks lose their value, we again feel insecure and unhappy, and our sense of lack resurfaces.
The good news is that, Yoga Science teaches us how to view every relationship as a means for unbounded happiness and security. Therefore, an emotional rollercoaster ride like the stock market can actually teach us that what we lack is always variable. What we lack is always unique to us at a certain time and place in life, and differs from person to person. And as long as we require a crutch to be happy and secure, a sense of lack will always remain. Therefore, what “I” lack is not the problem. The real problem is that “I” believe that “I” lack.
Our problem is not that we lack something; rather, it’s not knowing we lack nothing. As the ancient Yoga scientists would say, “We are the fullness, bliss, and wisdom of pure consciousness having a human experience in time and space through a limited mind-body-sense complex.” And as we use this practical paradigm to experiment with Inner Wisdom, we can begin to see that the mind is both the problem and the solution. Just as Paul wrote in First Corinthians, “Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then [when we become Self-realized] we will see everything with perfect clarity.”
Armed with this new realization we all can begin training the mind to fulfill the purpose of life without pain, misery, and bondage.
Leonard Perlmutter, founder of the American Meditation Institute (AMI), is the author of an acclaimed book The Heart and Science of Yoga: The American Meditation Institute’s Empowering Self-Care Program for a Happy, Healthy, Joyful Life, an encyclopedic guide to meditation and the Yoga Science that lies behind it. Visit www.americanmeditation.org
This article is a part of the April / May 2017 issue of Whole Life Times.