Rituals help keep us on our spiritual journey, reinforcing our beliefs and fuelling our enthusiasm and passion to reach our full potential. Yoga incorporates various rituals that aid self-transcendence including namaste (see previous blog). Another classic yoga ritual is conscious inquiry, which aims to bring ourselves back to our true nature to feel more relaxed, happy and contented with who we are. This method is known as neti-neti (“not this, not this”).
What is the ‘I’ of you now? Is it your body, your feelings, thoughts, your social roles? Throughout the situations of the day, if you use the questioning rituals of neti-neti when you are feeling flat or emotionally compromised, you can regain enthusiasm and passion as it broadens your options for defining who you really are within these situations, until the point is reached where you experience greater freedom to embrace more of life within these situations—and feel like water cascading unimpeded over smooth rocks.
Through practicing neti-neti, we are able to realise that there is something about each of us that can transcend our thoughts, feelings, emotions, memories, bodies, perceptions; about the roles we play in life such as being parents, children, siblings, workers, citizens, etc.
For when we inquire ‘Who am I?’ we are inevitably led to a series of perceptions (definitions) about ourselves, which all have limitations and therefore not really indicative of our true and complex identities. Thus ‘Who am I?’ might initially give rise to the notion that we are our body, but upon closer inspection we realise that this is not the whole case, that our consciousness is not limited just to our physical existence, there is more to each of us in every situation.
This yoga method of inquiring is linked to buddhi-yoga, the yogic path of wisdom through which we filter our habitual and often limiting and binding patterns of thought and behaviour. The term buddhi stems from the same verbal root (budh) as bodha meaning ‘enlightenment or awakening’. The term buddha meaning ‘awakened’. Thus when wisdom dawns in us through neti-neti, our sense of identity shifts from the body and the external world to become the observing Self beyond all that is mundane.
In February 2016, I will be running a one-off comprehensive Samyama Yoga Teacher Training course. This 12-month course will give you an in-depth understanding of yoga and open up your world to true transformation. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity to work closely with me and become a qualified Samyama yoga teacher, as I will not be offering this course again. If you’d like more information or to express your interest, please contact us.