Through yoga we can engage our duel nature of mind and gain wisdom to help us follow the sweetest path in our life’s journey.
Buddhi in Sanskrit means the process of wisdom. It stands both for the process of wisdom and the generator of wisdom—and this is a function of the non-conscious mind. The conscious facet (cit) of the mind (manas) is focused on the physical senses, and is interpreted by the conscious intellect to produce knowledge for the individual as they experience physical nature. The conscious you attempts to survive throughout life with your definition of quality and predictability.
The non-conscious mind is supraphysical and is traditionally compared to a polished mirror that reflects the light of conscious experience (memories) more faithfully as metaphors. When both the conscious and non-conscious parts of the mind join as one (yoga) the light of consciousness or transcendental awareness occurs as wisdom.
Wisdom like intuition is a particular kind of knowing, which relates not so much to the finite world of physical or psychological realities but to the spiritual realities. At the sense perception and intellect levels, wisdom augments decision making to be able to closely follow a ‘sweeter life path’. At the feeling level, wisdom reinforces the emotions of love and joy and assists with higher purpose character development such as compassion, kindness, patience, tolerance, self-understanding, self-discipline and other similar virtues that lead to the appreciation of goodness, beauty, harmony, and self-realization.
Whatever yogic path we may follow, all paths unfold through wisdom. Even bhakti-yoga, the spiritual discipline of self-surrender to the Divine Being, relies on the liberating momentum that wisdom gives. Before we can practice self-surrender, we must first determine through applied wisdom, the applicable concept of our devotion. Otherwise we will be drawn into worshiping ‘false gods’ or confuse the ego self with the true Self.
We cannot practice karma-yoga, the path of self-transcending day-to-day physical activities, without having wisdom continually guide us to that course of action which frees us from becoming overwhelmed with material survival.
The cultivation of wisdom is essential for the spiritual path. The lucidity or transparency that manifests through wisdom, is known as sattva, which literally means ‘being-ness’ (from sat ‘being’ and tva ‘ness’). Since wisdom is a function of the presence of sattva, we can generate our wisdom through any and all activities that enhance sattva in our body and mind: Eating pure and wholesome foods; keeping the body healthy through appropriate exercise and other habits; entertaining pure and wholesome thoughts; engaging in virtuous actions; remaining attentive in all situations; speaking kind and inspiring words; listening with an open heart; practicing equality; practicing silence (mauna), cultivating self-observation, self-understanding and self- discipline; focusing on that which matters rather than scattering our energy and attention; linking through meditation; conquering doubt through faith and trust in ourselves (shraddhā); growing continually through self-transformation, the ideal of freedom and liberation.
The self-divided mind is unable to harness wisdom and is typically problem oriented, experiencing immersion in hostile situations that must be fought and conquered. Wisdom puts us in the flow of things. The more we foster the sattva quality in ourselves, the more wisdom will guide us in making the right choices in all areas of life, in order to live with the quality we define and the predictability we desire. Wisdom shows us that there is nothing to conquer. Nature is not our enemy. Only our false sense of being a limited ego-personality encased by a limited body, gives us this illusion—and this is the source of all our pain and suffering (duhkha).
The yogi and yogini cultivate sattva in everything they attempt, think and express so that it may illuminate the path before them. For more on experiencing the true essence of yoga see another blog in our yoga series: Beyond Asanas: The True Essence of Yoga
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 the true yoga pathway 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 to find our more information or express your interest, please contact us.