Anyone familiar with the third section of the Yoga Sutras – vibhuti pada? If so, a conversation would be most helpful, as this leaves my little brain spinning, imagining all of the vibhutis (the powers) possible as one proceeds towards the ultimate freedom (kaivalya).
As consciousness gets evermore clarified (from its potential form [dharma] to refinement of states [laksana] and conditions [avastha]) and is integrated (samyama) – AMAZING gifts happen. Here’s a sampling of what’s possible:
- Knowledge of past, present and future Knowledge of languages of all beings, including animals
- Knowledge of previous births
- Ability to understand the minds of others
- Ability to become invisible
- Ability to make sound, smell, taste, form and touch disappear
- Knowledge of the time and place of one’s own death.
- Ability to be as strong and graceful as an elephant
- Knowledge of concealed things
- Knowledge of this solar system and others, the positions of the stars
- Knowledge of the course of destiny…
There are about 20 more – it’s hard to keep up.
Blows your mind, doesn’t it?
But here’s the thing – with ALL of these gifts, comes the necessity of detachment, renunciation, (vairagyad).
Even these powers are citta vrittis– disturbances of consciousness – that must become irrelevant (you guessed it) – through practice and detachment.
I.12 abhyasa vairagyabhyam tan-nirodhah. Practice and detachment are the means to still the movements of consciousness.
From the first time you step on your yoga mat, and that very first pose you try, you get to experience all of the vrrtis you’ve been carrying around all these years – all the worries, the confidence, the rage, the joy – and then practice to make NOTHING of it.
On the mat.
Practice an asana you know really well. Observe the thoughts in your mind as you come into the asana, be in the asana, come out of the asana, and reflect on the asana.
Practice an asana you struggle with. Observe the thoughts in your mind as you come into the asana, be in the asana, come out of the asana, and reflect on the asana.
It’s ALL citta vrittis – mind stuff, to be dispelled with dispassion and non-identification.
Off the mat.
Cook up a great meal. Observe the thoughts in your mind as you think about what to prepare, then prepare, eat, finish, clean up and reflect.
Cook up a disastrous meal. Observe the thoughts in your mind as you think about what to prepare, then prepare, eat, finish, clean up and reflect.
It’s all mind stuff. It’s all just stuff. It’s all part of the human experience.
Cook a great meal. Cook a dud.
Hit a homerun. Strike out.
Piss off a loved one. Then give them a hug.
See you on the mat.
“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase “each other”
doesn’t make any sense.
The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep.”
Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi
Sutra translations from Iyengar, BKS (1993). Light on the Yoga Sutras, London: Harper Collins