Moving on to the Mind, let us look at a simple example. One’s Mind refuses to concentrate on one subject at a time. One can justify as to why it is so. It may be due to pressures of work, too many tasks etc. but the reality is one is unable to concentrate. Then what does one do, in case one wants it to be changed. Practise with discipline and determination seem to be the only option. Thus the Mind’s habits itself seem to need a change. Why a change? To attain something which enables one improve one’s quality of life. Similarly the Mind has a tendency to highlight say negative points in some. If one wants to change this habit it needs to be observed and then whenever that tendency arises one needs to step back and not identify with that tendency till it changes.
What have we understood so far. The Body, feelings (Prana or Will / Force) and the Mind are all seemingly independent faculties which have a will of their own. There is something holding them together, but generally the Mind seems to dominate the Body and Prana but they can refuse to follow the dictates of the Mind. Now we need to find who is holding this together? For want of a better word, that which observes the Mind can be called as the Ego or Self (There seem two layers, one which is the ‘Intuition’ or ‘Overmind’ (To use Sri Aurobindos words) and the other is the Self) . However, what we call or term these faculties or independent states is not important. What is material is how we use this understanding and transform them? We have also understood that we have broadly 2 choices – one is to be happy as we are or if not decide to try and change with as much effort as we can put in knowing fully well that there is no guarantee of success till all parts of the Being come together in alignment. The second choice is to be happy in the effort or not choose to be happy till the desired outcome is reached.
What is the Integral Yoga? Before understanding this, we need to go back to the basic starting point. Unless one defines a goal there is no need to change anything i.e. we can enjoy Life as it is and not care too much about what happened or will happen. However, it is when dissatisfaction arises with that state one wants change. If we observe further it will be even more startling to note that most times the problems arise because the Body, Prana and the Mind have different needs and expectations. Take an example – the Body wants to rest for eight hours. The Mind has set a goal and wakes up the Body in four hours. After sometime the Body protests in some form. The Mind then becomes agitated and wants to cure or solve the problem etc. Similar is the case with the Desires. Once something is obtained, it loses its ability to produce satisfaction, therefore agitation arises. This conflict between the Wills of the faculties cannot be resolved when one is identified with one of the faculties.
One should not think these choices are linked to the spiritual aspect of Life alone. It is in fact as and may be even more applicable to practical Life, where one seems to have only one choice which is one can accept things as they are and be happy or one can refuse to accept things as they are and change. But change what? Before that why change? I need to change because I want something else. That something needs to be ‘defined’? If not defined clearly, a solution cannot be found. This is again practical Life. I define happiness as acquiring something – let us assume it is flexibility of the body. By practice, I attain that; great. Then I should be happy, but no; the feelings want one to be praised by others. But others do not praise. One is not able to control others. Then how does one be happy. This goes on till a stage is reached that one becomes happy at times and the opposite also occurs.
If one is ready to accept this as a logical fact which one experiences and is ready to continue to live in that way it is not an issue at all. Then the only need would be to balance one’s Life in such a way that happy times and unhappy times are at least 50:50. But the challenge would be that within the faculties there would be a conflict many times and therefore 50:50 is not achieved. However, it is for those who wish to progress beyond this that the ‘Internal Yoga’ matters or is required.
Once one decides that one faculty holding sway over the other faculties or more importantly a life of pursuing pleasures which refuse to satisfy one is not one’s goal in life then one starts thinking how one can change this. Typically, again the thought tends to lead outside, i.e. one will wonder why God created a world like this or blame God or some other person (say a Government or Leader) or Power for all the ills of the world. Here again, there is no choice made, no clear direction only an angst or irritation or worry. At best it will be a prayer to again someone outside one. To do what - to resolve one’s problems. I would like to again link this to our normal life. I run a business. I go to a consultant to ask what I should do. He will give a few ideas. It may work for me or lead to failure. I can blame him but who suffers? Similarly, I have a physical problem. I go to a doctor. He may cure or may not cure. When there is no cure, I can blame the doctors but who suffers? Therefore, Life is all about oneself and what one can control. In all my earlier articles the central point has been the cause is by oneself and not others. For want of something better to do, we blame others but the root cause is our action or reaction. The real cause is that a choice to truly pursue one’s goal single mindedly has not been made. The faculties are happy giving reasons as to why one has to be unhappy (!) rather than doing something to rectify the situation. Therefore this solution of depending on third party(s) is at best temporary and not a solution. Then what does one do?
This is the path of Integration or looking at the whole rather than the parts. The ‘Integral Yoga’ will then have to start with a clearly defined goal of Happiness which is longest lasting (at least more than 90% say) if not permanent. The next step is to align the goals of each of our faculties. What does this mean? A rational analysis of the capabilities of our Body, Prana or Mind and even the knowledge part of ourselves which can be called ‘Intuition’’ has to be attempted through observation (not mental analysis) and once the goal is clear, effort would be made to ensure the capabilities of the faculties are built up to ensure success. For those who believe in rebirth, this process may require a few births but still one is steadfast to one’s goal of Happiness. Even if there is no rebirth at least the quality of our current life would be better.
See how the above is an exact reflection of how we can and must live our practical life. If one is clear what one wants and aligns all one’s efforts to achieve that, there is the best chance of success. Also see what happens when one is not aligned with one’s near and dear ones – fights, disappointments, disagreements etc. How can one hope to align with another when our faculties are fighting amongst themselves to show their superiority rather than aim for a common and overarching goal.
(This is the second article of a four-part series on ‘The Integral Yoga’. The third part will appear next Friday.)
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(The writer is the Joint Managing Director of TVS & Sons Ltd., and MD, TVS Logistics)