A Vision of Living in Peace and Equanimity
“Established in this realisation of the Truth, the great sages lived forever in peace and equanimity. They were free from psychological predisposition and hence they did not seek nor reject either life or death. They remained unshaken in their direct experience like another Meru-mountain. Yet, they roamed the forests, islands and cities, they travelled to the heavens, as if they were angels or gods, they conquered their enemies and they ruled as emperors and they engaged themselves in activities in accordance with scriptural injunctions, as they realised that such was appropriate conduct. They enjoyed the pleasures of life: they visited pleasure gardens and were entertained by celestial damsels. They duly fulfilled the duties of a household life, they even engaged in great wars and they retained their equanimity even in those disastrous situations where others would have lost their peace and balanced state of mind.” – The Supreme Yoga, 23rd August.
The quote above is from the book “The Supreme Yoga” which gives you every day a page of insight as you go along your year and covers different subjects such as dispassion, the stages of a seeker, creation, existence, dissolution and liberation. Every day you can read a section, meditate upon it in the morning and keep its teachings in your heart while going about your day.
To be established in an unwavering peace and yet still be fully engaged in your life you can practice yoga. Yoga is, according to this scripture, self-knowledge and practice:
- Self-Knowledge: The book describes how everything is created from the one consciousness and how each one of us is an individualised consciousness. Like there are many bracelets made from gold, each one is individual and made from gold but often forgets his substance. Another picture is that of the ocean that contains individual waves, who can play with each other, relate to each other and are always moving. The text even says: “The distinction between the ripples and the water is unreal and verbal. Even so, the distinction between ignorance and knowledge is unreal and verbal. When you cease to see knowledge and ignorance as two distinct entities, what exists alone exists.” (15th August)
- Practice: Practicing pranayama, observation and being fully in the moment will give you the strength to act dutifully, full-hearted and yet dispassionately. For instance, the book describes how you concentrate on the infinite consciousness while practicing pranayama: “I contemplate that infinite consciousness which is the indwelling presence in the prana, but which is neither with prana nor other than prana. I contemplate that infinite consciousness which is the indwelling presence in the apana, but which is neither with apana nor other than apana.” (1st September). Swami Venkatesananda describes various practices that let the practitioner reach a supreme state of consciousness by contemplating on the breath. In this state the practitioner doesn’t feel grief or sorrow anymore.
A World of Opposites
Yet, most people perceive this world as full of opposites and feel stressed about them. The following chapters highlight how you can work with opposites, see beyond them and use them as learning tools instead of letting them drag you down.
Find the Value in Opposites instead of putting Value Judgments on them
You could feel stressed if you put a value judgment on one side of an opposite. Opposites are endings of the same energy; the same underlying consciousness with individualised opposites if you will. So instead of preferring one side it is about finding the value of the quality that is currently playing out. (see Almine: “The Bridge of No Time”). For instance:
“Sadness versus Joy: To deny sadness is to deny compassion. Sadness carves the hollows in the soul that enable us to feel more empathy and compassionate understanding. It signals the desire to change, providing the impetus to drive us beyond existing paradigms. Joy follows as a stabilizing influence . Each of these opposites is the result of judgmental occlusion that causes only partial perspectives. Temporary occlusions shape our perspective and hence our experiences.
Partnership versus Self-contained Aloneness: Successful self-contained aloneness is also the key to successful togetherness. Self containment comes from the integrated and supported expression of the sub-personalities*. The tendency to over-polarize into inner space can be counteracted by partnership that energizes and stimulates a variety of emotions, such as fun or play. Aloneness allows us to focus on a love affair with life and with ourselves.” – Almine
One other way that Almine describes overcoming the judgments of opposites is to let the opposites inspire each other. For instance, instead of judging something that is different from you, let it inspire you and see what you don’t embody yet from this energy and find it within yourself.
Accept the Feelings connected to one Opposite
That what we resist persists. The situation cannot move freely if you reject the feelings that you have about a given situation. Once you accept the feeling that you have about something this feeling can leave you and with it the situation can change.
If you desire something but do not have it you can accept that you want it and be at peace with this desire. Or you have something that you don’t want, you can accept that you don’t want that. Once you remove the judgment about your feelings then the desire can shift.
Become Clear on Your Choice of Energy that you want to Embody
Coming from the perspective that you are the all-pervading one consciousness, you can play out any energy that you wish to do. Yoga helps you to see clearly by removing the conditioning of the mind, seeing what your choices are in any given moment and acting upon your decision. Yoga lets you rest in the knowledge of who you are through enquiry and self-knowledge. You experience the given moment as it is and with this clear view the choices are obvious.
For instance, every person has both yin and yang characteristics. By studying those characteristics and observing how they play out in our experience you can start to choose if you want to embody in a situation the yin or the yang way. Instead of following just one energy and feeling trapped by it you can study and practice both ways:
In a working environment a person would want to play out more the yang qualities to be successful in his/her job and to get things done. In a friendship this same person could alternate between being the female energy and male energy. In a romantic relationship this person would then choose to embody either to be the female or the male energy so that his/her partner can become the expert in the other (opposing) energy. Then these two become a (conscious) team with each one an expert on his energy part. This gives the other person the space and the respect to embody his part fully. Dr. Pat Allen describes these dynamics wonderfully in her books and courses. She is a psychologist and comes from transactional psychology. She provides useful communication tools for negotiating and resolving conflicts. According to her theory the male energy would say what he wants and will do and the female energy would say how she feels and what she doesn’t want. The feminine energy person would care about what the male person thinks and respect his thinking and the male energy person would care about how his partner feels and cherish her for her feelings. Any person of these two could then again embody both energies when they are on their own again, yin and yang.
As described in the book “The Supreme Yoga” everything is made of the same pervading consciousness. Unity and diversity are ultimately consciousness alone. This book calls that consciousness “Brahma” and gives some guidelines of how to gap the intellectual knowledge of consciousness and the experience of it as we are individualised consciousnesses.
“All things exist in Brahman, all things flow from it, all things are Brahman; it is omnipresent, it is the one self, it is the truth”. – The Supreme Yoga, 19th August
*The subpersonalities are according to Almine: (a) Horizontal subpersonalities: High Mind, Inner Adventurer, Inner Babe, Wild Woman; (b) Vertical subpersonalities: Inner Child, Inner Nurturer, Inner Sage, Inner Warrior