Saturday, February 5, 2011

How deep is the reservoir?

This morning, my husband told me about a woman he met recently at an introductory seminar to the Art of Living Course. She confessed that she had hardly ever felt happy or peaceful in her life. As she did a few rounds of Bhastrika and alternate nostril breathing, her face relaxed.

That set me thinking. Our thoughts and emotions are often the most tangible aspects of our being, apart from our physical body. We often tend to think that we are our thoughts, our feelings and emotions. We don't know if there exists anything beyond these thoughts/emotions, and if it does, what is it? How do we see it? Can it be even seen?

Imagine a reservoir filled with water up to a certain level, say 4 meters, below the rim. When we peer into it, we see some leaves, a twig or two, maybe some branches floating on the surface of water. We cannot see beneath these objects but they convey to us that there is water underneath. How deep is it? We don't know. Our vision extends to the floating objects, and we understand that the water is as deep as them, maybe a little more. But when the debris is taken off, we can see that the depth of water goes far below. So much so that we may not even be able to fathom it.

Lake O'Hara from Yukness Ledges

In a similar way, the ancient practices of yoga, Pranayaama, Sudarshan Kriya and meditation help us to clean the floating debris from the mind i.e. the thoughts, emotions, age-old impressions, etc. And then we can truly see, even better, actually experience the sheer depth and clarity of who we are. Once having gotten this experience, it serves as a reminder for us to never allow the debris to accumulate and cloud our vision. Such is the incalculable value of spiritual practices.

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