Trans4mind Home Page
~ A Journey of Self-Discovery ~

Yoga the Enlightened Body

By Howard Napper

Personally I have never been comfortable with the word enlightenment, or quite sure where the line is that makes one person enlightened and another not. It is not that I haven't been in the presence or read the works of many people from many different traditions who have what I consider to have a supreme understanding or "enlightenment". It's just that these days, in the so-called 'new age', enlightenment has become one of those words that is used all too easily. I have never been in a position to pass judgment on someone else's level of awareness, but I have usually shown caution towards those spiritual teachers who proclaim themselves to be enlightened. Still, as an idea, enlightenment or the ability to transcend all personal suffering has to be one of the ultimate goals of any human being. Enlightenment, as I understand it, means to have a conscious reconnection with our deepest sense of self. This is something that we might be able to start to understand intellectually, but intellectual understanding can only take us so far, and where it stops the problems begin. It is only through a direct experience that we can start developing a true sense of self.

So we might seek a great teacher or teachers who may or may not be enlightened, hoping that they can show us the path to our own enlightenment. And we think that they will inevitably have to communicate to us through the intellect. But what the great teachers have shown us is the experience of communion. As opposed to communication, which functions on a mind-to-mind level, communion operates heart-to-heart. It is only when we move away from an intellectual understanding and open ourselves up to a true experience of ourselves by ourselves that we will find our own inner intelligence and power. As Lao Tzu put it, "To know others is intelligence; to know yourself is true wisdom. To master others is strength; to master yourself is true power."

Because there is no intellectual basis or thought process attached, and because it is beyond the realm of time, enlightenment can only be experienced in the now, or on a moment-to-moment basis. Therefore it is an ongoing experience and one that presumably comes and goes, depending how long we can remain present. Since we all have our conditioning and 'issues' that take us away from this state of existence, we are lucky if it stays with us at all. It may be that there is no such overall state, and that each of us only experiences a greater or lesser number of enlightened moments. I have always imagined even the most enlightened beings to have off days. As Ram Dass once said, "If you think you're enlightened, go home to your family for the holidays!" He also reminded us that we never end up getting rid of our issues - we can only grow to recognize them and let them pass through us, rather than reacting to them. It is this recognition or awareness that makes the difference -- after all, the word enlightened means, "to shed light on or illuminate." The mind is great at recognizing many things, but has a hard time going in and coming face to face with ourselves. You can see this with people who spend a lot of time in their thoughts, finding it hard to associate with their bodies and connect with their feelings and emotions. James Joyce seemed to sum it up when he wrote of one of his characters, "Mr. Duffy lived a short distance from his body . . . "

What's interesting is that although hatha yoga is associated with a number of philosophies, these philosophies all center on transcending the mind. The yogis' intention was to have an experience of the deeper parts of the self, one that by-passed the mind. This is difficult for us in the West to understand, as we tend to have a strong attachment to the mind. Descartes was not the first one in this tradition, but he certainly expressed it most powerfully when he said, "I think therefore I am." This kind of belief naturally leads us to conceive of the mind as central to the self. Of course, the Western mind-centric tradition has produced many great results. But as we see in the modern age, it has also produced a society that is perhaps out of balance. More and more people are recognizing that by placing our emphasis on the rational and material, we have lost touch with the spiritual. At the same time, the mind has been defined as something separate from the body, and we have become distanced from emotions, intuitions and other paths to self-awareness that the body can give us. By focusing on just one side of our being - the mind - we have become numb to our essential self.

In sharp contrast, many Eastern philosophies - yoga among them - don't rely on the mind to define the self. A common technique used in the East is to correct one extreme by moving towards its opposite, with the ultimate aim of arriving at a middle way of unity and balance. The yogis were very aware that having too strong an attachment to the mind is an easy trap to fall into. So instead they looked for spiritual development and a way to reach the deeper parts of the self through the body. Through this experience, the ultimate realization is that neither the mind nor the body takes precedence, for they are not separate. The yogis understood that where there is separation there will inevitably be conflict. So the main aim of yoga is to unite the mind, body and spirit. It is this quest for union that gave the practice it name: yoga, meaning to yoke or unite.

People often wonder what the difference is between all the various types of yoga. Ultimately there should be no difference. Once again it is only the idea of separation that leads people to confusion. It is understandable that there are many different schools and styles - after all, there is more than one book in the library. But it is this exploration of one's deep self through the whole being which unites them all. At the heart of all yoga, no matter what the style, it is possible to experience the unity of body and mind, such that the practice itself becomes a meditation.

This idea of unity of body and mind has nothing to do with the degree of ease with which someone can get their foot behind their head or the angle they reach in a forward bend. Our exploration is as if we become like children playing for the sake of play, with no ambition or goal in sight that would allow the mind to try to assert control over the body once again. Then both body and mind can become light and free. When I see someone in a class like this exploring their own depths, even if its only for a brief moment, I know that they are connecting with something that is boundless and that they are in the process of discovering themselves to be a far greater person than they ever dreamed themselves to be. This is true yoga.

Healthy Balance
More personal development articles at the Counterpoint Article Library

From our extensive site, you'll find good info on many topics using this search:

Support your personal development with these popular and effective hypnosis downloads...

  • Sweet Tooth ~ Train your brain to lose your sweet tooth.
  • Finish What You Start ~ Sprint all the way past the finish line.
  • Do It Now ~ A hypnosis audio to trigger deep, emotionally driven activity.
  • Life Priorities ~ Hypnosis can help you clarify what really matters to you.
  • Stop Thinking About Someone ~ A session to help you move on from thoughts that have been constantly pestering you.
  • Public Speaking Fear ~ Banish speaking anxiety and nerves with hypnosis.
  • Motivate Yourself to Exercise ~ Build a powerful exercise habit that you can't break.
  • Get Rid of Fear & Anxiety ~ Stop worry and apprehension wrecking your life.
  • Self Esteem ~ Break the negative trance of low self esteem and give yourself a chance in life.
  • Create Your Own Reality ~ Use the power of your unconscious mind to transform your life.
  • Deeper Self Respect ~ Use hypnosis to connect with your true inner worth.
  • Detach From Fear ~ Tune out nervousness and anxiety with hypnosis.
  • Improving Concentration and Focus ~ Learn how to discipline, direct and command your mind to improve your performance.
  • Exercise Motivation ~ Give you powerful keys to getting back on track with your exercise - and staying there.
  • Overcoming Shyness ~ Provides an invisible security blanket allowing you to develop social ease and overcome shyness.
  • Quick Confidence Booster ~ An audio hypnosis session that's specifically designed to get you (quickly!) back on track.
  • Stop Negative Thoughts ~ Learn powerful hypnotic techniques to stop negative thoughts before they start.
  • Overcoming Procrastination ~ Let hypnosis help you get on with what you need to do, when you need to do it. Let nothing hold you back.
  • Think Thin ~ Use hypnosis to re-train your brain and lose weight naturally... that's how to get and stay slim.
  • Fall Asleep Fast ~ Relearn how to fall asleep fast and enjoy a good night's sleep.
  • The Next Level ~ Designed to radically boost your performance in any field. It's based on a technique used by top athletes and other successful people to help them make a big stride forward.
This is our selection of favorites, but there's a session for every need! Choose from over 800 Hypnosis Downloads...
Search now on an issue that interests or concerns you...

View all the Hypnosis Downloads here

Get a free Hypnosis Download at Facebook

Hypnosis is the key to unlocking your creativity, focusing your energy and understanding yourself

Hypnosis has a long history of helping human beings be the very best they can be. It can be used to control anything controlled by the unconscious mind - pain, blood pressure, fear, confidence levels, mood, sex drive... the list goes on:

  1. You'll become highly productive without getting stressed
  2. Tap into your creative energies instantly
  3. Really understand yourself and others
  4. You'll learn how to stay calm in high pressure or uncomfortable situations
  5. Develop laser-like levels of focus and concentration

Lean more... Uncommon Hypnosis Course

Welcome to the New Wave in Meditation Technology

Click here to learn more about the iAwake Profound Meditation Program
The iAwake Profound Meditation Program
is a way of enhancing your meditation practice, making meditation not only easier and more enjoyable, but also more efficient and effective.
Profound Meditation provides the smoothest, deepest, richest, most profound meditation experience available anywhere...
Here is a link to a free 20-minute track from iAwake Technologies - a sample of the type of tools that will deepen your meditation immediately and help you quickly become a successful meditator. It's the opening track of iAwake's flagship product, the Profound Meditation Program, called the iAwake Experience...
Learn More and Download the iAwake Experience
We think you'll find this technology a tremendous aid on your transformative journey of becoming your best and most creative self - and you can get started today!
Copyright © 1997-2017 Trans4mind Ltd