First of all, spirituality per se as a term is not how I would describe the intrinsic part of this existence, because spirituality implies some sort of spirit. It is time to clarify, what they’re all talking about when they refer to spirituality and if what they’re talking about is just a lot of noise for nothing. What they call the spiritual part of yoga, it has to be clarified, and this is where I stand with my outlook on spirituality.
Why spirituality? They try to characterize the inner-dimension as a dimension of spirituality and the reason I do not subscribe to spirituality is because, the inner dimension, is not something that is disconnected from life in form of a spirit. Spirituality only exists from the position of some sort of spirit, as a belief. Spirituality, spirit per se, they cease to be relevant once you have experienced inner fulfillment, in the inner fulfillment there is center of consciousness.
What they call the spiritual dimension of yoga is to refer to the inner experience, how you experience yourself within you. In that there is no separate existence such as a spirit or a spiritual dimension. I do not support spirituality because it creates a myth of some spirit. My position is to lift the smoke of mystery and to bring clarity to the center of existence. I refer to it as consciousness.
Certainly in yoga eventually consciousness is what is derived as the ultimate arrival, as the ultimate realization and this is why it is significant to not mix, to not confuse matters with spirituality, with consciousness. There is only consciousness and that is a universally well-experienced, well-understood intrinsic existence of an individual. I vouch for clarity of consciousness, I support lucidity, when at the end of your journeys of meditation of yoga – you come to the clarity, you lift the smokes of mysteries, you lift the smoke of spirituality. All of that is gone. What is remaining is your pure presence, and this inner presence is presence of consciousness.
There is no spirituality there is only consciousness, because no spirit in separate existence.
A consciousness that is untouched by any ideas, images, feelings, emotions. A pure witness that is right in the center of you.
The ability just to be present, undistracted, unphased by the events of life. A pure witness, a pure presence is fulfilling. Just this – is everything. From this presence – a fulfillment. And answers come to you, you’re just clear, a clear seer and even if answers don’t come to you, you’re just fulfilled anyway.
A fulfillment from within, this is the ultimate of all these practices. The sensation everything has happened to you in life, you have arrived. This inner fountain, this inner foundation is the foundation of all my life. From here I move, I live, absolutely everything, and I carry with me my totality, totality arising from fulfilling.
You are everything in your fulfillment, you feel home everywhere, because you have discovered the home within you. Everything else changes, and yet you feel home all the time, very comfortable, so comfortable that whatever happens you’re just living with inner comfort. This is what I call bliss, this inner joy, of sensing your contentment, your absolute comfort, all the time and if you ever sidetrack your meditation is there to bring you to your perfect position. This is a sensation of perfection. In your fulfillment nothing is missing, your glass is full – this is being perfect.
The dimension of inner fulfillment is an intrinsic dimension, it is not material, it is a sense of inner clarity and being simply present. No idea is necessary here, because when you are clear you know everything. This is how you go beyond materialism. You are looking from the position of another dimension, something that cannot be touched by materialism. What cannot be touched is something that cannot be destroyed. This is where the sense of infinite arises.
This fulfilment is always present within you. You lift beyond materialism, even if you give materialism its due respect. You step within and you find this intangible – a pure seer. When you have experienced your untouched, your intangible dimension, all physical existence becomes one landscape, just one existence in front of you.
By experiencing this intangible dimension, this very center of your consciousness, undisturbed, untouched, unmarked – you are eternal. This is who you are, you are free from this material world. You cannot be disturbed by this material world, because you are intrinsically something else. The material world is just a small part of you, just a shell.
You have come to your eternity, you have come to your intrinsic existence, you have come home. There is no noise of the external world. You are silence itself. You have come here, you live here, this is home. What of external events? You are constantly fulfilled. You are constantly happening. You are constant happiness. This happiness arising from self fulfilment. No spirits. Spirituality becomes redundant. Only your pure presence, your being, your perfection. I am all. From here, as long as you exist in the material world, this all-ness all the time and when there is no more matter, you just rest, you are just present, in your infinite all-ness that is untouched by matter. You have returned to your eternal existence; this is understood by a few. This is where you have come from, this is who you are, and if there is an end to the physical life, you continue to exist forever.
I subscribe to the pathway of so-called Raja yoga. There are several mainstream flows of yoga, of which Raja yoga is the one primarily focusing on the way of meditation as a way to experiencing one’s own fulfillment. Raja yoga is based on The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.
The reason it has appealed to me is because Raja yoga’s main subject of interest, is about uncovering one’s own potential, it is a practice to discover oneself. In that, it was essentially connected with my absolute belief in oneself, that the mystery of existence, that the meaning of existence, that ultimate answers, they’re all to be found within oneself.
Raja yoga is about self. If I ever had any belief it was only belief in self, in that Raja yoga and myself have met perfectly.
I was introduced to Raja yoga by Dr Rajesh Singh. Throughout the years, Rajesh masterfully advised me on the practices, on clarifying the yoga sutras, due to his deep background of studying them, knowing Sanskrit and having a long pre-history of exposure and his practices.
I found him to be an extraordinarily rare yoga teacher, as in the many years after I met him, I’ve encountered various other yoga teachers from India. None of them carried the profoundness of understanding, the ability to apply the principles and practices in real life. He also guarded me from potential dangers that this yoga could inflict, because Raja yoga and its main focus of meditation is an internal practice, and the philosophical part of it is deeply entwined with the psychology of a human being.
It is a very sophisticated and intelligent method and if it is misunderstood, if it is improperly practiced, one can get carried away. So there are many pitfalls and risks that are standing there on the way of a yogi who has ventured into this ultimate stage of yoga, which is the non-physical, internal experiences.
The yoga sutras that deal with the intellectual interpretation and understanding can be quite sophisticated and it is important to have a teacher that is always able to return from the most sophisticated heights to something very simple. It is incredibly significant to stay connected with the basic foundations of the human being and not get carried away in the complex realms of human psychology.
The other yoga teachers that I have met from India, they have imagined various complex metaphysical ideas and journeys and have themselves become quite complicated, and Rajesh, unlike any other teachers from India, has always been able to come back away from complications, in the direction of letting go of these complications, no matter how profound they might be, no matter how attractive, no matter how powerful they may seem. He always let go of any special powers, of any ideas of special powers, to shrug off these complexities and to stay very uncomplicated; “let go of this also, let go of that also”, no matter how profound an experience of meditation may be, this is also not important, let go of that also and come to what is really your own, that it is not about the energy of this, the idea of that.
Shrugging off all the complexities and going back to the basic foundations is very important and is the extraordinary guidance of a real teacher even if it may sound simplistic; this simplicity is the most unappreciated asset.
Rajesh also recognised as a teacher that it’s possible that the student someday may excel even beyond teacher’s capabilities and that the teacher should not envy the student, that the teacher should let the student reach the stars, in that he was very humble and dedicated to the success of the student. Yoga, the way of yoga to him, was more significant than any ambition of his own.
Yoga and meditation is a way of life. Bringing yoga, of which meditation is the ultimate part, is touching with happiness, is about bringing happiness into your life. This is why it becomes the way of life, because in life you want to be happy, especially to be happy all the time, so it becomes the way to live.
Yoga covers many aspects of daily wellbeing. I normally start my day with the physical practice of yoga, very much like the hatha yoga practice. It is the morning stretches, the breathing practices, a periodic time for the om chant, and a small interval of time of sitting and observing breath and your being, my being that is. The purpose of the physical practices is to make you more comfortable in your body, the more you are comfortable in your body, the more you’re available to be totally happy.
The morning practice is my time of transition from sleep into fully-awakened state, a very smooth, fine-tuning transition. I maintain this practice every day no matter where I am and it does not require a lot of space. You just need to roll out your yoga mat if you have one. When I travel and if I don’t have it, just floor or carpet is sufficient. In the beginning of my yoga practices, I used to take quite an extensive period of time for this practice, I used to do one and a half, minimum one hour of physical stretches, followed by breathing practices, such as the fire-breath, alternate nostril breathing, followed by an extended chant and I used to sit in, in half lotus or otherwise sitting position for 30 to 60 minutes a day every morning, after my physical practices. I used to follow up in the evening with another sitting meditation, a meditation practiced based on observing my breath, connecting with the centre of my gravity, observing my being, observing the atmosphere around me with my eyes closed.
Over time, after many years of dedicated daily practice, it has at some point stabilized to minimum a combined one hour per day to one and a half hours per day, from the previous two to three hours a day in the beginning.
The very important part of the yoga practice, particularly in the Raja yoga is getting acquainted with the yoga Sutras of Patanjali, this is a very important text for a practicing yogi going beyond physical interests. These yoga sutras are very significant. They help you by advising you how to become more and more free, how to become more and more liberated, how to let go of habits, how to let go of patterns, towards a much greater, yet a very easy freedom. They’re about revealing the freedom in you. The path of the yoga practice is to start bringing more and more this freedom into your daily life.
In the beginning static meditations are significant in order for you to develop a sense of inner presence and not absence. It is when you’re present, when you have a very vivid sense of inner presence, of not being absent, you also have a sensation that you’re fully present in life, that you’re not absent from life. The path of Raja yoga, the path of yoga is to bring a sense of freedom within you, a sense of presence. When you are fully present, you can be fulfilled. As meditation matures you start having transition from intervals of meditation to a permanent meditative state. The static meditations of morning and evening, they start to reduce, and sensation of meditative state starts to increase throughout the day.
There is less and less need of static sitting and observing, and there more arises the inner witness, a witness that is fully present, a witness that is internally fulfilled because of being totally present. This presence from within is a fulfillment, is being present in every moment of life. You go from meditation to a meditative state that is ongoing, and when you’re present in every moment of your life it is how you are not absent from life and this is how you don’t waste life. You are here.
I will start with personal life. Because yoga is a way to happiness that is ongoing, you just become a happier person, it brings you to realise, to reveal the happiness within you that is always there. Maturing of meditation practice is about fulfillment that is permanent. This inner fulfilment is what I call happiness. With meditation you realize, happiness is always here within you, happiness is your true nature, you are happiness. Once you have revealed it you are always happy, and if you ever imbalance and you go sideways from your path of happiness, meditation is your way to get back into your stream, into your centre, into your happiness.
Then you’re happy in your personal life, happiness is the way of personal life. It is made for personal life, you can then share your happiness around you, you are the centre of happiness, and you want to reveal it in others, you just enjoy to be happy. Whatever your personal life is, if you’re a true meditator then you are always in the centre of life and you’re always the centre of happiness, then people around you also gravitate towards a happier life until they realise that happiness is their nature, is their deepest core of existence, that if you have gone away from that it is time for you to come back, it is time for meditation.
Meditation is the way of fulfillment, is the way of happy, a happiness that is ongoing, a happiness that arises from the sense of fulfillment. This inner fulfillment is like an inner spring, is like a fountain, that comes from within, you just need to keep in touch with the core of your being, this is the centre of existence. It has brought me to a happy personal life, no more suffering is possible when you really care to know yourself, when you really care to be connected.
With meditation, with yoga, if correctly approached, you are happiness.
I will now address the area of how yoga has influenced my career.
Success in your career is certainly possible with or without yoga. Yoga is not necessarily something that will make you succeed. You may very well succeed anyway. Yoga is not about succeeding in a career, yoga is about succeeding in yourself. It is not becoming a champion in something, it is about becoming a champion of yourself, about your life. It is about succeeding in being a happy person. When it comes down to careers, there are always challenges and sometimes these challenges are severe.
This is when yoga, with meditation, you have a foundation in your life, a foundation of contentment no matter what happens in your career. It is another dimension, it is a stand-alone permanent existence within you, of contentment, of satisfaction with your life, no matter what happens, no matter how strong the challenges may be.
It gives you a foundation, to which you can endlessly return, no matter what the situation is. It is your inner oasis, it is your safe harbor, that is always abundant in contentment. So, go on with career. You will have ups and downs, I have had my big ups and big downs, but yoga, meditation is there for you to always keep touch with your foundations of happiness, with your foundations of fulfillment. It is an infinite foundation of being fulfilled. So in that, throughout the career and particularly in the years from which I have picked up the meditation in a real way, that it has given me a foundation of fulfillment no matter what happens with career. You can succeed, you may lose but with meditation you have gone beyond polarity. Whatever the turns of the career, it just gives you a sense of life, a sense of fulfilment. So in that, it has influenced my life throughout my career, as a person that has achieved fulfilment and to live this period of time, to live this career, as a fundamentally content individual.
After that you still go with what your natural calls are, whether personal or professional, whatever they may be – now the foundation is formed, it’s always there. It is great.
In personal life I am very happy. In my career that has its ups and downs like in personal life, even if they are significantly different qualities of life, significantly totally different parts of life, and yet, no matter any issues you may have in any aspect of your life, whether it’s career, personal life, WHATEVER ISSUES OF LIFE, YOU ARE ALWAYS ANCHORED RIGHT IN YOUR CENTER, AND FROM THAT CENTER, YOU ARE JUST GREAT !