Nature of Awareness as taught by Yogi Bhajan
Pieter Schoonheim Samara
This is the 2nd page of What is Yoga, What is Kundalini Yoga and it starts out with the Nature of Awareness with the sense of being the "I" - the seer and what that means.
The Nature of Awareness:
On the other hand, awareness with the sense of being or "I" – the seer, wherever projected, gives the feeling of life and a mild sensation of energy or voltage when directed in the body, and, when combined with thoughts that trigger the chemical electric sensations in the body, can result in very powerful feelings of life and voltage.
Therefore, the application of awareness must be the key, and if we can somehow isolate it, then we would have access to the total force inherent in that awareness.
Now what is this awareness, which is synonymous with the sense of being or "I" and the feeling of life force or prana (voltage)?
The awareness is what yogis call the Atman, while the Universal consciousness is called Brahman. In Christian terms, the Atman, or pure sense of "I" without identity or association to images is called the Christ Consciousness or the Son, in relation to Brahman is called the Father.
To try to show the relationship between the 2 and why these 2 are really one, we can use the following analogy that was often used by mystics in the Dark Ages of Europe, before the Renaissance.
People would ask what the twinkling lights were in the sky at night (the stars). What they were told was that at night God pulled a shroud over the planet and that on the other side of that shroud was the Infinite Light and Glory of the Father. And that within that shroud were pinpricks through which that Light shone. This answer usually satisfied.
But when people asked more the nature of this Light, they were sometimes told that within each of us is a pinprick (Star) in our Spiritual Heart, through which is projected the light of awareness that animates the body and the mind and denoted the sense of "I."
So, when the mind is pure and reflects the Spiritual Heart, we experience ourselves being Transfigured. The mind and body fill with Light, and we abide as spatial consciousness in the Heart.
From the perspective of Kundalini Yoga practice, Yogi Bhajan provided his own experience in a poem he wrote in 1968, where he explained that in the depth of his heart the Temple of God lives, that he realized the Infinite Being in his Heart, and the Spirit of Wisdom and Truth dwelled with him. He experienced electric radiance and undifferentiated pervasive consciousness, where "inside-outside everything is whole."
Thus, when we can pierce through the Star in our Heart, we suddenly awaken to the Truth we have always been grounded in. And so we begin a practice of yoga.
The Pratyahar Path of Yoga:
Now there are many types of yogas, but, as we can see from the practical understanding of who and what we really are, all practices are essentially designed around a methodology for "applied awareness" and "letting go." This is so, because we want to develop the recollection and ability to apply awareness in order to trace it back to its source without clinging to the images and sensations elicited by the application of that awareness.
Every thought has an electrical charge. When coupled with impressions that elicit a chemical electric (glandular secretion) in the body, the charge is even greater. We all know about how, when we touch an electric wire, we get gripped by its shock and pulse and cannot let go unless someone hits us or tells us forcefully enough to "let go." Disengage! Relinquish! Discard!
In the terms of the Kundalini Yoga, as Yogi Bhajan taught, most yogic and religious practices are what he termed as the Path of Pratyahar.
Pratyahar used in this way, different from the term pratyahar in the 8 limbs of Raja Yoga, such as commented on by Swami Vivekananda in the 1920s in his book "Raja Yoga," means those practices or methods that slowly draw one into the deeper experience and source of one's awareness through systems whereby one applies one's awareness slowly through every part of the body, then to the major nadis and so on.
As most people know, the term "mindfulness" is a key practice in Buddhism, whether Hinayana, Mahayana or Vajrayana. It is also one of the main practices in Christian Monasteries, and was taught, for example, by St. John of the Cross, St. Francis of Assisi, etc.. It is also the basis for all hatha yoga practices, pranayamas and even martial arts. The Shao Lin Temple was started by the first Zen Patriarch, Bodhidharma, who went to China from India and taught what are now called the Kung Fu movements. Tai Chi is the same. Taoism is also the same.
There are also mental practices and meditations, including visualizations and the use of mantra, which have the intention to gradually lay down new patters with so many layers of repetition that the old patters are, so to speak, drowned out, releasing energy in the process.
Applied awareness and the generation energy/consciousness:
The idea is that, as one applies a still steady flow of awareness throughout the body, whether through sitting still, holding a posture, in movement or watching the breath and movement of prana in the body, the very directed act of applying awareness causes energy to build in that area one focuses, and that energy or voltage is remembered and retained, until eventually, through steady practice, several events begin to occur within the body. One of these is that, as the voltage increases, the frequency of that voltage becomes such that it supersedes the frequency of thoughts, so that you begin to find yourself in a pre-thought cognitive state – thought free.
As thoughts are not being produced with the prana flowing in the body, where atoms are brought together momentarily to trigger sound and images and store impressions, there builds within the still mind and empty body a kinetic or potential energy. At the same time one has spontaneous intuitions or revelations regarding stored impressions and past judgments that emerge from their vault in the subconscious, are resolved and dissolved, releasing more energy.
As this process continues, the voltage reaches a point where a kind of lightless or etheric spaciousness is experienced, where the energy or voltage that is used by the mind to focus is also superseded, and suddenly, the focusing mechanism of the mind disengages and you experience yourself as a field of pervasive consciousness and feel a gradual increasing of radiance throughout the body. With this often arises a pervading sense of perpetual forgiveness or compassion.