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The Journey to God Through the Practice of Yoga

Journey to God-practice of yoga

Part 3 of Making Attraction and Aversion Work For Us, Not Against Us, a commentary on the 7th Ode of Solomon, written in Apostolic times (to be available as a paperback and ebook later this year).

  • For he it is Who is incorruptible, the perfection of the worlds and their Father.

This is an exposition of the nature of Ishwara. If we unite ourselves with him through yoga sadhana we shall become like him.

  • He has allowed him to appear to them that are his own, in order that they may recognize him that made them, and not suppose that they came of themselves.

One of the greatest flaws of any religion or spiritual philosophy is the presumption that spiritual truths can be figured out intellectually or by applying logic. Anyone with a modicum of self-observation is aware of both the limitations and the unreliability of the mind. This is why all authentic spiritual traditions tell us that the only viable working with the mind is that which enables us to go beyond the mind!

Maharshi PatanjaliIn the Divine Unity, the Supreme Spirit fosters the evolution of all the individual spirits which draw their being from It. Patanjali tells us in the Yoga Sutras that God himself is the Guru of all. (“Being unconditioned by time he is guru even of the ancients” 1:26.) Mostly he teaches through providing the experiences that their own higher minds determine, but he does at times teach them through intuitions that arise from the depths of their own beings where God is to be found.

The ancient tradition of India tell us that the primeval sages, the rishis, turning within in profound meditation, discovered Brahman as the essence of all Being, just as the ode says in this verse. Brahman is also our Source, the power which has enabled our manifestation within relativity and which empowers us to ascend to the Absolute.

  • For knowledge he hath appointed as its way; he hath widened it and extended it and brought it to complete perfection.

This is why we must persevere in the practice of japa and meditation, simple as they may seem. On the mechanical level they are simple (even childishly simple) but on the level of their effects they are as complex as relative existence itself. That is why the practice of yoga can deliver us from the nets and snares of relativity.

You will find that your experience of yoga practice will be infinitely varied. On occasion, of course, your meditation and japa may seem to be the same day after day, but that is because your inner and outer bodies are adjusting to the plateau of evolution your practice has brought you to. The effects are being assimilated and permatized during such periods. But after a while you will perceive yourself moving on in the depths of meditation to new areas of development.

At first the “way” of yoga may seem simple, simplistic and narrow in the sense of being minimal. But you will find it widening and extending, the path “that shineth more and more unto the perfect day (Proverbs 4:18). “As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the Lord is tried [proven]: he… maketh my way perfect” (Psalms 18:30, 32). And he not only perfects the way, he perfects those who walk the way.

  • And has set over it the traces of his light, and I walked therein from the beginning even to the end.

A mantra, when continually invoked in both japa and meditation, is the light that leads us onward, further into the Light. “For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light” (Psalms 36:9). Literally: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalms 119:105). “The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory” (Isaiah 60:19). God shows us the way and is the way, but it is up to us to walk the way, like the chick emerging from the egg.

  • For by him it was wrought,…

The journeying of the way is accomplished by increasing consciousness and communication with Ishwara, who makes (reveals) us as Brahman’s eternal rest, Its eternal abiding place. For we are ourselves the Sons of God in which Divinity comes to rest. As Emily Bronte wrote:

O God within my breast,
 Almighty, ever-present Deity!
Life, that in me has rest,
As I, undying Life, have power in Thee!

One of the greatest reliefs of my life was the discovery that spiritual life was not a haphazard thing at all, but an exact science, that whims, human or divine, never came into it and never could: first because God does not have whims and human whims are meaningless when dealing with Reality. Nor did I have to wheedle and whine before God to persuade him to let me draw near to him. I already was one with him! So all (!) I had to do was wake up and “get real.” And God had anticipated that moment, and had prepared the way of awakening: Yoga. Through yoga creation itself becomes the Path of Return.

The sole purpose of the universe is the ultimate liberation of all sentient beings. They may wander for many, many years (ages, even) before reaching the goal of conscious union with Infinity and a sharing in the same Consciousness. (See Robe of Light.) The cosmos is a device for the enlightenment of those within it, as is the individual body temporarily inhabited by a sentient being. So God has set us upon the stream that in time returns us, but we will not be the same as we were when we first entered the stream. Rather, we shall have as a result of our pilgrimage, developed the capacity to participate in the Life Divine.

Into the fabric of creation God has woven certain strands or laws that operate unerringly and without exception to keep the individual spirit moving onward and inexorably toward the Goal, however much an individual might delay it. The three fundamental strands or laws are karma, reincarnation and evolution of consciousness. Adding to these the innate urge of the finite for the Infinite, the Way of Salvation is complete.

The Sufi poet, Rumi, wrote:

A stone I died and rose again a plant.
A plant I died and rose an animal;
I died an animal and was born a man.
Why should I fear? What have I lost by death?

As man, death sweeps me from this world of men
That I may wear an angel’s wings in heaven;
Yet e’en as angel may I not abide,
For nought abideth save the face of God.

Thus o’er the angels’ world I wing my way
Onwards and upwards, unto boundless lights;
Then let me be as nought, for in my heart
Rings as a harp-song that we must return to him.

Oliver-Wendell-HolmesOliver Wendell Holmes, one of many great Americans whose belief in reincarnation is overlooked, wrote in his poem, The Chambered Nautilus:

Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul!
As the swift seasons roll!

Leave thy low-vaulted past!
Let each new temple, nobler than the last,
Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast,

Till thou at length art free,
Leaving thine outgrown shell by life’s unresting sea!

  • … and he rested in the Son.

God in the aspect known as Brahman transcends the creation, yet when he projects creation, he also enters into it as “the Son” or Ishwara, the Lord. His guiding presence as the Intelligence within every atom of creation is his resting “in the Son,” the Christ Consciousness within all. Those who evolve their consciousness sufficiently to unite with the Son are themselves Christs, as was Jesus. Then, evolving even further, they unite with the transcendent “Father” aspect of God, themselves becoming the Father in a manner incomprehensible to us at our present stage of development. Jesus had also attained this, and was able to say: “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father” (John 14:9).

Having lost the original, mystical perspective, Christianity began wandering in the labyrinth of intellectual, speculative theology and eventually formulated a doctrine of the Trinity and of the nature of Jesus that is far wide of the mark. To return to the original perspective of Christianity it is necessary to become well acquainted with the basic scriptures of Sanatana Dharma. That is why a Saint Thomas Christian priest once said to me: “You cannot understand the teachings of Jesus unless you know the Indian scriptures.” That is also why Patriarch Zachariah, the former head of the Syrian Orthodox (Jacobite) Church, kept a copy of the Gita by his bed and read it daily along with the Bible.

God within the creation guides its every atom and draws each sentient being into eventual union with him as the Son and then as the Father. Thus the way of salvation is completed for them. That is why the next verse says:

  • And for its salvation he will take hold of everything; and the Most High shall be known in his Saints.

God is always in charge. We claim to believe that, but our actions “speak louder” and show otherwise. We, too, are always in charge and also do not believe that. But truth is truth and we need to awaken to it. The purpose of being in charge is a single thing: evolving to perfection. God is evolving the creation and we are evolving our little universe consisting of the various energy bodies which are encasing us like the layers of a pearl around the little bit of grit that started it all.

Unlike God, we have lost sight of this fact and therefore much about us that should be controlled is running amok, and that produces karma and rebirth, for cosmic law cannot be abrogated by anyone. The material cosmos will never be conscious of God, but every sentient being will eventually move out into the light of the Divine Vision and God will be known in his saints and his saints will know themselves in God: an ideal arrangement.

  • To announce to those that have songs of the coming of the Lord, that they may go forth to meet him and may sing to him, with joy and with the harp of many tones.

Just as the ocean can be smelled when we get near to it, and a waterfall is heard the closer we come to it, in the same way when someone evolves to a certain point spiritual intuition begins to function and he intuits that it is his destiny to return to God, to attain union with the Infinite. As cited above, Rumi wrote that “in my heart rings as a harp-song that we must return to him.” The “harp” that we read about in the Bible and mystical poetry is the inner instrument of the awakening spirit.

Although a Fundamentalist Protestant, the poetess Fanny Crosby, whose poems became the basis for many of the best hymns written in America, was a great mystic who practiced a form of meditation she discovered intuitionally and which she called “Entering the Vale of Silence.” Writing of her spiritual experience and ultimate destiny, she simply said: “This is my story, this is my song….” The heart sings in anticipation of that wondrous day when “faith shall be lost in sight.”

As Saint Methodius of Olympus wrote in the early Christian era: “Chastely I live for Thee; and holding my lighted lamps, O Lord, I go forth to meet Thee.” The awakened soul realizes that its every step brings it closer to oneness with the One. That is why the poetess-nun Sister Madeleva wrote this poem she called Travel Song:

Know you the journey that I take?
Know you the voyage that I make?
The joy of it one’s heart could break.

No jot of time have I to spare,
Nor will to loiter anywhere,
So eager am I to be there.

For that the way is hard and long,
For that gray fears upon it throng,
I set my journey to a song,

And it grows wondrous happy so.
Singing I hurry on for oh!
It is to God, to God, I go.

Next: Part 4: Those Who See God: Alive in Divine Consciousness

Previously: Part 2–How and Why God Draws Us to Himself

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