Breathe, don’t think.
Think, don’t sleep
There are infinite descriptions of the soul: corporeal and abstract, collective and personal. Ayurveda describes the soul as awareness, the Sanskrit word Atman meaning breath. The Hebrew characters for ‘ruah’ transliterate breath, wind, and spirit. I have grown to understand there exists an interconnecting essence within and between everything.
“Inquisitiveness is spiritual pursuit” ~ Vishnu Das
Digging for dinosaur bones and reading books from the public library as a child are retrospectively, pitons on my journey. As a mountain climber uses this tool as a temporary anchor or assist, I understand our egocentric interests necessary in our ascent to our higher self. These interests, unrealized as a child, now direct my spiritual awareness towards discovery, excavation, curiosity, and creativity. Nature, history, sewing, cooking, wellness, parenting, astronomy, the routines of my day, the people in my life: these are my life’s teachers.
Choosing to grow as a whole person, mind, body, spirit allows me to acknowledging a higher formula, an influence in events beyond my current reasoning. Because I choose to action from my soul, my faith is trusting that life will flow as it should, the essence of life a binder of all elements and having qualities of of truth, clarity, goodness, and transcendence.
These ideas truth, clarity, goodness, transcendence and the like are not tangibly manipulable. Learning the Ayurvedic qualities of matter provoke and engage you in a “you exist now” style investigation of self and environment. They are tools for understanding and changing your current experience.
For example, within the context of a yoga class, which asana/pose brings heat to your abdomen or coolness to your head? Which movements feel light/heavy on your hands/feet? Do you leave a yoga practice feeling spacious?
In yoga, we are often asked to set an intention so we can make observations about our mind, body, or experience through our practice and with sustained intention over time observe growth toward our authentic mind/body nature (Prakriti).
The Ayurvedic qualities can give us language to understand the common phrase to “take the intention you set on your mat off your mat.” For example, how you enter a shape is important because it parallels how you sustain that shape. I might set an intention to observe how I enter a forward fold: Do my arms feel heavy, are my movements sharp? I’ve created awareness in my body, mind/muscle/bones, that I will remember and notice within me when considering a choice off my mat: In this moment, do I feel heavy with emotion? Am I alert, sharp with my mind? Should I make this choice to action this idea? How we enter an action can influence our experience and the effect of that action.
Yoga’s only expression is not directed asana on a mat.
Letting an experience unfold while making observations is also an intention. It is an intention to be present in a moment and we can grow the moments we are present in our life by making qualitative observations about our body, mind, and environment. Life in its simplest is movement and growth. By growing self awareness we can naturally align our movements toward healing and vitality, abiding in a state of health, swasta.
Dharma is one of the Ayurvedic aims of life to action from your soul. When you do what is right for you and when you are happy doing what is right for others, you nourish your marrow.
When you stay curious, your true life’s work can be your soul’s journey.
“Whatever you seek is seeking you.” -Rumi. Where do you direction your energy, thoughts and actions? If your energy, thoughts, and actions were arrows you project with a bow, where do they land? What is the stabilizing limb of your bow
Our intention is within our self and effects the subtleties around us. Our thoughts can affect the behaviors of others. Aim for gratitude. Intention gratitude, and all will fall in place and peace.
Staying with your breath is an intention in pranayama, preparation for meditation. Fall brings a nice time to practice growing inner gratitude by meditation with a candle. Watch the flame, breath slowly, and feel gratitude.
What enlivens your soul?