Yogis! We’ve been talking a lot in class this past week about Vedanta Philosophy and Non-Dualism and the influence of this philosophy on our modern yoga culture.
Vedanta gives us the idea that we are ultimately connected to everything and everyone and any separation that exists between us is only an illusion that is only in our mind.
Classical Yoga philosophy tells us that in the stillness, when the mind is quiet, we have the opportunity to experience the pure Consciousness part of ourselves. This is what the yogi’s call Self-realization, the realization of the Self, the experience of the pure Consciousness part of our self.
Vedanta Philosophy states that everything is connected, that this world is just a veil, an illusion. Vedanta Philosophy believes that when you experience the pure Consciousness part of yourself you are actually experiencing a connection to everything and everyone. This is often referred to in Vedanta as experiencing the Ultimate Reality.
This past week I’ve been sharing in class this wonderful story from my teacher Dharma Mittra, which I call “the cell phone story”.
I remember when I first heard Dharma tell this story several years ago…
The Cell Phone Story:
Imagine you’re a cell phone. You’re an i-Phone, or an Android, or a Samsung. Imagine I’m a blackberry. Wait a minute! The blackberry’s aren’t so good anymore.
What’s a cell phone? It’s this incredible machine, a computer, that uses all of these amazing apps and programs, to access the world of the internet.
What are we? We are these incredible machines, computer’s, that use our body, mind and senses, to access the world around us.
What makes the cell phone work, though?
Without the signal the cell phone is pretty much useless.
Without the signal the cell phone is pretty much an $800 calculator.
Without the signal there’s no connection.
What happens when you use the cell phone a lot, you’re using all kinds of apps and accessing all kind of cool things? What happens after a few hours? The battery dies. The cell phone goes to sleep. It needs to re-charge.
What happens when you have a busy day and you’re doing all kinds of cool things, working, playing, doing lots of yoga -- maybe three classes in one day!? You go to sleep. You need to re-charge.
When the cell phone is asleep and charging, the signal is still there, though. It doesn’t go to sleep.
What happens when you’ve used the cell phone for a year, or two years, or maybe even more, if you have a really old one? It starts to work a little more slowly, some of the apps don’t open right away, sometimes it freezes up, sometimes it just shuts off and goes to sleep for no reason. Eventually, you need to trade the cell phone in, right? i-Phone 4 becomes i-Phone 5 and i-Phone 5 eventually becomes i-Phone 6. This is like the karma theory. Re-incarnation!
What happens when my body gets old and I’m not able to do all the poses anymore, eventually maybe just savasana? One day it will be time to trade the Garth body in. Oh boy! Time for a new body. Garth 2.0! And then maybe Garth 3.0! Garth 6.0! Imagine what we will be doing in yoga class in 200 yrs? Everybody will be levitating!
So, what are we doing in yoga? We’re not going anywhere. It’s a journey, but a journey where? A journey inward? Quieting the mind? Experiencing the pure Consciousness part of our self? What does that mean? What happens then?
Think of your practice as a shift of perspective.
Yoga is the realization that you aren’t the cell phone. You’re not the i-Phone. You’re not the android. You’re not the Samsung. You’re not the blackberry.
You’re the signal.
The realization that you are the signal is yoga.
Go inward and quiet your mind. Experience the pure Consciousness part of yourself. Experience the signal.
And from Vedanta Philosophy and non-dualism, when you experience the signal, you are experiencing a connection to everything and everyone.
You’re not the cell phone. You’re the signal.