The basis of all yoga practice is the understanding that ‘I am not my body’ but that ‘I am the spiritual being or the soul and I exist within my body’ which is made of matter.
Unfortunately, it’s very easy to forget this when we’re caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life and when we forget the reality of our spiritual identity, we tend to engage in activities aimed solely at trying to satisfy our senses and the body while neglecting our real and deepest needs.
A wealthy lady once bought a bright yellow canary from a pet-shop.
The bird was lively and playful, and sang beautifully.
But the bird was in a plain cage, which the lady felt didn’t suit the décor of her house.
So she searched until she found the most wonderful cage, beautifully handcrafted in gold and dazzling like the sun. It was supported by pillars of jade, and had perches crafted from ivory.
Its sparkling canopy was covered with rubies and sapphires.
The lady became so enamoured by the beauty of this cage that she was constantly polishing and decorating it. While walking back and forth admiring its rich lustre, she even failed to notice the small bird perched inside.
She became so obsessed with the cage that she forgot to feed the bird inside the cage, and one morning she saw the bird had died. The cage now seemed empty and pointless despite its gold and precious jewels. It was only then that she realised how lively and playful were the bird’s movements were and how sweet was its song.
So the inner person within us is like this bird in a gilded cage – no matter how well we look after the needs of the body, if we neglect to feed the person within, we cannot thrive and be happy.
We are all spiritual beings and we need spiritual nourishment. This inner nourishment – food for the living being, the soul within the body – will give us far deeper and more lasting satisfaction.
We can receive this spiritual nourishment by the hearing and repeating of the sacred Yoga Sounds, especially through the method of ‘kirtan’ (group chanting). Kirtan is described in the ancient yoga texts as,
(Chaitanya Mahaprabhu – 16th cent.)
Gems of Wisdom
“Just like a child rests in his mother’s arms and all his fears disappear, we too can take shelter in Transcendental Sound Meditation. We never have to be lonely again if we embrace the transcendental sound as our personal companion.”
“Transcendental Sound meditation is the waxing moon
that spreads the white lotus flower of
good fortune for all living entities”
(ancient yoga texts)
“A lotus flower rises above the water,
Untouched by its impurities.
Similarly through meditation,
A person can live in this world
Untouched by its anxieties.”
Om Hari Om