I think, therefore I am not
What I learnt from a sunday spent with Lucy Crisfield.
I’ve just completed my third weekend of 200 hour yoga teacher training, and being two months into the process I can definitely say my perceptions are starting to change. Things I’ve always thought and believed about myself are starting to drop away and I am becoming comfortable in what was initially a very scary and unsettling process.
Lucy Crisfield – a teacher of Vedic chant, yoga philosophy and Sanskrit (and all round an inspirational and extremely wise woman), came in to spend 7 hours of her sunday enlightening us.
Vedic religions existed 4000 years ago, and this is where many of the yogic teachings we are taught today have their roots. (Yoga Sutras of Pantanjali, Hatha Yoga etc)
Its hard to explain the experiences I felt from her words and chanting, she explained that a lot of the Vedic teachings came from a place beyond the mind (they are Sruti – coming from a place of higher consciousness), and so I felt they were speaking to a place beyond my own mind. But here are some – massively simplified -things that I can attempt to explain.
Svādhyāna – Sanskrit word literally meaning “moving towards your own inner light”. According to Vedic teachings, this can be done in three ways. Conscious questioning and self inquiry, reflecting, and finally, chanting.
Pranidhāna – Sanskrit for “what you are believing that stops you from being fully at peace in the present moment”. True love only exists in the present moment, but many of us hold fears (past or future) that stop us experiencing it.
Our conscious awareness is not aligned with reality – We spoke a lot to the ‘self’ being a construct, any concepts you have of ‘I’ or ‘me’ simply don’t exist. Lucy said that in order to achieve the ultimate goal and face the ultimate reality, you must first accept that you are completely alone, but in this aloneness you realise a total fullness. This is called Kaivalyam.
Life itself exists as one vibrating mass and there is no truth in the presumption we hold as humans that we are separate. She explained this duality perfectly by referring to how in the West we believe “I think, therefore I am”, whereas in the East they operate from “I think, therefore I am not”. This shows how our minds, thoughts and emotions have distracted us from knowing the ultimate reality.
The mind in itself is limited, but within us, in a place that exists beyond the mind, we have the capacity to know everything.