See More Clearly
In response to the question of why we suffer, the sages are continually telling us that we are just simply not seeing clearly enough (avidya).
As Westerners, we suspect that this means we need to see more exactly, with greater magnification and sharper imaging tools. The tendency in the West is to look to fix. Our eastern brothers and sisters suggest that all we need to do is look with a particular quality of attention. This quality is known as perfect concentration (samyama).
In addition to the components of steady attention (dharana), wide open awareness (dhyana) and vulnerability (samadhi), key to seeing clearly is affection for the subject one is looking at. And in yoga, the subject is most often the Self.
The lucky part for us is that we do not need to already have affection for the Self to begin. The simple act of the practice of looking will eventually result in this as “time with” is key for any intimate relationship to occur.
The story from Ramana Maharshi’s ashram in Tiruvannamalai, India goes something like this:
At Ramana’s ashram, there was a cow shed. And there was a problem with one of the cows eating the grass in all the other cow’s stalls. When Ramana was asked what to do with the problem of the rogue cow, Ramana is rumored to have replied, “She simply has not yet tasted her own grass.” The simple practice of looking within will change everything. We promise. Begin now with gentle kindness and affection. The key to a yogi’s success is a balance of diligent practice (abhyasa) and surrender (vairagya).
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~ Shiva Sutra 1.12
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~ Alan Watts
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~ Joseph Campbell
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Surprise is the mark of a genuine experience.
~ Ravi Ravindra