Once you can govern the subtle aspects of human personality, you can do anything. So it is here that we have to look into the practices of yoga in relation to how they help the evolution of human personality in five stages.
- The first stage is by giving one the ability to relax.
- The second stage is by giving one the ability to develop awareness and to observe what is happening.
- The third is by concentrating or focusing the dissipated forces of personality and mind.
- The fourth is by attaining realization of the dormant faculties of human personality.
- The fifth is by utilizing these previously dormant potentials for bettering one’s life.
Therefore we find that the concept of spirituality in yoga encompasses the body, the mind, and the psychic dimensions.
So, when we begin with the practice of relaxation we are releasing barriers and stress created within the mind, and mind is considered to be a very powerful force. Pleasures are experienced in the mind, pain, and sorrow is first experienced within the mind and even the highest spiritual experience is also first experienced within the mind. The mind is the base which has to be properly tuned and therefore yoga lays a very great emphasis on the management of the mind. With the practice of relaxation, we gradually prepare the base of the mind.
The entire spectrum of the mind is seen in yoga in four stages: the intellect, the emotions, the feelings, and the psychic dimensions. Intellect is a tool which we always use in life. Emotion is a tool which guides the performance of mind and the senses in our life. The feeling is a tool which gives us deeper and subtle realizations. Psychic awareness is a tool which brings us closer to the unknown areas of our personality.
In order to manage these areas, we have to begin with the simple practices of concentration, for concentration is another area, which has to be understood properly. Concentration is an effortless achievement. It is a state of mind in which there is total mental clarity, clarity of perception, clarity of behavior. These three things lead to mental concentration and concentration has to be a flowering state of realization, or mind, in which there is absolutely no tension. The word attention suggests to be “at-tension”, and many people confuse concentration with attention, but concentration means relaxed one-pointed awareness. This is achieved by the normal practices of yoga where we learn to focus the mind. When the mind is focused it becomes uni-directional, and then the faculties of mind awaken.
When we turn on the light, the light spreads everywhere but, if by some process we are able to focus the entire light into one point, it becomes a laser beam. It gains strength and potential. As children we used to play around with a magnifying glass, trying to burn pieces of paper or straw. That is a very good example of how the mental energies can be focused to become as powerful as a laser beam. When we are able to increase the focus, the sharpness of our mind like that, the potentials of mind increase, certain changes take place in the human personality. This change happens in the level of human qualities.
The qualities which then evolve in life are not restricted to the selfish nature but become more universal. The qualities which we aspire for, those of compassion, love, affection, are not conditioned but become universal. Then the process of realization begins. Yogic realization is knowledge plus perfection plus understanding plus utilization; these are the different aspects of one realization. Realization is not an intellectual concept rather it is a state of transformation of human nature. It is a state of understanding human nature in which divinity is expressed in the humanness of life and this is the culmination of yoga.
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