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The heart of practice (12 March 2014)

It is not important how well you do a technique, but, how well you use the technique to grow.

The spiritual practices or sadhana are not techniques to be mastered as that path does not lead to yoga or discovery of one’s true nature. For this, to see your true nature – all that obscures it must be removed. We are told this in the Bhagavad Gita where Krishna tells Arjuna, “Do yoga for purification of self”.

Practice and the life we lead are non-different and so, this ‘for purification of self’ changes everything by pointing out that the ‘why we practice’ is not for expertise, money, fame or any form of outer expansion but for the discovery of the inner which does not need expansion as it is the great expanse itself.

So, get rid of all ideas such as, “I’m not sure if I can do this”, “I’d like to be able to do this well”, or even, “I’m this kind of yogi – that other stuff is not me”. All these are non-starters in yoga that only increase the cloud that obscures our true nature, ignorance or the ego. Unless you clean slate the heart so the reason you practice stays front and center – it is easy to get off track and stay off track while thinking we are going somewhere. The yoga way requires you to be bold, alert, vigilant and strong.

Bridge

If you have this sight picture clear in the mind’s crosshairs: ‘for purification of self’ – everything you do will be practice and this is the yoga way. You will eliminate confusion and bring great quiet within as the choosing function of the mind is brought to a standstill because in every situation – there is only one ‘best response’ which seeing habitual promptings looks for what way is best.

Choice and preference are the seeds of stress and tension and they are a choice we make. The way of yoga asks for you to dispense with these at the start so that in every situation, the bottom of the iceberg or ‘purification of self’ becomes what guides the top of the iceberg or the action itself. How well you use the technique to grow is how well you do the technique.

Swami Suryadevananda