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Aquí teniu articles que he anat traduint. Molts provenen de Yoga Rahasya, la revista del RIMYI de Pune, i últimament hi vaig afegint coses que trobo per internet.

17-4 (2) Los pre-requisitos del pranayama

Los pre-requisitos del pranayama

Rajvi H Mehta


 

La última semana del mes se considera como la semana del pranayama en el RIMYI, y posiblemente en la mayoría de institutos Iyengar del mundo. Muchos estudiantes están 'deseando' 'hacer' la clase de pranayama. Si eres uno de ellos, puedo asegurarte que estás en el camino equivocado y que ni siquiera llegarás a sus puertas. Porque habrás faltado a los pre-requisitos del pranayama.

 

Antes de proceder en cómo cualificarse para la práctica del pranayama, necesitamos clarificar el significado de pranayama. A menudo prana es malentendido como respiración. Hay muchos términos sánscritos sin equivalente en las lenguas occidentales. Por los tanto, los traductores usan a menudo palabras que están estrechamente relacionadas. Pero, en ausencia de una guía y ambiente adecuados, se pierde el significado auténtico del término. Prana es uno de los términos que se han mal interpretado más ampliamente. Ciertamente, la respiración es una parte del prana, ¡pero no es prana! Un individuo que para de respirar no tiene vida. Por otra parte, un individuo que respira no está esencialmente 'vivo'. Tomad el ejemplo de un hombre en coma; está respirando, pero no tiene vida. Este (mal)entendido ha llevado a menudo a que la gente intentase regular la respiración y crea que está haciendo pranayama.

 

En primer y más importante lugar, debemos darnos cuenta que el pranayama no pueda nunca ser hecho. Hacer algo, sea un trabajo o un ásana o cualquier cosa requiere una cierta cantidad de fuerza. La fuerza puede que sea física o mental o lo que referimos como fuerza de voluntad. La fuerza en cualquier forma es antitética de pranayama. Si hay cualquier fuerza, no hay puede haber pranayama. En la Luz sobre el Pranayama, Guruji define prana como vishva chaitanya shakti o energía cósmica universal. Puede que no estemos cualificados para comprender en profundidad el significado de este término, pero nos daremos cuenta que es algo que es mucho más poderoso que el 'yo' o nosotros mismos. Prana a menudo se refiere como la gracia o la divinidad. ¿Podemos forzar la Divinidad o la Energía Cósmica Universal a hacer o actuar de una forma particular?

 

Guruji dio una vez la analogía del prana como un invitado muy reverenciado. Podemos preparar nuestras moradas para recibir al invitado, pero finalmente depende de él que venga o no. No podemos usar nuestra fuerza para arrastrarlo dentro. De forma similar, pranayama no puede ser hecho por nuestro deseo o nuestra voluntad. Es la voluntad del prana que quiera entrar en nuestra morada y bendecirla.

 

Por lo tanto, el primer pre-requisito del pranayama es ir más allá del 'modo de hacer', como Prashantji a menudo explica. Porque hacerlo implica el 'Yo' y este yo debe volverse sirviente y sin consecuencias en un yo en minúsculas, delante del prana.

 

El segundo pre-requisito para el prana es el de estar en estado neutro de la mente y las emociones. Una persona perturbada mentalmente o emocionalmente, sea por depresión o per excitación, no está preparada para pranayama. Equilibrio y neutralidad son pre-requisitos indispensables para el pranayama.

 

Un sábado por la mañana, Prashantji rompió el mito y el entusiasmo de muchos que 'anhelaban' 'hacer' una clase de pranayama, cuando clarificó que uno necesita desarrollar un estado neutral de la mente, libre de entusiasmo o depresión.

 

Una vez el concepto está claro, la siguiente pregunta es saber si existe una metodología para conseguir el estado neutral de la mente y las emociones. Es interesante ver que es la respiración misma que juega un papel importante en traer un estado neutral de la mente. Las exhalaciones ayudan a limpiar las emociones, tanto positivas como negativas. Cuando nos liberamos de estos atributos, nos llegan las cualidades de la calma, serenidad y quietud. Estas cualidades llegan espontáneamente, pero no pueden ser inducidas o forzadas. Junto con la exhalación, el ego se diluye. Y en el proceso se consigue uno de los pre-requisitos para el pranayama: un estado neutro de la mente.

 

Una de las maneras de conseguir esta cultura mental es aprendiendo a exhalar en diferentes segmentos del cuerpo en las diferentes ásanas. El ásana más simple en la que se puede probar de iniciar el proceso de culturización mental puede ser cualquiera de las ásanas supinas como Supta Virasana, Supta Baddha Konasana, Matsyasana, Purvottanasana o incluso Sirsasana en la cuerda. Esto no significa que esta culturización no pueda hacerse en otra ásana. De todas formas, hay que conseguir la estabilidad física en el ásana antes de poder cultivar la respiración y la mente en el ásana. Si no hay estabilidad física la mente estará preocupada en mantener la postura, o se distraerá en cualquier forma de incomodidad como dolor, que puede ser debido a un ajuste incorrecto de los huesos, músculos, articulaciones y ligamentos.

 

Es pertinente enfatizar aquí que el estudiante a menudo está tan motivado en el objetivo que puede llegar a hacer cualquier cosa. Puede que consiga su objetivo, pero en el proceso nos podemos perder. Es tan importante llegar como disfrutar y participar del viaje. La técnica y la metodología son sinónimos en el viaje de intentar conseguir el pranayama. Pero tampoco debemos involucrarnos tanto en el viaje que lleguemos a olvidar el destino y propósito. Debe de haber un equilibrio entre las técnicas y el objetivo, lo que Prashantji explicó como el acto y la reacción.

 

Por lo tanto, el estado neutral de la mente reflejado en la quietud, calma y serenidad, es un pre-requisito del pranayama, pero no el pranayama mismo.

 

La calma y silencio que trae la exhalación son entonces reemplazadas por las cualidades de nobleza y pureza de la mente, que es lo que traen las inhalaciones. Uno debe asegurarse aquí que si las inhalaciones se 'hacen' aquí por nuestra voluntad o fuerza entonces resultará sólo una potenciación del ego, lo que debe ser evitado.

 

Es la pureza y nobleza de la mente que nos prepara para recibir la gracia en forma de prana. Todavía depende de la Divinidad que nos bendiga o no- no podemos forzarla.

 

De todas formas, me gustaría enfatizar aquí que mientras exploramos las conexiones entre la mente y la respiración en las preparaciones del pranayama, de deberíamos subestimar el papel del cuerpo en la preparación del pranayama. No voy a seguir con eso ahora, pero debemos recordarlo.

 

El siguiente pre-requisito para el pranayama es conseguir sensibilidad. Debe conseguirse la habilidad de sentir la respiración y ser sensible a su tacto. Respiramos toda nuestra vida, pero la mayor parte del tiempo no somos conscientes que estamos respirando, a menos que encontremos difícil respirar o nuestra respiración se vuelva pesada. No sólo debemos ser conscientes de la respiración sino también sensibles al tacto de la respiración en las membranas internas del cuerpo, sentir la suavidad del tacto de la respiración, similar al tacto de la pluma sobre nuestra piel. Una vez más, esto puede ser observado en cualquier ásana, pero es mucho más fácil conseguir la sensibilidad a la respiración en las ásanas supinas.

 

La sensibilidad a la respiración debe ser sentida en el cuerpo entero. Técnicamente, respiramos solamente en la región torácica. La respiración se mueve por la nariz, por la tráquea hasta los alvéolos en los pulmones. Pero no es solamente el sistema respiratorio que respira. El estatus de la respiración debe ser otorgado al cuerpo entero. Es como si cada órgano, cada tejido y cada célula del cuerpo esté respirando. Así, cuando inhalamos y exhalamos, hay las sensaciones correspondientes que se siente en cada parte del cuerpo. Uno debe de ser sensible a esas sensaciones. Es la cultura del despertar de la respiración, que de hecho altera el perfil de la mente para traer las cualidades de pureza, tranquilidad y neutralidad. Es con esta actitud que el cuerpo está preparado para recibir la Gracia Divina. Pero depende de la Divinidad misma que nos quiera dar su gracia divina.

 

Para resumir, el pre-requisito del pranayama es el sentido de la humildad; conseguir la sensibilidad a la respiración; llevar la respiración a todas las partes del cuerpo, incluyendo la mente y los sentidos; desarrollar el estatus de sensibilidad que finalmente lleva las cualidades de la pureza, tranquilidad y neutralidad de la mente, y entonces uno está a punto para el pranayama.

 

17-4 (1) Introducción a Dhyana Yoga

Introducción a Dhyana Yoga

Prashant S. Iyengar

 

El Dhyana Yoga tiene diferentes formas de meditaciones, que son hatha, raja, mantra, laya, japa, nama, nada, kundalini, taraka.

Los estudiantes de hoy en día tienen o ignorancia o confusión o falsas ideas sobre estas varias formas de yoga dhyana. A continuación presento un intento de proveer información definitiva y de primera mano sobre estas formas.

El Hatha Yoga es una tecnología para unificar las energías solares y lunares en el cuerpo humano. Estas energías son postulaciones de la fisiología esotérica. El Hatha Yoga no es ninguna pre-eminencia del esfuerzo físico en el ásana o pranayama. Tampoco es ninguna extravagancia de una voluntad con un ego arrogante, ni ninguna violencia o obstinación como a menudo se entiende. Desafortunadamente, hay ideas así de mal construidas. La práctica del hatha yoga comprende las seis kriyas, tres bandhas y varias mudras. Las seis kriyas o karmas son:

  • dhauti - una kriya para limpiar el estómago usando:

  • jala (agua)

  • vastra (ropa)

  • sutra (fiebre)

  • sanda (vapor de hierbas)

  • basti - una kriya para succionar agua al intestino largo a través del recto y después expulsarlo.

  • Neti - una kriya para irrigar y limpiar los orificios nasales usando:

  • jala (agua)

  • sutra (fibra)

  • trataka - el proceso de mirar a un punto fijo con la máxima concentración

  • nauli, que significa literalmente limpieza nasal.

  • Kapalbhati, una kriya de limpieza para los pulmones.

Éstos son las limpiezas terapéuticas para el cuerpo.

Además se describen varias mudras:

  • Simha

  • Brahma

  • Sambhavi

  • Yoga

  • Kaki

  • Maha

  • Shankhi

  • Ashvini

  • Vajroli

  • Sahajoli

  • Amaroli

  • Khechari

  • Viparita karani

Y los textos de yoga describen estas tres bandhas:

  • Mula Bandhasa

  • Uddayana Bandha

  • Jalandhara Bandha

La gestión de los nadis o del prana es también una tecnología de hatha yoga. El texto describe ida, pingala, sushumna, alanbusa, etc, como los diez mayores nadis. Prana apana samana vyana y udana, los cinco pranas y su tecnología de gestión son también parte del hatha yoga. Son todos procesos de post-grado de ashtanga yoga.

Las prácticas de hatha yoga están tejidas también sobre las funciones y aplicaciones de los seis chakras. Los chakras son centros energéticos, y son:

  • Muladhara

  • Svadishthana

  • Manipuraka

  • Anahata

  • Vishuddhi

  • Ajna

La tecnología atraversarlos y finalmente abrir el sahara es el summumbonum de hatha yoga. La noción de pre-transporte del ásana en sadhana no tiene fundamento.

 

Raja yoga

Es otra rama de dhyana yoga. No hay que olvidar que no tiene un principio independiente de ashtanga yoga y que es un curso de post-grado basado en ashtanga yoga, como son todos los yogas descritos a continuación. El Raja yoga es el yoga del yogui que ha conseguido control mental y no es gobernado por kama (pasión), krodha (enfado), lobha (avarícia), moha (infatuación), mada (orgullo, arrogancia), matsarya (celos). Por lo tanto este yogui tiene el control mental para el ascetismo requerido para abhyasa y vairagya de Patanjali. Este Raja yogui funciona con la tecnología de la sublimación cósmica de la mente mencionada por Patanjali en Samiadhi Pada, en las sutras 33-39.

 

Este yoga está también falsamente construido como contra-parte del hatha yoga. Un concepto así le hace a uno considerar hatha yoga como un yoga físico y raja yoga como meditativo. Es falsa la creencia que el Raja yoga sea cerrar los ojos y practicas en posturas sentadas, mientras que la práctica del hatha yoga implique contorsiones asánicas. El Raja yoga es una tecnología para canalizar la mente en la meditación, después de haber conseguido el control sobre la mente requerido para el ascetismo genuino de alto nivel. No hace faltar decir que los fundamentos de del Raja Yoga están es ashtanga yoga, y que se consiguen cuando también se consigue el último. El hatha yoga y raja yoga no son antagonistas, sino indispensables el uno para el otro. Sin uno no hay el otro. Finalmente, hay que tener en cuenta que ambos son cursos de especialización después de la consecución del ashtanga yoga.

 

Mantra yoga

Es otra forma de dhyana yoga. La meditación del mantra yoga se centra preminentemente en Mantras como aum. El ashtanga yoga viene como yoga fundacional, y el mantra yoga no tiene una raíz independiente de ella. Hay varias formas de mantras, que se convierten en el centro de la meditación. Son:

  • Siddha

  • Saddhya

  • Susuddha

  • Ariari

O bien, de acuerdo con otra clasificación, los mantras son:

  • dhvani pradhana

  • ardha pradhana

O en otra clasificación, estos mantras son:

  • vaidika

  • sabara

Los mantra yoga tienen 16 partes:

  • bhakti

 

  • Bhakti

 

  • Shuddhi

 

  • panchanga sevana achara

 

  • dhāranā

 

  • pranakriya

 

  • mudra

 

  • tarpana

 

  • bali

 

  • japa

 

  • dhyāna

 

  • āsana

 

  • divya desh sevana

 

  • havana

 

  • samiādhi

 

También el mantra yoga es un post-grado después de obtener la excelencia en ashtanga yoga. La devoción del mantra resulta en absorción, meditación y trance.

 

Laya yoga es otra forma de dhyana yoga. De acuerdo con su tecnología, la mente es drenada en ciertas trampas, que son los chakras de marma sthana. Los marmasthanas son partes delicadas y claves del cuerpo esotérico, como ya conocemos de zonas eróticas en la filosofía esotérica. La región Vishuddhi y anahata son las zonas mejor conocidas de absorción, cosmicalización y yoguicalización de la mente. La tecnología del savasana es una gran preparación para la comprensión de la tecnología del laya yoga. Ásanas como Sirsasana, Sarvangasana, Halasana, Setu Bandha Sarvangasana y Viparita Karani también ayudan mucho en la aplicación de los principios del laya yoga. El laya yoga tiene nueve miembros, que son:

  • yama

 

  • sukshma kriya

 

  • dhyāna

 

  • niyama

 

  • pratyāhāra

 

  • laya kriya

 

  • sthula kriya

 

  • dhāranā

 

  • samiādhi

 

 

Los aspectos ananta samapatti del asana en ashtanga yoga están basados en la tecnología de laya yoga. El Savasana es un laya yoga completo y único. Finalmente, también el laya yoga no tiene su propio punto de inicio independiente de ashtanga yoga. Es un curso de post-grado después de la suficiencia.

 

Japa yoga

Es el yoga de los salmos. También éste se inicia después que una mente caótica es regulada en la excelencia por ashtanga yoga. Por lo tanto también es una especialización de dhyana yoga, y fundada en el ashtanga yoga completado. Hay básicamente tres modos de japa. Son:

  • vocal

  • mental

  • meditativa

Hay también una forma tántrica de japa. Hay algunas reglas a seguir de modo muy estricto y escrupuloso. El gayatri purascharna es una forma bien conocida de japa yoga. El famoso gayatrimantra es cantado con reglas establecidas y condiciones de rutina de ritual. Involucra 2.4 millones de japas en una vuelta, y hay 24 vueltas similaris. Otro ejemplo es el de Swami Ramdas, quien hizo el japa de Sri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram por 130 millones de veces en el transcurso de 12 años. Y sin vacaciones o baja por enfermedad. Esto significa que completó mas de 30000 japas por dia, durante 14 horas por dia durante 12 años. Consiguió el Supremo por japa.

 

Lord Krishna en el Bhagvas Gita declara que el japa yajna es la forma suprema del sacrificio. Japa yoga es también una forma de dhyana yoga, porque el japa es meditativo.

 

Nama yoga

Es otra forma de dhyana yoga. Es la forma principal del bhakti yoga. Estos yoguis permanecen en el nombre de Dios mientras lo murmuran, pasean, hablan, se mueven, comen, etc. El bhakta nunca revoca el nombre. Donde el japa tiene algunas reglas, el nama no las tiene.

 

Nada yoga

Es el yoga del sonido místico de aum en anahata. O incluso meditación en el místico Soham. El sutil pranayama induce al yogui en el nada yoga.

 

Kundalini yoga.

Es la culminación del hatha yoga. La energía mística del muladharachakra es conducida arriba por el pasaje y las puertas de svadishtana, manipuraa, anahata, vishuddhi, ajnya, y culmina en sahasara. El resultado es kaivalua, un eterno samadhi. Este yogui nunca será visto en negocios mundanos ni tendencias biológicas. Jnaneshvara fue el yogui más famoso de kundalini yoga.

 

Taraka yoga.

Es un yoga salvador. Vyasa, en su comentario de la sutra 53 del 3r capítulo de los yoga sutra dice que es crepúsculo antes de que se ponga el sol de Viveka khyati. Una vez se consiguen los taraka jnanas, el yogui está a punto para cualquier conocimiento de todos los tiempos. El yogui consigue el conocimiento en su facultad intuitiva. Este yoga resulta en emancipación, de ahí el nombre.

Por tanto, ashtanga yoga es el yoga padre. Es la tierra fértil para las varias formas de yoga. Todos los yogas finalmente culminan en moksh, liberación, kaivalya, nirvana y emancipación. Por eso, en este sentido todos los yogas son uno.

 

Meditació en ioga

El terme meditació apareix contínuament en la nostra vida diària, fent referència a un estat mental vagament identificat amb el benestar i amb l'absència de consciència. Però dins el ioga, la meditació té un significat precís que s'emmarca en una filosofia mil·lenària.  

Llegeix més: Meditació en ioga

Intimate Relationship as a Spiritual Crucible (Anglès)

Intimate Relationship as a Spiritual Crucible

John Welwood

While most people would like healthy, satisfying relationships in their lives, the truth is that everyone has a hard time with intimate partnerships. The poet Rilke understood just how challenging they could be when he penned his classic statement, "For one person to love another, this is the most difficult of all our tasks." Rilke isn't suggesting it's hard to love or to have lovingkindness. Rather, he is speaking about how hard it is to keep loving someone we live with, day by day, year after year. After numerous hardships and failures, many people have given up on intimate relationship, regarding the relational terrain as so fraught with romantic illusion and emotional hazards as to be no longer worth the energy.
Although modern relationships are particularly challenging, their very difficulty also presents a special arena for personal and spiritual growth. To develop more conscious relationships requires becoming conversant with how three different dimensions of human existence play out within them: ego, person, and being. Every close relationship involves these three levels of interaction that two partners cycle through- ego to ego, person to person, and being to being. While one moment two people may be connecting being-to-being in pure openness, the next moment their two egos may fall into deadly combat. When our partners treat us nicely, we open-"Ah, you're so great." But when they say or do something threatening, it's "How did I wind up with you?" Since it can be terribly confusing or devastating when the love of our life suddenly turns into our deadliest enemy, it's important to hold a larger vision that allows us to understand what is happening here.

RELATIONSHIP AS ALCHEMY

When we fall in love, this usually ushers in a special period with its own distinctive glow and magic. Glimpsing another person's beauty and feeling our heart opening in response provides a taste of absolute love, a pure blend of openness and warmth. This being-to-being connection reveals pure gold at the heart of our nature - qualities like beauty, delight, awe, deep passion and kindness, generosity, tenderness, and joy.
Yet opening to another also flushes to the surface all kinds of conditioned patterns and obstacles that tend to shut this down: our deepest wounds, our grasping and desperation, our worst fears, our mistrust, our rawest emotional trigger points. As a relationship develops, we find that we don't have full access to the gold of our nature, for it remains embedded in the iron ore of our conditioned patterns. And so we continually fall from grace.
It's important to recognize that all the emotional and psychological wounding we carry with us from the past is relational in nature: It has to do with not feeling fully loved. And it happened in our earliest relationships-with our caretakers- when our brain and body were totally soft and impressionable. As a result, the ego's relational patterns have largely developed as protection schemes to insulate us from the vulnerable openness that love entails. In relationship the ego acts as a survival mechanism for getting needs met while fending off the threat of being hurt, manipulated, controlled, rejected, or abandoned in ways we were as a child. This is normal and totally understandable. Yet if it's the main tenor of a relationship, it keeps us locked into complex strategies of defensiveness and control that undermine the possibility of deeper connection.
Thus to gain greater access to the gold of our nature in relationship, a certain alchemy is required: the refining of our conditioned defensive patterns. The good news is that this alchemy generated between two people also furthers a larger alchemy within them. The opportunity here is to join and integrate the twin poles of human existence: heaven, the vast space of perfect, unconditional openness, and earth, our imperfect, limited human form, shaped by worldly causes and conditions. As the defensive/controlling ego cooks and melts down in the heat of love's influence, a beautiful evolutionary development starts to emerge - the genuine person, who embodies a quality of very human relational presence that is transparent to open-hearted being, right in the midst of the dense confines of worldly conditioning.

RELATIONSHIP AS CHARNEL GROUND

To clarify the workings of this alchemy, a more gritty metaphor is useful, one that comes from the tantric traditions: relationship as charnel ground. In traditional Asian society, the charnel ground was where people would bring dead bodies, to be eaten by vultures and jackals. From the tantric yogi's perspective, this was an ideal place to practice, because it is right at the crossroads of life, where birth and death, fear and fearlessness, impermanence and awakening unfold right next to each other. Some things are dying and decaying, others are feeding and being fed, while others are being born out of the decay. The charnel ground is an ideal place to practice because it is right at the crossroads of life, where one cannot help but feel the rawness of human existence.
Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche described the charnel ground as "that great graveyard, in which the complexities of samsara and nirvana lie buried." Samsara is the conditioned mind that clouds our true nature, while nirvana is the direct seeing of this nature. As Trungpa describes this daunting crossroads in one of his early seminars: "It's a place to die and be born, equally, at the same time, it's simply our raw and rugged nature, the ground where we constantly puke and fall down, constantly make a mess. We are constantly dying, we are constantly giving birth. We are eating in the charnel ground, sitting in it, sleeping on it, having nightmares on it... Yet it does not try to hide its truth about reality. There are corpses lying all over the place loose arms, loose hands, loose internal organs, and flowing hairs all over the place, jackals and vultures are roaming about, each one devising its own scheme for getting the best piece of flesh."
Many of us have a cartoon notion of relational bliss: that it should provide a steady state of security or solace that will save us from having to face the gritty, painful, difficult areas of life. We imagine that finding or marrying the right person will spare us from having to deal with such things as loneliness, disappointment, despair, terror, or disintegration.
Yet anyone who has been married for a long time probably has some knowledge of the charnel ground quality of relationship- corpses all over the place, and jackals and vultures roaming about looking for the best piece of flesh. Trungpa suggests that if we can work with the "raw and rugged situation" of the charnel ground, "then some spark or sympathy or compassion, some giving in or opening can begin to take place. The chaos that takes place in your neurosis is the only home ground that you can build the mandala of awakening on." This last sentence is a powerful one, for it suggests that awakening happens only through facing the chaos of our neurotic patterns. Yet this is often the last thing we want to deal with in relationships.
Trungpa suggests that our neurosis is built on the fact that "large areas of our life have been devoted to trying to avoid discovering our own experience. Now [in the charnel ground, in our relationships] we have a chance to explore that large area which exists in our being, which we've been trying to avoid. That seems to be the first message, which may be very grim, but also very exciting. We're not trying to get away from the charnel ground, we don't want to build a Hilton hotel in the middle of it. Building the mandala of awakening actually happens on the charnel ground. What is happening on the charnel ground is constant personal exploration, and beyond that, just giving, opening, extending yourself completely to the situation that's available to you. Being fantastically exposed, and the sense that you could give birth to another world." This also describes the spiritual potential of intimate involvement with another human being.
Another quote with a similar feeling comes from Swami Rudrananda (known as Rudy, a German teacher who was a student of the Indian saint Swami Nityananda), further describing how to work with neurosis in this way:
"Don't look for perfection in me. I want to acknowledge my own imperfection, I want to understand that that is part of the endlessness of my growth. It's absolutely useless at this stage in your life, with all of the shit piled up in your closet, to walk around and try to kid yourself about your perfection. Out of the raw material you break down [here he is also speaking of the charnel ground] you grow and absorb the energy. You work yourself from inside out, tearing out, destroying, and finding a sense of nothingness. That nothingness allows God to come in. But this somethingness- ego and prejudices and limitations- is your raw material. If you process and refine it all, you can open consciously. Otherwise, you will never come to anything that represents yourself...The only thing that can create a oneness inside you is the ability to see more of yourself as you work everyday to open deeper and say, fine, ‘I'm short tempered,' or ‘Fine, I'm aggressive,' or, ‘Fine, I love to make money,' or, ‘I have no feeling for anybody else.' Once you recognize you're all of these things, you'll finally be able to take a breath and allow these things to open."
Rudi suggests that we have to acknowledge and embrace our imperfections as spiritual path; therefore grand spiritual pretensions miss the point. In his words, "A man who thinks he has a spiritual life is really an idiot." The same is true of relationships: Beware of thinking you have a "spiritual relationship." While loving connection provides a glimpse of the gold that lies within, we continually corrupt it by turning it into a commodity, a magical charm to make us feel okay. All the delusions of romantic love follow from there. Focusing on relationship as a spiritual or emotional "fix" actually destroys the possibility of finding deep joy, true ease, or honest connection with another.
Sooner or later relationship inevitably brings us to our knees, forcing us to confront the raw and rugged mess of our mental and emotional life. George Orwell points to this devastating quality of human love in a sentence that also has a charnel ground flavor to it: "The essence of being human is that one does not seek perfection, and that one is prepared in the end, to be defeated, and broken up by life, which is the inevitable price of fastening one's love upon other human individuals."
This then is the meaning of the charnel ground: We have to be willing to come apart at the seams, to be dismantled, to let our old ego structures fall apart before we can begin to embody sparks of the essential perfection at the core of our nature. To evolve spiritually, we have to allow these unworked, hidden, messy parts of ourselves to come to the surface. It's not that the strategic, controlling ego is something bad or some unnecessary, horrible mistake. Rather, it provides the indispensable grist that makes alchemical transformation possible.
This is not a pessimistic view, because some kind of breakdown is usually necessary before any significant breakthrough-into new ways of living not so encumbered by past conditioning. Charnel ground, then, is a metaphor for this breakdown/breakthrough process that is an essential part of human growth and evolution.
One of the gifts of a deep intimate connection is that it naturally sets this process in motion. Yet no one wants to be dismantled. So there are two main ways that people try to abort this process: running away and spiritual bypassing.
The problem with running away when a relationship becomes difficult is that it's also turning away from ourselves and our potential breakthroughs. Fleeing the raw, wounded places in ourselves because we don't think we can handle them is a form of self-rejection and self-abandonment that turns our feeling body into an abandoned, haunted house. The more we flee our shadowy places, the more they fester in the dark, and the more haunted this house becomes. And the more haunted it becomes, the more it terrifies us. This is a vicious circle that keeps us cut off from and afraid of ourselves.
One of the scariest places we encounter in relationship is a deep inner sense of unlove, where we don't know we're truly lovable just for being who we are, where we feel deficient and don't know our value. This is the raw wound of the heart, where we're disconnected from our true nature, our inner perfection. Naturally we want to do everything we can to avoid this place, fix it, or neutralize it, so we'll never have to experience such pain again.
A second way to flee from the challenges of relationship is through spiritual bypassing- using spiritual ideas or practices to avoid or prematurely transcend relative human needs, feelings, personal issues, and developmental tasks. For example, a certain segment of the contemporary spiritual scene has become infected with a facile brand of "advaita-speak" - a one-sided transcendentalism that uses nondual terms and ideas to bypass the challenging work of alchemical transformation.
Advaita-speak can be very tricky, for it uses absolute truth to disparage relative truth, emptiness to devalue form, oneness to belittle individuality. The following quotes from two popular contemporary teachers illustrate this tendency: "Know that what appears to be love for another is really love of Self, because other doesn't exist...The other's ‘otherness' stands revealed as an illusion pertaining to the purely human realm, the realm of form." Notice the devaluation of form and the human realm in the latter statement. By suggesting that only absolute love or being-to-being union is real, these teachers equate the person-to-person element necessary for a transformative love bond with mere ego or illusion.
Yet personal intimacy is a spark flashing out across the divide between self and other. It depends on strong individuals making warm, personal contact, mutually sparking and enriching each other with complementary qualities and energies. This is the meeting of I and Thou, which Martin Buber understood not as an impersonal spiritual union, but as a personal communion rooted in deep appreciation of the other's otherness.
A deep intimate connection inevitably brings up all our love wounds from the past. This is why many spiritual practitioners try to remain above the fray and impersonal in their relationships- so as not to face and deal with their own unhealed relational wounds. But this keeps the wounding unconscious, causing it to emerge as compulsive shadowy behavior or to dry up passion and juice. Intimate personal connecting cannot evolve unless the old love wounds that block it are faced, acknowledged, and freed up.
As wonderful as moments of being-to-being union can be, the alchemical play of joining heaven and earth in a relationship involves a more subtle and beautiful dance: not losing our twoness in the oneness, while also not losing our oneness in the twoness. Personal intimacy evolves out of the dancing-ground of dualities: personal and trans-personal, known and unknown, death and birth, openness and karmic limitation, clarity and chaos, hellish clashes and heavenly bliss. The clash and interplay of these polarities, with all their shocks and surprises, provides a ferment that allows for deep transformation, through forcing us to keep waking up, dropping preconceptions, expanding our sense of who we are, and learning to work with all the different elements of our humanity.
When we're in the midst of this ferment, it may seem like some kind of fiendish plot. Here we finally find someone we really love and then the most difficult things start emerging: fear, distrust, unlove, disillusion, resentment, blame, confusion. Yet this is a form of love's grace- that it brings our wounds and defenses forward into the light. For love can only heal what presents itself to be healed. If our woundedness remains hidden, it cannot be healed. The best in us cannot come out unless the worst comes out as well.
So instead of constructing a fancy hotel in the charnel ground, we must be willing to come down and relate to the mess on the ground. We need to regard the wounded heart as a place of spiritual practice. This kind of practice involves engaging with our relational fears and vulnerabilities in a deliberate, conscious way, like the yogis of old who faced down the goblins and demons in the charnel grounds.
The only way to be free of our conditioned patterns is through a full, conscious experience of them. This might be called "ripening our karma," what the Indian teacher Swami Prajnanpad described as bhoga, meaning "deliberate, conscious experience." He said, "You can only dissolve karma through the bhoga of this karma." We become free of what we're stuck in only through meeting and experiencing it directly. Having the bhoga of your karma allows you to digest unresolved, undigested elements of your emotional experience from the past that are still affecting you: how you were hurt or overwhelmed, how you defended yourself against that by shutting down, how you constructed walls to keep people out.
Another term for directly engaging our karma might be "conscious suffering"- which involves saying "yes" to your pain, opening yourself to it, as it is. This kind of yes doesn't mean, "I like it, I'm glad it's like this." It just means, "Yes, this is what's happening" Whatever comes up, you are willing to meet it and have a direct experience of it. For example, if you're hard-hearted, you have a full experience of that. Then you see how that affects you and what comes from that.
Bhoga involves learning to ride the waves of our feelings rather than becoming submerged in them This requires mindfulness of where we are in the cycle of emotional experience. A skilled surfer is aware of exactly where he is on a wave, whereas an unskilled surfer winds up getting creamed. By their very nature, waves are rising fifty percent of the time and falling the other fifty percent. Instead of fighting the down-cycles of our emotional life, we need to learn to keep our seat on the surfboard and have a full, conscious experience of going down. Especially in a culture that is addicted to "up," we especially need our yes when these down cycles unfold -to be willing to fall apart, to retreat, to slow down, to be patient, to let go. For it's often at the bottom of a down-cycle, when everything looks totally bleak and miserable, that we finally receive a flash of insight that lets us see the hidden contours of some huge ego fixation in which we've been stuck all our life. Having a full, conscious experience of the down-cycle as it's occurring, instead of fighting or transcending it, lets us be available for these moments of illumination.
While the highlands of absolute love are most beautiful, few but the saints can spend all their time there. Relative human love is not a peak experience nor a steady state. It wavers, fluctuates, waxes and wanes, comes and goes, changes shape and intensity, soars and crashes. "This is the exalted melancholy of our fate," writes Buber, describing how moments of I/Thou communion cannot last too very long. Yet though relationships participate fully in the law of impermanence, the good news is that this allows new surprises and revelations to endlessly keep arising.

 

RELATIONSHIP AS KOAN

Relating to the full spectrum of our experience in the relational charnel ground leads to a self-acceptance that expands our capacity to embrace and accept others as well. Usually our view of our partners is colored by what they do for us- how they make us look or feel good, or not-and shaped by our internal movie about what we want them to be. This of course makes it hard to see them for who they are in their own right.
Beyond our movie of the other is a much larger field of personal and spiritual possibilities- what Walt Whitman referred to when he said, " I contain multitudes." These "multitudes" are what keep a relationship fresh and interesting. But they can only nourish a relationship if we can accept the ways those we love are different from us- in their background, values, perspectives, qualities, sensitivities, preferences, ways of doing things, and finally their destiny. In the words of Swami Prajnanpad, standing advaita-speak on its head: "To see fully that the other is not you is the way to realizing oneness... Nothing is separate, everything is different ...Love is the appreciation of difference."
Two partners not holding themselves separate, while remaining totally distinct - "not two, not one"- may seem like an impossible challenge in a relationship. Bernard Phillips, an early student of East/West psychology, likens this impossibility of relationship to a Zen koan- a riddle that cannot be solved with the conceptual mind. After continually trying and failing to figure out the answer, Zen students arrive at a genuine solution only in the moment of finally giving up and giving in. In Phillips' words:
"Every human being with whom we seek relatedness is a koan, that is to say, an impossibility. There is no formula for getting along with a human being. No technique will achieve relatedness. I am impossible to get along with; so is each one of you; all our friends are impossible; the members of our families are impossible. How then shall we get along with them?..If you are seeking a real encounter, then you must confront the koan represented by the other person. The koan is an invitation to enter into reality."
In the end, to love another requires dropping all our narcissistic agendas, movies, hopes and fears, so that we may look freshly and see "the raw other, the sacred other" - just as he or she is. This involves a surrender or perhaps defeat, as in George Orwell's words about being "defeated and broken up by life." What is defeated here, of course, is the ego and its strategies, clearing the way for the genuine person to emerge, the person who is capable of real, full-spectrum contact. The nobility of this kind of defeat is portrayed by Rilke in four powerful lines describing Jacob's wrestling match with the Angel:

Winning does not tempt that man
For this is how he grows:
By being defeated, decisively,
By constantly greater beings .

In relationship, it is two partner's greater beings, gradually freeing themselves from the prison of conditioned patterns, that bring about this decisive defeat. And as this starts reverberating through their relationship, old expectations finally give way, old movies stop running, and a much larger acceptance than they believed possible can start opening up between them. As they become willing to face and embrace whatever stands between them- old relational wounds from the past, personal pathologies, difficulties hearing and understanding each other, different values and sensitivities- all in the name of loving and letting be, they are invited to "enter into reality." Then it becomes possible to start encountering each other nakedly, in the open field of nowness, fresh and unfabricated, the field of love forever vibrating with unimagined possibilities.



Adapted from a talk given at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco.
Copyright 2008 by John Welwood. All rights reserved. Original en aquesta web