The Blackboard Blog #2

The point about The Enemy is how to combat it / him / her, which is chiefly a matter of remembering who and what you are, and who and what you are not. The Enemy chapter on the contents page of The Book currently lists six emotions or states of mind: Fear; Greed; Jealousy; Guilt; Regret; Despair. Some say that there are actually only two: Fear and Greed. Break them all right down and you can fold pretty much every nasty thing into those two. Or Five. But I seem to be adding to them all the time; I just put in Hate, Pride, Prejudice and Ignorance. One way of looking at it is to drop them all and just concentrate on Ignorance – by which I mean, of course, Ignorance of your true nature. And that one, perversely, is the easiest to combat.

A Little Travel Story. One of my first experiences of  Raja Yoga, at the World Renewal Spiritual Museum in Mount Abu, Rajasthan, was peering into a museum-style glass display case at the Five Vices portrayed as half-size human model figures, rendered in that popular Indian naïf style familiar from tea-towels illustrated with morality tales like Aesop’s ‘The Fox and the Stork’. I can’t find the image with the Vices on (probably been suppressed, it’s kind of cheesy) but just as an example, here’s the original 1950s version of ‘You are a Soul’:

But the Five Vices were done up like ‘dacoits’, the traditional Indian bandits, complete with staring eyes, wild hairdos, big beards and heavy armoury (or a couple of big knives at least). And what are (were) those Five criminals of the soul? Sex Lust; Anger; Greed; Attachment; Ego. As you may imagine, as a red-blooded youth I had a big problem with the first one. More on that to come. But looking at the others you can see where jealousy, for instance, comes from; Attachment is the idea that something – or more likely, someone – is your property, belongs to you. Which, given the immaterial and non-physical nature of You Your Self the Soul, is obviously a non-starter. Body is car, soul is driver, right? See above.

H’mm. Wasn’t really intending to get stuck into the good ol’ vices, because once we’re there it is but a short step to the ‘Mega-Concepts’ of Sin and Karma, which will keep us chuntering for the rest of human existence. Point is that The Enemy, however you draw or describe it / him / her, derives its/his/her power from the One Big Mistake; simply confusing your Self with your body. You say ‘my body’, right? So who is talking? Remember, recognise and experience your truth – your non-material, infinitesimal form of ‘bindu’, an atom of light (the Sanskrit for ‘soul’ is ‘atma’) carrying out actions in your physical body – and all the rubbish drops away. Come back from Soul Consciousness to, let’s say, a sort of enlightened body consciousness (ie, light as in weight, light as in shining), and you find your behaviour being influenced by that awareness. Not many steps from here to a balanced and harmonious ecology of the soul, which feeds into balanced and harmonious action that serves the world around us just as Soul Consciousness serves our inner world.

About Aidan

The Ecology of the Soul is the culmination of a lifetime of study and practice of hatha yoga and Raj Yoga. Aidan studied with BKS Iyengar, and was a dedicated member of the Brahma Kumaris, teachers of Raja Yoga, during his 20s. The basic understanding of the Soul and God is pure Raja Yoga, but it is the 'ecology' principle that drives the system's emphasis on balancing our spiritual powers. We return to our natural state of happiness, contentment, peace – and power.
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