Today, spiritual notions of integrated unitary consciousness are popular but suspect. Some people require facts, and without verifiable facts proving esoteric dimensions, will dismiss such notions and think of consciousness and chakra activation as nothing but wild speculation.
But quantum studies in the subatomic realm more than suggest that everything is composed of vibrational energy even if we cannot prove it. Yogic philosophy treated this idea by suggesting that anything in matter has previously existed in the unmanifest cosmic womb. Indian philosophy even had a name for this place of pure potentiality, calling it hiranyagarbha, or the Golden Womb, the origin of all creation. Technically, ‘hiranya’ means ‘golden’ and ‘garbha’ means womb, and its symbol is a golden egg.
The science of physics has opened up big ideas like the notion of energy as vibration, or a not-yet manifest form of matter. It has helped Westerners accept that matter is not as concrete as we thought. Quantum thought maintains that the unmanifest is as real as each of us here and now, but is unrecognizable until energy and matter manifest or bring it into material form.
This is how healing consciousness moves too, for consciousness of a thing also changes the mode of being in that thing which is beheld. The Heisenberg Indeterminacy Principle, from the field of physics, affirms this insight and points out that it’s not possible to observe matter without influencing its actions. And while it’s true that the principle was developed while observing the velocity and speed of quantum particles, it applies to all matter.
The paralytic man’s friends (story from the Gospel of Mark), were determined to place him in close proximity to the pure consciousness of healing in Jesus. When the paralytic was lowered through the roof to the foundation of the house, the presence and pure consciousness of healing in Jesus deeply affected the man’s being.
Change occurred when his friends acted by opening the door of unmanifest possibility, for in that moment, he came into the presence of pure healing consciousness in one known as The Christ. This idea and possibility is not antithetical to the healing consciousness of yoga.
Yoga also introduces the notion that our world is made up of both purusha (consciousness), and prakriti (matter). In other words, life is a blending of esoteric and exoteric, the combination from the antitheses of matter and mind.
Pure consciousness is capable of integrating these strongly marked antitheses. And Jesus, as the incarnation of pure consciousness, inhabits the realm where anything is possible – as in healing the paralytic man.
In Teaching Yoga: Essential Foundations and Techniques, Mark Stevens writes, “According to the original texts, there are three purposes of Hatha yoga: (1) the total purification of the body, (2) the complete balancing of the physical, mental, and energetic fields, and (3) the awakening of purer consciousness through which one ultimately connects with the divine by engaging in practices rooted in the physical body.” This is the embodiment of spirituality through yoga, the theme of Yoga Temple.
As with all human stories, sacred scriptures, and historical mythologies, the figure of a transformed man, woman, or child is never just a man, woman, or child, but takes on life when we realize each of us – in our own way – is the paralytic man, or the paralytic woman.
Every man and woman is limited in some way, and each of us benefits in some observable way when friends open new dimensions to healing. And whether it’s through a roof, or by taking a friend through the door to a yoga studio, we bring ourselves to an efficacious space where the pure consciousness of healing deeply affects us.
American culture is active and aggressive. Its almost a counter-cultural act to place our bodies and minds in a state of receptivity. It’s almost a holy doctrine to do everything by ourselves, to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps with ambition and will, but yoga works when we are receptive and offer ourselves for transformation. “Asana is a sacred offering,” wrote Iyengar. It’s a receiving too, where we open space by embodying asana, mobilizing prana, surrendering cares, and focusing the monkey mind.
In this way, the healing work of yoga registers within through our receptivity to the pure consciousness of healing, a consciousness already present and waiting for us in the unmanifest cosmic womb, the golden egg of hiranyagarbha.
More on this during the workshop. As before, Lee Swenson and Cindy Cain will assist me with meditative music and chant. I hope to see you at MOTTO YOGA on Sunday, March 4 at noon.