Greetings Students! This season we are contemplating the yoga of
In 1941, President Roosevelt gave his famous “Four Freedoms” speech, proclaiming four basic freedoms that people everywhere in the world ought to enjoy: Freedom of speech; Freedom of worship; Freedom from want; and Freedom from fear.
This freedom from fear, called “abhaya” in Sanskrit, is a fundamental quality of the state of spiritual liberation.
There is a hand gesture, called a mudra, that corresponds to fearlessness: the abhaya mudra.
How does a person overcome fear when we are all scared to death?
We endeavor to shore up safety in all kinds of ways, pursuing money, physical prowess, status and group affiliation to fend off primal fear, but from a yogic point of view this unremitting attempt to construct ‘safe spaces’ merely results in the wretched dependence and demeaning captivity of the ego.
YOUR SAFE SPACE
The enlightened 8th century yogi, Adi Shankara, wrote:
“It says in the Yajur Veda: ‘One who has even the slightest sense of differentiation is always afraid.’ One who sees any attributes of differentiation, however small, in the absolute Brahman, will for that reason remain in a state of terror. One who locates the sense of self in the physical body and its objects will experience sorrow after sorrow. “
Shankara’s teaching is that the way to annihilate fear is to extinguish the sense of difference, the split, between subject and object and to feel viscerally the truth of our unity with the cosmos. This is nirvana.
So the yogic path offers methods to obtain this felt-sense of infinitude, this wine of undifferentiated bliss which we call non-dual awareness.
We have to go beyond duality to drink the ambrosia of infinite awareness.
Asana, pranayama, mudra, chanting, and meditation, are all tools for the neuro-enhancement of non-dual awareness, which alone is the fearless state. In a non-dual state, the body is saturated with the wellbeing arising from the somatic knowing that only one existence infinitely pervades the universe. Fear evaporates as your vibration expands without limits. Free, intoxicating joy gushes through the thirsty nadis, the subtle channels
Trust is the opposite of Fear
Summoning your deepest trust, learn to dissolve into oceanic bliss.
This yoga of dissolution, called Laya Yoga, is accomplished through simple love.
As Patanjali puts it, “Give up all effort, and relax into the infinite.
From that, you will be free from the suffering of duality.”
– Yoga Sutra II:47/48
Enjoy this sublime rendition of the fear dispelling mantra, We have been playing in class Namah Shivaya by Uma Mohan
|Let nothing disturb you
Nothing frighten you
All things are changing
God never moves
Patient endurance attains to all
One who has God
In nothing is lacking.
Alone, God suffices
— St Teresa of Avila