In Ayurvedic school, after giving a clinical assessment of a patient, I was told by Dr. Lad to drink more milk. Surprised, I said “I’ll try.”
My good friend, who is a far more advanced yogini than I am, said “Don’t try. Do.”
It took me awhile, but now I think I get it.
My understanding finally coalesced after reading a quote by Osho:
All the Buddhas of all the ages have been telling you a very simple fact:
Be – don’t try to become.
Within these two words, be and becoming, your whole life is contained.
Being is enlightenment, becoming is ignorance.
Don’t try. Do.
Herein is the meaning of sankalpa.
I learned how from a show on Coast to Coast AM, a late night radio show. That night Maureen Caudill was speaking.
She talked at length about her own experiences as a cognitive computer science specialist, who went “Suddenly Psychic“. (Yes, I later bought the book.)
I was so impressed with her tone, her delivery, I actually listened to the whole show. It was my first time I stayed for it. Usually I’m turned off, or maybe a little confused, by all the discussion of UFO’s and so on.
I’m glad I did this time. It changed my life.
You can still find the .mp3’s of that show on the Coast to Coast web site.
After talking about healing her cat, the second hour was devoted to step by step instructions on how to bend spoons.
They worked perfectly.
We obviously are not talking about flimsy forks or spoons that can be bent “normally” by anyone. That clearly wouldn’t be any fun. We are talking about heavy banquet ware that is not bendable typically.
How did I do it?
Basically, if you know a little Chi Gong, you will find this easy.
Using light pressure, pass your chi through the spoon for at least 5 minutes. This is the tough part.
You will find a moment when the thing feels like it just melted a little bit. That is your opportunity. With that light pressure, bend the spoon, or the tines of the fork, or whatever.
Having high psychical energy is pretty necessary. Eating chocolate helps.
How much physical force is necessary? Very little. If the fork or spoon or key or screwdriver or whatever were made of plastic instead of stainless steel or silver, and that hypothetical plastic object would break with the amount of force you are giving, then that is way too much physical force.
Your efforts should be gentle and mindless.
Also, be careful of the real world importance of the object. I once tried to impress a friend by bending a fork that I got out of her drawer. She was instead upset that her grandmother’s heirloom silver fork was no longer usable. I used my energy to move the fork back into place. It snapped into two, and she was very distraught.
Except for that last, quite shameful event, I found this whole thing to be incredibly empowering, telling us all that the military technological engineering oriented world is only so much of the picture.
For example, I gave a spirally twisted spoon to a techie friend for Christmas. He couldn’t unspiral it.
He announced that his engineering education was now for nought and that he should “go to a cave to meditate.” “Everyone should do that”, says my sister. Indeed, I think a lot can be said for it.
I would be happy too to levitate. That would make me feel good and inspire the same feelings, but on a larger scale, of course.
You’ve got to admit, the concept of the world will change once the first person levitates publicly. It will collectively rise, same as the person who did it.*
Yeah, I want to do these things to reach others, to say you CAN do the scary, the improbable, the incredibly transformative. YOU have incredible energy. There is no denying it after having done this.
It’s my triple Scorpio ascendant, I guess.
But the secret is not to get egotistical. Then all your insight and power drains out of you. This is what I understand happened to Uri Geller.
A friend of mine can do it even better than I do. She makes the tines into spirals. Cool.
Another friend told me, “Renay, what would I do with a bent spoon?”
Sure, it’s just a trick in a way. There’s no reason to do it unless you want to make jewelry or something, or with levitation, to cross the street without pushing the button for the light. But it teaches us that we are not drones of any sort, or as my friend said, it might make us want to meditate more. It might inspire our lazy selves to vibrate higher. Hence, despite objections by some, I think it qualifies as beginner’s yoga, but I may well be wrong yet again.
*Here are the sobering comments of Vasistha’s Yoga (page 313) about flying (and probably by extension, bending spoons):
Flying in the sky and other powers are natural to some beings, O Raama. The extroardinary qualities and faculties which are observed in this world are natural to those beings – not to the sages of self-knowledge. Supernatural faculties (like flying in the air) are developed even by those who are devoid of self-knowledge or liberation, by the utilisation of certain substances or by certain practices. All this does not interest the man of self-knowledge who is utterly content in himself. They who, in pursuit of pleasures, acquire these powers tainted by ignorance, are surely full of ignorance; the sages of self-knowledge do not adopt such a course.
Whether one is a knower of truth or ignorant of it, powers like flying in the air accrue to one who engages himself in some practices. But the sage of self-knowledge has no desire to acquire these. These practices bestow their fruit on anyone, for such is their nature. Poison kills all, wine intoxicates all, even so these practices bring about the ability to fly, etc., but they who have attained the supreme self-knowledge are not interested in these, O Raama. They are gained only by those who are full of desires; but the sage is free from the least desire of anything. Self-knowledge is the greatest gain; how does the sage of self-knowledge entertain any desire for anything else? …
Fair enough. In so far as this post stimulates discourse (within myself at the very least) and hence a real part of yoga, I’m glad I did the trick, but honestly and without artifice. The whole thing has been educational for myself and others. Let it be that.
The Real Definition of Yoga
Someone once said to me that yoga is the art of flexibility and so on. In the ancient texts, it actually is a very real science.
yogas’ citta vrtti nirodhah
“Yoga is the cessation of mental mindstuffs.”
(from the Yoga Sutras)
This is the real meaning of yoga and the goal of all the postures, Asana, breathing techniques (praanayaama), and meditation.
Typically, quite a lot of effort goes into that act of cessation, that ending of effort, until all is one, one, One.
Indeed, many of you know that the word yoga itself, comes from yuj, to unite, or yoke, i.e., the act of uniting.
The concept of unity is used to cancel the concept of the many; the concept of self (infinite consciousness) is used to cancel the conceptualisation of unity. [The term “unity” itself implies disparate objects. Ed.] The self can neither be conceived of as existence or non-existence, it is what is. (Vasistha’s Yoga, p. 400)
Said another way:
“Love knows that I am everything and wisdom knows that I am nothing, and between these two things, my life moves.” -Nisaragadatta Maharaj
Maharshi Mahesh Yogi had a nice interview on video where he describes yoga.
This is the meaning that I’ll use to talk about yoga, dear yoga, on this site.
I’m not a powerful yogini. I am a simple flawed vessel. But I love yoga and I hope to do it some justice here.
Renay Oshop - teacher, searcher, researcher, immerser, rejoicer, enjoying the interstices between Twitter, Facebook, and journals.