This is a larger topic than this blog can cover – and many have spoken it more wisely than me – but I would like to examine how Ayurveda, the Purusarthas, and śloka 2.13 from the Bhagavad Gita are asking us to manage our physical selves in this material world as the process of realizing we are not the body.
It is true we are not our bodies. It is also true that our bodies and minds are made up of material that is ever-changing and is ever influenced by the environment. In Ayurveda this is the foundation for most śamana style (therapeutic) treatment – the concepts of samanya and visesa – like increases like and opposites balance.
If the United States of America has been built with the fuel of White Supremacy, this indicates that even though we are not the body, we are consuming this psychology constantly. It is a bypass to skip over this consumption and land at the process of not being a body and that all Purusa is one.
The process of being a Spiritual Being Embodied is that of the Raci Purusa – the Purusa that is a Raci – a collection. The collection is of the 24 tattvas, or parts, that make up the experience of the Soul linking to this body. (This process is further explained in the Samkhya Karaka as well as in any texts that discuss or allude to Samkhya.)
The concept of Prakrti and Dharma communicates that our particular material make up – physical and psychological – engages us specifically and purposefully with this shared material world while maintaining full awareness of our very particular and purposeful material make up. It is this make up that provides us with the specific lessons for our Jivatma – our Soul in THIS body, in THIS environment.
It is our responsibility as practitioners of the Path of Yoga to overcome the bondages of this body. To do this we have to first fully acknowledge that our bodies and minds are all made differently. This is on purpose and is something to be celebrated! If we were all the same, there would be no reason for our Souls to embody at all, because one person would cover the need for experience at all and in general. As this is not the case, the journey through our particular experience is imperative and requires us to fully grasp what is our Raci – ie how our Ego directs us to prefer and dislike things (kleshas), how our Minds function, and what we consume through all of our senses, what our bodies look like etc etc. All of these things make us who we are.
The Path of Self-Realization, which takes us to the “State of Fiveness” or the State of the Purusa or Oneness, requires us to choose that path that leads to the Freedom of all the Raci Purusas. This means that some people will need to be louder, take up more space etc because previously their birth afforded them less opportunity to do so. Those who were afforded more, should listen, take up less space. When we realize that giving space to the voices of others can actually become one’s own voice, and that one’s own voice can do the same for others, we can be nearer to the state of Oneness.
Equanimity is not a constant state either. It is a fluctuating equilibrium, which on the individual level should change with new information. What happens so often, is that we become so fixed in our need to grasp balance (what!?) that we actually lose the fluid state of equilibrium and replace it with a rigid grip on preferred reality – which of course is a fiction.
The process of Vairagya, non attachment, is such that there is nothing to fear in the potential loss of what was had before. Ayurveda is clear that too much of something is just as detrimental as too little. The example of gripping false, one-sided narratives proves this especially when we think back to the times we desperately held fast to things that were untrue. On the larger scale, the experience of the Corona-virus is an example, as is the discussion of Gaslighting.
Doing anything in such a way leads the person swiftly off the yogic path into a land of Tamas and Rajas – manipulation, un-truth, control.
Only just enough leads to health. At the moment, due to White Supremacy and all that it births, this is not the case, thus balance is lost.
I notice this in Yoga of the West in general, in which we continuously try to balance ourselves in the land of Rajas and Tamas which are inherently and by definition unbalanced places. This requires obsessive behavior to always be doing things that “bring balance” instead of finding the Middle Way through the practice of Sat – Truth. Trying to become balanced or “centered” in the world of Rajas and Tamas is by definition Spiritual bypass.
Spiritual bypass will not lead to Freedom. It enforces and re-enforces suffering upon all because it suppresses, denies, exhausts Reality. Likely, this is why so many other “yogas” are invented in the West as they serve to distract from the fact that the Ayoga being practiced is off-track (as it tries to force balance within the Gunas of Rajas and Tamas instead of working to balance and overcome them). Utilizing Spiritual Bypass and Cultural Appropriation will never lead to any sense of Happiness or Stability, and so they always need to reinvent the “Yoga” because it is not working. The process of Yoga should make it easier to face reality and stomach difficult lessons by keeping one’s eye on the goal. That goal is Freedom and Happiness for all Beings.