|Written By Administrator|
Thursday, 30 July 2009
Whether you choose to explore Western psychology or Eastern psychology, understanding consciousness as well as the functions of the human mind is critical in deriving any conclusions or theories regarding why and how the process of self-aware thought was created. Yoga psychology, and perhaps Western psychology as well, began with a process of self inquiry in which the yogis sought to discover the answers to some of the most basic questions regarding human life, questions which ultimately defined the meaning and purpose to the existence of consciousness and self-awareness. One of the most basic and perhaps obvious questions was why humans are the only species on the earth that posses self-knowledge or awareness of the self. Of hundreds of millions of life forms, why is it that humans are the only ones that know they exist and can consciously perceive their existence? Western philosophers of the Greek empire also asked a similar question coming to the conclusion that “I think therefore I am.” But the self-knowledge of I only exists in human beings and therefore makes us a distinct and unique entity within the Earth and perhaps the entire universe. This quality was one in which many questions regarding life and its purpose were shaped and later answered through the process of self inquiry, solving the riddle of human consciousness and the human mind from a perspective of yoga psychology.
Self-knowledge formed the basis towards self-discovery, a process which was the essential structure for yoga in the philosophy of spirituality. Self-discovery most likely began on a very physical level, exploring the functions of the human body and all the parts and pieces that made up the physical structure. Next, it was likely that the self discovering Yogi began to question the functions of the mind. This formed the foundation for self-awareness as well as greater knowledge into the more subtle processes of the human form. Finally the Yogi began to understand the central force which pervaded over all of existence, guiding the evolution and change of the universe and all the manifested and un-manifested matter within. Once a firm foundation was established in this knowledge of the greater universal entity, self-realization eventually evolved which created the goal and vision for a spiritual practitioner as well as for the basis of yoga psychology.
After hundreds if not thousands of years of experimentation, yoga became a systematic practice which led spiritual practitioner towards self-realization, a state in which the individual was merged with the universal, ultimately giving the individual complete fullness and happiness within life and also connecting them to the eternal. In order to gain this knowledge many requirements were needed to ensure that each individual proceeded along the path towards self-realization in a smooth, consistent, and healthy manner. One requirement was that of having a healthy and energy-full body which acted as the vehicle for higher practices and disciplines of the mind and spirit. To help train the physical body and gain health and energy the yoga postures as well as cleansing practices and breathing practices were developed. The next requirement was to have a clear mind, and for this a system of concentration was developed which later became dharana, triatica, titica, and other forms of concentration. Finally the clarity of spirit was needed and for this devotion to God as well as a commitment to spiritual living was needed.
Once each of the requirements has been fulfill, self-realization has the opportunity to emerge within the mind and become a part of the conscious state of awareness. Again this is the goal and purpose of yoga as the word yoga itself implies joining together or unifying the individual with the universal. Self-realization can then be defined as a reconnecting of the essential nature of the human being to its creator.