Yoga texts divide the universe into two distinct areas, above and below, or purusa and prakrti. Purusa is above. It is unchanging, constant and that part of us capable of ‘real’ seeing and perception. Prakrti is below. It is that part that is ever changing—our mind, memories and emotions. All material things, matter and life is prakrti, the source of which is the one—the original matter from which all things are formed.
We have a soul—a timeless, spaceless entity which is outside our body. This soul (pupusa) is unchanging, constant. We are the higher mind, and that is our being which has the ability to listen to the soul, or the material world, of prakrti. The material world is a reflection, a mirror, of the soul and as a consequence we are challenged to see the perfection of creation in our lives as they are in the material world. It is therefore a challenge to be in the material world, to interact and participate with others and to master, rather than escape from, the seven areas of life.
If we are run by the senses then we listen to and are the slave of Prakrti, the material world. If we listen to our soul we are free of the illusions of the material world and are empowered to master and use these illusions without attachment or emotion.
We are the higher mind, which has the choice of listening to the soul or the senses. While we exist on Earth, we are able to glimpse the soul but cannot stay in tune with it. In learning to love the Earth, its peoples, their actions and inaction’s, we learn to love ourselves. “As above so below.”
While we exist in human form we have not mastered and loved the seven areas of life. The closest we get to enlightenment is therefore a momentary glimpse of the soul—periods of awareness. The more we transcend the illusions of emotion, the more time we spend connected to higher consciousness.
The role of Yoga is, and has always been, to help our higher mind glimpse more and more of the soul’s certainty. Yoga does this through the stilling of the senses, mastery of breath and ritual of prayer in which we can open our heart to the material world, transcend the fears and guilt’s that run our lives and be totally present in our higher mind. This is the process of Yoga.
It is therefore our objective in Yoga to integrate the whole universe in our very being, and by doing so transcend the judgements of right and wrong, good and bad. In this state we are free to participate to the maximum in the material world; we are neither attached nor detached to the life we lead, we are, in the simplest terms, purely in gratitude for it.
Yoga is not separated from the material world, it is in fact the essence of our ability to participate in it. Yoga simply assists us to connect to higher powers than those of the lowerminded illusions of emotion, infatuation and resentment. The goal is the freedom to co-exist within the world, love it as it is, understand the creator’s construction, and to reach higher and higher levels of complexity and vision.