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A World of Yoga

Stages of Relationship

Recently a minister on a fundamentalist TV station astonished his viewers and those of his congregation by asking, "Who would want to go to heaven, the heaven most people talk about? What Christian in his right mind would wish to live where streets are paved with gold, for example, or where people fly around playing harps?

"I would certainly not wish to go there," the preacher said. "If heaven’s going to be like that, harps and gold streets, I hope the Lord will leave me out," he emphasized.

The internationally-known minister went on to say that the word heaven was incorrectly used by most people. His research into the word revealed that, in his view, the proper term for this place beyond death is heavenlies. He said the correct term is plural, and heavenlies refers to realms of life, planes of life transcending this one. Higher consciousness also involves planes of life experiences transcending normal life — but not splitting from, nor denying, normal life.

"There is Always Something More"

In the process of life people are striving to understand the world and themselves. Just as your heart may yearn to comprehend what heaven must actually be, so too, human understanding stretches beyond its capacity to comprehend when higher consciousness is the subject. Much guessing and presuming occur. There’s considerable hope, and fantasy, too. Only the Lord knows the subject of higher consciousness thoroughly. The great East Indian master, Sri Ramakrishna (1836-1886), compassionately helped people who were locked into the idea they knew all there was to know about higher consciousness, or even that they had attained the highest experience of this glorious realm.

"There is no end," Sri Ramakrishna used to say. "There is always something more. Man is a realizing being." Whatever you realize, there is something more that can be realized, something more yet waits to be experienced. A life in higher consciousness is dynamic. It goes forward from realization to realization. Always, something more can be experienced or expressed from among the infinite possibilities of higher consciousness.

Cosmic Consciousness

It is possible to experience yourself as pure energy and consciousness. You can enter a period of deep meditation and temporarily put aside the limitations of body, mind, and emotions to transcend regular human limitations into infinite or universal consciousness.

Certainly, this is one of the marvelous aspects of higher consciousness. Free of the mind’s chatter or any negative emotion, your consciousness soars beyond mortality for a period of cosmic consciousness, as it is often called.

You are able to experience the source of life in its essence. You are able to transcend form and float free in the formless and infinite realm of conscious energy that is profoundly wonderful. Experiences of this nature revivify your whole being.

Other Possibilities

Coming back from cosmic consciousness into bodily awareness, you find your mind is fresh with insights and intuitions. Your emotions are washed free and clean, and deep calmness or joy easily establish themselves in a renewed heart. Breathing and circulation seem to work better, and you marvel at your body’s increased strength and coordination.

Experiencers of this formless aspect of higher consciousness are indeed fortunate and very special people. Their insights and their vigor enrich all humanity. Their dedication to the underlying spirit, the source of life in all, enables them to be true brothers and sisters to humanity.

If you prefer to experience only the vast, formless qualities of higher consciousness, and if devotional, personal relationships with higher consciousness don’t appeal to you, then please enjoy the eight main yogas.

However, there are other possibilities, too. Great possibilities. You don’t have to transcend form, or your humanity, to experience many kinds of higher consciousness.

A Personal Relationship

Most people are dominantly emotional. That is, what represents happiness to them predominantly involves an emotional sense of well being and satisfaction. They yearn to be happy, to give loves and share love. They yearn to have constructive feelings rather than watch their moments of peace battered around by chaotic emotions.

These seekers are not by nature yearning for flights in infinite, absolute spirit. They are ever so much more desirous that spirit and consciousness come into a personal relationship with them. They crave that higher consciousness fulfill them as a person and that they will become able to live each minute of their days in continual interplay with higher consciousness.

Essentially, they don’t want to become lost in, or dissolved in, higher consciousness. Each of these seekers wants to maintain a high state of awareness while actively being a person. They want a relationship with higher consciousness, not "sublime vacations," however beneficial such exalted trips might be. (Or, they may indeed like to have such transcendental flights but do not yet find themselves able.)

I Want to Taste Sugar, Not Become Sugar

"I want to taste sugar, not become sugar," Sri Ramakrishna used to say in describing this personal form of higher consciousness. Sri Ramakrishna often said that modern people are very dependent on food and have a relatively short life span (compared with ancient wise men and women). Because of these "shortcomings," most seekers are not physiologically equipped for long periods of cosmic consciousness — transcendent out-of-the-body states.

Sri Ramakrishna showed multitudes of seekers they could most effectively and delightedly experience higher consciousness through personal relationship — "in form," as he described it. He advocated several profound and extremely wonderful relationships which people could select and develop.

He particularly emphasized that the form of superconsciousness you pursue in your quest must fit your individuality. By regarding your individuality in the quest for higher consciousness, you can most easily develop your relationship with it.

The Moods

These relationships are called moods, or bhavas. You may experience a mood of higher consciousness sooner than you think. These personal relationships are often progressive. As you become developed and perfected in one relationship, you will enter a transitional stage and then a deeper, more advanced relationship will be formed. So it goes, on and on throughout your life, if you most easily experience higher consciousness through form.

Again, too, seekers around the world practicing their particular faiths or mystical philosophies may have a different vocabulary but they very often practice and develop these same relationships, or moods, as magnificent means to higher consciousness.

Likely, also, the majority of religious people deeply prefer these relationships to other kinds of higher consciousness. Relationship is one of the only ways to function in daily life while at the same time maintaining a higher state of consciousness!

Give Yourself a Chance

Please do not feel, however, that you are necessarily one who would most benefit through these relationships. You may — based on your individual experience and makeup — find yourself more rapidly fulfilled through other means contained in this website.

But do give yourself a chance. These upcoming, extraordinary experiences will likely enrich and transform your life!

Read on to discover the bhavas, or moods, that can be experienced and, considering your nature, try to sense which of these is most appealing to you.
  

Reflection
 

Go Farther

  
The Story of the Woodcutter

    A woodcutter lived in poverty. Often he had no food, no oil for his lamp. One day he met a wise man in the woods. The woodcutter treated the wise man with respect, and the wise man responded, telling the cutter two words, "Go farther."
    The woodcutter pondered the words, "Go farther." He was unable to comprehend them and after several days he turned his mind to his regular worries and his hunger pangs.
    But one day, during his backbreaking toil on the edge of the forest, he remembered the words, "Go farther" again. He dared to venture deep into the forest. And, he found a grove of precious sandalwood trees!
    He gained enough wealth to buy a small house, to buy barrels of oil for his lamp, and he knew he would never be hungry again. He was happy.
    Months later he awoke in the night. He said to himself, "The wise man said nothing of sandalwood trees, did he? All he said was, ‘Go farther.’"
    So, the woodcutter rose and went into the woods, past the scrub trees, past the sandalwood grove which meant so much to him. Then, amidst some boulders he found outcroppings of silver!
    Now rich beyond his dreams, he became an important man in the city. He bought a large house — some would call it a mansion — and he married well. Enjoying himself, he forgot the words, "Go farther."
    Several months later, he awoke in the night. Once again he pondered, "The wise man said nothing of sandalwood, or of silver, either. All he told me was, ‘Go farther.’"
    The woodcutter rose and went deep into the forest, past the scrub wood, past the sandalwood, past his silver mine.
    He approached an unknown stream. Glancing down, he found gold. Gold!
    Rich, powerful, and considered wise, the woodcutter again forgot the words, "Go farther."
     Years passed. But, again one night, the woodcutter sat up in bed. He said to himself, "The wise man said nothing of gold, either. He simply told me to, ‘Go farther.’ What did he really mean?"
    The woodcutter ventured past the scrub wood, the sandalwood grove, his secret silver mine, past his gold stream, and discovered diamonds!

    This story goes on forever. But the main question is, "Who is the woodcutter?" And will you, "Go farther?"
  

  
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