There you are, peacefully listening in on extended periods of silence when all of a sudden, shift hits the fan and you get smacked by the bustling banter of reality.
Even though you’re aware of the permanent connection between yourself and a higher force, some experiences seem to leave you feeling more connected than others. So you remain enamored and in pursuit of the inconceivable intelligence that creates those experiences and everything else too. Today, we’ll call this inconceivable intelligence I.T.
I.T. reveals messages in my life as I connect with the many yogic sage types that visit my chiropractic office. Each offers a personal experience that expands my limited individual perception of life. From 3 years old to 90 years young, I am constantly blown away by the repetitive patterns of this message and I.T.’s relentless pursuit to nurture and guide my soul journey. (And it’s an absolute honor to reciprocate that soul nourishment and healing experience on a daily basis.)
As a part-time university lecturer, I also find I.T. revealing messages when a class discussion takes off and students simultaneously converge at a realization that I definitely didn’t have in the lesson plan. One thing I keep learning is that really good discussions are not always planned: if an idea seed is planted and given the breath of life, a great lesson will sprout organically from the soil of present-time consciousness.
It’s when we catch the universe giving us a wink and the impossible nature of reality becomes so surreal that I.T. can only be explained by divine interconnection.
This connection is inherent within every sentient being, and the disconnection from I.T. lies at the root of humanity’s great challenge. Perhaps we can attribute the disconnection to GMO foods, rubber-soled shoes or back-lit screens filled with talking heads and corporate tools—or perhaps it’s something much older.
Perhaps the disconnect is as vital to our existence as interconnectedness itself.
The perpetual opportunity for spiritual connection is a remarkable characteristic of every human life. Strengthening the connection with I.T. occurs even in the simple moments when one could comment about how this or that is not in humanity’s best interest, but instead chooses to ground oneself in the ever-present reality of the mindful yogic path. The foundation of that presence has three components that I (and many others) consider nothing less than a sacred connection with God.
Connect and Communicate #1—Your Posture
At least 75% of human communication is nonverbal. Body language, facial expression, eye movement, and not-so-subtle energetic changes in your electromagnetic field (quick read and well worth it) reveal your intentions long before the tongue begins framing words into complex philosophical ideals. These subconscious postural mechanisms depict the nature of our interactions with the environment, each other and ourselves.
The communion of posture becomes apparent when you consider its control, which can be both voluntary and non-voluntary. Non-volitional control is governed by the righting reflexes. The primary job of these reflexes is to maintain the eyes and ears in an optimal position to see and hear the world around us. Body reflexes position the shoulder and elbow so that the hand can manipulate our immediate environment. Your hip, knee and foot posture are aligned for optimal mobility so that you can move around and find more things to look at and manipulate. A staggering 90% of your brain’s energetic capacity is devoted strictly to accomplishing the seemingly simple task of posture.
Volitional posture is much more familiar to the yogi. It’s the intent of positioning your body to embrace a sense of human-ness. Remember the picture of apes evolving to men? The progression of posture and alignment may very well be a mechanism of evolutionary forces. In several recent experiments, men with good posture are perceived as more successful and women with good posture are perceived as more attractive. It is also proven that posture influences every single physiologic process in the body such as immunity and psychological health. And isn’t posture related to that thing we all do on a mat every once in a while too?
Connect and Communicate #2—The Breath
The dual nature of breathing closely resembles that of posture exhibiting the option of both volitional and non-volitional control.
Involuntary breathing has its own duality. In the last 15 weeks I have watched an infant human life force demonstrate perfect belly breathing technique— starting from the very first breath she took. On the other hand, in practice, I commonly see many people reverse breathing. Literally, their belly moves inwards on inhalation and then expands outward during exhalations. I often find that reverse breathing is associated with complex chronic conditions that improve when proper breathing instruction is given. So while it seems that breathing correctly is innate, somewhere along the line, some individuals lose this natural ability and connection with I.T.
Intentional breathing, rumor has it, is also known as pranayama. And just in case you forgot, prana is Sanskrit for life force, particularly the breath. And ayama means to extend, restraint, or control. The 20th century yogi Sri Yukteswar explained that the “ancient yogis discovered the secret of the Cosmic Consciousness is intimately linked with breath mastery.” You know Sri Yukteswar right? He’s the Indian guru standing amongst the crowd on the Beatles 1967 Album, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”
Paramahansa Yogananda (also hangin’ with the crowd on the cover of “Sgt. Pepper’s”) was a student of Sri Yukteswar and one of America’s first mainstream gurus of Vedic spirituality. Yogananda mentions the divine breath connection of a Kria Yogi with the following—“in the initial states of God-communion the devotee’s consciousness merges in the Cosmic Spirit: his life force is withdrawn from the body, which appears ‘dead,’ or motionless and rigid. The yogi is fully aware of his bodily condition of suspended animation. As he progresses to higher spiritual states, however, he communes with God without bodily fixation; and in his ordinary waking consciousness, even in the midst of exacting worldly duties.”
I’ll let you know how that goes, Paramahansa. Just reaching the “initial state” would be fantastic enough for me.
Connect and Communicate #3—Your Thoughts.
Like the previous two Godly communication tools, thoughts are created with and without intention.
Non-intentional thinking has two immediately apparent distinctions. The first are the unruly blurts and streams that divert your innergy into past regrets and future daydreams. These thoughts seem to appear randomly from an unknown anatomical position. The west has found some evidence that points toward your brain as the source for thinking; while Chinese medicine has considered the heart as the seat of intellectual awareness for at least 5 thousand years. One could ponder the possibility that intention arises from many locations or even a non-location. Regardless of where they come from, some of our unintentional thoughts can be highly disruptive.
Another unintentional thought exists within the symphonic rhythm of our hearts beating, lungs breathing, and the trillions of other unseen, unfelt biologic processes. It’s worth mentioning because this type of unintentional thought is also known to respond to volitional control. In Tummo-meditation, first performed high in the Himalayan mountains, Tibetan monks have been scientifically measured to produce enough body heat to melt snow and generate a steady flow of steam from their wet clothing. Here’s an 8-part YouTube commentary detailing the secrets of the Tibetan yogi. Have fun with that; however, this is definitely not a recommendation to attempt such activities, so if you happen to be climbing to the high cold regions of the troposphere sometime in the near future, please keep your shirt on.
Our well-sought-after trophy of intentional thinking also has a few descriptions that you may be familiar with. The mantra is like a sharp steel blade here in the yoga community and rightfully so. The etymology of mantra is “an instrument of thought.” I have also heard it broken down to “protection of the mind,” which poses some interesting questions in its own right (like, protection from what?). The brothers and sisters of the mantra are chanting, singing, praying or even regular conversation if you’re good. Focused listening, reading or observation of the involuntary thought flow are also integral members of the intentional thought family. Intentional thought also embodies the concepts of volitional posture and mindful breathing within itself.
So What Gives?
The common thread that interweaves these three attributes of your inner reality is “The Choice.” However, it’s divinity is further reflected after volitional control becomes an inherent attribute of your present-time consciousness.
With practice, your postural muscles strengthen, the pelvis tilts and the shoulder blades engage towards the spine, without you ever realizing or intending. Complete strangers will start walking up to you on the street saying “hey, nice posture dude.” And a spirited sub-linguistic communion with others, with your self and with I.T., will flow effortlessly like a whisking white cloud that slides across the naked sky.
With practice, your inhalations and exhalations will soften and extend as the belly passively collapses and expands. You exchange life force with the invisible atmospheric matrix as melodically as the ocean tide, receding and proceeding with the ebbs of individual wave breaths playfully washing away the sands of consciousness.
With practice, intentional thinking replaces the tumultuous shifting nature of the mind. Perhaps your intentional thoughts are focused on listening to the chaos, noticing the space and doing whatever it is that you do to be peaceful. Perhaps your intentional thoughts are mantras, recited thousands of times until they eventually become involuntary thoughts that arise above the chatter and evolve into your actions. To be peaceful and to drive action are the poetic desires of a human being that transcend comparison because they are infinite experiences.
Standing tall, belly breathing, noticing the thought flashes. Mindful of I.T. Compassion, forgiveness, patience, admiration, appreciation—and any other desired trait—flow without having to try. Back to the moment, love is continually fueling the eternal fire of the heart—unintentionally. And everything is revealed as the essence of God and God’s intention for you.