January 8, 2012

Finding Your Soul.

Chapter 9: What is a Right Desire?

I was ahead of myself last week and (maybe subconsciously) skipped a whole chapter!

So maybe some of you have already made your sankaplas and are rocking and rolling.  Great!  But this chapter is important in that it discusses the different desires that can shape your sankalpa.

Consider this question by Rod Stryker: “ What specifically, if you could achieve in the next six to eighteen months, would enrich your whole  life and, in the process, contribute to fulfilling  the meaning and purpose of your life?”

Many of us would fall into formulating a sankalpa in the Artha desire. Although this may be true, our intellect knows what we want, but maybe doesn’t necessarily know what our soul needs. So although we may need health and finances (Artha) to go on a trip or take another yoga training, it may not be exactly what the soul needs at the present moment.

Those desires we think we need are called preya in sanskrit. Typically these needs are for pleasant things that we have learned to want. Ultimately, these pleasant things are simply impulsive wants. Desires that are inspired by the soul are called shreya. The more we listen to our soul and fulfill those desires, the less we will need things that are born from our habits and patterns.

So how to discern between our intellect and what our soul wants? We ask the soul. According to the Yoga Vasitha “The self is neither far nor near. it is not inaccessible nor it is in distant places: it is what in oneself appears to be the experience of bliss, and therefore realized in oneself.”

“The first step to experiencing your soul is learning to still your mind” Rod Stryker 

Where do we find the soul to ask it all these great questions? In our meditation practice. Our meditation practice teaches us to still the mind and connect with that bliss within us–the voice of our soul. The more we practice stillness, the easier it is to hear and recognize we have access at any time.

This practice of quieting and stilling the mind is also found in steps #2 and #3 of formulating your sankalpa in Chapter 10. We make decisions every day, every minute even, so it’s not a bad idea to take Rod’s advice and take “five to ten minutes a day of meditation–that’s all it takes to ensure that you are beginning to meet your need for peace.”

Through the practice of meditation and pausing we our inherent state of wisdom and our connection to our soul is strengthened.

How is your meditation practice going? How do you spend time to yourself since you began your journey with the Four Desires process?

Next week we  will talk about Vasisthasana, the pose dedicated to the sage Vasistha.


Learn more about Rod Stryker and ParaYoga at RodStryker.com 
Read The Four Desires book review on Elephant Journal.
Read other discussions about The Four Desires
Instructions: How the book club works


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