By Janaki Murray
Shopping, watching TV, even talking and listening a lot in social situations draw my mind outward. However, I’m also aware that I pursue the opposite these days. I spend more time in activities that quiet my mind. They allow me to draw my senses inward more easily. In our July Contemplation, Delving Inward, Vidyadevi mentions a few: listening to music, being in nature, daydreaming. Of course, many Svaroopa® yoga practices are included.
I realise my mind is thus becoming more and more inclined towards Consciousness. These changes have been gradual and incremental. I don’t even notice them sometimes. Consequently, the yoga philosophy in our Contemplation Articles is so helpful. It brings awareness to where I’ve come from, where I am and where I’m headed.
My husband and I are very fond of chocolate (who isn’t?). A box in our fridge holds a wide variety of chocolate. We like to choose! Two or three times a year, I have a chocolate-free month to practice tapas. It so happens that this July is one. Last evening, my husband sat next to me munching away. Yet, I felt no desire for chocolate. This is the first time I have not had that craving during a chocolate-free month. This really did give me a sense of freedom, just like Vidyadevi’s experience of losing her desire for an apple fritter and coffee.
My mind was quiet, no longer harassing me with a chocolate craving. In fact, I didn’t feel the need for anything. I was content. What a stark contrast to the effect of “pursuing my senses.” Then my mind is hanging onto a thought or to a desire, not letting go. It is unsettling, disturbing, even annoying. I used to live like that all the time. No wonder I had such a busy mind!
Vidyadevi & Swamiji said, “When a desire arises, don’t indulge it. Channel that energy into your quest for Consciousness. Consciousness is reliable.” I am grateful for this coaching on the practice of pratyahara (withdrawing the senses). I don’t find it easy, but it helps me deal with desires. It helps quiet my mind and facilitates my inward journey.
I also find a two-way street in operation here. It is meditation that really gives me my daily “dip in the ocean” of Consciousness. That is where I find my own Self. It is the inner experience of my own Self that flows into my life making all things easier – including the practice of pratyahara.