River with Two-Directional flow…

A normal river carrying water flows in one direction…

The river of mind carrying thoughts flows in two directions, the direction of flow of one’s mind determine where one heads in life…

The downward flow towards destruction is the easy and natural flow, where one acts simply based on instincts.

Humans are bestowed with a special ability to act as per their WILL, commonly known as Will-Power. The upward flow is based on the extent of manifestation of this will power. This upward flow will be effective and smoother, if we direct the senses and emotions as per dictates from the higher intellect. By higher intellect we refer to the creative and intuitive powers of the intellect. The lower intellect is one which helps us deal with the day-to-day affairs effectively and survive.

It is said…

those who create changes LEAD

those who adapt well to changes SURVIVE while

those who resist changes PERISH

And…

To LEAD one need the powers of the Subtle and HIGHER INTELLECT

To SURVIVE one need to effectively use the gross and LOWER INTELLECT

To simply PERISH without getting noticed, it is enough to act according to one’s INSTINCTS.

On introspection and analysis we will understand that…

Great Leaders in all fields who inspire people for generations, effectively used Higher Intellect

Good people who make a mark during their life-time, live as per directions of the Lower Intellect

Vast majority (like animals) live subdued to their instinctual directions

This puts into perspective the cause behind stress and worry in the modern world.

Perseverance and Dispassion are the two wings of a bird which help one to flow in the upward direction of evolution making the most use of higher intellect.

Consistent practice or Sadhana as per the first two limbs of Ashtanga Yoga – Yama and Niyama help one to develop perseverance.

Development of dispassion is not getting disinterested with the day to day affairs or suppression of desires as is commonly understood. It is growing beyond these through well-developed intelligence. Such intelligence is also developed by following the principles of Yamas and Niyamas. 

Change does not happen overnight. It is a steady and continuous process. One need to first start using their lower intellect properly before moving forward to usage of higher intellect and there is no short cut in this journey. While on the journey, our past actions and their results will continue to haunt us in the form of resistance from people around and mind within. This is where perseverance comes handy. We need to be mentally prepared to face any obstacle, be resilient and rise up more swiftly than in the previous fall.

Tools for practice:

  • Asana practices with awareness help one to develop the will and awareness
  • Pranayama practices help to keep the energy levels high and activate the higher chakras
  • Pratyahara practices like antarmouna, yoga nidra, etc., help to develop awareness, control over senses, emotions and mind
  • Study and interaction with experts for gaining proper understanding of Yamas and Niyamas

One need to get the right schedule of practices for their need, as per the advice from experts

Courtesy: This insight is from a talk by Swami Muktanand Puri during World Yoga Convention 2013 in Oct 2013 at Munger

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