The spiritual path has to be experienced – not understood

Following are excerpts from an interview with the realized master who is the founder of ‘Isha Yoga,’ a subtle program on yoga designed as a vehicle for personal exploration and transformation to facilitate a truly healthy and joyous living.

What does it really mean to be on the “spiritual path”?

The very word “spirituality” means that you are not trying to be like anybody. It doesn’t matter what you want to be in the world, in some way you are trying to be like somebody. For example, if you aspire to be a musician, you probably have someone in mind who you want to play like. You are thinking of a certain kind of music because you heard somebody and it made an impression upon you. Whatever you do externally, you are always trying to either be like somebody or trying to be better than somebody. Spiritual path, on the other hand, would lead you to lose such a (rat) race – because you are not trying to be like anybody, nor are you trying to be better than anybody.

Such a state where just being yourself is more than enough, is the goal of spirituality. It is the experience that ‘just sitting here, I am complete by myself. I don’t need to become anything?to make myself into something. If I simply sit here the entire world is within me. I am so absolute, all existence is within me.” So the ultimate goal is also such, and the process is also such, that it is not necessary to be like anybody. Each individual can be in his own way and still be progressing.

If that is true, if each individual progresses in their own way, how will I know if I’m making progress?

When you walk on the inner path, why do you struggle evaluating yourself? There is no need to evaluate. The evaluation and what needs to happen will happen in a completely different dimension. You can’t do spirituality, you have to allow it. The Isha Yoga study is structured for you to grasp this very fundamental: If you allow it, it will happen.

I cannot seem to quiet my mind enough to truly meditate. How can I begin to let go?

To allow spiritual growth you need a certain level of maturity which just lets you sit down and do nothing. You’re willing to allow whatever happens. The very fundamental of shoonya (zero) meditation is just that, you are NOT needed. If something truly wonderful has to happen, you are not needed. On the other hand, if you are satisfied with petty happenings, YOU can do it. But if you really want something enormous to happen, you are not needed. If you know how to keep yourself aside, it will happen. Isha Yoga practices are designed to bring your energies to that level of stability where you can ‘just be’ ? instead of trying to do anything or be somewhere.

But I am still lost as to the purpose of all this. How can I better understand the spiritual process?

This, above all, must be understood clearly: that which is not in your experience, cannot be understood (or analyzed). People are always trying to ‘understand.’ I recently saw a big book, ‘Understanding God.’ Understanding God! They’re even trying to understanding God, that which created them! How do you get to understand that? You cannot understand anything which is in a different dimension than you are. The whole effort is to move to a different dimension. And if that is to happen, you must resist this urge to understand. You have to see that you cannot understand, and there is no need to understand. It is experiencing, which takes you out of this dimension.
Try to understand a flower; what will you understand? In your attempt to do so, maybe you will pull it apart petal by petal. Maybe you will analyze everything about
it and then you will conclude everything is proton, neutron, and electron. All that is fine, but you will not know anything about the flower.

Without having had this “experience” that you refer to, is there any material context for what it is that my being aspires to?

The only ‘understanding’ that you need is how you are bound at the material level. If you understand this and free yourself from those bondages, you will end up where
you have to go. If I talk about the sky, it’s no use. What are the ropes that are tying you down to earth? Your business is with these ropes that are tying you down, not
with the sky. Once you untie them, you reach the sky, and when you do, you will know what it is.

A Guru’s work is to help you to show you where these knots are and to help you untie them. When you come close to the edge; maybe just with one knot left, then he can push you. If he pushes you when you have many ropes tied down, it will damage you. He can push you only when everything is broken and just one single thread is hanging. He can afford to push you because you will not break, but the rope will. But when you have ropes tied all over, if he pushes you, something of you will break.

The process in Isha Yoga is to mature your body, mind, and energies so that slowly, these bondages that we have tied around us gradually are broken down. A moment comes when all you need is a slight push! You will go.
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