It is when I move places that I usually rediscover my books. Every time I have to recreate my library is a great joy. Moving and reorganizing the multiple books is the opportunity to take a fresh look at the gems hidden in it.
Books are so important. Ideas, through writing, are kept somewhere forever. Not so long ago the internet did not exist; books were the best way to save and share knowledge. They also appeal to this incomparable sensory experience, being the smell of paper and ink or the various textures of the pages under the pages. The body fully participates in the embodiment of ideas, to the tactile integration of the information.
Most importantly, words have an energetic charge. It is as if each reading was actualizing again the atmosphere of inspiration that runs through the author at the moment they were writing. The words of the mystics, above all, should not be read or studied with a logical approach. They must be felt. Whenever an emotion presents itself along with the reading, one must close the book and fully give themselves to this sensation without letting the mind jump onto any kind of understanding or opinion. What is profound is accessible through the emotional intelligence, that of the heart and the body. Not by the mind.
As I was filling my moving boxes, Madame de Guyon got my attention with her little book La Désapropriation, ou l’Abandonnement de tout soi-même (Disappropriation, or Abandonment of everything oneself). Her words feel like honey to the soul. Alive, resonating of wisdom and connected to a greater Truth than us, as if this woman had unravelled the mysteries of life. I feel a form of nostalgia; It’s been several months since I had the time to delve into my reading, or the opportunity to travel the world to give a yoga workshop, or simply sit on my yoga mat as much as I would like.
“What made so few people subscribe to Inside was the false belief that you had to quit all kinds of jobs in order to indulge in Inside. There is no use contrary to it. Saint-Jean-Baptiste advised everyone to improve their skills.
“So you don’t have to give up jobs or the world to be interior, but we must try to spread the interior in the world.” — Madame de Guyon
On the same page, a post-it left there:
“The master of the house. You don’t give up on the outside world, you just don’t absorb yourself in it in the same way when the intensity of the inside world becomes so great.” — Abhinavagupta
Shaivite words alongside Christian ones echo each other with the same truth, the same inner experience. Culture shapes the words, the language’s codes. But the inner experience knows no difference.
One night, I dream of a fox coming to visit me. He is a wise one. He talks to me and shares his teaching. I am drawn from the dream by the tears of my baby asking for his night meal. Pressed against me as I breastfeed, I simultaneously feel present to him and still absorbed in the sensation of the dream. The two spaces blend into each other. The words of Madame de Guyon and Abhinavagupta resonate in my flesh and the world around me. I feel how much nothing is missing, neither the readings, nor the trips, nor the connection with my teachers, because ultimately, everything is here and inside — deep emotion.
There are different chapters we experience throughout life. Some are more inviting to introspection, while others push more into the concrete material of reality. Each step offers its share of challenges and learning experiences. Either way, everything is conducive to integrating yoga – in its deep and traditional meaning – into the heart of everyday life.
Nothing can take us away from what is essential, except ourselves. Some people we meet along the way or readings guide us to discover and nourish our inner space, but they don’t create anything. They sometimes allow this space to be reactivated, although what you must learn is to come back to this inner world without anyone’s help, learn how to sit in this inner space as in a stable seat. Yoga takes on its full meaning: the inner seat in one’s own center and the physical seat are the same thing. Yoga postures, or asanas, have only one goal: neither health nor well-being, but this return to the inner world that inhabits us, making this internal space alive.
The word yoga is derived from the Sanskrit root “yug” which means “to join”, “to unite”. This union is that of the interior and exterior life, which occurs when each dimension finds their rightful place to one another. External life does not prevent the internal one and vice versa. They do not belong to opposite worlds, but rather exist as a full reality that takes on each person’s colouring. Everyone’s path carries its own truth, and every action comes from each individual who generates it and lives it. The more I surrender to myself, the more the internal space will arise from this daily introspection which becomes like a sadhana that never stops.
About the Author:
Mariette Raina joined the Never Apart Center team in 2016 as a monthly columnist. Her writing focuses on spirituality, art and environmental issues. Mariette has a master’s degree in Anthropology. She is also teaching yoga and photography that she approaches like self-reflective and introspective mediums.
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