Gospel of Thomas: Saying Four - The Old Man and the Infant

4. Jesus said, "The person old in days won't hesitate to ask a little child seven days old about the place of life, and that person will live. For many of the first will be last, and will become a single one."

What is the meaning of humility?  In this saying, Jesus asks us to contemplate it through the allegory of the old man and the infant.  The old man who willingly acknowledges the innocence of an infant has the humility to recognize the Christ is in everyone and everything.

The road of self-inquiry does not end. 

It begins when we take our first breath and ends with the exhalation of our last.

Humility is not subordinating yourself.  It is an internal acknowledgement that you have the willingness to learn.  You mind is always open.  This keeps us from forming dogmatic views.  We need to be able to change with the ebb and flow of life.  A baby is innocent.  An old man peers into its eyes and is reminded of the innocence he had, and thus the circle is complete

Have you heard the phrase "God is inside us all" and wondered what it means?  We all have the potential to become like Jesus.  This is not in a metaphorical sense, I mean this literally.  Jesus was one with The Christ, and as Jesus the Christ, he gave us these sayings to help us unlock our divine potential.  Humility is a trait that will help us navigate this winding road to self discovery.

Much of the Gospel of Thomas uses allegories to convey underlying symbolism.

The way to interoperate that esoteric meaning is to meditate on its symbolism.

You may come up with a different meaning than I do.


The more perspective we have into the Gospel of Thomas, the better.

Isn’t it exciting that we can read these sayings and find our own meaning in them?

I recommend using visualization for Gnostic meditation. If you can sit in a quiet place for a few minutes, imagine an old man looking into the eyes of a baby.

What are the expressions on his face?

What emotions does the new born baby invoke in you?

Those underlying feelings are the key.

Holding on to the feeling will lead you to become one with Christ.

It’s the gateway to unending joy and happiness, a right we all have to claim.

A Historic Opportunity - Returning Yoga and Christianity to Their Roots

Look around you.  Our world is being ripped apart by fundamentalism.  In Iraq and Syria, we have fundamentalist Muslims destroying our heritage in the form of ISIS.  In America, fundamentalist liberals are battling fundamentalist Christians for the heart of our culture, cloaking themselves in our constitution as a means to force their opinions on others.

Every so often, there comes a time in history where esoteric and spiritual principals need to be taken from the hands of elite and given back to the people.  We have seen this many times in the past.  Buddhism was formed when Siddhartha confronted the Brahmanistic culture of India.  Jesus was put to death for taking on the spiritual leaders in Israel.  Now, millennia later, the persecuted have become the persecutors.  Dare I say the Vicar of Christ has lost his mind be delving into subjects not even related to Jesus's teachings.  Yoga is now a watered down corporately owned farce of itself, relegated to a group of stretches.  Gone is the deep introspection and self-analysis of Pantanjali.

Our educational institutions have been overrun by a Brahmanist culture that embraces bureaucracy over academic and intellectual expression.  Now our universities seem more interested in gathering tuition than preparing students for a good life.

Those are just a few examples that I perceive happening today.  It saddens me to see people lose their individuality and put into conveniently labeled silos so that they can be judged by the nature of that lable instead of the content of their character.

Something miraculous has happened in the past decade or so.  We now have the ability to disseminate knowledge for free over the internet.  Information is now available at a relatively low cost.  We can share our ideas, at least for now, without fear of repression.

I think there is a historic opportunity to return Christianity and Yoga back to their introspective roots.

When the Roman Catholic Church attempted to wipe Gnosticism off the map, its destructive force was thwarted by a person who hid some of the gnostic text in an Egyptian cave.

Is it a coincidence that these text emerged recently?

I don’t really know.

I do know, however, that if Christianity is to evolve as a practice, the primary focus should be on the individual and not the institution.

I also think that Yoga has gotten off course, but this has happened recently.

Hatha Yoga, or the poses we see in modern yoga classes were originally created as a method to prepare the body for long periods of meditation.

It is not a means to an end in itself.

This is why I am calling for the resurgence of Jnana Yoga.

Jnana Yoga is one of the four paths of Yoga.

It is the past of wisdom and intellectual analysis of ones nature in order to understand God.

By returning introspection and logic to Christianity and Yoga, I think we can take the look into ourselves without the need for the approval of the ruling class.

My writings on the Gospel of Thomas and the Yoga Sutras generally reflect that worldview.

As I go along in my writings, I hope to fuse both practices into one set of practices so that we all can personally know Christ.

Sutra 2.20 - More Than Meets the Eye

2.20 The in-dweller is pure consciousness only, which though pure, sees through the mind and is identified by ego as being only the mind.

Pure consciousness is a level of awareness exists under subconscious symbolism and our sense of identity.  Go back and read my blogpost "Map of The Yogic Mind"  and you can read about the mind, it’s components and how they interrelate.   

Now, how do I describe seeing the mind as something separate from consciousness?  Sutra 2.20 states that we identify ourselves with the mind. If you observe your thoughts however, you will gain mastery over them.

In a small way, we are biological computers that are programmed by our will.  Normally our will is on cruise control, but we can take the steering wheel of the car when we realize we are in a car.

One of my favorite toys was the transformer Devastator.  He was a large robot made up of smaller robots.  Hasbro was a bunch of geniuses for getting parents to buy a whole set of toys to get a bigger one.  Voltron was the same way.  You had to purchase all five lions to make the Defender of the Universe.

Devastator is the mind.  He is made up of separate components that form a larger whole.  When they components unite, they work as one.  By practicing Yoga, we get the four functions of the mind to work in unison.

Now, the thing is, we all know the real force behind Devastator was Megatron.  He called all the shots.  The Decepticons lost because they could never get their crap together.  In order to fully control Devastator, we have to realize that Megatron is the one behind everything, calling the shots.   So it goes with the mind and our consciousness.

The Gospel of Thomas: Saying Three - What Would Aqua Man Do?

3. Jesus said, "If your leaders say to you, 'Look, the (Father's) kingdom is in the sky,' then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, 'It is in the sea,' then the fish will precede you. Rather, the (Father's) kingdom is within you and it is outside you.

I do no think Jesus was giving us instructions on following animals in Saying Three.  Like all the other sayings, it's an allegory.  If you compare the Yoga Sutras to the Gospel of Thomas, you will see the similarities between the format, but the GOT uses more symbolism.  I'm going to need the help of my least favorite Justice League member to break this down.

Aqua Man is prince of Atlantis.  He rules under the sea, where he gets fish to do all his work by using his telepathy.  I have a beef with Aqua Man.  He gets sea creatures to do all his dirty work, especially in the 70's cartoon version of the Super Friends.

I mean, dude gets himself stuck in a net, so he summons a gaggle of sword fish to cut him free.

"Aqua Man uses his telepathic powers to brainwash fish into doing his bidding  Today we have religious leaders telling us what think, where to go and what moral dictates to follow in order to become one with God.   In eastern philosophical tradition, it is said, once a spiritual leaders dies, his teachings die with him.  It is up to the followers of that leader to interpret the changes and filter them through their perspective.  In this manner, core spiritual teachings can be passed on to new generations without dogma developing.

This is how religion can evolve.

Jesus is telling us to look for the kingdom of God within ourselves.  Your inner kingdom is a reflection of the outer kingdom.  If you change yourself internally, you will see the changes reflected externally.

Another perspective on this is that Jesus is talking about the concept of duality.  Gnostics believe that the universe that lies within is a reflection of the universe that we perceive.  Essentially, trying to change the outside universe is nothing more then us trying to change our internal universe through external action.  We can observe our internal universe in the external universe through awareness.  All the world is a stage, and we are telepathic fish wranglers

Sutra 2.19 - The Big Apple

2.19 The stages of the attributes effecting the experienced world are the specialized and the unspecialized, the differentiated and the undifferentiated.

Sutra 2.19 is referring to the qualities of the Gunas.  If you read my post "Losing Your Marbles" I talk about their nature. Other translations state that the Guans are either gross or subtle, manifested and unmanifested.  These four stages of evolution are witnessed when the Yogi goes into meditation, following it's natural course over a long time period.

Gross, in the Yoga Sutras, refers to thoughts the lie on the surface of the mind.  They have all their attachments associated with them.  For instance, if you think of a doughnut, you may associate the taste, smell and the joy of eating it with the doughnut.  So, specialized thoughts are completely unique to the individual perceiving them.  Some people do not like doughnuts and have negative thoughts associated with them.  Yoga refers to these people as weirdoes.  How can you not like a doughnut?

The unspecialized, or subtle level of thought associated with an object in the mind do not have sense impressions attached to them.  For example, you may see a picture of a far away place, but because you have not been to there, you can only associate with the image.  I have never been to New York, but I have seen plenty of pictures.  What I imagine it to be vs. going there are two different things

The next level is a little harder to describe.  Differentiated means that the thoughts themselves are separated only by the fact that they exist as thoughts.  That is why they can also be referred to as manifested.  They exist simply because they are there.  Have you experienced something and had a "gut feeling"about it?  This is the deepest level of differentiation,  It is so subtle, it operates outside our everyday awareness.  With meditation, we learn that all objects are separated here. 

Finally, there is undifferentiated or unmanifested.  All objects exists with no attachment to them.  When you take in sensory input of an object and there is no unconscious trigger, you have reached the "top of the ladder".    The object is just there, existing on its own without the definition we put on it.

Gospel of Thomas: Saying Two - The Can of Worms.

2. Jesus said, "Those who seek should not stop seeking until they find. When they find, they will be disturbed. When they are disturbed, they will marvel, and will reign over all. [And after they have reigned they will rest.]"

I wish this saying was in the Yoga Sutras.  Jesus was a great motivational speaker.  He didn't have to do much in order to get others to follow him, so I have wondered how his voice sounded or how he used his intonation to get his messages across. 

Jesus is saying that ounce you begin your journey down the path toward enlightenment, don't stop at all costs.  You will start digging into the mind and you will not like what you find.  I don not like to rhyme, but it happens some of the time.  I think I will stop rhyming at the cost of losing your attention.

The truth is, doing meditation and spiritual development is like going down the rabbit hole from Alice in Wonderland, or taking the red pill from the Matrix.  You will be scared at what you discover.  In fact I advice you not to talk about it until you find like minded people to share it with.  There are not many Gnostics in Christianity, but you may find them.  I consider myself a practicing Gnostic.  I know a lot about the Yoga Sutras, but because I was raised Catholic, I identify with the concept of Christ.  Gnosticism is  the Christian version of Yoga.  Yoga was not suppressed in India, so it had time to develop hundreds of practices.  Gnosticism, on the other hand, was wiped out by the early church.  I guess they should have done a better job, because they missed a couple of books.

You will marvel at what you can do with yourself when you get in touch with your inner being.  Tthe everyday grind will not effect you.  You will no longer be subjected to the wavering frivolities of worldly life.  You will have control.  You will reign over all of yourself.

Once you have gained full control, you will not slip back.  You can rest knowing that you know what Jesus was referring to in these sayings.  Be at rest, always.

Gospel of Thomas: Saying One

1. And he said, "Whoever discovers the interpretation of these sayings will not taste death."

Time to take a foray into the Gospel of Thomas.  For those you who do not know, the Gospel of Thomas was found with the Nag Hamadi writings.  It's one of the only fully intact Gnostic gospel in existence.  I'm personally  excited about it because it has been around for about seventy years.  It has not been over analyzed by scholars.  There is also a flavor of the Yoga Sutras in Thomas's writings because each saying is broken down to communicate as much information as possible while using the fewest amount of words 

Saying One starts out with the traditional statement that we find at the beginning of other esoteric literature.  The first line of the Yoga Sutras state "Here, now, we begin the study of Yoga".  We all have to start somewhere, right?   

In my opinion, he is giving a clear indication that practicing these teachings in everyday life will bring into oneness with the larger whole of Christ.  Christ, in the esoteric teachings, is a higher form of consciousness.  Therefore, Jesus Christ was in fact Jesus the Christ, one with this fullness.  We all can become one with Christ, literally.  We can do it here and now with intent. 

Deconstructing Symbolism

Did you read my blog posts about “The Layers of an Onion” and “Changing Your Personal Narrative?”  In those posts I touched on the subjects of symbolism.  I feel I need to explain more about how important symbolism is to Yoga.  In fact, I am going to say it is THE most important concept to understand when trying to bridge the gap between consciousness and objects.
It's so important that you can find reference to symbolism in about half of the sutras.  When I use terms like "subtle impressions" or "attachment to objects" it's a reference to symbolism.  The difficulty surrounding trying to communicate the root power of symbolism is that it goes to the very core of who we are.  When it's wiped away, our minds are clear and return to their naturally peaceful state.  Language is a set of symbols we use to communicate with each other.  Can you see how trying to communicate symbolism through symbolism can be difficult?  I am going to give it a try anyway, so please bear with me and use the comment section to ask any questions.  Let's start with a controversial example.

What do you see when you look at the swastika?  Most people associate it with the Nazis and everything they represented.  It's a powerful symbol that invokes reaction in ourselves.  Do you know where the swastika originated?  It was a Jain holy symbol.  The Jain still use it on their temples and celebrate its meaning.  It has been around for thousands of years before the Nazis existed.

Swastika Outside a Jain Temple in India

Fast forward to the 19th century.  Occultism became popular and we saw the emergence of occultist organizations like the Theosophical Society.  These groups used their own set of symbols to communicate esoteric concepts to members.  The cult of Thule was one such group.  Adolf Hitler had an obsession with the occult and use the symbol of the swastika from the cult of Thule, who took it from the Jains.  He knew the power of symbolism.  The swastika was on every Nazi banner, flag, battle helmet and government building.  People wonder how the Germans could have been bamboozled into such a belief system.  Well, Hitler chose a symbol, rallied a set of concepts around it and then people followed.  It's so powerful that its significance is still felt today.
When a baby is born into this world, it is essentially a blank slate.  We do have our DNA, but we pick up a lot from our environment.  I like the new field of endogenetics, which studies how the environment affects our DNA over time.  A baby begins to develop through the input it receives from the senses.  A baby does not know language, but it knows basic symbolism through instinct.  As we grow older, layers of symbolisms are piled on top of one other forming our identity.  Things like our race, family, opinions... everything that makes up our perspective, we learn through our environment.  Symbolism is the bridge between us and our identity.

Time for a Matrix analogy.  If you have not seen the movie, it is about a man named Neo who is plugged in, with all of humanity, to a computer simulation called the Matrix.  The movie sets up the concept that life is nothing more than a hologram: something created by someone else to keep us in line.  It's right in a way because we look at how symbolism connects us to the external world.  

Our Matrix is the set of symbols embedded in us that compels us to act in ways we are unconsciously aware of.  As I have said before in previous posts, nature has planted this in us in order to make survival easier.  If we could not interact with our environment, then we would spend too much time trying to make sense of it, or we would have been eaten by predators.

Where does Yoga come into play?  Well, there is no way we could understand symbolism unless we are aware of how it affects us in the first place.  Input comes into our awareness through the senses. It triggers symbolism that in turn starts our internal dialogue which then goes to our higher faculties.  The higher faculties then give us the power to make a decisions.
Yoga is a deconstruction process and symbolism is the second strata of layers we have to discern.  It's our perspective that we are changing.  Our perspective is changed by our environment as we age, but Yoga gives us the ability to remove the meaning behind symbolism.  This in turn allows us to see the world as it truly is.  A world without symbolism is a world that exists on its own devices.  There is nothing we need to do in order to change it, it changes itself through natural processes.  Now, we can move free, detached from those processes.

Sutra 2.18 - The Power is Yours!

2.18 The experienced world consists of the elements and the senses in play. It is of the nature of cognition, activity and rest, and is for the purpose of experience and realization.

In Vedic tradition, there are five key elements: Earth, Fire, Air, Water, and Ether.  When those powers combine, you get Captain Planet!  Green mullets aside, the Vedas state that all objects in the universe are composed of these elements.  In my opinion, elements are not the best translation from Sanskrit.  I like to think of them as qualities.  Going into more detail would require another couple of posts.  I suggest you look up more information on them because they are a big part of Vedic Astrology an Ayurveda

We can look at this from a scientific perspective.  The material universe is made up of the physical elements like hydrogen, helium and carbon.  The five senses of sight, smell, taste, touch and hearing connect our perception to the environment.  At it's most basic level, the human experience is an interplay of these forces.  

Or attempts to make sense and put order to the interplay of elements and senses is the process of cognition.  When we are not in the process of cognition, our natural state is to be at rest.  Yoga works by putting our mind into a state of rest so that we get more control over the process of cognition.  In this state of rest, we see the interplay for what it is and can sort it out through meditative techniques.

Sutra 2.18, in a small way gives us a little insight into why we are the way we are.  We are here to experience and have realizations from those experiences.  Living for the sake of living.  Doing for the sake of doing.  It's all the same under the sun, as they say. 

On an off note, I was thinking of doing a YouTube Channel dedicated strictly to doing Yogic  practice.  I would give instructional videos on the Kriya techniques I found the most helpful over the last eleven years.  I would do this in a blog, but I think videos would be a better format.  If you are interested, drop me an email or a comment.   

Adam Sandler's Guide to Reincarnation

Reincarnation an integral part of Eastern Philosophy.  Yoga can be practiced without any belief in reincarnation, but it helps to understand the concept.  When I hear people speak of it, they talk about being a human, then a worm, then a dog and finally ending up a box of tic-tacs.  The philosophy is not as simplistic.  

Have you seen the movie 50 First Dates with Adam Sandler?  You saw an Adam Sandler movie? Just kidding.  In the movie, Adam Sandler plays a marine biologist named Henry Roth, who goes to a diner and falls for a girl name Lucy Whitmore, played by Drew Barrymore.  The next day, he shows up at the diner only to find out that she has forgotten about him.  He discovers that each day she wakes up she forgets everything that happened the previous day.  To make a long story short, Henry tries for months to get Lucy's attention trying various schemes.  They sail away together on his boat where every day she wakes up and watches a VHS tape of their relationship, reminding her how they met and what her life is like.

When we die, our consciousness leaves our body behind and takes with it the subtle impressions it collected during its lifetime.  When we are reborn, we are put into a place and time where those subtle impressions can best be fulfilled. Just like when Lucy falls asleep, when we die, we forget everything from the previous time period and have to start over again.  What we were in the past life largely determines what we are to learn in the next life.  It all depends on timing, what we still need to learn as a soul and how our karma plays out.

Regardless of what we do, the concept of reincarnation works to evolve the individual soul back to its original manifestation of pure consciousness.  I like to think of Yoga as the video tape.  We practice so we can gain insight into what we are bringing over from other lives by watching the tape of our inner tendencies.  I think if we looked at death from the perspective of going to sleep rather than the end of it all, a lot of its fear in mystery would vanish.

True Disciples of Christ

Tragedy struck a small church in Charleston, South Carolina Thursday June 18th when Dylann Storm shot and killed 9 people during a church prayer group.  He drove to the church from his hometown to "start a new civil war".  He arrived at the church and sat through about a half an hour of the meeting.  During that half an hour, something happened: an emboldened killer paused for a second.  Something about the niceness of the church members made him rethink his plot. 

Dylann ultimately decided to carry out his executions.  According to the information available, he took his time systematically executing each member one by one, leaving a woman alive to tell others what he did.  He wanted to be a famous man.  The man that would start a race war.  

So what happened?  Well, we have the usual flurry calling for gun control, more calls to examine our race relations in our country and political posturing from our leaders.

Here is what struck me:  During the arraignment, Dylann starred blankly into a monitor while the families of his victims were paraded in front of him.  What did they do?  They forgave him.  With pain and grief flowing through their minds, the found the courage to find forgiveness when most of us would be calling for vengeance. 

Forgiveness was something unique to Jesus's teachings.  To truly forgive someone is one of the hardest emotional decisions we can make.  To be angry at someone gives us the sense that we have power of them, but in actuality, they have power over us.  That anger can build into resentment, then eventually an entrenched grudge that consumes us from the inside out.

I felt this way about my father for a long time.  He and I did not get along.  Toward the end of his life, I would say we were close to bitter enemies.  When he died when I was 16. I almost literally danced on his grave as I drove away from his funeral in the very car he tried to keep me from driving.

I didn't win anything.  The anger never left me.  It just built itself up over the years and reeked havoc on my life.  Twenty years later, I can forgive him.  I am not like the family of the victims of that shooting.  I am not worthy of loosening their sandal strap.

Divorcing Yoga from Vedic Astrology: Irreconcilable Differences

The great Kriya Yoga sage Paramahansa Yogananda was sitting at the feet of his Guru, Sri Yuksesawa, firelight flickering across their faces.

Yogananda looks Sri Yukteshwar in the eye, lamenting about his upcoming fate: a liver disease predicted by him.

If you read the chapter “Outwitting the Stars” in Autobiography of a Yogi, Yogananda gives an extensive account of his relationship with Vedic Astrology.

Sri Yukteshwar suggested a bracelet made of three medals for him to wear, telling him that it would protect him from the influences of astrological forces.

You cannot outwit the starts, or so they say.

Astrologers in India have made fortunes selling various gemstones, telling their clients that wearing them will prevent future disaster.

I have studied Vedic Astrology for about ten years.

On paper the practice works seamlessly into the chakra system, while explaining the activation of karmic seeds planted in us from past lives.

While giving consultations to people, I have noticed that they absorb every piece of information I give them like a sponge.

It makes sense.

Someone would not go to another person for advice on the future if they were not seeking answers to their fate.

So here is the million dollar question: are a person’s suggestibility making them vulnerable to self-fulfilling prophesy?

Here is an example: a client comes in for a career consultation.

I take a look at their chart and come to the determination that being a layer is a good career path for them.

They get excited and decide to make an obviously huge, life altering decision.

Did I awaken something in them, or did they have the desire to go into law and I just validated it for them.

Many of us are looking for some sort of validation.

It’s built into us as human being.

Being social creatures, we are biologically wired to go along with the tribe.

If the tribe does not approve of our behavior, withholding validation brings non-conformists back in line.

Yoga is a method of self-inquiry that is used to discover things about ourselves.

I thing that if we pay enough attention to our desires as we go deeper into our minds, they will manifest themselves.

I think part of the enlightenment process is self-actualization, or taking action on our desires, fulfilling them through karma yoga.

After doing my Yogic practice for many years, I have learned to live life in the present.

When we focus too much on what may happened, it takes our mind off the now.

What I do now effects the future.

Issues from my past are more than willing to make themselves known at a certain point In my life.

When we are trained to handle those issues as they arise, their timing is less relevant.

If we have a developed sense of self-actualization, we will have the tenacity to move forward in spite of circumstances.

I’m advocating against using Vedic Astrology, I think that we can invest too much time ready the map instead of moving along on our journey.

Either way, the map will come to us.

The question is, are we ready for the bumps in the raod?

Sutras 2.16 and 2.17 - Setting Sail

2.16 The grief which has not yet come may be avoided.

2.17 The cause of the avoidable is the superimposition of the external world onto the unseen world.

How much control do we have over events yet to come?  According to Sutras 2.16 and 2.17, we can change future results by tweaking internal tenancies.

Goswami Kriyananda gave an analogy of how we can change our karma.  First, understand that change takes time.  If you were to sail a boat accrosse the Atlantic with ropes tied to hold the wheel at the helm in place, the boat would follow a natural couse until it reached the other side.  If you have tried to tie something with ropes, you notice that there is a small amount of slack in the ropes.  That small amount of slack is the will we have to change the direction of the boat.  At first, the direction of the boat does not change much, but by the time you get accorsse the ocean, you may land in Africa instead of Europe.  

In my practiced I have noticed that time not only changes the course of the boat, but the longer you adhear to yogic practice, the more the ropes loosen.  After some time, some ropes begin to fray and eventually release thier grip on the helm of your life.  The time it takes to effect change in your surroundings is inversely perpotional to how deeply a tendency is ingrained.

What does Sutra 2.17 mean by superimposing the world of the external on to the world of the unseen?  The world of the unseen is what is inside us.  Our ideals, memories, wishes, fears and expectations make us who we are.  These are formed from impressions we pick up along the way from the external world.  When we reverse the flow of impression from inside to outside, the world seems to change. 

Sutra 2.15 - Etch-A-Sketching

2.15 All is misery to the wise because of the pains of change, anxiety, and purificatory acts.

One thing in life we can always count on is change.  If we expect things to stay the same, Sutra 2.

15 states that we will experience the pains of misery.  In Yoga, the term Ishtah Kala roughly translates to "soul trapped in time".  The nature of time, space and matter is change.  At it's very basic level, our consciousness does not change, but we only see the change because we are conditioned to be part of the change.

One of my favorite toys when I was a kid was the Etch-A-Sketch.  Looking back on it, it really wasn't the greatest thing.  I mean, how far could you get making a picture without being able to draw diagonal lines.  If you could even get the line to become diagonal, you would have had some sort of super skill working both those drawing knobs.  So in school, I would make a drawing, and it would inevitably get erased by the other children.  Gone was my masterpiece in mere seconds. 

As we go through life, there is a natural tendency to try to maintain what we have.  I think the more we get, the more time we have to spend maintaining it.  I don't know how many times I have went to the gym to try to lose weigh,  enhance cardio or gain muscle mass.  Even when I have established a meditation routine, I would try to cram in as many techniques as I could. 

I could only run for so long before my knees would hurt.  When I got to a weight I could not lift past, I tried using supplements, but in the end, my elbows became inflamed.   I got very good at doing various yoga techniques, but I wasn't until I concentrated on one, that I got the most out of it.  A technique will outlast it's usefulness after a while.

You can only go so far in life before you top out at something.  Sutra 2.15 gives us a work from the wise.  Know that you can count on something not staying the same.  When you top out, try to move on or teach what you know.

Sutras 2.12 to 2.14 - The Roots of Karma

2.12 The impressions of works have their roots in afflictions and arise as experience in the present and the future births.

2.13 When the root exists, its fruition is birth, life and experience.

2.14 They have pleasure or pain as their fruit, according as their cause be virtue or vice.

Have you ever tried to get rid of a stubborn weed?  One of the reasons why I have forsworn home ownership with a large yard is the difficulty of maintaining a weed free lawn.  Some weeds, like the dandelion flowers were, next to impossible to eliminate.  I don't like to use harsh chemical on my lawn because of what they do to the ground in the long run, so when I mowed my lawn, I would treat the weeds as part of the lawn itself.  What is amazing is how something that was originally a patch of grass became a mix of different weeds in the course of two years. 

If the effort was not put into removing the weeds by the roost, they regrew even stronger.    The roots would grow bigger, just waiting until the next season to  grow back with a vengeance. 

Karma stored in our nervous system took root when the seed of impression was planted.  If you took a chart of the human nervous system and flipped it upside-down, it would look like a tree.  The brain would be the roots and the trunk of the spine extends up the back, breaking off into several branches reaching every part of the body.  Rooted in the brain, our reactions to virtue or vice unfold as we experience our lives.  Going through the process of deep meditation gives us access to the roots of our problems, so we can pull them up and stop them from regrowing.

Sutras 2.10 - 2.11 - Cure for the Common Habit

2.10 These patterns when subtle may be removed by developing their contraries.

2.11 Their active afflictions are to be destroyed by meditation.

When something isn't working, do that opposite.  That sums up the advice given to deal with the afflictions mentioned in the previous sutras.  Sutra 2.11 states that active afflictions can be "destroyed" through meditation.  I like the term mitigated instead. 

First, there must be an understanding between what is active and what is passive.  Active afflictions work in the present.  They remain dormant until triggered by an external event, or they may be an ongoing part of our daily lives.  When we meditate, these qualities will come to the surface.  We may not recognize them at first, but with further reflection, we will know them.  Part of the meditative process is developing self awareness.  It's like putting a mirror up to your mind, and being able to see the mind through the eyes of it's own reflection.  Why are we able notice these qualities in others before we see them in ourselves?  Having outside perspective makes all the difference. 

Inactive patterns are inherent in all of us and are part of the human condition.  Our tendency is to carry out whatever whim may be in our mind at the present moment.  When the mind becomes still, the Yogi notices these afflictions as they arise, and cuts them off before they become active.  To put this in perspective, lets use the example of trying to change a habit.  Habits exists so that we do not have to actively put conscious effort into everything we do.  When we try to change a habit, first we must have the will to do so.  After some time and effort, the scales of the habit change from old behavior to the desired new one.  However, even though we may have changed our behavior at a surface level, there will be remnants in the subconscious mind for some time.

I quit smoking about ten years ago.  If any of you have done this, you will know it's a very difficult.  Many who begin this endeavor start with a large amount of enthusiasm, but the closer we get to the point where the habit of not smoking takes over the habit to smoke, the harder it gets.  Once we get past this point however, it get's easier as time goes on.  It's like pushing a boulder uphill. We get tired near the top of the hill, but when we get that rock over the top, it will naturally pick up momentum as it rolls down the side of the hill.  Even though we may have pushed the rock over the hill, if we do not remain aware, we may inadvertently run down the hill and start pushing the boulder back up the other way. 

Some Yogic Advice for the Insomniac

Insomnia is something that I am very familiar with.  At some points in my life, it has become so debilitating, that I have gotten into car accidents, suffered from poor work performance and even issues in personal relationships.  Insomnia is an insidious beast that works its way into our lives and wraps its tentacles around every aspect we hold dear.  Insomnia was the major reason why I got into Yoga in the first place.  I sleep better now than I did in the past, but I still have some issues.

So why can't people sleep?  It's a complicated relationship we have with ourselves and how we expect things to occur.  Ironically, my biggest issue with sleeping was the fear of not sleeping.  Staying up and watching the clock, counting the hours that I may be able to get and how if I got just enough, I would be able to function the next day.  The effects of insomnia would work their way into the next day, affecting my alertness, thus causing more mistakes and upping the anxiety the next night,  It's like a morbid hamster wheal.  In came modern medicine with a slew of addictive sleeping aids, which only work for about a week.  These sleep aid generally suppress REM sleep and do not allow the brain to heal from the stresses of the day.

So, really, what to do?  First, we have to accept that the modern work world has made it very difficult to balance work and life.  In IT, many of us are expected to be at the beckon of our cells phones in case there are issues with computer systems.  We sacrifice our personal lives so that the line between work and home become greyer and most are not even compensated with overtime.  People are increasingly bringing work home from the office, which does not help our situations.  If we are to start getting rest as insomniacs, we have to set our boundaries and live with the consequences. 

I'm not going to go over all the sleep environment stuff.  I figure you have already changed your mattress, lighting, timing of sleep and other factors.  I want to focus specifically on the root causes of insomnia which are the racing mind and fear of not sleeping.  Stopping a racing mind takes practice.  If you are going to be awake, you might as well meditate.  You do not have to be sitting to meditate.  As you lie in bed, you can work on becoming a passive observer of your thoughts.  Detaching yourself from your thoughts is the second major step a Yogi takes on the path toward enlightenment, second only to the intent to do Yoga.  The fear of not sleeping can be relieved by Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.  There are self help books that guide you through programs, mainly focused on challenging negative thoughts and internal dialogue.  The next helpful thing is Yoga Nidra.  This practice is very in depth, and can be used alone as a Yoga Routine.  The nice thing about it is that it's practiced while laying down.  If you are going to be there for hours anyway, you might as well make the best of your time.  Swamij.com is THE best resource on the net for in depth Yoga practice. 

This article

is long, but it explains Yoga Nidra in more detail then you would ever need.  Take time to read it and absorb it.

I hope some of the information I have given you helps a little.  It's not the easy way out.  You may have to sacrifice a higher standard of living in order to live a more peaceful life resulting in more restful sleep.  Really, though, how good is life if you are not in a state of mind to enjoy it?

Sutra 2.9 - Desire

2.9 Flowing by its own energy, established even in the wise and in the foolish, is the unending desire for life.

Desire is the driver of Karma.  By it's motivations, we carry out the actions that effect our lives, both present and future.  Sutra 2.9 states that desire is a self perpetuating trap, set out by us, with no one immune to it's effects.  The cycle of desire works by fooling us into thinking it can be fulfilled by external materiality.  In truth it traps in the cycles of Karma.

Karma is a misunderstood concept.  Most think that it's something as simple as cause and effect.  Karma, in relation to the Vedas, is the complete construct of our existence.  It plays out in the form of our subconscious motivation's effects on the world.  Think of karma as the framework in which our lives unfold.  For instance, a tunnel is one path through the mountain, but it can take many possible directions.  Give your willpower a pickax, and start digging through the mountain of possibilities of life.  You do not know what kind of rock you will run into as you dig.  You may run into a diamond, or your tunnel will collapse in on you.  Your desire takes in certain directions, but no matter what direction you do in, there will always be more dirt, more rock, or a gaggle or Morlocks. 

Over time, you arms will tire from all that digging.  When we remove desire from the equations, we realize that all we ever needed was at the top of the mountain.  Through the process of Yoga, we can work to mitigate our desires and climb to the top of the mountain and enjoy the view.

On a practical level, the process of Yoga turns our attention inward instead of outward.   To understand the root cause of desire, we must examine ourselves through meditation.  Once we know what desires cause us pain, we work to detach ourselves from them.  When we know what desires give us fulfillment, we work toward them.  Santosha, or contentment, is a quality yogis try to cultivate, and is one of the virtues discussed later in book two.  When we get to that point, I will show you how to put down your pick ax and fasten you climbing shoes.

Sutra 2.8 - Aversion. Run Away!!

2.8 Aversion is the magnetic pattern which clusters in misery and pushes one from such experience.

This Samskara is self explanatory, and in my opinion, the easiest to identify.  Aversion is simply avoiding things that we need to confront, but refuse to, so life keeps putting them in our path until we deal with them.  This is also a difficult Samskara to deal with because it often buried in the same pile of emotions as attachment. 

Aversion and attachment are different sides of the same coin as far as Yoga is concerned.  Think of aversion as sort of a reverse attachment.  Anything that we give our attention to and causes us to take an action is attachment.  In my case, I do not like bees that much.  Yellow jackets seem to have an affinity for stinging me.  While I was living in Wisconsin, I worked for the Milwaukee County Parks system.  People would rent out picnic areas and I was in charge of emptying the trash cans at the end of the day.  Yellow Jackets were always there, feasting on the leftover soda.  I never got stung emptying a trash can, but the fear of the bees followed me.  Fast forward to my first home.  I had a fairly good sized yard that ground squirrels would dig holes in.  After the ground squirrels left, yellow jackets would make their home inside these holes.  Here comes innocent me, mowing the lawn, and all it took was running over the hole to get stung a few times.

I thought I was out of the woods when I moved to northern Arizona,  I sat on my front porch thinking "there is no lawn to mow!  HaHa!"  Well, a nest of yellow jackets decided to make their home under the porch, and I got sung with a whole bunch of irony.

I still don't like bees all that much, but I was able to work through some of my irrational fear.  Aversion can be a good thing, if it is rational.  I'm sure you avoid sticking your head in the oven on full blast, that is common sense.  Do you actively avoid using your oven though?  You learn how to use it correctly.  In my case, I developed a health respect for the bees.  I also will not buy a house with a lawn ever again.

Perfection - Ron Swanson Style

"Things are they way they ought be, otherwise they would be different" was something Goswami Kriyananda said.  It speaks to how we are all in search of some kind of perfection.  I have an interesting concept for you.  What if things are already perfect?  All the world, it's problems, and our expectations are just projections we place on life.  The body builder looks for perfection through diet and exercise.  The engineer looks for perfection by trying to achieve one hundred percent efficiency.  Western life, in general, is one linear path with goals placed as milestones along the way.

In Kriya Yoga, we work with the concept of duality.  The world is very real, but it molds itself to how we perceive it.  The duality disappears when the divider of our perceptions is removed, allowing our inner world to reflect the outer world.  In Zen Buddhism, this concept is like asking if the map matches the landscape.  The map is in our head, but is it easier to change the landscape to match our map, or the other way around? 

I've been watching Parks and Recreation on Hulu now for about a month.  Ron Swanson is my favorite character.  Here we have man that we could call "perfect" at the beginning of the series because he already is in touch with who he is.   As the series progresses he does not change that much until he faces some existential crisis.  For instance, when he runs into his ex-wives, both named Tammy, his personality completely changes.  So, Ron may appear perfect on the outside, but really it's external factors that dictate who he is. 

We go through our lives thinking that there is some sort of perfection that we can reach.  It gives us purpose, but is it obtainable?  What would we do with ourselves if we reached perfection?  Society does a good job of molding us to it's version of perfection through work, family and law.  If this were the path to perfection, then why has it not been achieved?  Well, it's already perfect.