Sutra 2.40 - Purity

2.40 From purity follows a withdrawal from enchantment over one's own body as well as a cessation of desire for physical contact with others.

Purity is a fickle thing.  It can easily be overdone.  How pure can you be at anything?  Yogis strive to be pure in all things, such as speech, diet, and practice.  In my personal experience, purity is not obtainable and the act of striving is the practice itself.

Here is an example.  How many of you have tried to eat well?  Have you tried to become a vegetarian, or vegan or perhaps cut sugar out of your diet?  I tried being a vegetarian for a while, thinking that my own purity would lead me to vaulted spiritual heights.  When you change any habit, your body and mind will naturally crave the old ways until your physiology adjusts.  So, when I became a vegetarian, I just ended up consuming large amounts of sugar to replace the protein that I was missing.  I know about trying to replace protein with vegetables like garbanzo beans, but unless you don't mind farting up a storm, it is just not worth it.

Striving for purity is meant to show us the things we have been covering up in our lives through vice.  Yogis will fast because it is said to be good for the body and eliminate toxins.  Another interesting thing happens when you fast: all of your natural inclinations will be revieled to you when you crave food.  When I have made attempts at fasting, different emotions would come into my mind such as anger, frustration and depression.  If I paid attention, I could write down the thoughts that entered my mind for further review later.

A practice taught to me by Swami Prananda of the Temple of Kriya Yoga is a good habit for fasting, and does not require you to starve yourself.  At the beginning of you meal, look for the portion that is most desirable to you and separate it.  At the end of your meal, throw it away as an offering.  It sounds odd and you might think you are wasting food, but you will see over time that thoughts will enter your mind, like they did mine, when you deprive yourself of your favorite part of your meal.

The bottom line is, purity is something to be striven for and not accomplished.  Remember to eat a healthy diet and do not try to live off of sunlight, or like some people, drink you pee.  That's just nasty.

Sutra 2.39 - Non-Possessiveness

2.39 When one is confirmed in non-possessiveness, the knowledge of the why and how of existence is attained.

You would think the title of this blog post would be greed, but there is a difference between this and the concept of non-possessiveness.  In Yoga, it is not a bad thing to have a lot of "stuff".  In fact, having stuff is part of the greater Dharma and is a stage toward spiritual evolution.  If we do not have the experience of having things, we will crave them.

Everyone has their limit when it comes to possession.  We see examples of the mega-rich like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet donating a large portion of their wealth to charity.  Clearly they have reached the stage in their existence that materialism no longer has it's value.  On the other side of the coin, we see people who have very little give the little of what they have to others because they know the pains of poverty.

We cannot reach a state of non-possessiveness unless we are clearly established in detachment.  Detachment is simply the acknowledgement that we can enjoy what we have, knowing that it can go at anytime.  This includes people, places and things.

I remember about a year ago, there was a fire in the Oak Creek Canyon near where lived in Arizona.  There has been a long drought in the area, for about a decade now.  The local concordances have also banned logging in the forest, which has lead to a large amount of fuel on the ground.  Basically, the area was a giant tinder box.  After the fire, people lamented at how different the canyon looked with all the trees burned away.  It was not the same as it had looked for decades.  However, the trees that had covered the canyon walls, when burned away, revealed beautiful rock formation that were not visible before the fire.

Things will always change, it is inevitable.  If we cling on with dear life to what we have, this includes memories, we will suffer when they are gone.  Creation, preservation and destruction, all working in an intricate dance around us.  We are just observers.  Enjoy the ride.

Sutra 2.38 - Celebacy

2.38 When one is confirmed in celibacy, spiritual vigor is gained.

Sex and Yoga are intertwined.  The basis of kundalini yoga is moving the reproductive force t trapped at the bottom of the spine to the third eye chakra.  Yogic monk practice celibacy to preserve the creative force as they work to move prana around in their bodies.  Tantric Yoga is fully devoted to harnessing the sexual energy directly  for enlightenment.

So what does this mean for the everyday person?  Well, the opinions on that go across the board.  In the most extreme case, some Yogic traditions call for no sex unless you intend on procreating.  Mahatma Ghandi is rumored to only to have had sex with his wife a for procreation.  Other traditions state that you should not have sex outside of a committed relationship.

The urge to procreate is one of the four Yogic "fountains".  These urges cannot be extinguished, so the Yogi is taught to work with them.  If you live in denial of this fundamental nature, you can cause yourself all kinds of issues.

There are many Yogic practices out there that harness the sexual force for spiritual gain.  Take a look around and see what works for you.

Sutras 2.36 and 2.37 - Honesty

2.36 When one is firmly established in speaking truth, the fruits of action become subservient to him.

2.37 All jewels approach him who is confirmed in honesty.

Once there was a old man meditating in the forest.  A man came running up to him on a path and asked him where he could hide.  The old man, being a Yogi has sworn to himself that he would never tell an untruth.  He told the man to climb up a nearby tree to hide.  Not too long after, a group of men came galloping up on thier horses and asked "Did you see a man come through here?  He is a criminal and we are looking for him."  The Yogi, refusing to tell a lie, silently pointed to the tree where the criminal was hiding.  To make a long story short, the man grabbed the criminal and made McNuggets out of him.

So what was the correct thing to do in this situation?  We can see the nuance of truth and how it can effect the people around us.  The Yogi could have just told the group of men that the criminal had went a different way down the path.  He could have also said that he did not see the man come through.  Adherence to absolute truth can be as dangerous as a lie.

What do we do?  It seems like we mush do our best to judge each situation differently.  The family that hid Anne Frank was obviously lying about the Jews in their house.   A yogi is wise with their words.  Gossip should be avoided when possible so that we do not spread untruths about others.  Besides, we can't seem to mind our own business.

The greatest lies we can ever tell are the lies we tell ourselves.  When we lie to ourselves about our true nature, rationalizations and ignorance it muddies the water of our consciousness.  Facing our inner truth something we all have to do at some point.  If not in this life, than in the next.

Sutra 2.34 and 2.35 - More about non-violence

2.34 Improper thoughts and emotions such as those of violence- whether done, caused to be done, or even approved of- indeed, any thought originating in desire, anger or delusion, whether mild medium or intense- do all result in endless pain and misery. Overcome such distractions by pondering on the opposites.

2.35 When one is confirmed in non-violence, hostility ceases in his presence.

Note: I already did a post about non- violence, so there is going to be some retread in this article. 

What does it mean to be non-violent?  I think most people think of non-violence in only physical terms.  We hear stories of Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi using non-violent methods to fight injustice and gain political favor.  In Vietnam, Buddhist monks would set themselves on fire as a way to protest government repression.  These are nice stories, but are they truly non-violent in the context of Yoga?

Goswami Kriyananda explanation of the Yamas and Niyamas included three levels of practice: thought, speech and action.  When we look in the mirror of self-introspection, we can see how out thoughts lead to speech and actions on the world.  In my opinion, violent thoughts lead to violent speech and violent action.  Since we see ourselves as living in a society that values the exchange of ideas over the use of brute physical force, it can lead the impression that our society is non-violent.  I know, I know, there are still a lot of gun crimes and physical abuse, but as compared to even 100 years ago, this has steadily gone down.

How do you work on this?  All you have to do is work on one of the three aspects of non-violence, and the others will fall into place.  The more difficult the aspect you are working on, the quicker results you will get.  By far, the toughest is dealing with violent thought.  When you are in meditation, keep a look out for violent streams of thought and break them by telling yourself that you are not that thought.  The mind thinks in threads of thought, so one thought will lead to another thought.  If you can identify the first link in the chain, you have come a long way.  Knowing the source of those thoughts is the key to breaking their power. 

I would not get frustrated if this takes a long time.  It can take years of practice to root out the first link in the chain of thoughts.  Psychotherapists use this technique in differing forms, so think of it as a way to save yourself some money on expensive therapy bills.  Yoga can be the best "do it yourself" fix it tool.

Sutra 2.32 and 2.33 - The Niyamas

2.32 The fixed observances are cleanliness, contentment, austerity, study and persevering devotion to God.

2.33 When improper thoughts disturb the mind, there should be constant pondering over the opposites.

On the other end of the spectrum, we have the Niyamas.  Like the other post, these are covered individually in later Sutras, but you can read the list above to get the gist.  

Take note of Sutra 2.33.  This is they key to developing a balanced mind and personally, I find it to be one of the most useful Sutras.  This is where knowing the parts of the Yogic mind come into effect, and how they interact gives the underlying mechanisms for developing balance between the Yamas and Niyamas.

It's simple on the surface.  If you want to change one habit, do the opposite of that habit.  Everything in Yoga has it's dualistic component.  The heart of Smakya yoga is dualism, but do not confuse this with the concept of black and white.  As the Obi Wan stated in Revenge of the Sith, black and white thinking is the path to the dark side.  Star Wars street cred Yo!

When we look at a wave, it has it's high points and low points.  Karma is like a wave because all of our personal attributes come in differing flavors in that spectrum.  Yoga is an attempt to make the wave flat.  Do you see now how the analogy of the moon being reflected in the pond comes into play?  First, we identify the strongest waves in our mind.  Sometimes it's pretty obvious what we need to work on, sometimes we have to find our way on our own.  I have difficulty with this myself with my natural tendency to rebel.  I generally do not like criticism, so that can get me into trouble.  On the other hand, others can and will manipulate you through criticism to achieve their own ends, which are not always altruistic.  It's not an easy road to travel, but with a clear mind, you can make the best decisions for YOU.

Root out what you need to work on and cultivate the opposite.  Yoga makes this easier than it may seem.  You only have to remember five traits, keeping in mind the opposite of the spectrum.  Five dimes have two sides and also equal Fiddy Cent, one of my favorite rappers.

Sutras 2.30 to 2.31 - The Yamas

2.30 Self-restraint in actions includes abstention from violence, from falsehoods, from stealing, from sexual engagements, and from acceptance of gifts.

2.31 These five willing abstentions are not limited by rank, place, time or circumstance and constitute the Great Vow.

Instead of having Ten Commandments, the Yoga Sutras have a list of Do's and Dont's.  The Yamas are considered the Don'ts of Yoga.  They are very basic and will be discussed at length in other posts, but for now, just think of them as a guide of best practices.

If you want to reach higher levels of conciseness, you need self restraint.   There is no way around it.  Cultivating self restraint in meditation is a good place to start.  When you sit down and close your eyes to meditate, it is natural for the mind to wander.  Over time, self restraint of thought streams works it's way into our every day action.

Yoga sages of the past have said that a student needs to develop restraint before they can move further up the yogic ladder.  I have seen poeple take this to mean that you cannot meditate unless you master all the Yamas and Niyamas perfectly.  That is not true.  If you can start the process of meditation, you can work on self restraint at the same time.  Some of us may be naturally non-violent in regular life, but "talk shit behind peoples back."  In this case, self restraint in regards to truth is needed.  Of course there are exceptions, but I hope you get the point.

Sutra 2.31 is strait forward.  It does not matter who, where or when you are.  Practicing self restraint at all times is an ongoing process.  It flows through our deeds and actions.  Self restraint is a tall order for sure, but remember that it's a never ending process.

Sutras 2.27 to 2.29: The Eight Limbs of Yoga

2.27 Steady wisdom manifests in seven stages.

2.28 On the destruction of impurity by the sustained practice of the limbs of Union, the light of knowledge reveals the faculty of discrimination. 2.29 The eight limbs of Union are self-restraint in actions, fixed observance, posture, regulation of energy, mind-control in sense engagements, concentration, meditation, and realization.

I don't understand why these passages are not in the first chapter of the Yoga Sutras.  They are fundamental to the practice and set the tone for the rest of book two.  Up until this point, most of the Sutras have been about theory and philosophy.  Now we are getting into practice.  So, lets start by going over the eight limbs of Yoga, shall we?

Squidward should have eight limbs, but has six.  I don't care.  I love Squidward.

Self-restraint in action is referred to as the Yamas.  They are Nonviolence, sexual abstinence, not lying, not stealing and greed. They are the "Do Nots" of Yoga.  The fixed observances, or virtues, are called Niyamas.  They are: purity, contentment, austerity, self-reflection and contemplation on God.  The Yamas and Niyamas go hand in hand.  I will go into more detail about this later in the book.  Each one is covered in a separate sutra.

You may have heard the term Asana if you have taken a Hatha Yoga class.  Asana simply mean posture.  In this context, we are talking about the proper posture for meditation. 

Regulation of energy, also known as Pranayama, or breath control, is intimately linked with our life-force.  Focusing on the breath is used to bring our attention to something unconsciously regulated into awareness.  Energy flows into the body via oxygen when we take an inhalation and exits the body during exhalation.  When the oxygen levels are perfectly balanced in the body, the Yogi can reach the breathless state, bringing them to the height of meditation.

 Mind control in the sense engagements means that one tries to master the interactions with the outside world in the mind through senses.  The senses are like roadways with traffic flowing in each direction.  We take in information, process it, and react accordingly.  Mastery over the flow of information gives us freedom to choose our actions with detachment.

 The final three, meditation, concentration and realization work in unison.  Concentration is the act of focusing on an object while deliberately ignoring other streams of thought.  Meditation has a lot of connotations, but in Yoga, it basically is a letting go of the grip that symbolism has on the mind.  Realization is the combination of meditation and concentration, which seems like a contradiction.  It is in a way, because it is something we have to experience for ourselves. 

It’s going to take some time to work through the second half of book two.

There is a lot of good stuff here and I want to do my best to explain it.

I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do.

Gospel of Thomas: Saying Ten - Fire!

10. Jesus said, "I have cast fire upon the world, and look, I'm guarding it until it blazes."

This saying may seem like one of those apocalyptic messages we here from a corner preacher trying to get our attention.  Before you get out your sandwich board and start walking the streets with "The End Is Nigh" written on it, let me tell you about the spiritual meaning of fire.

Have your read the story of Pentecost?  See this passage from Acts: “All of a sudden, a sound came from heaven, like a strong wind, filling the house where the people had gathered. Something like tongues of fire rested on their heads. “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as the Spirit gave them the ability to speak” Notice the reference to fire.  This was the day that Jesus's apostles became enlightened in the spiritual sense.  The fire from heaven was cast down upon the world, and came to rest on their foreheads.  The forehead, in Yoga, is the location of the "Third Eye", or ajna chakra. 

I think Jesus is telling us that the fire will always be available.  The spiritual kindling is inside waiting for us to let down our guard so the fire of the Holy Spirit is ignited.  Jesus cast the fire of his spiritual teachings upon the world 2000 years ago and he waits for us to start our internal pilot lights.  A world full of the spiritual firelight would burn brighter than the sun.  Anybody have a lighter?

Gospel of Thomas: Saying Nine - The Sower of Seeds

9. Jesus said, "Look, the sower went out, took a handful (of seeds), and scattered (them). Some fell on the road, and the birds came and gathered them. Others fell on rock, and they didn't take root in the soil and didn't produce heads of grain. Others fell on thorns, and they choked the seeds and worms ate them. And others fell on good soil, and it produced a good crop: it yielded sixty per measure and one hundred twenty per measure."

This saying is a story in the conical Bible, but it is a little different in the Gospel of Thomas.  I think when there is overlapping accounts of Jesus's life across multiple gospels, it gives them extra significance.

In Yogic tradition, Karma is associated with seeds.  The seeds of karma are planted within us and can bear fruit when the timing is right.  When we take actions, we often do not keep in mind that we are planting these seeds.  You are the sower of the seeds and the reaper of their harvest.  When your seeds fall on the proper ground, they will yield many times the volume of original.

Spiritual practice is like planting a seed.  First we till the ground of our lives with the basic yogic practices of Yama and Niyama.  The Ten Commandments were not only a set of rules to live by, they were one of the first guides to lay groundwork for spiritual discipline.  By following these basic rules, the spiritual seeker will not create any additional karmic bonds, which are trampled on the path of daily life.

Once the ground has been tilled, the practitioner plants the seed of meditation in the fertile ground of the steadied mind.  If the seeds meditation should fall on the rocks of stubbornness, they will not take root.  If the seeker can commit to nurturing the seed by metaphorically watering it through daily practice, it will take root. 

If the seed sprouts, it will encounter the thorns of past sense impressions.  Perseverance is needed to cultivate the plant past these thorns as it works its way toward the Sun of enlightenment.  Thus, the seed, fully germinated, will provide a bounty many times its original size.  A tiny seed of intent becomes a harvest of bliss: the union of the soul with the divine. 

Sutras 2.23 - 2.26 - Department of Redundancy Department

2.23 The association of the seer with Creation is for the distinct recognition of the objective world, as well as for the recognition of the distinct nature of the seer.

2.24 The cause of the association is ignorance.

2.25 Liberation of the seer is the result of the dissassociation of the seer and the seen, with the disappearance of ignorance.

2.26 The continuous practice of discrimination is the means of attaining liberation.

I'm lumping these sutras together because they cover  topics I already spoke about.  If you read my article

Map of the Yogic Mind

, you will see that the mind has four functions and how it relates to the outside world.  These four sutras sum up the basic point that discrimination frees the mind of attachment to objects.  The Sutras can get redundant sometimes, but that is because repetition is used to hammer home a point. 

Sutra 2.22 - Bubble Boy

2.22 Although Creation is discerned as not real for the one who has achieved the goal, it is yet real in that Creation remains the common experience to others.

When the yogi reaches higher states of consciousness, the sameness of everything is revealed.  There are a couple of perspectives on this Sutra that I would like to share.

The first perspective is called Samkya Yoga.  This branch of Yoga asserts that the world is a very real place and our perception that molds the objective world.  This tradition has it’s foundations in dualism, which states that reality has two facets: the inner world in the outer world.  We do have control of the outer world through our physical interactions, but our subjective perception will never reach beyond what we cognize in our brain.  When we break the bonds that symbolism has on our minds, we then see the world for what it truly is.  Please read my article about

Deconstructing Symbolism


The second point of view is traditional Sanatana Dharma.  The world as we perceive it is an illusion.  The Hindu creation story states that in the beginning, the universe awakened as God began to take physical form.  From this one form, countless other forms took shape.  The soul is one of these forms.  As time passes, God begins to fall back asleep and the countless pieces begin to merge back into the whole.  The Hindus state that we are all part of God's dream, put here for the purpose of experiencing ourselves.  Our goal, over the course of many incarnations, is to wake up from this dream and become one with whole again.

Whichever perspective we take, the outcome is the same.  Sutra 2.22 tells us that subjectivity can become objectivity.  Think of perspective like a bubble that expands as awareness grows.  Eventually the bubble expands and overlaps with other’s awareness. 

In my opinion, this is the only way we will end war, poverty, racism and other ills that plague modern society.  It's impossible for us to get on the same page when we are stuck in our own little bubbles.  If we all realized the sameness of everything, there would be nothing to fight over.

Gospel of Thomas: Saying Eight - The Fisher of Men

8. And he said, "The person is like a wise fisherman who cast his net into the sea and drew it up from the sea full of little fish. Among them the wise fisherman discovered a fine large fish. He threw all the little fish back into the sea, and easily chose the large fish. Anyone here with two good ears had better listen!"

In the conical Bible, Jesus tells the parable of the fisherman.  This saying is slightly different, but has the same esoteric connotation.  It's a simple, be elegant metaphor for the spiritual journey.

The Yogic sage Paramahansa Yogananda likened the search for spiritual truths to an ant trying to find sugar in a pile of sand.  The pile appears to be one object, but each grain is a different piece of smaller rock.  The ant has the ability to seek out the sugar from the sand.  So, we learn to be like the ant, developing our skills of discernment to find the grains of sugar in life.

Discernment is a central tenant of Gnosticism.  Every day we are bombarded by outside influences that scatter the mind with different thoughts, impressions and ideas.  Out intuition is the compass that leads us in the right direction.  At first, that compass spins erratically, pulled by the magnetism of different sense impressions.  After many years of sifting through our thoughts, our intuitive needle will point us in the right direction.

Jesus is telling us to cast our nets of discernment into the bottomless sea of consciousness.  We do this through meditation.  When our net of attention grabs on to thoughts that are not useful, we throw them out, like releasing an unwanted fish back into the sea.

A Man I Will Miss - Goswami Kriyananda

I recently learned that one of the major influences on my life, Goswami Kriyananda, has passed away.  Occasionally I would call the Temple of Kriya Yoga in Chicago to get advice from him, but he was not there this time.  I got the general stoic answer from the temple that he has left the body and moved on to better things.  Yogis do not see death as the end.  I fact, its viewed like going to sleep.

To say that this man has had an impact on my life would be putting it mildly.  I joined the Temple Seminary program in 2009.  I never did make it ordination.  Something inside of me told me that it was not the right time.  I may go back and finish the program, but I am content to share what I know now.  Personally, I have never been one for titles and my rebellious nature generally throws a wrench into my academic pursuits.

Goswami Kriyananda’s take on Kriya Yoga was unique.  I have studied under other gurus, but he had a way of making Kriya accessible to all.  He was also the first guru I have encountered that used western astrology.  Of his many admirable attributes, one I held in high esteem is that he never put himself above his teachings.  Over the course of his life, he wrote many wonderful books about Kriya Yoga.  Thanks to him, we now have access to valuable knowledge.  As I go along in my blog, I will be referencing his materials. 

Goodbye Guruji, I will miss you.

Gospel of Thomas: Saying Seven - The Inner Lion

7. Jesus said, "Lucky is the lion that the human will eat, so that the lion becomes human. And foul is the human that the lion will eat, and the lion still will become human."

Jesus is not literally talking about eating loins.  The Lion is symbolism of our inner selves and the battle we have with our inner beast.  When I read this saying I picture the early Christians fighting lions in the Colosseums of the Roman Empire.

The lonely man is given a weapon, let's say, a sling and a stone.  He steps on to the platform and is raised into the Colosseum in front of a blood thirsty crowd.  The meek gladiator faces off with the lion, clad only in his tunic and sandals.  Weak is the worrier that faces the lion at first.  We can picture ourselves as the warrior and our sling carries the stones of inner will to battle the lion.

When we face down the internal lions of fear, greed and hatred, we will be lucky if we are able to defeat them at first.  We have one advantage over the loin: the sling of time.  We have unlimited chances to defeat the lion.  Every time we stand up to the lion, we learn different methods of attack.  Perhaps the lion can be tamed.  Maybe we do not have to face it at all by hiding.  If we run in the face of the lion, the lion will eat us alive and the foulness of its nature will take us over.

Lions have differing meanings in Gnosticism, so feel free to conquer you own internal symbolism.  Perhaps your lion is Nene from the Real Housewives, or Agent Smith from the Matrix.  It does not matter.  Stand your ground and fight with all your might.  If you fail, get up and fight again. 

Gospel of Thomas - Saying Six: On Being Fake

6. His disciples asked him and said to him, "Do you want us to fast? How should we pray? Should we give to charity? What diet should we observe?"

Jesus said, "Don't lie, and don't do what you hate, because all things are disclosed before heaven. After all, there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed, and there is nothing covered up that will remain undisclosed."

In traditional religion, we are given a set of rules and rituals that form a set of beliefs.  We perform these rituals to give us a sense of comfort, community and connection to things greater than ourselves.  Naturally, Jesus's decuples, believing him to be the messiah, ask him how they should worship God.

Do you see the parallels in our current culture?  It is said that history repeats itself, but I like Mark Twain’s assertion that it does not repeat, but rhymes.  When a seeker first starts out on the path, they naturally want to be told what to do, think, eat and how to pray from the one they perceive as a credible source.  Jesus was that man.  Jesus, however, already knew how to meditate and connect with the source of life on an intricate level, so to him, it was beyond simple ritual.  How often do we fall victim to fad diets, money investment schemes and exercise routines, hoping to bring ourselves a little closer to perfection?

 "Do not lie and do not do what you hate" is a simple but profound statement.  Are we in tune with who we truly are, or do we live our lives under false pretenses?  It's human nature to be a conglomeration of outside values and opinions.  It first starts out with our parents, then society works to imprint it's constructs on how we think.  If we are to truly understand, we have to chuck all that in the dumpster. 

Self-introspection allows us to question our values and work to get rid of useless paradigms that are holding us back.  Do you have to do things the way your parents taught you?  I, personally and a natural contrarian, so I have to question whether I am doing something solely to contradict a concept.  Jesus tells us not to do anything outside of our own perceived best interests, for our true selves come out in the end, right?

Secular Meditations - Open Focus

I spend the bulk of my time on this blog commenting on the Yoga Sutras and Gnostic writings, but I do not want people from secular backgrounds to think they must believe in spiritualism to participate in mediation. 

Not too long ago, I read “Dissolving Pain" by Les Fehmi.  The book is about how we perceive pain in our brain and that we can actively reduce pain by inducing delta waves states.  Studies of Buddhist and Yogic monks have shown they can consciously hold themselves in a delta brain wave state during regular activity.  If you do not want to engage in formal yogic or Buddhist meditation, Les's website offers a range of guided meditations that will essentially get you to the same place.
Take caution though.  If you have any pain or psychological conditions, this method will bring them to the surface, possibly worsening them before you master the skill of Open Focus. Open Focus works by centering attention on space and emptiness, rather then a specific object.  Also, if you are not prone to suggestion or guided meditation, I would pass on this.  There are also certified coaches that you can see if you need help, but I got by just fine on my own.

I got very good results the first time I listened to his recordings, but keep in mind that I am an advanced meditator.  You also have to devote at least 45 minutes a day to make this habit.  If you are looking for a good way to manage anxiety, insomnia and pain without medication, take a look into this.

Gospel of Thomas: Saying Five - Awareness

5. Jesus said, "Know what is in front of your face, and what is hidden from you will be disclosed to you.  For there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed. [And there is nothing buried that will not be raised.]"
This is the first reference to the importance of awareness in the Gospel of Tomas.  What we see in front of our face is the key to our own salvation.  Things happen to us at certain times and places in accordance with the law of karma.  Jesus, being one with a larger, singular and universal consciousness, knew how these laws functioned. 

While I was walking my dog this morning I had a lot of time to observe the thoughts going through my mind.  Thoughts come as internal dialogue and emotional impressions associated with objects.  Walking by the Phoenix canal, I saw all the garbage trapped by the dam and asked myself why someone would throw that stuff into the water.  As I walked down a street, I noticed how nice some of the houses looked and thought what it must be like to live in them. 

My dog Barney.  He's always up to something.

What I don't see is that thrash may have blown into the canal by a gust of wind that knocked over someone's dumpster.  All those nice houses I pass?  I do not know what goes on behind closed doors.  My point is that what is going on right in front of my face is not reflected in the reality I am creating in my mind. 
To truly know the essence of an object or event, Jesus tells us that we need to look past the idea that we have formed of that event or object.  The object is just an object and the event is just an event.  We are the ones associating meaning with them. 

The second part of the saying states: "There is nothing buried that will not be raised".  This is a direct reference to the Zombie Apocalypse.  Jesus was the original zombie, raising himself from the dead and whatnot.   Did that offend you or give you a chuckle?  It does not matter.  The point I am trying to make is that when thought is brought to the surface of our mind, for example, by what I just said, it is right in front of your awareness.  It’s like putting a mirror in front of your face and showing you your true self.  Your buried feelings are raised, from the hiding place of your subconscious and are revealed to you.  You take it from here.

Sutra 2.21 - The Great Awakening

2.21 The very existence of the seen is for the sake of the seer.

I find this sutra interesting because it's short, but covers a broad subject.  Various branches of Vedic study have differing opinions on what the universe is, how it began and why we are here.  Sanatana Dharma is the eternal order of the universe and is the proper name for the religion called Hinduism.

Hindu creation stories somewhat mirror those of Christianity.  They believe that the universe runs in a pattern of cycles, each one smaller than the next.  There is a measurement for the universal cycle: a Yuga.  Brahma, the creator God, awakens from a slumber and the universe begins again, as if it were a new day, before he falls back into sleep at the end of his day. 

In the beginning, the One was broken up into infinite divisions with the sole intent of experiencing itself.  Eventually, these divisions begin to merge back into the whole as creation starts to fall asleep.  Yoga speeds up what is be considered a natural process.  Your soul will eventually merge back with everything, it just takes a longer.

Some say that enlightenment is reached at point of merger, but are still in the body.  Thus, we are the seer, a part of the larger version of the universe experiencing itself.  Our life purpose is simply to be a part of the larger experience.  In my earlier posts, I compared the process of Yoga to untangling a ball of yarn.  We can see how simple the master plan is the more we untangle that ball of string.  When I say the world is already perfect, I mean that at its root level, there is nothing that needs to be done.  We just think we need to make changes to it to satisfy our desire.  So, if you never do any sort of Yoga, at least try to enjoy yourself as much as possible. 

Christianity and Atheism

Are Atheism and Christianity incompatible?  I woke up this morning and thought I would kick a beehive around for breakfast and explore this topic a little.  Some of the most contentious debates in the dark corners of the internet revolve around atheism versus Christianity.  Much of this topic, in my opinion, focuses on creation, evolution and the existence of God.  If I were to distill it down to its basic element, it's a proverbial pissing match to invalidate the core idea of Gods existence.  I think this is just a mask for the real agenda of both sides: the control of culture in order to propagate their world view.

Gaps between atheism and Christianity confuse the messenger with the message.  Jesus is put into a status of hero worship.  As far as I have seen, in Gnosticism, Jesus is the deliverer of the methodology by which we see knowledge.  Do yogis worship Pantanjali, the writer of the Yoga Sutras?  Not as far as I know.  So, naturally, the key target of the atheist is to question the nature of Jesus's divinity, for if Jesus were not divine, the central tenants of Christianity are invalidated.

There are many people who seek knowledge, but are differentiated by methodology.  Lovers of knowledge will seek to find answers weather it is through science, self-inquiry or the pursuit of mysticism.  Gnosticism is the pursuit of Gnosis.  Gnosis means knowledge in Greek.  To be agnostic means to have no opinion on the subject of God, one way or another, although I have heard other definitions.  The agnostic has one advantage over all seekers: a blank slate.  When you take the agnostic and combine it with the active pursuit of divine knowledge, you get the Gnostic.

Gnosticism has roots in Platonic Realism.  It's a fascinating subject that can be covered at great length, but I am going to touch on it briefly.  Metaphysics developed out of this school of philosophy when Plato tried to attach meaning of the seen with the unseen.  This is a "top down" approach.  Gnosticism is a "bottom up" approach that uses methodologies an practices to bring the unseen into our perception.  Yoga works the same way.

The religionist and the atheist are the same in the fact that they are unwilling to move from their positions of complete faith or complete skepticism.  There also is the passive agnostic that is waiting around for knowledge to be handed to them without having to do their own investigation.  Bravo to the person who has done the research and came to their own conclusions.  That is what I did with Yoga and Gnosticism, I would not bother with them if they did not work.

I think we are quickly approaching a time were science and religion will merge into one single practice.  With Gnosticism, we can work to know the unknown from the inside out.

I try my best to explain how symbolism works through the mind and what we can do to transcend its influence.

True Yoga and Gnosticism, it’s the sandwich of realization.