“This Self is not born, nor does it perish. Self-existent, it continues its existence forever. It is birthless, eternal, changeless, and ever the same. The Self is not slain when the body dies.
“How can one who knows the true Self to be imperishable, everlasting, unborn, and unchanging imagine that this Self can cause destruction to another Self? O Partha (Ajuna), who is slaying whom?
“Just as a person removes a warn-out garment and dons a new one, so the soul living in a physical body (removes and) discards it when it becomes outworn, and replaces it with a new one.” The Bhagavad Gita 2:20-22
Recently my family got some news, some terrible news about a good friend of ours. What made it worse was that this friend was also my father’s boss in Puerto Rico; might I add here that my mother and I are still up in Detroit.
Either way, my father’s boss was gunned down late last night, thought to be a professional mob hit due to the people that he had let go. Someone who was angry over being let go. It was a terrible thing to happen, I thought about his family, and of his wife who was so in love with him, and his four year old daughter. I thought of this quote from the Gita. It had me thinking of what Krishna told Ajuna.
Also it made me think of a lot of the things that Yoganada tells us, lots of the things that we are taught threw our yoga and the sutras. That it is only the breath that is changeless, only the Self which does not suffer, does not die, only observes and it is from that place in which we should live our lives.
It is also that Self which is all Selves, that part that is one with all of us and which connects us all to each other. This Self within us all, is that helps us to understand that the person next to us is just an extinction of ourselves. That we are all just individual expressions of Shiva; of the higher power.
It also made me think about change, and the changeless.
This event caused all of us to pause, yes it was the family that is in our hearts and always will be in our hearts, but what about the job for my father? And what would happen if my father was to be next? How would this effect the move for my family? Our plans to fly out there and visit this next month?
It caused me also to think about the different things in my life and how they have changed, how I reacted to them all. Again, I return to the breath and the things that there are changeless.
Bhagavan Das, or Baba, was also here last weekend. That was enough on my mind to make me think over and over again about the changed and the changeless. Baba brought us back to the breath, telling us that the diet and the breath were the first two ways to purity, and purity was the way to enlightenment.
The breath is changeless, and the breath is the way to reduce karma, to find our way to Nirvana. Yogananda teaches us that with each breath we die, with that death we can work out karma accumulated threw out our lives, so that we can move on to the next plane and get outside of this wheel of reincarnation
With all of these thoughts running threw my mind, with little connection between them all, I found myself working on overtime. I have only had one day off in about 8, and on top of it all have been working on my book, and an online magazine.
So with all of this work and these thoughts, I came to this. I came to writing about all of this, thinking on the changing and the changeless. Everything changes, all but the Self and the breath. All things will change, morph, and/or continue to get in the way. Nothing is ever the same, each moment is new, and never relived, never lived before.
Thus I bring you all to the changed and the changeless, and the ways we react to them all. While teaching last night I found myself having my students focus on this exact concept. What is changeless? As you began your practice establishing your victorious breath, and as you move to each asana, notice the breath does not change. Even once in savasana, the breath stays the same.
In Yin we are reminded that even when the body rebels, and the pose is uncomfortable, the breath is still the same. We ride the breath thew these uncomfortable poses so that we can find that place which brings us to peace. The breath is what we have in yoga. Ashtanga is taught with only breath, no music. Thus again even the greatest yogi, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, taught that the breath is the most important. All yogis and Gurus emphasize the breath.
We must remember that all things change. This life is nothing more than maya, an illusion and dream of Bahama; and we are no more than individual expressions of this force. This life will change on us, will always be different, yet the breath will always be the same; changeless.
Breath is Prana, life force. It is once the breath is gone that our bodies are gone and dead, before then we are alive and we focus on the breath.
Let it be and notice, the breath might change, still it is there; it is constant. The only stability we will have in this changing unstable world.
AUM Nama Shiva.