Living a life in reciprocity
Reciprocity as understood by the modern world is responding in kind to an action, the give and take, a rewarding of action with equal action. It is thought to be as a categorization of an action as kind by viewing its consequences and also thought to be a determining factor of person’s fundamental intentions and human behavior.
In the modern world, everything is mental. A psychological view is the only view to looking at everything. This is the foundational point that needs to be seen to comprehend the depths of what is as well as what is reciprocity.
Would a person that is a tribal from New Guinea that has never had interaction with the outside world view life in the same manner as a modern world Westerner? Then to understand that as Westerners we have bias that we are somehow smarter or better or a huge amount of under the radar of our conscious. We think by the way we have been programmed to by our culture. We need to realize this first to then step out of that to learn anything from any other culture and even a different way of being. This is so obvious but yet so oblivious in application.
If yoga is the cessation of the whirlpools of the medium through which the Jivatma materializes, then we need to really get out of any psychological understanding and view of anything to really see what this is. There is no way out of the mind from the mind. All kinds of illusory states and fantastical delusions are had from the mind and they can even be believed to be enlightening but they are all still of the mind, in the mind. This is not what yoga is talking about, at all. Those experiences…. fantasmagorical and fantasy. The mind is so tricky it will make you think all sorts of things.
The mind is “kshipta” by nature, meaning it is always moving and fast, scattered and not able to be stilled. Nūnaṁ pramattaḥ kurute vikarma (Srimad Bhagavatam 5.5.4). The material madness entangles people more and more in suffering and the process of birth and death. This is a fundamental understanding in all of the ancient philosophies. The moon is the significator of the mind as the fastest moving planet and the mind of the individual is seen through the moon and other connections of the moon in Jyotish (astrology).
The Gunas are the qualities of mind. Maybe a better way to explain them is that they are mind. Sattva is considered the pure mind undisturbed, empty, and clear. It is passive and pure. The mind has two dosha or imbalances which are Rajas and Tamas.
Sattvam laghu prakashakam ca rajas ishtam upasthambhakam chalam tamah guru varanakam eva ca vrttih arthatah pradipavat. “Sattva is light buoyant and illuminating, Rajas is exciting, mobile and restless, Tamas is sluggish and obscuring. Their function is for single purpose like that of a lamp.” – Sankhya Karika Chapter 1 verse 13.
Rajas is one of the gunas or qualities of the mind. It is the force that is responsible for passion and activity. It is a hostile force that is responsible for holding you in Samsara. It is a restless quality of mind. The Rajasic mind always wants new sensations and variety. It likes certain persons, objects and places now and, after some time, it becomes disgusted with them and wants new persons for company, new vegetables to eat, new books to read and new places to see, need more and more and more. Rajas is what creates movement. Anything that has quality or anything that is manifest has gunas or qualities. Satta and Tamas are passive or inert. Their effects are derived from the driving force of Rajas. The three gunas are functioning for the common purpose like the lamp. They are to illumine. The same way the doshas of the body vata, pitta and kapha serve the purpose to sustain the body the gunas of the mind illuminate the soul, yet they are doshas or that which is an imbalance in itself. Pleasure, pain and delusion all appear in many forms because by their nature they ALL are suppressive. They are meant to illumine. They are all forms of the kleshas, attractions and repulsions, therefore of a subjective nature, therefore unreal. The illumination of their grasp on the mind is the step towards emancipation from them. There is much more than joy and pleasure, there is something higher and those just as all the rest bind one in karma.
Just a note here on gunas… Sattva (righteous, honest, spirited, and capable) focused people are not focused on self, like Vishnu, the focus is vast and detached. Rajas focused people are self serving. They are always acting and it has an emotional and/or material motivation. There is differentiation and discrimination to their actions. This is normal society. This is Brahma… creative. Tamas focused is like Shiva, like a meditator on the top of a mountain in a cave, a real sannyasi. A sannyasi is married to god. They do not break vows and get married or live in a secular world. Satvika guna is in a state of reciprocity.
“Shiva cuts the head of Brahma and leads one to Vishnu.” Think deeply about this.
Like begets like and opposites counter. More movement = more rajas.
ये चैव सात्त्विका भावा राजसास्तामसाश्च ये। मत्त एवेति तान्विद्धि नत्वहं तेषु ते मयि।। Bhagavad Gita 7.12 Those things that indeed are made of the quality of sattva, and those things that are made of the quality of rajas and tamas, know them to have sprung from Me alone. However, I am not in them; they are in Me!
This itself is very easy to put into perspective of what the path of yoga is and what all the original texts explain. Today, we believe that asana is a flowing routine that creates peace. Sorry, doesn’t. Just as much as running is meditation. They create more rajas.
In all of the original yoga texts, asana:
1. Yogasana before the Hatha texts in the 11th to 15th century was seated postures following the obvious meaning of asana or asa = to sit, a seat, etc..
2. 15th century Hatha Yoga Pradipika has the first non-seated postures. The text is not only about asana but asana is just a small part of the entire process or practice. Asana in this text, is only in the “8th” of 15 chapters and the entire text is the method and not just asana. Kind of like only having five pages of a book read or the 10 minutes of a movie…. and it is not the ending that you get to read or see.
3. The Hatha Yoga Pradipika states that asana is only for four reasons: to create a firm and comfortable seat for meditation to cultivate tapas (burning of karma, austerity, penance) to control the vital energies or in other words prana to provide physical or therapeutic benefits
4. Gorakshanath lineage only had seated postures
5. Premodern yoga – motionless is key to postural practice
6. Modern “yoga” – flowing sequences that produce rajas
Yoga is an ascetic path as it has been written in the texts of yoga. It is spiritual in its roots and religious. It is a path to god consciousness. Then there is this big spin to what we have today. Basically in the opposite direction. Pretty much godless and ego based, all mind based from the culture we are produced from. We can see the ego and self absorption of it in all the ezines articles about how to be happy, how to be in shape and etc etc etc. None of the ancient texts speak of all of this stuff. They all explain the way out of that world. We can’t sit still in this modern world. In our confusion, its a shame, we are missing everything that yoga is about. It isn’t an exercise based in Western exercise or based in Western psychological and sociological terms.
Have doubts??? Try this. Pick a single asana. Any asana. Now hold it for 3 hours. No shit, 3 hours.
This will open a totally new doorway into a world that is unexplored territory today. Even if one lives in their head and have no experience of anything else, if one do this it will allow some kind of break thru.
Who has time to do this???? Well, an actual yogi does. This points out the culture of needing to do and never having enough time to do absolutely nothing and be not engaged, not reactive or interactive. Not rajasic. This also opens a whole new path that exists out of the mind if one can get there. The culture does not support it but real full life does. What can happen in that different context? What happens in this space?
All of this thus far has been preemptive to give the scenario of what is the scenario and then the discernment to be able to see what is reciprocity when we are able to strip away the bondages of the Western biases and life. The Western mind is in an imbalance of believing everything is the mind. One does not have the experience of being out of the mind in the West and everything is a mental construct. There is something else, really. From that place of being out of the mind, everything has different meaning or a depth that cannot even be understood from the Western mental spinning mind and ego. Need to go beyond that to experience this. Out of the mind and out of concepts.
All of daily life can/should be approached as sacred. Activities, tasks and communications are all expressions and experiences of the sacred, not a mental thought but an actual living, a continual experience. But what is the difference between it being from one’s mind and ego versus being of the sacred? There is a relatedness that acknowledges obligation to the other but this is not of the mind. It is a beingness experience, not a heady mind cognitive experience. I do not have words for this but if you have to fake it to make it, that never works here and cannot. This is very black and white, you either are or very much are not. If you naturally live in reciprocity to the natural world you have reverence. Can it be learned? Not from a book.
If you go swimming, you are wet and are surrounded by water. That interaction goes beyond ones own thoughts of where to swim, what to do in the water and all the mind stuff that happens. The fundamental reciprocity is with the water, in the water. The relatedness allows a felt sense or knowing of reciprocity. It is out of reaction and thus out of the mind and out of past and future therefore out of any action coming from though of a how a reaction is presented or how to react. It is a awareness of all that is. This is a greater, call it body sense…. a physical energy. It is subtle, it is hidden. The orientation is totally different. As this is a totally different state of apprehension than what is from the mind. It is not concept. It is difficult to explain with language as it is an experience and expression that is not of just a moment but is constant. It is a mode that is contemplative. It is reciprocal.
Although this was a very superficial expression of what reciprocity is, it does a tangible job to give the deeper experience. It is very hard to talk about this without coming up against the Western stereotypes and ideas of how things are romanticized and believed to be due to books published for the mass market. This is much like talking about kundalini from the experience of it to a crowd that has read books on chakras and gone to modern yoga classes for their understanding of these things.
So now picture that relatedness within a society that is in harmony with the natural world. No one sits around and has discussions or talks about themselves. Whatever is said is just basic. This is an experience of living in a society that is grounded in humanity, in what is natural. There is reciprocity in all experience on going. There is nothing to accomplish, attain, or motivation. There is doing activities but they are in momentum of service. Service not in the likes of how the concept is in the Western mind but a service that is also a constant and not a thought. It is a state, a paradigm. It is a totally different context. It is not a dreamy paradise either though.
In this reciprocity exist in its true form. Outside of it, it does not. Only mental constructs with ties to desires and needs exist. Only here relating can happen in its pure state as well.