Inner Engineering: A Yogi’s Guide to Joy
It is not the object of your search that is important; it is the faculty of looking. The ability to simply look without motive is missing in the world today. Everybody is a psychological creature, wanting to assign meaning to everything. Seeking is not about looking for something. It is about enhancing your perception, your very faculty of seeing.
We need to understand that unless we do the right things, the right things will not happen to us: this is true not just of the outside world, but also the inside.
Moral of the story: bullshit may get you to the top, but it never lets you stay there!
Enlightenment is not an attainment or an achievement. It is a homecoming. Your senses give you the impression that you are experiencing the outside, but you have never experienced the outside. When you realize that all that you experience is within, that absolute homecoming is enlightenment.
Unless you do the right things, the right things will not happen to you. Principles and philosophies are only of social consequence. It is time to wake up to yourself as an existential being, a living being, rather than a psychological case. Then your destiny will be your own. One hundred percent your own. This is not an idle promise. It is a guarantee.
What the trees around you are exhaling, you are inhaling right now; what you are exhaling, the trees are inhaling at this very moment. This transaction is ongoing. Whether you are aware of it or not, one half of your pulmonary system is hanging up there right now on a tree! You have never experienced this interdependence; you have probably, at the most, thought about it intellectually. But if you had experienced this connection, would anyone have to tell you, “Plant trees, protect the forests, save the world”? Would it even be necessary?
Taking responsibility is not accepting blame instead of assigning it. It simply means consciously responding to the situation. Once you take responsibility, you will invariably start exploring ways to address the situation. You will look for solutions.
With this enhanced competence to deal with life and its multiple complexities, you begin to rise to positions of possibility and power. If you assume absolute responsibility within yourself for all that is around you, you will become the center of any situation at home, work, or even the universe.
What most people forget is that the past exists within each one of us only as memory. Memory has no objective existence. It is not existential; it is purely psychological. If you retain your ability to respond, your memory of the past will become an empowering process. But if you are in a compulsive cycle of reactivity, memory distorts your perception of the present, and your thoughts, emotions, and actions become disproportionate to the stimulus.
If terrible things have happened to you, you ought to have grown wise. If the worst possible events have befallen you, you should be the wisest of the lot. But instead of growing wise, most people become wounded. In a state of conscious response, it is possible to use every life situation—however ugly—as an opportunity for growth. But if you habitually think, “I am the way I am because of someone else,” you are using life situations merely as an opportunity for self-destruction or stagnation.
Resentment, anger, jealousy, pain, hurt, and depression are poisons that you drink but expect someone else to die. Life does not work that way. Most people take lifetimes to understand this simple truth.
Responsibility is not compulsive action; it offers you the choice of action.
Can you act upon everything in the world today? No, but you can respond to everything in the world today.
Responsibility is not about talking, thinking, or doing. Responsibility is about being. That’s the way life is—not an independent, self-contained bubble but a moment-to-moment dialogue with the universe. You don’t have to work at making it that way. You just have to see it the way it is.
If responsibility is “response-ability,” the capacity to be responsive to situations, let me ask you another question: is your ability to respond limited or limitless?
But to be loving is simply this: a willingness to respond freely and openly. Right now, it may be limited to one or two people in your lives. But it is possible to extend this ability to embrace the entire world.
Love is not something you do; it is just the way you are.
“My ability to respond is limitless, but my ability to act is limited. I am one hundred percent responsible for everything I am and everything I am not, for my capacities and my incapacities, for my joys and my miseries. I am the one who determines the nature of my experience in this life and beyond. I am the maker of my life.”
The forms, the names, the ideas are varied. But essentially, when you say “God,” you mean that which is responsible for everything in the universe. Suppose God said, “I will not be responsible for you.” He is most definitely fired! The very word “God” signifies limitless responsibility.
So, responsibility is not a teaching in civics. It is the simplest and easiest way for you to express your own divinity.
Responsibility is not burdensome. Boundaries are burdensome. If you draw yourself a boundary, whether of ideology, caste, creed, race, or religion, you cannot move beyond it and you end up stuck for no reason at all. These boundaries only end up breeding fear, hatred, and anger. The bigger your boundary, the more burdensome it becomes. But if your responsibility is limitless, where’s the boundary?
No boundary, no burden.
My responsibility is limitless; if I am willing, I can respond to everything”—into the entire day. Be conscious of it until the last moment before you fall asleep and remind yourself of it the first thing when you wake up.
Most people are not aware of the nature of their longing. When their longing finds unconscious expression, we call this greed, conquest, ambition. When their longing finds conscious expression, we call this yoga.
The science of yoga is, quite simply, the science of being in perfect alignment, in absolute harmony, in complete sync with existence.
Just a little happiness liberates you from your normal limitations of energy and capability.
Modern science tells us that all of existence is just energy manifesting itself in different ways and in different forms. This means that the same energy that can sit here as a rock can lie there as mud, can stand up as a tree, can run like a dog—or be here reading this book, as you.
So, you are essentially a morsel of energy that is part of the much larger energy system of the universe. The cosmos is just one big organism. Your life is not independent of it. You cannot live without the world because there is a very deep moment-to-moment transaction between the two of you.
Literally, yoga means “union.” When you are in yoga, it means that in your experience, everything has become one. This is the essence of the science. This is also its deepest aim.
Dedicating a certain amount of effort and time to see that the body does not become a barrier is important. A painful body can become an obstacle, and so can a compulsive body. Simple compulsions, whether of hunger or lust, can rule you so strongly that they will not allow you to look beyond the physical. It is easy to forget that the physical body is only a part of you; it is important that it does not become the whole of you. Asanas help level the physical body down to its natural place.
The question is not about what not to eat, but about how much of what to eat. It is not a moral issue; it is a question of life sense. As you battle city life, you need an agile and working mind, and physical and mental balance. And some of you even have spiritual aspirations—even if it is only every once in a while! So, every individual must arrive at his or her own balance of diet, not by taking vows, but by observation and awareness.
An intellectual understanding that is not backed by experiential knowledge can lead to mind games and deceptive states. But if oneness becomes an experiential reality, it will not produce an immature action. It will produce a tremendous experience of life that will leave you transformed forever.
Universality is not an idea; it is an existential truth. It is individuality that is an idea. Yoga is simply chitta vritti nirodha. That means, if the activity of your mind ceases and you are still alert, you are in yoga.
Remind yourself at least once an hour that everything you’re carrying—your handbag, your money, your relationships, the heaviness in your heart and body—are things that you’ve accumulated over a period of time. If you become more and more conscious of this fundamental fact even as a process of dis-identification grows within you—balanced by a deep sense of involvement in everything around you—you will move from the misery and madness of the human mind toward meditativeness.
The essence of yoga, as we have said before, is just this—to arrive at that moment where there is a clear space between you and your mind. Once this happens, a life of heightened clarity, perception, and freedom has begun. This is the birth of freedom.
To enjoy intoxication you must be totally drunk yet fully alert. I have never touched any substance, but if you look into my eyes you will see that I am always stoned. I am totally drunk and fully aware. This is one of the pleasures that the science of yoga offers.
The end goal is not just intoxication. This blissful state eliminates the fear of suffering. In this state of nameless ecstasy, there are no concerns about self-preservation. This is what makes a human being capable of being and acting in a way that can sometimes seem superhuman to others.
Confidence and stupidity are a very dangerous combination, but they generally go together. If you start looking at the world around you, you would clearly understand that what you know is so minuscule that there is no way to act with confidence. A belief system takes away this problem; it gives you enormous confidence, but it does not cure your stupidity.
If you simply sit here and breathe, you will know life better than through any deep analysis.
The difference between an idiot and an enlightened being is thin. The two often look similar, but they are actually worlds apart. An idiot is incapable of drawing conclusions. A mystic is unwilling to draw conclusions. The rest have glorified their conclusions as knowledge. The fool just enjoys whatever little he knows and one who has seen life in its utmost depth enjoys it absolutely. The rest are the ones who constantly struggle and suffer.
That which knows how to bend will not break. (That is why you are encouraged to do your hatha yoga every morning—essentially so your body does not break!) That is so with everything within you.
If you want any kind of transformation, any kind of forward movement in your life, it can only happen if you break the cyclical patterns of karma. Anything that is cyclical suggests constant motion, but it doesn’t really go anywhere. If you are sensitive to life, you realize this early. If you are less sensitive, you realize this as you grow older.
When you have the ability to perform action with the non-physical aspect of your energy, then it is termed a “kriya.”
Among the four dimensions of physicality, you are most conscious of bodily actions, less of the mental, much less of the emotional, and negligibly of the energetic. The moment you learn to perform action with the non-physical aspect of your life energy, you suddenly move to a new level of freedom within and outside of yourself.
Being used to a level of physical comfort is not a problem. But being in constant quest of comfort: this is a great problem. That kind of attitude and emotion is unsuitable for the path of kriya yoga.
Kriya yoga as a full-fledged path is important only for those interested in exploring mystical dimensions.
If you have the necessary technology, you can make the simple space around you into a divine exuberance. You can just take a piece of rock and make it into a god or a goddess. This is the phenomenon of consecration.
It is because of this awareness that the Indian culture built numerous temples on every street. The idea was not to create temples that were in competition with one another. The idea was simply that no one should live in a space that is not consecrated.
Yes, you can consecrate your own body. But the question is, are you able to keep it that way?
All spiritual initiations have been aimed at consecrating this very flesh into a temple-like space. After that, all that is needed is maintenance. Doing a spiritual practice every day is one way of trying to maintain the human system in a high state of vibrancy after an initiation.
In fact, the traditional word for deity is yantra, which literally translates as machine or a working energy form.
The temple was like a public battery-charging space. Most people have forgotten this nowadays. They just go to temples, ask for something, bum-bounce on the temple floor, and then leave. This is quite pointless. The idea is to sit and imbibe the energies of the
The word “linga” means “the form.” When creation began to happen, or when the unmanifest became manifest, the first form that it assumed was that of an ellipsoid, or a three-dimensional ellipse, which is what we call a linga.
One who comes into its sphere is influenced on the level of the akashic, or etheric body, or the vignanamayakosha. If you bring about a certain transformation through the physical, mental, or energy body, it can be lost in the course of life. But once you are touched on the level of the etheric body, it is forever. Even if you go through many lifetimes, this seed of liberation will wait for the right opportunity to sprout and flower.
Generally, compared to someone who is sober, someone who is slightly drunk has a different level of experience and exuberance. But everyone still has to come down at some point. All samadhis are a way of getting high without any external chemicals.
Most enlightened beings never stayed in samadhi states. Gautama Buddha never sat and meditated for years on end after his enlightenment. Many of his disciples went into very long meditations for years. But Gautama himself never did this because he must have seen it was not necessary for him. He practiced and experienced all the eight kinds of samadhis before his enlightenment, and he discarded them. He said, “This is not it.” He knew this was not going to take him to realization. Samadhi is just a heightened level of experience, a kind of inner LSD without any external input, which causes altered levels of perception. The risk is that you could get caught up with it, because it is far more beautiful than the current reality, but even the most beautiful experiences, as we know, can become a drag with time.
In every culture, there have been a few people who performed certain actions that made others believe in miracles. All these actions that are known as miracles are just born of a more profound access to life that some have enjoyed. That access, as I have said time and again, is available to everyone who cares to look deeper.
What is often referred to as occult is broadly what we know as tantra. In the current understanding in society, tantra is about using very unorthodox or socially unacceptable methods. But in its classical sense, tantra simply means “technology.” It has nothing to do with unbridled sexuality. It is important to make a clear distinction between the occult kind of tantra and spiritual tantra. These two were divided as “left-hand tantra” and “right-hand tantra,” and are completely different in nature.