By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500
To become a teacher of any subject is complicated. One of the most difficult obstacles humankind has ever encountered is objective or impartial thought. Anyone who has learned to avoid hasty judgments, has to some degree, also learned to master his or her mind. Tainted knowledge is an illusion in which we tend to think we know the answer; but in reality, we only know a part of the answer, or have been steered down the wrong path entirely.
Within Yogic philosophy, it has been said that all thoughts correspond to the five elements of creation (Panchamahabhutas). Within your Yoga teacher training program, you may have learned the basic five elements, which are: Ether (Akasa), Air (Vayu), Fire (Agni), Water (Apas), and Earth (Prithivi).
Through our senses, we experience the five elements, and our senses translate their perceptions of these elements to the inner mind. Ether is experienced by our sense of hearing. Air is experienced by our sense of touch. Water is experienced by our sense of taste. Fire produces light and is experienced by our sight. The property of earth is experienced by our sense of smell.
Although we experience the above-named elements in many ways, this is just one example of how the sensations of the five elements are translated from a primal sense to a complicated thought. We learn that fire (Agni) is naturally attractive when controlled, but it is also very hazardous.
One example of Agni, out of control, is the power of two galaxies that collide. Star systems would also collide as a result. On a much smaller scale, we can easily imagine wildfires that take forests, dwellings, and lives, in their wake.
The reason for painting this particular picture of Agni in your mind is to make you aware of the power of suggestion. Your mind is also powerful because it has the power to produce images, which make us react. If we have been misinformed, will we react to the message rationally?
Our psychological reactions, to situations around us, create our lifestyle. Two people may experience the same sensation, but their reactions can be different. One person becomes depressed or suicidal over bad news, while another decides to take the challenge that life deals to him or her.
Meditation, concerning objective viewpoints, is a Yogic tool for the advancement of all humanity. Humankind must learn to compromise with new ideas. Training the mind is the ultimate investment in Yoga practice. Objective thought is the guiding light to self-discovery and the Eight Limbs described by Patanjali.
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