Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Cultivating Faith - to be balanced midst duality

Faith is a critical virtue in Yoga. Man cannot succeed without having any faith in himself, his environment, nature or God. Without faith man remains full of doubt, which gives rise to worry. His actions are haphazard and without a clear goal, and thus he cannot succeed. Faith helps one to be balanced midst duality.

Faith can be developed by practice. When one has faith in his actions he will succeed. As nothing succeeds like success, ones faith grows stronger every time he succeeds. For example:

- One may not sit in Sukhasana for hours but one should sit for 10 minutes with mind absorbed in breathing. Meditative asanas can cause introversion. Quietude is gained when eyes are closed for a few minutes together with composure.

- One may not succeed in doing Paschimmottanasana for 3 minutes but one should rhythmically move hands towards toes and return (keeping a manageable breathing rate of 2:4:2 or 3:6:3). So with a selection of easier and more effective asanas, doing them dynamically and for shorter duration we can learn asanas.

All this helps in generating faith. On the other hand, stress results when routines at physical and mental level are not followed e.g. proper rest, mental conditioning, performance of one’s own duties, etc. In absence of relaxation one gets confused and suffers from loss of faith and capacity to accept life.

Faith is a mental state which is positive and has to be cultivated. It is called an ‘upaya’ or technique.

When certain calmness is encouraged faith is born.  It has to be strengthened and also cross-checked.  There are moments when one is totally lost, like during an earthquake, and only faith helps him to maintain sanity.

Ishwara pranidhana is resignation to the will of the Absolute.

It requires the student of yoga to believe that whatever happens, happens according to the will of the Absolute. One should accept the results of one's deeds without feeling pain or pleasure. One should concentrate fully on doing one's duty and be disinterested about the results. The other side of this is that one has faith in a higher reality which maps out our lives beyond our control.

What you can do:

- Watch yourself during the day and observe how you behave when someone disturbs or offends you, or when something goes wrong. Do you immediately loose your balance of mind? Or do you have the understanding that some things are beyond our control, but there is always a great power ruling over all things?

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