by Yogeshwari Fountain
I used to be a modern dancer. I spent years training my body so that I would be able to move across the stage with lightness, freedom and grace. It was a perfect blend of mental focus, physical skill and bliss, which also describes the practice of Yoga. While dance expressed my yearning for God, yoga gave me what I truly longed for, deeper inside: the tangible experience of God, in my own Self.
Although I didn’t realize it in the beginning, yoga is a training for your mind, to make it based in freedom, dancing with light, moving with gracefulness and ease. All yoga’s practices are for the purpose of quieting your mind, so you will experience your inner Self, named svaroopa by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras.
Yoga reveals your inherent divinity, both on the inside and outside of your being. There’s nothing to “perform.” There’s no “technique” you must perfect. Your only commitment is to know your own Self, at the deepest level.
For this you need the help of a sacred set of syllables enlivened by a living master. Such a mantra is a vibrational force of energy, charged with an incredible power to transform your mind and sense of self. Your mind needs the help, because listening to what you tell yourself all day can drive you nuts.
“Your mind makes you dance like a monkey all the time…Now you have to become stronger; you have to make the mind dance. Make it dance on the stage of mantra.”- Swami Muktananda
Yoga’s sages say your mind is made of Consciousness, a form of the one Divine Reality. While your mind has the capacity to be expansive and serene, it is also as mischievous as a monkey. It flits about from one thing to the next, getting into trouble. It nitpicks and conjures up stuff that will probably never happen.
Your mind is a creature of habit, reinforcing mental patterns that obscure the light of your own divine radiance. In fact, your mind makes you dance like a monkey! Swami Muktananda says you must become stronger than this, by becoming the master of your own mind.
Enlivened mantra and deep meditation are the key to this mastery. At first you repeat mantra to intervene with your mind, giving it something more uplifting to repeat. Over time, your mantra becomes more a part of you, from the inside out. It becomes intuitive.
Your field of awareness expands, a knowingness that is happening at a deeper level inside, deeper than your mind. Swami Nirmalananda describes it this way, “Your own Self is Consciousness-Itself. That means that, at your core, you know. This core knowing is not thought, but an inner knowingness that is the source of all the sages’ teachings and insights. This becomes the GPS that guides you through your life. You are living from the inside-out.”
Your inner Self illumines your mind, showing it what to do, what to think about and how to help. What a change! You’ve been used to the other way around, your mind leading you around like a bull with a ring through its nose. It’s a delightful and meaningful shift in perspective: your mind becomes the servant of the light of your own Self.
How many repetitions of your mantra will it take for you to make your mind “dance on the stage of mantra?” The teachings of a Great Being like Swami Muktananda make it possible for me to imagine the impossible. This is because his words are imbued with grace.
Whatever mantra you have been given by such a Master, know that it is an audible form of grace. Still, you must apply yourself to repeating it. Mantra will then effortlessly carry you to your own Self, until your mind becomes Consciousness-Itself.
One mantra repetition at a time, over time, will make you lighter, stronger and freer. Until your thoughts dance to the tune of Consciousness, based in the foundation of your own Beingness.