Spiritual Teachings of Yoga by Mark Forstater

By Mark Forstater

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There is a Chan (Chinese Zen) story that illuminates both this dependence on breath and the habitual ease with which we fall into the habit of taking our life energy for granted: A young monk was meditating by following his breath, as he had been taught by his Master. After days of meditating like this he complained that it was boring just to follow his breath. Wasn’t there some other practice to follow? 53 The Master considered the question and walked the young monk over to a full barrel of water.

I avoid these trains of thought by staying in the pure awareness of this hall, happy to remain in solitary and silent contemplation of my own awareness, itself an immense cavernous void like the station, where I am rapt in the infinite stillness of eternity. This infinite stillness is bliss, and the only heaven I am likely to experience. But what a heaven! 58 11 The Origins of Yoga The early history of yoga lies buried with the dust and bricks of past civilizations, and there is no way that we can unearth its true origins.

In our world subjects do things to objects and vice versa. We believe that the world is real and that it is made up of real interacting objects. Well, isn’t the world made up of real objects? Not according to Jeremy Hayward in his book Letters to Vanessa. He explains that common sense gives us the impression that our eyes are like cameras that merely reproduce what exists ‘out there’ in the world. Unfortunately, common sense is quite wrong about what is going on ‘out there’. When someone blind from birth manages to have their sight restored, they do not immediately see the world we see.

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