Logical vs. Experiential: Overview
Aims: To understand the aspects of the Yama (social discipline) Ahimsa as defined in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. The goal is to explore how the practice of Ahimsa currently exists in my life and from this investigation, develop a new way of experiencing the world with compassion, kindness and grace.
Rationale: Exploring who I am via a set of static practices/analysis that will help identify constellating patterns of thought pertaining to Ahimsa as I experience it in my life. I believe that understanding how I interact with my subset of the world as well as how myself (ya know, the approximation of the self I experience via sense data) will allow for a deeper movement into yogic practice, philosophy and theory. My hypothesis is that setting a scaffolding of meditation, pranayama and asana practice to support my search for what Ahimsa means to me will allow for a deeper experience of the Self.
Meditation and Pranayama – 6 AM/10AM/10PM
6am – 4 purifications
10am –seated meditation
10pm –seated meditation
Asana Practice – 3 times a week + in class certification asana practice 3 times a week (6 classes’ total).
I have a regular practice outside of class asana – My intention is to apply technical and philosophical lessons learned during certification to this outside practice. I have been trying to pair my asana and meditation practice.
Journal of self-study – Daily 20 – 40 minutes.
Blog or good old fashioned pen and paper.
Discussion group – 1-2 time throughout the experimental process.
Results: A deeper understanding of whom I believe I am as compared to who I am in relation to the concepts of Ahimsa. A deeper appreciation of my meditation and asana practice. Philosophical confusion and a reminder that all things cannot be dissected and assimilated through the head. Sometimes it takes the heart and body to become an open and available creature, Alive to the universe.
Main Conclusions: Developing a practice of compassion and non-violence that encompasses all things is a difficult concept to work with at the logic/head level. Via this experiment I have found that experiencing the concept of Ahimsa from what I call my heart space, without attaching the constructs of the mind to it has made assimilating and the concept easier. My ego/head self works too hard and too fast most days of my life and slowing down, working through my reluctance to let go of a head based understanding of Ahimsa allowed for me to assimilate the Yama at the body level. I found early on my ego self rejected the idea of simple contemplation of Ahimsa. I believe it is because I have a tendency to want to “research “and “know “what a thing is before I begin to engage it. I want to do it in the right way as if a full practice must also be an understood practice. Letting loose of my stranglehold in this particular belief system has been rewarding enough for me to continue the practice I’ve developed around accepting the concepts of non-violence and compassion as a wholly embodied process into my life.