The Way of Peace and Understanding

In me there is a light which lights the whole world.
It is radiating now, peace and understanding.
A text for meditation

The mind is always with us, so it makes sense to nurture it in peace and wisdom. This requires effort, but the alternative is to be saddled with an instrument of dubious stability, like setting out on a long drive without checking the roadworthiness of our car. Fortunately a good deal of research has been devoted to getting the best out of our inner life, and this is the aim of the traditional practices known loosely as yoga.

There are many forms of yoga, and the word normally prompts associations with the system of bodily postures known as hatha yoga. But if we look into the question more deeply, we find there are many practicable yogas of ancient provenance that provide skilful means of pacifying, purifying and enlightening the mind. In the Bhagavad-Gita, for example, we find chapters devoted to particular forms of yoga, such as karma yoga, bhakti yoga and jnana yoga, meaning the yogas of action, devotion and knowledge. These yogas interweave and support one another, and the three mentioned comprise the yoga of self-knowledge. The range and variety of practices ensures that all our mental faculties—our urge to act, to express feelings and to know—are satisfactorily evolved by means of an integrated and comprehensive course of self-development.

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This article is from the Spring 2020 issue of Self-Knowledge Journal.