Monthly Message 
Message May 2004:

YogaBetsy Yoga Center Discourse 7:
Taking The Next Step
by
Brian Afton

(Used as Circle Meditation on May 2, 2004)
From the very first lesson, Yoga strengthens our muscles and improves our flexibility and balance.  It also charges and develops our energy system well beyond anything beginners really expect to happen.  In the beginning most students do the exercises but they doubt that the energy system and the seven major charkas or psychic centers actually exist.  This is not surprising given the materialistic world we live in.

We do experiments and demonstrations here at the Yoga Center which eventually prove to our students that the energy system is real.  The simplest of these demonstrations involves the use of music and the intonation of vowel sounds.  Eventually when doing the vowel sounds every student finally hits the correct note and discovers that his energy system is energized and literally set into vibration by it.

A somewhat more advanced demonstration occurs during the chakra meditation when we have students focus directly on the charkas with directed thought and breathing.  Their first experience with the life force from the prana in the air collecting in the pericardial sack around the heart center is not a demonstration that is quickly forgotten.

Perhaps the most striking demonstration we do here, however, is the knesiology test.  In this test we have a student stand up and hold their left arm out straight from the side of their body so that it makes a 90 degree angle with the floor.  An instructor then places two fingers on the students wrist and he or she is told to hold their arm up as the instructor tries to push it down.

The student is always able to resist this force because you cannot push another persons arm down using only two fingers.  Notwithstanding that, when the student is told to repeat the sentence; ďI am weak and unworthyĒ outloud ten times, their arms are easily deflected and pushed down to their sides using just two fingers.  Strong athletic sports figures go down just as easily as small women and older people.

In this lies a very important principle and one which is the primary subject of our meeting here today.  Most of the people in this room have either seen this demonstration, or more likely, had it performed on them.  What this shows us is that the mere vocalization of this sentence, the mere repetition of words which have not even reached the level of belief can compromise your bodies ability to function properly.

The reason that this happens is explained during the chakra meditation when we use directed breathing and focus upon the energy centers.  These chakras or psychic centers as they are sometimes called, are effected and energized by the prana or life force from the air that we breath.  They are also effected by the energy of our thoughts.  This is why your arms go down in the kneselogy test.  It is not the force of the instructors fingers which does this, but the power of your own thinking.

This power can actually be detected and to a degree measured by so the called lie detector.  Actually there isnít any machine which can tell if people are lying or not.  What they do is to measure changes in body physiology and those changes are worth our notice here.

Given that,  I would like you to consider is this.  If having a subject say it is Tuesday when they know it is Wednesday can produce a significant change in an electrical device as crude as a common voltmeter, what on earth do you suppose is going on inside our bodies when we are harboring some really negative emotions and thoughts? 

Yes our bodies are very important, but what you think and where you keep your mind is important too and the lie detector proves just how important it is.

When you first started taking classes here you hoped that Yoga would increase your strength and vitality.  Of course, it will do that.  This is a good thing but you should realize that it is also something of a double edged sword.

  Each of you who has studied here is a different, stronger and more vital person than your were when you began this study.  As you have struggled with the Yoga postures your strength has increased, your balance has improved, your energy systems have opened up and, whether you realize it or not, meditation has sharpened your focus and concentration. 

  In short, each and every one of you is, in fact, cultivating a power you did not previously have and probably do not understand very well.   I wonder if you have any respect for that power yet?

You should understand by now that this power can make your arm go down when you didnít want it to go down.  What else can it do?  What else is it doing?

Bluntly, it can carry you to sublime heights beyond your wildest expectations or it can take you to the depths of ruin.

Because of the increase in the strength of your body and because of your practice in concentration and meditation you now possess a much greater capacity to bring the creations of your mind into actual existence than you used to.  So it is now important for you to be sure that you are keeping things in your mind that you want to be there.  There is a very real possibility that these things will now physically manifest in your life.  Make them be good things.

The next step in your study of yoga is taking responsibility for what resides in your own mind.  This is the most difficult of all possible undertakings.

For our purposes here,  there are two aspects to mind power:  the negative application of it, and the positive application.  The negative application amounts to being things we do not do.

Many of you have seen the old classic Kirk Douglas movie ďUlysses.Ē  It opens with a great storm breaking across his ship where Ulysses is having a screaming argument with his officers about keeping a huge statue of Neptune lashed to the deck.  The officers donít want to give up this valuable piece of booty but Ulysses, more practical than they, realizes that they are taking water and that this priceless piece of artwork, far from guaranteeing them a rich and prosperous future is going to drag them to the bottom of the sea.   Subsequently, he has it pushed overboard. 

Many of the thoughts each of us is clinging to are just as dangerous to us as that hulking statue which threatened to pull down Ulysses ship and, like Ulysses, it would pay us to clean our boats once in a while.

We do not have time here today to experiment with negative thoughts.   However, this is an important subject and during the ensuing week when you get a chance I would like you to sit down and give this a simple test.  Select, if you would, one ancient grudge or hurt and write it down on a piece of paper.  Surely there is there, some fear, some hurt, some anger, some great disappointment which you could write down on that paper,  something that has significantly altered your life?

Now I would like you to think for a moment who you would be without that thought?  Do not underestimate the power of that question.  Who would you be without that thought?  What has happened has happened.  Now which of these two things has done the most damage.  What happened, or how you felt about it?  Who would you be without that thought?

There are some pretty unpleasant things in this world, but we do not have to allow them to be part of us.

Now, the positive aspect of this power is both more difficult to explain and to demonstrate.  You should begin by understanding that the people who developed yoga did not do this with the intention of becoming living pretzels.  Now, it is true that doing yoga will improve your flexibility and heath but that was not the reason yoga was developed. 

  Yoga was developed to open the energy channels and facilitate mediation so that the yogis could contact the inner self and thence to participate actively in their religion.  One of the perverse facts of nature is that most people are not strong enough to relax.  If you canít relax you canít meditate effectively.  Moreover, if your mind is so untrained that you cannot hold a single thought clearly for more than 3 or 4 seconds, how can you expect to pray?

  I would also like you to realize that yoga began over five thousand years ago.  This was over three thousand years before the birth of Christ and the beginning of the Christian era.   Needless to say that yoga was not exactly the yoga we do today and their religion was not Christianity because that would not come along for more than 30 centuries.

  The basic teachings of these people were eventually complied in something called the Vedas.  These are written in Sanskrit, a language few of us can read and it is colored by a culture we donít understand very well.  At first examination most people conclude that this is complete gibberish.  A more honest and careful examination of them, however, reveals a core of beliefs and values very similar to what to what most of us believe to this day and there is a reason for that.  External truths do not change. The tools these people developed 5000 years ago also still work to this day. 

At it simplest the power you are developing can be applied positively in two ways.  One of them is through passive meditation.  In this we contact our inner selves and attempt to gain insights and information from the great Cosmic mind. 
This is the way it is usually employed, but there is another way.

A second way it may be used is to act as a channel for the great Cosmic mind and allow our energy system to be used to radiate healing energy, love, and joy into the world.  This may seem like a trivial pursuit to most of you but I would like you to consider two things.  First, all of the darkness and cold in the entire universe cannot extinguish the light of even one single candle.

Second, the energy thus radiated interacts with the physical world and changes it, imperceptibly perhaps, but it changes it nevertheless.   You have already seen the negative form of this energy cause your own arm to drop.  The positive form of it is inherently constructive and much more powerful. 

If there is only one thing which we could convey to you tonight it is this:  If there were enough of these united circles radiating light into the world, the world would be irreversibly changed by it.  The appalling conditions which exist now could not continue for a single day.

Now, while your energy channels are still open from our first meditation I would now ask each of you to join our circle and radiate love, joy and healing into the world.

Conduct Meditation.

There, now you have done it.  You have radiated love, joy and healing into the world, and until this minute several of you did not even know you could.

 Copyright 2004  Brian Afton 2822 Grover Rd Olean, NY 14760