Some Fundamentals of Yoga

Man at his highest is a mental being. He perceives, knows, judges and wills action through the power of mind. Yoga begins when man awakens to an existence beyond mind, when he senses or feels a greater consciousness operative in the world, when he turns toward and seeks to discover the Divine in himself, in the world or beyond this world. By this quest he grows in consciousness beyond the limitations of normal human nature and lives in a higher plane of existence with a more illumined knowledge, purer vaster love and more powerful will for action. In his initial attempts to contact the Divine, man commonly resorts to prayer. Prayer is a linking of the human will with a higher power, the Divine Will, for the fulfillment of a particular end, e.g. knowledge, love, happiness, health, wealth, strength, peace, etc. Prayer can issue from a thought in the mind, an emotion in the heart or from a deeper center in man, the soul, which lies behind the heart and is in direct contact with the Divine. The power of prayer depends on its intensity as well as the sincerity and faith of the seeker. When these three elements are present in good measure, prayer is a far greater power for effectuation than any human endowment.

But prayer by its nature is an attempt to harness the Divine for one’s own ends. At its highest prayer becomes an aspiration issuing from the soul not for any worldly end but for contact, identification and union with the Divine. At this point yoga begins. Aspiration when it seeks to express in one’s outer life of activity leads to consecration. Consecration literally means to make sacred. In yoga this means doing an act as an offering to the Divine and with the Divine as the central reference. Instead of relying on and being moved by the normal human impulses, understanding and will, one seeks contact with the soul deep within and acts from that center with its guidance. In effect one suspends and offers up one’s own impulses, feelings, understanding and will power so that a higher impulsion, truer knowledge and more powerful will can act through one. By this means the seeker gradually comes more in contact with the Divine and the Divine enters into and takes hold of his entire inner life and all his outer circumstances.

Consecration leads to complete surrender and communion. Still a man must act in the world. When an act is fully consecrated it brings to bear a far greater power of Consciousness than mind or prayer can generate. In so far as one resorts to prayer or consecration, these methods grow in power beyond the human level and bring in the dynamism of the higher consciousness.

When an act is consecrated, it is no longer necessary to say that life responds to us. Rather it can be said that the Divine in life responds to the inner effort. The outer life becomes an expression of the inner consecration. Every outer obstacle and difficulty is an indication of an inner element to be worked upon and an inner progress to be made. When one exhausts all one’s human capacities and resources in consecrated activity, it is the higher power, the Divine Grace, that takes over. When one refuses to exercise human power of legal or moral right in deference to the Divine, the higher power enters through life and acts far more effectively than man, and so on. As the entire inner being is turned towards the Divine and opens to the higher consciousness, the outer life falls under control and all circumstances arrange themselves to aid in one’s progress.