What does it mean to be spiritual? What is the spiritual path and where does it lead? What is the end goal of all spiritual striving?
These profound questions have fundamental importance for all human beings yet only a few committed souls dedicate their lives and take the spiritual path to its final conclusion. The spiritual quest is an arduous one and the chances of success astronomical. According to the Yogic tradition we all must walk the spiritual path at some point, for this is our soul’s sole purpose to finally know who we are and why we exist in the first place. In essence the spiritual path is our soul’s long journey home and Yoga is the vehicle that we can take to hasten the journey.
According to the Yoga tradition, the destination of the spiritual path culminates in high states of consciousness where we realize our true Self. This is not an intellectual quest or merely poetic literature, its literal and achievable for all of us. In this state of consciousness we know who we, are where we came from and the totality of our existence. It is a supremely blissful state where we are no longer confined to our little body and conditioned personality, we realize our infinite Being as one with the Cosmos. The ancient Sages state that our essence is part of the Divine and true realization is liberating beyond belief. From realizing our own Self identity then we realize the end goal of all spiritual striving which is complete oneness with God as infinite consciousness.
With these lofty goals in mind a daunting and monumental task lies ahead of us, thankfully the saving grace according to Yoga is that within our physical body lies a spiritual subtle body that has an anatomy of its very own. An anatomy that once accessed leads us systematically to our spiritual freedom and limitless bliss acquired through the art and science of Yoga (to unite or absorb in that consciousness). Take a moment to ponder this breathtaking news……… you have a subtle anatomy that is hardwired for your enlightenment and it lies inside your body. You have within you a literal spiritual pathway that can be accessed through Yoga techniques and it resides in your spine! This pathway leads you from separateness and suffering towards infinite awareness of peace, love, wisdom and joy. If you choose to take the spiritual path and do the incredibly important work then Yoga gives us a road-map that is universal and non-dogmatic.
The spiritual pathway lies within the physical body in the spinal area, its a subtle energetic channel akin to a hollow tube that runs from the base of the spine to the crown of the head called the sushumna in Sanksrit. This channel exists in all human beings however lies completely dormant unless spiritually activated through Yogic and devotional means. Suffice to say that within this dormant channel there are a number of subtle blockages preventing soul evolution such as sensory outgoings, past habits and karmas from prior incarnations. These blockages are referred to as energetic knots, bundles of karmic energy that literally block our progress.
Cosmic energy (prana) enters our being at the back of the head at the point of the medulla oblongata that travels downwards to the base of the spine, out through the nervous system and is expended through the five senses, this natural process goes on continuously until we have to recharge either through sleep, food, breath or exercise.
Take a moment to imagine a flowing river then visualize an eddie or whirlpool within that river, see how it takes the water flow and holds all of that water in place preventing the flow going down stream. Each of these vortices represents one karma blocking the flow of spiritual energy within you. There may be thousands and thousands of karmas held by the average person maybe millions by some troubled souls!
Don’t despair just yet, the esoteric purpose of Yogic teachings is the re-channel blocked energy with technique and awareness wash away the vortices (vrittis) of past habits and karmas freeing a river of Divine grace to flow freely in the subtle spine and uplifting us to new heights. Yes, you read correctly, this all happens inside of your body, we are purposely built as living temples to realize our higher Self and Divine consciousness. How amazing and exciting is that?!
The entire process of Yoga is redirecting the downward flow of energy and withdrawing it inwards then back up the spinal channel to the brain where it unites with pure consciousness. Every upward flow of energy leads us to greater and greater upliftment of consciousness until we feel these ecstatic states.
To achieve these ideals we must combine Yoga techniques and purification of the heart’s feeling through devotion or unconditional love. This is the magic formula for Yogic success the question is will you make the supreme effort in this life to walk the spiritual path?