I set out to Pavones for my 200-hour yoga teacher training with the earnest intention to completely dedicate my month to evolving and understanding myself more deeply. I wanted to elevate my consciousness and to live a more peaceful life. Preceding my arrival I had read an incredibly dynamic book: The Handbook for Higher Consciousness by Ken Keyes Jr. I just love “how to” guides and instructional manuals that lay information out with impeccable clarity. In The Handbook, Keyes offers 12 pathways for reprogramming your emotional patterns and addictions that have been instilled in us since birth by our familial and societal expectations.
As the training progressed I was excited to see that many of the things outlined in The Handbook were exactly the same in content as the information provided in our teacher training manual just defined through a different lens. Yet again my beloved experience of interconnectedness. It’s all the same, it’s just how you look at it and what resonates with your personal truth.
From Patanaji’s perspective his first chapter codifies the path to Samadi (state of intense concentration achieved through meditation, at which union with the divine is reached) as basically the process of becoming aware of the particular thought patterns that cause suffering and beginning to subdue or subvert them. The Eight-limbed path describes the necessary qualities and practices for transforming the mind from a state of distraction to one of attention. (Adapted from PYC 200 hour multidimensional teacher training manual) In other words how to live in a state of non-judgemental awareness.
Another adaptation of this same wisdom also presented in our teacher training manual is that of The Four Agreements by Don Miuel Ruiz where he delineates that the beliefs we acquire as children and maintain into adulthood are not of our own choosing but rather just agreements based on our experiences of reward and punishment. To free ourselves we must destroy the unrealistic images of perfection that we have created in our minds and learn to live in a non-reactive place where experiences unfold and we just observe with loving awareness.
As the vrittis of life continue to come thick and fast, I recently turned again to The Handbook for Higher Consciousness for support. I had memorized nine of the twelve pathways while in Pavones and had established a strong foundation for detecting how powerful the correct application of each pathway would be in transforming my thought patterns. With the revisitation of the pathways I resolved this time to place extreme focus on one at a time, only moving forward when I had fully integrated it into my being with perfect and complete understanding of when and how to use it most effectively. I have already noticed a dramatic shift in my ability to remain in my calm neutral mind.
“I am freeing myself from security sensation and power addictions that make me try to forcefully control (people and) situations in my life and thus destroy my serenity and keep me from loving myself and others” (parenthesis my addition) is the first of The Twelve Pathways to The Higher Consciousness Planes of Unconditional Love and Oneness. As soon as I start to notice my mental chatter drifting into frustration and negativity that I lost my cell phone or my relationships seem hopeless or that Dende is barking…STOP – “I am freeing myself…” For two days I immersed myself in repeating this pathway in my head, out loud and in written form.
Security, sensation and power? Well Yogash! That’s the first, second and third chakras I’ve been working on. Once again the feeling of unity washes over me and I am grateful for all the teachers that have come before me to bestow this universal knowledge in a creative flurry of different ways.