(4 Yogas Main) This ends the TiltedCandle series on Hinduism’s 4 Yogas. Boiled down to the basic drivers that make the 4 Yogas go, we have: wp.me/p2ukOd-5W
- To identify with the soul and not the body.
- To love God.
- Selflessness by priority: to become selfless in devotion to the common good.
- Selflessness by wisdom: to know the mind of God so well one’s Self is simply not important.
You can see each driver is essentially the same pattern, adapted to different functions of the soul: using deep understanding, or love, or the tendency to take action, or mental focus. Therefore you can put yourself through the same pattern with your mind, your heart, your will, or your identity.
A monk who meditates for a living and a worshipper who participates in ecstatic dance are not really doing different things. They are using different parts of their humanity to do the same thing.
The pattern of Christianity, to love the world, is not fundamentally different from the Bhakti notion of loving God. In fact, when Christ was asked what the most important commandment was, he said, “To love God. The second most important, which is like the first, is to love your fellow man.”
We can say, in general and with any function, the idea is to adopt entirely a point of view in relationship with God: either adopting God’s point of view as one’s own, or the point of view of a person who is in relationship with God. You can identify with God if you want: Christians sometimes develop stigmata, or even have themselves crucified, to step into the point of view of Christ — not for power, but out of adoration.
To identify with God is completely valid, in my opinion. It’s not a sin. It does not displease God. It is not sacrilege. It is not a threat to God’s authority. To selflessly identify with God has the spiritual end result of achieving union with God. Just keep track of who you are as a human, and a commonsense understanding, based on real-life experience, of your place in the big picture.
To put oneself completely in relationship with God is the alternative, if identifying with God does not suit you. This is to taste sugar, not to become sugar. Loving God with the heart and loving God with the mind are ways to achieve this. As the Man says, to truly love the father is to love his children, so to generate love for mankind helps to tune your soul.
The final option is sainthood. To become a saint means to forgo heaven in order to help mankind. Bodhisattvas, Buddhist saints, desire to help not only mankind, but all sentient beings, who need to be delivered from suffering.
Sainthood is achieved, in contrast to heaven, by selflessly making mankind the top priority. Desire to help mankind more than anything, more than survival itself. You will qualify to go to heaven and you will qualify to achieve union with God, but you will hang around Earth and do God’s work — you will be an angel, if you keep a human spiritual body, or something more powerful if you give up that form.
Adoration and identification are both forms of love. They are different ways of realizing love. Both of them work off affinity. Affinity directs the psyche. It is in consideration of affinity that modern psychologists talk about affect and not “emotion.”
The overall pattern is to break affinity with the body, and to build affinity with the Divine. It is not necessary to use ascetic practices that abuse the body. Lack of interest is sufficient for this. In your spiritual practice, cultivate affinity for where you want to go, and you will go there.
Use these these understandings to direct your spiritual practices in ways that serve you. God bless.