The word abyaasa is a compound word that means ‘to stay with’. Interestingly, one of early Sutras that Patanjali enunciated clearly states that the path of yoga is walked alone. The words of the wise teacher are helpful to the extent that it shows the person what the wrong paths are and what the right practices ought to be. It is for the aspirant to test, discover and practice. The only proof of the validity of any statement is direct perception. Yoga does not entertain the idea of belief. It asks the person to listen only to the statements of people who live by what they say (And that too only provisionally.)
The path of a Yogi is the path of constant observation and self-discovery. The truths that one discovers form the basis of ones life. One of Upanishads defines knowledge as the movement from one level of ignorance to the next level that is less heavy with ignorance! Sounds a bit like science that holds that all discovery as the stepping-stone to the next more insightful understanding of our universe. Yoga asks one to apply the same rigor inwardly. It also says that each step of Yoga when taken fully reveals the next step to be taken.
So what does one practice with such persistence? One practices a way of life that is respectful of oneself and all forms of manifestation of the divinesimultaneously. That means every aspect of ones life and every element and person one engages with. Failure is not to be judged or condemned or feared, failure is an inevitable outcome when one treads the path of discovery. One treats such failure with compassion. One learns, gets up and dusts one self up and continues the journey.
What is different about the Yogic idea of seeking from the usual goal orientation that is recommended everywhere? Yoga recommends a direction for the search and not the end point. It clearly states that the subtle truths about oneself and ones world that each of us will discover cannot be put into words. Therefore to hold on to a definite form and shape of the end point is misleading. The Yogic seeking is entirely in the connotative world, and therefore it cannot be put into words. We all know that when we discover love, it is fresh and new, it is nothing like our imagination, and certainly not like the stuff projected in the movies. As we journey into the world of love, the experience of the last moment is transient and one can only retain a sense of vulnerability and openness as we engage with the loved one in the emerging moment.
The ‘staying with’ is therefore the persistence with the process of uncovering oneself to oneself; the process of discarding old ideas and conclusions and being curious about what is unfolding within and without, from moment to moment. When one remains open in this way one discovers the ability to look at ones limitations with humility and receive gifts with gratitude. One encounters the immensity of life, its unpredictability and its beauty. This experience is the essence of bhakti: reverence to the sacredness within and without.
Abhyaasa: Listening to the Divine Orchestration though the Sahasraara Chakra Persistent striving
My work revolves around helping individuals, groups and organizations discover their Dhamma, and become “the best they can be”. This aligns with my own personal saadhana. I have restated this question for my self as follows: “how can I be in touch with the well spring of my love for the world and my love for my self simultaneously”