Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Four Yogas

Everyone has feelings, so everyone can be on the path of feelings. The same is true for thinking, acting, and being. So, the vision of Yoga is simply that Unity is possible for anyone, starting from wherever you happen to be. Unity is secretly present in every moment in daily life. Nothing can happen to me that is outside the one reality., nothing is wasted or random in the Cosmic design.

In the Vedic tradition, each person can choose four paths that arise from feeling, thinking, acting, and being. Each path is called a Yoga, the Sanskrit word for "union," because Unity - merging with one reality - was the goal.

Over the ages, the four Yogas have come to define specific paths that suit the kind of temperament a seeker has, although in truth you can follow several or all at once:

Bhakti Yoga., leads to Unity by loving God. Karma Yoga., leads to Unity through selfless action. Gyana Yoga., leads to Unity through Knowledge. Raj Yoga., leads to Unity through meditation and renunciation.

It's not necessary to think of the four paths as being Eastern. These Yogas were the original seeds, the means that brought Unity within reach. Literally translated, the fourth path, Raj Yoga, means "the royal way to union." What makes it royal is a belief that meditation transcends the other three paths. But the fourth path is also inclusive: By following it you are actually following all four at once. Your meditations go directly to the essence of your being. That essence is what love of God, selfless action, and Knowledge are trying to teach.

Adapted from The Book of Secrets, by Deepak Chopra (Harmony Books, 2004).

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