The Tools By Which We Measure # 32
How do you measure your worth?
We all yearn to be of purpose, to feel that we are contributing in some manner to the world in all its concentric outwardly pulsating circles; in the sphere of our own lives, the ones we love and the world at large. Perhaps it is the intrinsic knowledge of the gift of life that moves us to prove the worth our existence.
How clearly, how deeply, how truly we see, sense, depends upon the tools we use to measure. Like a microscope that brings the smallest bacteria into view or a telescope that brings the stars millions of light years away close, we too have tools to measure life.
Our tool is the very vessel we call home, the body-mind in Sanskrit prakriti. It is animated, made alive by purusa, consciousness, spirit. Spiritus, defined as that which animates. Of course it’s not just the tools but their sensitivity, their calibration. We strive to tune, make strong and supple, to calibrate this vessel so that any knowledge placed in it will flourish, expand and blossom. How is this done?
Vikalpa-samskara Viklapa, construct and samskara. Samskara is the impression left from the sum total of every experience we have ever had or will have, positive, negative and neutral, in life and it has another meaning, refinement. In this sense vikalpa-samskara is the refinement of our conceptual thought. More than this, it is the purification of conceptual knowledge; sequential purification of understanding through deep contemplation.
The world moves so fast, each day a new joy and challenge arises that must be met. It also moves way too slow, holding me in place as though in quicksand. When will I break through? Such is the fluctuation on the surface of life. Like the surface of the ocean on any given day, it may be calm or tumultuous; we may feel we are in the doldrums or being tossed mercilessly on the waves of change. We must learn to navigate life, it is that simple.
By going deep in meditation we go below the surface roil and come to a place of dynamic stillness. The bottom of the ocean is a wondrous place full of life and miraculous forms of light moving in the depths of darkness. We rest our individual awareness in this source that seems dark and still, but is teaming with the light of all potentiality. We have only to refine our tools of measurement.
When we come back to the surface we see anew, more clearly, more deeply and more expansively. At first is it is subtle, but over time and with practice the calibration of our vessel increases in sensitivity and stabilization. It is from this place that the measurement of worth must come.
There will always be circumstances, people and things that are ready and more than willing to define our worth. And yes, we need feedback in life. We need to refine in order to get better. But what we do in the world, how others see us is not the true reflection of who we are and what we are worth.
Know your true self and from this place move freely in the world. A freedom born of high knowledge and experience found in the depths of our very own being. This is the steadiness that yoga speaks of. Steadiness is not lack of feeling, in fact mediation makes one more sensitive. Vyasa ,one of the commentators on the Yoga Sutra, says “the yogin becomes as sensitive as an eye ball”. But in the accompanying steadiness that feeling is put to good and proper use. Directed in the most efficacious manner.
Live life fully radically. The yogin prepares herself for this radical transmutation as best as she can. It is not subservient to her will and for this reason has frequently been interpreted in terms of an act of grace. And there is something for us to do. Very much like love.
We prepare ourselves, we heighten senses, calibrate our tool, the body and mind, the prakrittic field, by pulling it into alignment. This happens both physically, via asana, and on the subtler planes, via meditation.
A beautiful rendering of this is the metaphor of the archer. When we sit for meditation, we draw the arrow of the mind back, deeply within then release the activated, charged potency of the arrow outward to the target of our choosing the right thought, action, etc performed at the right time. This is the ‘just in time’ model as opposed to ‘just in case’.
In doing so we become the vehicle for the creative power of life. We will get tossed by the waves, we will get stuck in the doldrums, such is life but stabilized more and more in the heart we will know how best to move. Yoga is skill in action.
Know your worth. Bring the light.