The fifth week of the Katha Upanishads….an invitation to come and sit near to the Guru within yourself.
Throughout the journey, we’ve been downloading the wisdom of Yama, Lord of Death, through the story of the brave boy Nachiketa. We start off this week with a note on wisdom, and how we can deal with the sometimes overwhelming supply of it all!
We’re always learning, and especially when we are choosing to enquire deeper we can be presented with so many awesome insights. This could potentially lead us to think we need to suddenly become completely enlightened with all the wisdom we have received, and perhaps never make a ‘mistake’ again. We can think learning is a 1-2-3 step process…learn the wisdom, and BAM that’s it - you’re perfect and you have all the ‘answers’ and you’ve officially NAILED IT. Off you go!
How terribly boring that would be.
The thing is, wisdom is not designed to be ‘nailed’. It is beyond nailing. It is non-nail-able. We can sometimes start to take it all in and then try to look through the wisdom into the world. This can lead to us over-analysing every situation and trying to enforce our nuggets of ‘wisdom’ we’ve gathered onto everything. And then we miss the pure, natural, wonder of things. I’m writing like this because I’ve been totally guilty of it. I’ve also realised how great it feels to put your hands up and say “Um, actually, I don’t really know all the answers, and I don’t think I ever will….or want to! Sorry!”. I love that its non-nailable...it means that we’re not supposed to do everything right. Wisdom isn’t a pill that we can swallow and then ‘we got this’. We can read so many books, listen to so much Satsang, and come away feeling like “Ah, right cool…NOW I know”. But the truth is, (for me anyway), we go out into the world and things get a bit jumbly and it isn’t so straight-forward as we’d like to think, and we are not the enlightened wise guru we thought we were for approximately half a minute. Huh.
Alternatively, there is the much lower-pressure route of just letting the wisdom nail itself. Just letting yourself take a bath in it – soak it all up, and then go on your merry way knowing that it’s been absorbed inside of you on its own and will apply itself, when it needs to. Rather than us trying sooo hard to apply it all the time, it will settle inside of us, sprouting and blooming over time. All we need is to hold an openness – a receptivity to it infusing our life. We can fall back a little, feel our way through life trusting that it’s there, and it will do its own work when the opportunities arise. Phew.
So after that “Ahh” breath of relief, we continue on. With another serving of wisdom to eat up, of course!
This week, Yama’s message really just follows on from last week regarding our energy, or Prana choices. We know we’re on the journey of making more Shreya choices, or choices that serve us long-term. And we come to know what does and what doesn’t by observing our internal landscape – the city inside of us. Is it filling up with energy? Or is it spilling out? What is causing it to leak and what is it that makes it rise? Of course, we can only begin to see these things inside ourselves because our energy is functioning at such a higher level that we’re able to pay attention to it. In other words, if you can even just notice within yourself when your energy is being lost, you’re already on a higher level of energy than being oblivious to it. I think that’s really good to know, because we can sometimes get so caught up in what we see, we don’t appreciate that at least we see it. Then when we can pay attention and make these choices, we start to upgrade our vehicle (or our chariot). We can start to ride first-class. Until eventually, our vehicle could even drive itself with its own energy. Super sustainability.
What if energy was money? What if it was our level of Prana that paid our bills? I can imagine that everyone would be interested in taking care of it then. But actually, it IS our currency – everything is energy, and our energy level is how we exchange with the world around us. When we fill up our Pranic bank account, or the energy inside ourselves, how does the world look from that place? When we suddenly don’t need anything from it for our energy to rise? Then I guess that we can actually start to just enjoy it. As Steve jokes, we become the “IN-JOYERS”. The one within is already full, and therefore we can truly in-joy the world around us.
When our Prana is low – we reach for things to feel it fill up; people, objects, appearances, food (particularly choux buns), whatever we feel will make us feel “okay” or “better”. We’re grabbing at the outside world and we’ve got our hands in the wrong jar. What we need to do, in that ‘needy’ moment (that I hope we all get some of, because I know it well), is take a deep breath and come inside. Ahh. This is what we do in Yoga…we take time to conserve and pay attention to all the energy within and start to build it up. When we lay down in Savasana at the end, we can notice the energy that we’ve cultivated. We’re much more empowered. The King or Queen of our cities is there, ruling rightly. (That’s you by the way).
Something that inevitably takes a lot of our energy, is our thought patterns. And goodness, we put a LOT of energy into trying to stop our thoughts, don’t we? We do everything we can to try and “fix” the way we think. But actually, when we decide to raise our energy, it also affects our thoughts. We start to actually think less – the stuff we try to avoid so much just isn’t really there, because it just can’t function at a higher energy level. And so our mind expands, and the psychological mind recedes as we raise our Prana higher. And the journey is never over, there are things now that we may not even notice is taking our energy from us…but the higher we go, the more we can see. Things may get wobbly for a while, as we adjust to being on a higher level, just like we do when we take our stabilizers off our bicycles – we can go through spirals of feeling secure and then insecure before we feel secure again. And this is adjustment. This is growth. This is good.
Yama’s message this week, simply, is to look after our energy;
"The Self cannot be known by anyone
Who desists not from unrighteous ways,
Controls not the senses, stills not the mind,
And practices not meditation.
None else can know the omnipresent Self,
Whose glory sweeps away the rituals of
The priest and the prowess of the warrior
And puts death itself to death."
In Steve’s translation:
"If you wish to reach a deathless place, raise your frequency to a place of such high energy until it matches the frequency of the Universe”.
Om Shakti….Wishing boundless energy to you all.