Yoga Nidra, mysticism, longing.

Yoga Nidra, mysticism, longing.

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Longing is the core of mystery. Longing itself brings the cure. The only rule is, suffer the pain. Your desires must be disciplined And what you want to happen in time, sacrificed. Rumi

Longing itself brings the cure.

The only rule is, suffer the pain.

Your desires must be disciplined

And what you want to happen in time, sacrificed.


John O’Donohue

To live in longing is the opposite of the goal of desire; the aim is to be ever a better practitioner of longing - belonging – not to be confused with desire.  This is a longing to return to oneness, a state where all desire is absent – which is the true state of Yoga NIdra (the practice of the same name is a systematic road map to take you to this state/destination); also known as Turya, the 4th state, pure awareness, the ground of being from which all arises.

Mystics, saints, yogis, poets, artists of all kinds and traditions have for centuries reflected so beautifully on their own inner journeys to this place of complete oneness.  Regardless of era, culture, faith, education, or external benefits they all describe how to access this divine place, and it always involves the disciplines of silence and stillness. 

“Each one of us is alone in the world. It takes great courage to meet the full force of your aloneness. Most activity in society is subconsciously designed to quell the voice crying in the wilderness within you. The mystic Thomas a Kempis said that when you go out into the world, you return having lost some of yourself. Until you learn to inhabit your aloneness, the lonely distraction and noise of society will seduce you into false belonging, with which you will only become empty and weary. When you face your aloneness, something begins to happen. 

Gradually, the sense of bleakness changes into a sense of true belonging. This is a slow and open-ended transition but it is utterly vital in order to come into rhythm with your own individuality. In a sense this is the endless task of finding your true home within your life. It is not narcissistic, for as soon as you rest in the house of your own heart, doors and windows begin to open outwards to the world. No longer on the run from your aloneness, your connections with others become real and creative. You no longer need to covertly scrape affirmation from others or from projects outside yourself. This is slow work; it takes years to bring your mind home.”

Coming home with Yoga Nidra

Yoga Nidra and other forms of meditation are also slow work – yes, there are immediate results (slowing down, calming body and mind) but the real work and transformation John O’Donohue refers to can take years.

Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati reminds us that the root of the word Ashram is "shrama," which means "effort" or "striving." For those who strive to be free of desire, determination, resolve, effort and dedicated practice will always bring us home, but it’s going to happen over the course of years, not over a weekend or a retreat. As SwamiJ says “It may come soon, or it may come later, but it will come”.

If seated meditation doesn’t work for you, Yoga Nidra may be your guide home.  Once you know the route home, stick with your chosen script, don’t chop and change for variety – who needs a detour? For many, discovering the practice of Yoga Nidra is the end of the search for the way home, the need to investigate other methods is finally over. Our longing brings us to our practice again and again, to rest in that place where the absence of thoughts, images, memories and desire allow boundless awareness to be fully revealed.

With the drawing of this Love and the voice of this Calling

We shall not cease from exploration 

And the end of all our exploring 

Will be to arrive where we started 

And know the place for the first time. 

from Little Gidding T.S. Eliot

This magnificent refuge is inside you. Enter. Shatter the darkness that shrouds the doorway. Be bold. Be humble.

Put away the incense and forget the incantations they taught you. Ask no permission from the authorities. Slip away. Close your eyes and follow your breath to the still place that leads to the invisible path that leads you home. 

St Teresa of Avila

  To see a World in a Grain of Sand 

  And a Heaven in a Wild Flower 

  Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand 

  And Eternity in an hour

William Blake

 “Our essential nature is boundless consciousness.  We are rooted in it when the mind focuses and settles.” 

Yoga Sutras 1.3