One of the most frustrating aspects of stress and illness is that we often feel we have no control over our circumstances. After we turn our wellness over to a physician we think, “If only I could do something myself that could bring me comfort, confidence, security, health and happiness.”
The good news is that even in the midst of the lows (and highs) of life, the practice of Yoga Science as applied quantum mechanics (the behavior of energy at subtle levels that affect the body) can provide an imperishable comfort and a brilliance of confidence that enable us to make skillful choices with positive and healing results.
The French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, revealing his own vision of how he’d like to be seen by others, instructed the painter Jacques-Louis David to portray him “calm, mounted on a rearing horse.” Napoleon, you see, wanted the entire world to know that he was connected to a creative force and wisdom that made him equal to every trial that came his way.
Such imperturbable confidence is one of the primary benefits of meditation. As Robert Louis Stevenson observed, “Quiet minds cannot be perplexed or frightened, but go on in fortune or misfortune at their own private pace, like a clock in a thunderstorm.”
However, in order to travel at 100 miles an hour in the passing lane of life (as we often like to do), we must activate our internal autopilot and deactivate our discriminative faculty––even though it provides access to our most beneficial inner guidance. When we place our actions under the control of unconscious habit patterns we lose the flexibility and creativity required to meet the changing relationships that constantly arise. Furthermore, we’ve made ourselves prey to unconscious fears, anger and greed that conflict with our inner (quantum) wisdom and make life painful.
We lose sight of the reassuring fact that among the infinite possibilities available to us in every moment there always exist the very thoughts, words and deeds that can help us fulfill the noble purpose of our lives. Our vision is clouded by old habit patterns and concepts. And what results? Instead of health, happiness and fulfillment, we experience dis-ease––in our minds and in every cell, in individual organs and in entire bodily systems.
But the outlook is brighter than we might think. Modern physicists, such as Amit Goswami, appear to be riding to our rescue like the cavalry of old to remind us that there’s a solution for our dilemma. In substantiating what ancient Yoga scientists intuited over 5,000 years ago, Goswami and others emphatically claim that our health, happiness and fulfillment already lie within our reach. But not in the direction we’d normally look––outside of us. Rather, they rest in the subtlest, most quantum levels of our existence. Here’s the gist of what the new physicists say.
The entire universe––into which the body-mind-sense complex is born––is really one seamless organism containing an intuitive library of knowledge. It is a subtle vibration of particles, molecules and wisdom made of, and by, consciousness (a.k.a. God). This modern interpretation is reminiscent of the Gospel of John that taught, “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God and the word was God.” Many quantum physicists would say that the God of which the Gospels speak is consciousness––the background of all reality; the unifying ground of being for all individual, material forms. And the purpose of life is fulfilled upon realizing that quantum Truth is one’s own true Self, and then employing it in the world.
From that One Supreme Reality, the mystics and physicists say, subtle and gross forms manifest and act in relationship––bringing about consequences that lead either to balance or imbalance; happiness and fulfillment or stress and dis-ease. This consciousness (spoken of as awareness or kundalini) is within everything and everyone, and it exists both within and beyond time, with and without an object to observe.
What are these gross and subtle objects that continuously appear in the aspect of the One consciousnessness within you? Anything that can be perceived through the five senses is a gross object––including your own body. The sages conclude, therefore, that you have a body; that you are aware of the body, and yet, that you (pure consciousness) are not the body.
Subtle objects, such as thoughts, desires and emotions also appear in your awareness. Like gross objects, subtle objects have forms, but they vibrate at a frequency that cannot be perceived through the rudimentary instrumentation of the five senses. You can’t see them, taste them, or touch them. Yet, through your most powerful instrument, the mind, you are made aware of these subtle objects. Seemingly out of nowhere, a thought comes into your awareness. It could be a thought that provokes a desire, fear or anger. It might not have been in your awareness a few seconds ago, yet you’re aware of it now––in the present moment. In an hour you may hardly remember the thought.
The science of Yoga, as applied quantum mechanics, encourages you to dis-identify with anything that changes and is transitory. It is clear you have a body, but you are not just the physical body. You have a mind with thoughts, desires and emotions, but you are not just the mind, nor its thoughts, desires or emotions appearing in your awareness. Essentially, the real and eternal you is quantum––subtler than the subtlest. You are awareness itself––the invisible ground of being without any
object––consciousness that, by its very nature, is able to perceive all the gross and subtle objects appearing for limited periods of time in space.
Every moment of every day the reliable discrimination between passing pleasure (preya) and the perennial joy of (shreya) is continuously broadcast, like a radio signal, into your awareness. It’s source is the invaluable function of the mind called buddhi. In the West it is referred to as the conscience or discrimination, and in the early Christian tradition it was known as the Holy Spirit. The buddhi is considered to be like a mirror because, when it is purified, it faithfully reflects the subtle quantum wisdom hidden at the center of consciousness––the core of your being.
When Yoga Science is practiced as applied quantum mechanics, the buddhi is relied on regularly by the conscious mind to gain access to insights from the intuitive library of knowledge within, the superconscious mind. When such quantum knowledge enters the conscious mind, no verification of its truthfulness is necessary. When your conscience speaks, you know what it says is true. The only question that remains is, can you exhibit the will power to align every thought, word and action with the quantum wisdom of the buddhi? If you can, the consequence of each of your individual thoughts, words and deeds will bring you everything you need. Just listen to the words of Jesus the Christ (and hear them with the ears of a quantum physicist) as He instructs us to, “Seek first the kingdom of God, then all these things will be added unto you.”
When you accept without question or examination the suggestions of the culture, it is extremely difficult to free yourself from that conditioning. You get so used to eating hot dogs, hamburgers and chicken wings, for example, that you can’t even consider the benefits of a vegetarian diet. Similarly, when you identify yourself exclusively as a separate individual and disregard your inherent relationship with the wisdom of the quantum whole, you suffer from your habitual reliance on limited, gross information (thoughts, desires and emotions) flowing from the senses, the unconscious mind and the tide of the culture. But the truth is that you are more than merely an individual body-mind-sense complex. You are also an integral part (or citizen) of a subtler, invisible, quantum world of consciousness and wisdom.
A basic law of Yoga Science and quantum physics states that all power resides in the subtle, quantum world. A change must take place on the subtle plane of existence before it can occur on the gross level. And it is the nature of the One Supreme Reality to endlessly manifest from the subtle to the gross. Just as all of a tree exists in the seed, the very chair you are sitting on right now originally took form as an idea in the mind of a human being. The first and most basic manifestation of your chair appeared as a subtle thought. The mind moves first and the body follows. You cannot even raise your hand without first entertaining a thought. Simply acknowledging this relationship between the subtle and the gross and applying it to the way you make personal choices will yield profound holistic benefits.
Remember, in Genesis it is written: “God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” The Buddha taught how the quantum law works for human beings: “You are what you think.” Your destiny is the consequence of those thoughts, desires and emotions you choose to give your attention to and those you choose to withdraw your attention from. Daily practice of meditation and regular coordination of the senses, ego and unconscious mind––in service to the quantum intuitive wisdom of the purified buddhi––lead your consciousness progressively inward, through the subtler aspects of your being. You then experience the purity, bliss, fullness and creativity of your Eternal Nature at the center of consciousness. This Self-realization fans the flame of desire in the human being to base all outer actions in the material world on the subtle quantum wisdom of the core. The more dedicated the individual is to this endeavor, to becoming One with the metaphoric Father who is Perfect in the subtle world called heaven, he or she experiences a profound quantum healing––physically, mentally and emotionally.
According to Yoga Science the human body is the most concrete of our five levels of existence. These quantum levels are called koshas or sheaths. The koshas can be likened to a set of Russian Matryoshka nesting dolls, placed one inside the other. In quantum terms, each of the five koshas acts like a morphogenetic field in that it influences the nature of each successive sheath. The origin of the word morphogenetic is the Greek words morphê, shape and genesis, creation. It literally means “beginning of the shape” and refers to the subtle processes that impel an organism to manifest its unique form.
To use another analogy, the center of consciousness (soul) of a human being is like an illuminated bulb that has five lampshades placed over it’s light––the light being our creative, compassionate, selfless Perfection. Because of their differing natures, each of the lampshades produces a change in the color and nature of the light. But the increasingly manifest coloration of the light through the lampshades is bitter-sweet. While the shades provide the unique beauty of each individual lamp, the lampshades also obscure the Perfection and creativity of the pure light within.
The mind-body medicine of Yoga Science teaches the individual how to move progressively inward to experience the eternal center of consciousness. By the combined powers of detachment, discrimination, will power, skillful action and intuitive revelation, this process purifies each of the “lampshades” (koshas), thereby enabling one’s own purity, Perfection and creativity to manifest in the external world––through the thoughts, words and deeds of an individual human being.
The following is a brief description of the five koshas.
This is the sheath of the physical body. Because of the limitations of the mind, consciousness mistakenly identifies itself with the aggregate of skin, flesh, bones, fat and excrement. This kosha has the most dense and slow vibrational frequency. The physical human body cannot exist without contact with the other koshas, yet because of the limitations of the mind’s ignorance, it rarely pursues its highest evolutionary potential. Through meditation and allied mind-body disciplines, we train and nurture this aspect of ourselves so that the body can experience the best health possible and we can fulfill the noble purpose of our lives.
This is the sheath of vital energy (prana). It is the force that vitalizes the body, mind, senses and chakra system. Chakras are morphogenetic and psychoenergetic “wheels” of energy variously placed throughout this kosha. The chakras provide the subtle blueprint for bones, muscles, glands, nerves and consciousness within the physical body (anamaya kosha). Prana pervades the entire body through its physical manifestation of subtle vibrations that become the source of breath and vitality. As long as there is a sufficient infusion of vital prana into the body, life continues. This kosha enables the invisible indweller (consciousness) to act skillfully in the external world, but also to be mistakenly identified as the animated, visible physical body. Through pranayama breathing exercises, this
life-force is controlled and directed to purify and heal both the body and the mind.
This kosha is the mental and emotional sheath. By means of the vital prana it directly controls the physical body and senses. The manas (mind) is meant to serve like a manager in a corporation, but often inappropriately assumes the role of the CEO. Unfortunately, this causes a great deal of confusion because manas lacks the qualities of a chief executive. Manas asks, “Should I do it, or should I not do it?” but has no power to discriminate, judge or decide. However, when manas bows to the unerring wisdom from the next deeper sheath, it functions remarkably well.
Vijnana means knowing. This kosha reflects wisdom from the buddhi––the one faculty of mind that has the capacity to discriminate, determine, judge and decide between what is useful and not useful. A purified buddhi has the capacity to reflect perfect wisdom from the center of consciousness. This kosha is also the level of ego consciousness and separateness (ahamkara). This I-am-ness itself can be a positive influence, but when it gets co-mingled with memories, it becomes obscured by the manas and senses, attempts to justify and rejustify the concepts of I, me and mine, and can lose helpful perspective. A major part of the practice of Yoga Science is purification of the buddhi at this level of our being so that it gains greater access to the beneficial and healing nature of intuitive quantum wisdom within.
This is the most interior of the sheaths––the first of the koshas surrounding the eternal center of consciousness (Atman). It is referred to as the causal body because it is the unconscious repository of karmas, of this and all past lives. Ananda means eternal bliss––perfect peace, comfort, stability, joy and love. It is also known as samadhi. Ananda is not the mere passing pleasure of emotion experienced at the level of manomaya kosha. The bliss of Ananda is beyond the mind and independent of any reason or stimulus to cause a happy mental reaction. It is simply consciousness resting in an ocean of bliss called ananda. But as auspicious as it is, this bliss is still a covering over the pure, unadulterated light of consciousness. By experiencing anandamaya kosha a Yoga scientist recognizes the relative impurity of all previous koshas and how transitory the material world is. That expansion of consciousness motivates the individual to serve a philosophy of life that honors the quantum subtleness of Truth in mind, action and speech.
Center of Consciousness
The eternal center of consciousness (Atman or Self) was never born and never dies. It is Self-existent––not dependent on anything else for its existence. It is eternal, consciousness, wisdom and bliss. In the metaphor of the lamp and the lampshades, Atman is the light itself. It is impossible to describe through the limited concepts of words, but it can be experienced. It is the deepest light of Perfection and potential that shines through the koshas and takes on their colorings or limitations. Yoga is the science that leads an individual to direct experience of Sat-Chit-Ananda and Self-realization.
Painting credit: “Knight and King” by Jenness Cortez Perlmutter ©2010
About the author
Leonard Perlmutter (Ram Lev)
Founder and director of The American Meditation Institute, Leonard is the author of “Transformation,” The Journal of Meditation as Mind/Body Medicine and the award-winning book “The Heart and Science of Yoga®: A Blueprint for Peace, Happiness and Freedom from Fear.” His “Heart and Science of Yoga®” entry-level course has been certified by the Albany Medical College, American Medical Association, the Massachusetts Association of Registered Nurses and American Nurses Association for continuing medical education credit. Leonard has been a student of Yoga Science since 1975 and a direct disciple of mind/body medicine pioneer Swami Rama of the Himalayas.