Page 1

American Meditation Institute Self-Care for Healthy Living

MAY – JUNE 2013


What is Enlightenment?

And Why You Need to Know! see page 8 “Lapis Lazuli,” Acrylic on mahogany panel, © Jenness Cortez, 2013

Upcoming Classes and Events Inside this Issue: Beginner’s Meditation

Comprehensive Meditation

The Compassionate Buddha

If you want to start and maintain a meditation practice, this course is perfect for you. / P. 2

This six week “self-care” program offers the complete science of Yoga, and lifelong support. / P. 3

Learn how your thoughts can lead to joy and health, or be the cause of dis-ease and sorrow. / P. 4

Gentle Yoga & Breathing Reduce stress by learning two fundamental practices of traditional Yoga Science. / P. 5


Practical essays by respected Yoga scientists to support and deepen your meditation. / P. 8

Two Video Lectures Video lectures will explain the nature of enlightenment and the psychology of the chakras. / P. 5


AMI Classes for May - June 2013

BEGINNER’S MEDITATION: The Basics for Getting Started Leonard Perlmutter (Ram Lev), AMI Founder Level I: Have you ever thought about trying meditation, but didn’t know how to get started? In AMI’s two-session course, you’ll receive step-by-step guidance on how to start—and stick with—a daily meditation practice. It’s easy to learn the basics: how to deal with distractions, reduce stress, enhance your body’s immune system and become more focused, creative and content. This class includes a FREE “guided meditation” CD.

What is Meditation? In meditation you are fully alert, but the mind is relaxed and allowed to let go of its tendencies to think, analyze, remember, solve problems and focus on events of the past or expectations for the future. Meditation helps the mind to slow down its rapid series of thoughts and feelings that often lead to stress and dis-ease, and to replace that mental activity with a quiet, effortless, one-pointed focus of attention and awareness. Thus, meditation is not thinking about problems or analyzing a situation. Meditation is not having an internal conversation or argument with yourself. It is an inner attention that is concentrated, yet relaxed. It does not conflict with any religious tradition.

Why Should I Meditate? According to ABC World News Tonight, meditation is used today by many Americans including the U. S. Marines and students in classrooms all over the country. In 2011, 10% of U.S. adults (over 20 million) practiced meditation and 3 million patients, on the recommendation of their physicians, established their own meditation practice. • Meditation can make you healthier. Daily meditation is an essential ingredient in your own personal “self-care health program.” Scientific studies at the Mayo Clinic show that “meditating slows breathing rate, heart rate, lowers blood pressure and aids in the treatment of anxiety, depression and a range of other ailments.” • Meditation calms the mind. The mind and body are inter-connected. When the mind is calm, the body becomes stronger, more flexible, and less inflamed. When the mind 2

and body are calm and relaxed, dis-ease from a previously agitated system (that may have intensified issues such as high blood pressure, headaches, back pain, insomnia, digestive problems or PMS) is lessened, and you feel better. • Meditation can improve all relationships. By offering you tools to deal with stressful thoughts, meditation helps you remain calm, compassionate and skillful with others and to be more loving toward yourself. • Meditation makes you smarter. A 2005 Harvard Medical School study showed that meditation increased thickness in the regions of the brain associated with attention, sensory awareness and emotional processing.

• Meditation makes you more creative. By resting the mind from its habit of thinking, planning, judging and worrying, you create more space for new ideas to arise and to be noticed. Meditation also lowers resistance you may have to new concepts and ways of thinking. Meditating in a Chair: AMI teaches you to meditate in a straight-back chair. For proper posture, the head, neck and trunk should be comfortably erect (no slouching). For best back comfort, your buttocks should be slightly higher than your knees.


SATURDAY MORNINGS, 9:30 -10:30AM, $95. (2 WKS) JUN 8 & 15; JUL 27 & AUG 3


Your entire $95 registration fee will be applied to your COMPREHENSIVE MEDITATION tuition should you decide to register for that additional class within one year. • Tel. (518) 674-8714 TMTM

COMPREHENSIVE MEDITATION: The Heart and Science of Yoga Leonard Perlmutter (Ram Lev), AMI Founder

Level I: AMI’s acclaimed six-week course teaches you how to apply meditation principles to every situation. This complete “self-care health program” includes all the Beginner’s Meditation material plus breathing techniques, nutrition counseling, easy-gentle yoga exercises, instruction on how to make the best possible choices and lifelong support for your meditation practice. It provides you all the tools you’ll need to ease stress, reduce pain, boost your immune system, heal relationships, enhance your problem solving ability and find inner peace, happiness and security. A retrospective case study of former Heart and Science of Yoga TM students

recently found these positive, reproducible, long-term health-promoting changes: • Lowered blood pressure • Increased exercise capacity • Reduced stress and fear • Lowered heart rate • Improved restorative sleep • Eliminated irritable bowel • Reduced cholesterol levels • Improved energy levels • Enhanced happiness/optimism • Weight loss • Increased creative capacity • Diminished or extinguished • Increased breathing capacity • Diminished migraines acute and chronic pain TM

The Heart and Science of Yoga Curriculum is Endorsed by

Mehmet Oz MD, Dean Ornish MD, Bernie Siegel MD, Larry Dossey MD WEEK 1: YOGA SCIENCE How to use the mind for the best choices How to create new, healthier habits Understanding pain as an agent for healing Increasing energy, will power & creativity Antidotes for worry, stress and depression WEEK 2: MEDITATION Systematic procedure for meditation How to diminish distractions Learning the one-minute meditation Building focus, fearlessness, and strength WEEK 3: BREATHING TECHNIQUES Breath as Medicine How breathing irregularities foster dis-ease Complete (three-part) yogic breath

WEEK 4: PSYCHOLOGY & AYURVEDA How the mind supports optimal health The power of the present moment Building and healing relationships Introduction to Ayurveda WEEK 5: EASY-GENTLE YOGA Yoga stretches and exercises for: muscles, joints, glands and internal organs Physiological benefits of Hatha Yoga WEEK 6: MIND-BODY CARE PLAN The healing power of prayer The practical benefit of contemplation Creating a therapeutic care plan Learning to budget your time Integrating spiritual beliefs


NURSING ACCREDITATION (15 contact hours)

This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and Policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education through the joint sponsorship of Albany Medical College and The American Meditation Institute. Albany Medical College is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

This continuing nursing education activity was approved by the Massachusetts Association of Registered Nurses, Inc., an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialling Center's Commission on Accreditation.

The Albany Medical College designates this Live activity for a maximum of 15 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits TM. Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

WEDNESDAY NIGHTS, 6:30 - 9:00PM, $475. (6 WKS) Physicians, Residents, Fellows, PAs, NPs: $775; RNs: $575 MAY 8 – JUN 12; JUL 10 – AUG 14

Registration Includes: Lifelong support for your meditation practice, a Guided Meditation CD, a complementary subscription to Transformation journal and a copy of The Physiology of EasyGentle Yoga. Required Texts: The Heart and Science of Yoga : A Blueprint for Peace, Happiness and Freedom from Fear, and The Art of Joyful Living. TM

3 • Tel. (518) 674-8714

Welcome to AMI The American Meditation Institute is a 501(c)3 non-profit educational organization devoted to providing comprehensive training in meditation as mind-body medicine. In its holistic approach to wellness, AMI combines the best of ancient Eastern meditational wisdom and the practicality of modern Western science. By practicing the scientific, meditational techniques taught at AMI, students learn how to construct a practical bridge between their own inner, intuitive wisdom and their actions in the world. This bridge between the inner and outer worlds coordinates all our assets to enable us to experience healthy, creative, loving, nurturing and rewarding relationships.


ENDORSEMENTS “Traditional medicine is very good at treating physical illness. However, studies show that the state of one’s health has more to do with lifestyle choices than with heredity or medical care. Patients need something beyond what we can offer them. Meditation relieves stress, allows clearer thinking and helps to control many chronic illnesses, all at very low cost and a small investment of time. We are fortunate to have the excellence of AMI in our area.” RICHARD RUBIN MD Internal Medicine, Slingerlands

“I regularly refer my patients to AMI to learn how to meditate––confident in both the value of the curriculum and competence of the instructors.”

THE COMPASSIONATE BUDDHA The Healing Power of Thoughts Leonard and Jenness Perlmutter LEVEL II (offered once a year): The Compassionate Buddha is one of our most practical teachers for the practice of meditation as mind-body medicine. From the very first line of the Dhammapada––“Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think”–– the Buddha explains what leads to joy and health and what leads to dis-ease and sorrow. Then he explains how to take our lives into our own hands. Without esoterica or metaphysics, without appeal to anything magical or superhuman, the Compassionate Buddha encourages us to experiment with our minds in order to experience health, happiness and security. TUESDAY NIGHT, 6:30 - 8:30PM, $95. MAY 14

PREMARITAL COUNSELING Leonard Perlmutter (Ram Lev), AMI Founder Int’l. Association of Yoga Therapists Love is the essential first ingredient in every marriage, yet the challenges of life can divert our attention from the union we cherish. Our own hopes, attitudes, expectations and assumptions will shape the marriage determining what joy, stability and fulfillment we create together. This counseling can help you create a loving philosophy of life that can identify the strengths and needs of both partners. AMI HOME CENTER, By appointment. $125 /hr.

ANITA BUROCK-STOTTS MD Functional Medicine, Guilderland

FREE GUIDED MEDITATION The AMI Curriculum is also endorsed by: Dr. Oz (Mehmet Oz MD), Dean Ornish MD Bernie Siegel MD and Larry Dossey MD

Directions to A MI • 60 Garner Road I-90 Exit #8 (Rt. 43 E). Take Rt. 43 for 4 1/2 miles. In W. Sand Lake, take a right turn at the lighted intersection onto Rt. 150. Go 1 mile on Rt. 150. Take a left turn on Cnty Rd #52/Sheer Rd (at stone wall). Go 1 mile on Sheer Rd and bear left at fork onto Garner Rd. AMI is the 3rd house on the right.


Leonard (Ram Lev) and Jenness Perlmutter LEVEL I: Each Sunday morning AMI offers a FREE 20-minute guided meditation followed by a satsang (a philosophical discussion). Participants can choose to sit comfortably on chairs or cross-legged on the floor. This program provides a convenient way to become familiar with the teachings at AMI. SUNDAYS, 9:30 - 11:00AM, FREE

AMI Classes for May - June 2013




Leonard Perlmutter (Ram Lev), AMI Founder

In this video lecture, Dr. Ballentine clearly explains a detailed understanding of the meaning, anatomy, psychology and function of the ancient yogic chakra system. This talk is recommended for students who have completed the Comprehensive Meditation course. THURSDAY NIGHT, 6:30 - 8:30PM, $20 each MAY 23

VIDEO LECTURE AWAKEN TO ENLIGHTENMENT Nisargadatta Maharaj This video provides you a privileged seat in Nisargadatta’s Bombay living room to listen in on a spirited conversation about enlightenment. Maharaj speaks from his own direct experience, hammering away at limiting concepts that have kept us from truly understanding who we are and from experiencing the freedom that comes from that knowing. THURSDAY NIGHT, 6:30 - 8:30PM, $20 JUNE 6


Level I: AMI’s easy-gentle yoga and breathing class is taught the same way it was thousands of years ago: as preliminary practices to prepare both the body and mind for daily meditation. Without difficulty or pain, you’ll learn the simple, therapeutic pleasures of focusing and stilling the mind, expanding your breathing capacity, relieving stiffness and stress, detoxifying the lymph system, stretching muscles and invigorating internal organs. Most students feel less stress and inflexibility after the very first class. You’ll move with more ease, gain physical confidence and enhance the flexibility and health of your body. When your body is stiff or in pain, the mind is often distracted and cannot help you experience the positive effects of meditation. This course is the perfect complement to our Comprehensive Meditation program. For beginners and experienced students.


SATURDAY MORNINGS, 9:30 - 10:45AM, $75. (4 WKS) MAY 11 - JUN 1; JUN 22 - JUL 13 Drop ins welcome, $20.


Your entire $75 registration fee will be applied to your COMPREHENSIVE MEDITATION tuition should you decide to register for that additional class within one year.


The Gita’s Mind-Body Connection Leonard (Ram Lev) and Jenness Perlmutter


Available by CDL (Computer Distance Learning) Study Yoga Psychology from your own home or anywhere in the world. Call 518.674.8714 for details. No additional computer software is necessary.

Level II: The Bhagavad Gita is the most revered scripture in the literature of Yoga Science. It provides students easy-to-understand theories and practices of the world’s oldest psychology. This study will deepen your understanding of mind-body medicine and explain how skillful actions and wise choices can improve your health and wellness. Recommended for students and therapists. MONDAY NIGHTS, 6:30 - 8:30 PM, $150. (6 WKS) JUN 3- JUL 8; JUL 29 - SEP 9

PERSONAL COUNSELING Leonard Perlmutter (Ram Lev), AMI Founder Int’l. Association of Yoga Therapists Meditational Therapy is a powerful tool of mind/body medicine. With over 35 years of personal practice, Leonard will teach you how to live free from stress and illness. By observing and harnessing the power of your thoughts, desires and emotions, you can establish a state of personal contentment, creativity and bodily health. Each personal counseling session will teach you how to make choices that enhance your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well being. AMI HOME CENTER, By appointment. $125 /hr. 5

PHYSICIANS’ RETREAT Also: RNs • NPs • PAs • Administrators

Cranwell Resort & Spa, Lenox, MA


NOVEMBER 6-10, 2013


26 CMEs • For Details: (518) 674-8714

Sundays 9:30-11:00 AM with Leonard (Ram Lev) and Jenness Perlmutter. Love donations appreciated.

Guru Purnima-July 20 Full Moon Fire Ceremony & Movie

Saturday Night: 7-10PM

MAY 2013 MAY 8 - JUN 12: COMPREHENSIVE MEDITATION see p.3 Wed. Nights, 6:30 - 9:00 PM (6 weeks)


see p. 5

Sat. Mornings, 9:30 -10:45 AM (4 weeks)


see p. 4

Tues. Night, 6:30 - 8:30 PM

MAY 23: DR. R. BALLENTINE VIDEO LECTURE see p. 5 Thurs. Night, 6:30 - 8:30 PM

JUNE 2013 JUN 3 - JUL 8: YOGA PSYCHOLOGY see p.5 Mon. Nights, 6:30 - 8:30 PM (6 wk. Bhagavad Gita Study)


see p. 5

Thurs. Night, 6:30 -8:30 PM


see p. 2

Sat. Mornings, 9:30 -10:30 AM (2 weeks)


see p. 5

Sat. Mornings, 9:30 -10:45 AM (4 weeks) On this day students revisit their teachers to rejuvenate their practice and to receive inspiration and further instruction. The Light of Guru is our own inner, intuitive wisdom, always available to help correct our ignorance and enhance our health and well being.

Please join us as we honor the wisdom of our Yoga tradition.

RSVP before July 12

JULY 2013 JUL 10 - AUG 14: COMPREHENSIVE MEDITATION see p.3 Wed. Nights, 6:30 - 9:00 PM (6 weeks)

JUL 19 - 21: SUMMER RETREAT see p.15 Fri - Sun. (Weekend Event)



see p. 2

Sat. Mornings, 9:30 -10:30 AM (2 weeks)

JUL 29 - SEP 9: YOGA PSYCHOLOGY see p.5 Mon. Nights, 6:30 - 8:30 PM (6 wk. Bhagavad Gita Study

American Meditation Institute

Self-Care for Healthy Living May-June, 2013 • Vol. XVI No. 4 ©2013 60 Garner Road, Averill Park, NY 12018 \ Tel. (518) 674-8714 AMI is a tax exempt, non-profit 501(c)3 educational organization. Donations are fully tax deductible.


16th Annual

Giving Campaign Please support AMI with your generous donation today.

Thank you for your generosity.

MEDITATION NEWS Pam is Vice President and Store Manager for Macy’s in Colonie, New York. In that position she leads a team of several hundred employees. This interview was conducted by meditational therapist Mary Helen Holloway. MHH: What is the nature of your meditation practice? PAM: Because my work is fast-paced and sometimes stressful, I rely on all the practices I learned in AMI’s Comprehensive Meditation course. For the past two years I’ve meditated every morning, and about eight months ago, I added an evening practice. Several times during the day I also do a one-minute meditation at work just to keep the mind alert, at ease and in the present moment. I find this practice particularly

helpful before starting any project that requires increased focus and clarity. I also use the practice of contemplation regularly, reviewing the actions I’ve taken during the day. I give myself credit for things that were handled skillfully, and I acknowledge those actions that I would like to handle differently going forward. MHH: How has meditation impacted your management and leadership style? PAM: Professionally it has helped me look at every action as “service to others.” By trying to manage from the heart as well as the mind, I generally get better results. I’ve become more compassionate and aware of the subtle mechanics of cultivating a

Pamela Perrot

range of rewarding relationships. When making decisions, I now come from a place of greater balance, clarity and sense of purpose. I’ve also found that working in the business environment is more rewarding when I’m able to put people first. In a nutshell, my desire is to be of service to others. I think more clearly now. I am more calm––both inside and out, and I handle things more skillfully.

Training the Leaders of Tomorrow’s Workforce In the Executive Mind class at the Drucker Management School in California, MBA students are learning how to quiet and focus their minds through meditation. Professor Jeremy Hunter, PhD begins each of his classes by leading his students through a short meditation practice. Research data now supports the belief that a daily meditation practice (that helps the mind focus in a one-pointed manner on whatever presents itself in the moment) is essential to becoming an effective leader. Doctor Hunter has found that, “Good

decision-making depends on mustering focus, clarity and calm.” Companies like Google and General Mills are regularly embracing traditional meditation training with the goal of making their workforces less reactive and more resilient and creative. Training students to focus their attention on whatever appears, as well as on their own emotional reactions to such events, helps them react more skillfully in a variety of situations. “Stress reduction through meditation is important,” Hunter notes, “but an added value comes in the ability to step out of

Jeremy Hunter, PhD

whatever reaction a person is having (which is usually habitual or automatic) so they can act more creatively. With meditation as an element in the educational process, that happens not only for individuals but also for businesses.” 7

Transformation The Journal of Meditation as Mind-Body Medicine

What is Enlightenment? By By Leonard Leonard Perlmutter Perlmutter (Ram (Ram Lev) Lev) Photo / 123rf

What exactly is enlightenment, and should you even care? Enlightenment refers to knowing who you are, from where you have come, why you are here, what is to be done, and where you will go after death. Without this spiritual knowledge or insight, we remain enslaved to unconscious habit patterns that can bring pain, misery and bondage. Once we truly know the answers to these questions, enlightenment dawns; we awaken to experience unbounded peace, happiness and security. One of the most time-tested and reliable means for experiencing enlightenment is the daily practice of meditation. The great value of this human life is that it provides both the capacity and the mechanism to end our suffering. Right now we have a human body, mind and discriminative faculty (conscience)––the prime requisites for making the transition to a higher consciousness. Because enlightenment is already our Essential Nature, rather than something to be acquired, each of us has the potential to 8

realize this state of being. We can transform our habits and purify our personalities by employing the tools and the clarity we receive in meditation. Providence has granted us this rare opportunity to receive our full inheritance. Our primary purpose as human beings is to accept this challenge and to experience its rewards. Although the natural involution toward enlightenment is a major theme in the library of every religious tradition, our modern fascination with technology and materialism has hypnotized us and closed our eyes to its significance. One of the most straight-forward stories about enlightenment comes from the yogic tradition. In his book, Sacred Journey: Living Purposefully and Dying Gracefully, Swami Rama of the Himalayas shares the essence of this ancient Indian myth. “After the heavens, all the stars, the earth, the air, the waters, the sky, and all the creatures on land and in the sea were made, God created humankind. When the first human awoke and became conscious of worldly life for the

first time, he looked around at the lakes and rivers, the mountains and forests, at the leaping fish, the flying birds, and the great herds of animals. He was silent. He looked to the heavens and the sun and moon and the great blackness of space with its millions of stars. He was silent. He looked then at God. He was silent. When he had taken in everything around him, including the Lord himself, the first human on earth looked finally at himself and asked, ‘Who am I?’ “This first human did not look at the animals or stars and say, ‘What are they?’ He did not ask, ‘Where am I?’ He did not even ask of God, ‘Who are you?’ His first words, his first wondering thoughts and first curiosity were to know his own identity.” Everything we do in life can be benefited when we are able to answer the question, “Who am I?” Instinctively, each of us knows that our true fulfillment as human beings can only be experienced by answering this primary question. If you are one of those who are called to discover the answer to this life-affirming question––if you want to be free from all limitation and to fulfill the purpose of your life––you must learn how to awaken to the Perfection of your true Self and rely on Its wisdom within you to guide your actions in the world. Here’s How to Start The desire that motivated you to read this essay can be fulfilled if you earnestly contemplate the question “Who am I?” This inquiry, called vichara in ancient yogic texts, has been esteemed for thousands of years as a reliable method of knowing the true Self. If you are sincere and persistent in posing this question to yourself, the answer will come. And, as the truth of that answer motivates you to steward the energy of your innumerable desires, large and small, you will begin to experience freedom from your fear, anger, anxiety and dis-ease. This process occurs differently for each human being. Guided by a sincere meditation practice, you will begin to follow your own distinct path to enlightenment and freedom. Each of us has been born with a unique bodymind-sense complex, and through this

specialized vehicle each of us experiences a different reality. Yet, through the filter of that transitory individuality, each human being also has the capacity to know union with our core of Perfection. Enlightenment, absolute peace and contentment, is the fruit of earnestly seeking the answer to the profound question “Who am I?” The contemplation of this question begins the systematic, step-by-step procedure to focus your mind. With this focus, you can transcend the indiscriminate call of the senses and the ego’s fascination with the past or future. Then, as your mind becomes ever more focused, you will enter a timeless state as you become present to the joyful and creative oneness of your own true nature. Begin this practice by repeatedly asking yourself the question: Who am I? During the contemplation, remember this: I have a body. I am aware of the body, but I am not the body. I have a mind. I am aware of the mind, but I am not the mind. I have thoughts. I am aware of thoughts, but I am not the thoughts. I have desires. I am aware of desires, but I am not the desires. I have emotions. I am aware of emotions, but I am not the emotions. Who, then, is aware of the body? Who is aware of the mind? Who is aware of the thoughts, desires and emotions? Who is the thinker of every thought? Who is the experiencer of every experience? Who am I? Beginning today, and for the rest of your life, contemplate the question “Who am I?” If your mind is one-pointed in that effort––without the distraction of thoughts or feelings––the answer will appear, because the question and the answer are two sides of the same coin. Whenever there is consternation in the mind, we are reacting from the limited perspective of the personality. It’s a clear indication that the ego––and not the real You––has its hands on the wheel of the bus. When thoughts, desires and emotions arise in 9


Death Separation of Body, Breath, Senses and Conscious Mind from Chitta (the Unconscious Mind) and Sat, Chit, Ananda (the Soul). Death is NOT annihilation.



Purpose of Life

Physical manifestation of mind




Delivers Prana

During this lifetime each human being has the necessary instrumentation (body, breath, senses and mind equipped with buddhi) to resolve the debilitating samskaras of fear, anger and greed stored in the unconscious mind. By resolving these attachments the animal nature evolves, through the human, to unite with the Divine.





Space, Air, Fire, Water, Earth PLUS GURU


Semi - Immortal Self


FOLLOWING PHYSICAL DEATH, as in sleep, the CHITTA and INDIVIDUAL SOUL (known as the Semi-Immortal Self) remain linked in a resting state between incarnations. Eventually, another vehicle (body) is taken to resolve and fulfill remaining karmas stored in the unconscious.

Active and Latent



Mortal Self CONSCIOUS MIND CONSCIOUS MIND Effects the the Active Active Unconscious IND Effects Unconscious MMIND

O Emanating from the eternal ocean of consciousness, wisdom and bliss (Sat-Chit-Ananda or God), a bubble (the individual soul) having exactly the same intrinsic qualities as the ocean––rises from the deep.




First Unit of Life (“Silver Cord”) emanates from the Soul bringing about human birth.


Immortal Self

ENLIGHTENMENT: Exhaustion of all karmas –– Union with the Supreme Reality.



your awareness, do not automatically pursue them with your attention, but rather, inquire: “To whom did this thought arise?” It doesn’t matter how many thoughts arise. As each thought arises, inquire with diligence: “To whom has this thought arisen?” The answer that will emerge is: “To me.” If you earnestly inquire “Who am I?” at this point, the mind will go deeper to consider its Source, and the thought that arose will become less seductive. Seeking the answer to the question “Who am I?” will eventually give rise to the realization that within you dwells an Eternal Witness which is the Divine Reality. This dialogue requires attentive introspection. Be sensitive and patient as you consider your feelings and thoughts. Be gentle with yourself, as you would with any good friend. Don’t condemn yourself or be judgmental, and you will begin to trust your inner Self and realize that a constantly faithful companion and guide resides within. Enlightenment is Your Birthright You may use the personal pronoun “I” hundreds or even thousands of times a day, but who is it that you are actually referring to? When you think or speak of “me,” which me are you referring to? The physical body? Your thoughts, desires, emotions? Who exactly is this “me”? Who am I? As the profound truth begins to unfold, you will find that everything you need in order to fulfill your life’s purpose will spontaneously appear, and the objects and relationships that do not serve your highest good will begin to fall away. This means that your life will gradually become uncluttered, unstressed, vibrant, productive and creative. As old habits drop away, you will increasingly be free to explore new possibilities. Yoga Science defines the human being as three separate selves: the mortal self, the semi-immortal self and the immortal Self. Emanating from the eternal ocean of consciousness, wisdom and bliss (Sat-ChitAnanda or God), a bubble––having exactly the same intrinsic qualities as the ocean––rises from the deep. This is the immortal Self, or soul. The soul issues forth an energy called adi prana (the first unit of life) that is essential to the creation and

maintenance of the mind-body-sense complex. The mind in its totality, consisting of both the conscious and unconscious portions, evolves from the adi prana. The mind then projects the body, breath and senses as a vehicle for action. The breath is the bridge between mind and body, and facilitates the ongoing infusion of new prana required to maintain the city of life. According to Yoga Science, death is not annihilation. It is merely the separation of the mortal self from the semi-immortal self and the immortal Self. At death, the body, breath, senses and conscious mind separate from the unconscious mind (chitta) and soul (SatChit-Ananda). Following physical death, as in sleep, the unconscious mind and individual soul remain linked in a resting state. Eventually, as latent impressions in the chitta begin to activate, a vehicle, or body, becomes necessary to resolve and fulfill remaining karmas stored in the unconscious mind, and the process begins again with a new birth. In Eastern traditions, to be human is considered the greatest of gifts. Right now you have a body, breath, senses and a mind blessed with a discriminative faculty known as buddhi. You already have everything you need to dissolve your attachments, exhaust your karmas and free yourself from pain and bondage. By practicing meditation every day, the animal nature can evolve––through your humanity––to unite with the Divine. Understanding the relationship between the mortal self, semi-immortal self and immortal Self helps clarify how decisions are to be made in this lifetime. Every time we take an action, a consequence follows, and each consequence leads us closer to enlightenment or farther away. Once we appreciate the mechanics of the law of karma (that thought precedes action and action precedes consequence), an enlightened consciousness provides us the detachment, discrimination and will power to act in accord with the Perfection that is our Essential Nature (Christ-consciousness, Buddha Nature). Our enlightenment disempowers every would-be sorrow and impediment and helps transform the world in which we live. 11

The Essential Difference By Linda Johnsen Lion and the Lamb © by Jenness Cortez Perlmutter

As a child, I was taught that animals don’t have souls. That didn’t make sense to me. How can anyone gaze into the eyes of a pet and not recognize the soul staring back? So I was happy to learn the Yoga tradition fully acknowledges the “selfhood” of all creatures—that every living being is evolving through time just as we are. And yet there’s an undeniable difference between an animal’s experience of life and ours. To understand what this is, we need to go back to Noah, the mythological figure who saved the human race, and animals too, during the Great Flood. Except in the Indian version of the story, which is thousands of years older than the version we know from the Bible, Noah’s name is Manu. The tale begins one morning as Manu bathed in the sea. When he cupped his hands in the water he discovered a minnow swimming in his palms. “Please help me,” it pleaded. “If you don’t save me, the bigger fish will eat me.” Manu felt compassion for the helpless creature and carefully carried it home. He placed it in a small bowl of water which the minnow quickly outgrew, so he transferred it into a huge jar. When the fish grew so large it no longer needed to fear any predator, Manu took the jar to the seashore and released the fish. The grateful fish then warned Manu 12

about an impending flood, advising him to load his family and the seeds of all living things onto a boat. “When the flood begins, rope your boat to my head and I’ll pull you to safety.” That’s how Manu survived when the rest of the world drowned. You can still see Manu and the fish today, by the way. Manu is the figure we in the West visualize as Aquarius, a man pouring water out of a jar. The fish that tumbled out of that jar into the cosmic waters is Piscis Australis, the constellation we call “the Southern Fish,” immediately below Aquarius. For millennia, Fomalhaut, the brilliant star in the head of this constellation, was one of the most important stars used by navigators to find their way across the sea. This might sound like a trite story, but it has many layers of spiritual significance. For example, in India there’s a saying, “Big fish eat smaller fish.” This “Law of the Fishes” refers to a fact of nature: stronger creatures prey on the weaker. All animals live by this law, carnivores preying on herbivores, herbivores in turn feeding on plants. Life sustains itself by eating life. If a lioness attacks a fawn, there is no court the fawn’s mother can appeal to for justice. The concept of justice simply doesn’t exist in the animal kingdom. It’s a “dog eat dog” world. In South Asia, Manu is not only the

hero of the Flood myth. He is also the original lawgiver, the great civilizer. As he repopulates the world after the Flood he teaches his descendants right from wrong, assuring that the weak have rights too. Now instead of exploiting those less powerful than themselves, the dharma or “right action” of strong men and women is to protect the weak. And as the story hints, humans are asked not only to safeguard others of their own race, but animals and plants as well. In Manu’s code, chopping down a healthy tree is as bad as killing a person! If you’ve ever watched the Animal Channel, you know that wild animals rarely behave in this principled manner. Of course if you watch the news, you also know there are still plenty of people who don’t either; they act like animals, unconcerned with the welfare of others. According to Yoga Science, however, aryas (meaning “noblespirited people”—never to be confused with the Nazi Aryans!) do not live by the Law of the Fishes. They have a different standard that sets them apart from the rule of nature, a standard called dharma in Sanskrit. Where does this new standard come from? You’ll find a clue in the name Manu. As Swami Rama, my spiritual mentor, explained, “The Sanskrit root man means ’to think.’ Man is the thinking creature.” In case you’re wondering, it’s no coincidence that our English word “man” is similar to the name Manu. Our word “mankind” literally means “the children of Manu.” Manu was the name of the father of our race in many Indo-European languages, all the way from India to Ireland! In Welsh mythology, for example, this Noah figure is called Menw. Yoga scientists say it is our ability to think, for example, to use words mentally, to have inner conversations with ourselves, that sets us apart from animals. Dogs and cats, horses and cows may feel and react much as we do, but they don’t think things through like we do. Fido may be frustrated that you deny her a treat, but she doesn’t sit around fuming, “My master is such a selfish son-of-a-gun. All I want is a bite of steak from his dinner plate but he ignores me as if I don’t even exist!“ We, on the other hand, can obsess over a perceived slight for years.

Sacred Language Yoga students in the West are usually astonished to learn that the study of language, of how our voices can create sounds that carry meaning and power, is considered a sacred science in the Yoga tradition. Great grammarians, like Panini, are literally revered as saints for helping explain how the power of consciousness is transmitted through words—both through the words we speak aloud to others and those we speak silently to ourselves. The ability to think and speak in complex, grammatical language has profound consequences: 1. It takes us out of the present moment, allowing us to ruminate about the past and plan for the future, unlike animals who live entirely in the present. Our ability to think in past and future tenses is enormously helpful for accomplishing things in the external world, for communicating, organizing, building and innovating. It is not helpful for meditation, which calls on us to shift radically back into the “now.” 2. It allows us to deal with abstractions at a level animals don’t seem capable of. To the best of our knowledge they don’t wonder if there’s a God, whether they could travel to the moon, or why the stars move across the sky. Living instinctually, they accept the world as it is, rather than seeking to understand and improve on it as humans do. 3. It makes it possible for us to pass cultural lore to future generations. Every generation of animal lives more or less the same life as its forebears. Humans however build on the insights and technologies of previous generations. In India the words of spiritual adepts who lived over five thousand years ago have been passed down to us today without losing a syllable. Those of us who study and practice the complete science of Yoga benefit from five millennia of accumulated wisdom! 4. It helps us understand and care for each other. Animals will abandon injured kin, though it may pain them to do so. Yet we have evidence that since at least Neolithic times, humans have nurtured family members who were seriously ill or disabled. This allowed weaker members of the community to survive, individuals who 13

were not physically robust but may have been far more intelligent or innovative or artistically or spiritually gifted. The physically weak helped make their clans strong. While animals evolved skills used primarily to survive, humans were free to develop the skill sets necessary to create culture, religion and civilization. 5. Most important of all, it allows us to analyze our own nature. We humans are not entirely at the mercy of our senses, instincts and feelings as most animals appear to be. With the help of our unique ability to think, we can go within and explore who and what we really are. We don’t rely entirely on sensory knowledge but are able to use buddhi (pure reason, discrimination) to examine our experience. By using their intelligence to understand themselves, meditators discovered long ago that we have a three-fold nature: mortal, semi-immortal and immortal. Our spiritual teachers use words to point us toward our immaterial, immortal nature. Students use inner dialogue to test the validity of the teacher’s instructions, and to discriminate what parts of our experience are eternal or non-eternal. Thoughts, of course, are not eternal themselves—before we can uncover our deepest and truest Self we must let go of them. Only then can we plumb the living inner silence that is the source of our being. The ability to think, the essential difference between the human and animal kingdoms, gives humanity its unique access to vidya, spiritual knowledge. Yoga techniques help us hone that knowledge, and lead us to enlightenment, the next step beyond human evolution. We learned all this from a fish? The fish in the story was the Matsya Avatar, a savior who appeared to test Manu, the archetypal man, to see whether he had the compassion for others necessary to transcend the pitiless Law of the Fishes. When Manu passed with flying colors, the avatar rescued him and his descendents (us!) from our animal instincts. The Matsya Avatar is still worshipped in India today. Interestingly, in ancient Mesopotamian mythology the fish god Ea also saved humanity from the Great Flood. The mitre worn by high-ranking Catholic 14

priests imitates fish-head hats worn by Mesopotamian priests, the fish being an early symbol of the Christian avatar Jesus. As is written in the companion essay, “What is Enlightenment?” on page 8, each of us has three selves: 1. A physical body subject to the laws of nature. 2. A subtle body capable of thought, through which we create culture, technology, and human laws that impose fairness and justice not found in nature. 3. A spiritual body that transcends thought, linking us with the divine. We can use our unique mental equipment to explore our inner being, or we can ignore it. Because we can think, we have the freedom to choose. For those of us who do choose to make the inward journey, the time-honored wisdom of Yoga Science clearly and compassionately points the way.

Linda Johnsen is the award-winning author of eight books on yoga and meditation, including Meditation is Boring? Putting Life in Your Spiritual Practice.

The Heart and Science of Yoga


Comprehensive Training in Self-Care for Healthy Living

Summer Retreat At The American Meditation Institute, Averill Park, New York

LEONARD PERLMUTTER (Ram Lev) • JULY 19-21, 2013 Meditation • Mantra • Breath • Mind Function Optimization • Lymph System Detox Ayurveda & Alkaline Nutrition • Easy-Gentle Yoga (for joints, glands and internal organs) Spend a peaceful and instructive weekend with AMI founders Leonard and Jenness Perlmutter. This retreat presents the complete Heart and Science of YogaTM curriculum in a concentrated three-day format. Regardless of your level of experience, you’re guaranteed to gain practical skills for transformation through lectures, practices and discussions. Leonard’s understanding,

clear teaching style and sense of humor will provide you a complete meditation practice and teach you how to express your life’s true purpose creatively and confidently. This retreat will provide you all the tools you’ll need to ease stress, reduce pain, boost your immune system, heal relationships, enhance your problem solving ability and find inner peace, happiness and security.

What You’ll Learn:

HOUSING: A limited number of single and shared accommodations are available.

An easy meditation procedure How to harness the power of the mind The healing power of breath The philosophy of mantra science How to employ your personal mantra Ayurvedic health principles Easy-gentle yoga exercises The benefits of contemplation and prayer

GOURMET VEGETARIAN MEALS are served throughout the weekend. Please call 2 weeks in advance with any specific nutrition requirements. IN ADDITION to daily lectures, you’ll enjoy relaxing and refreshing visits to our beautiful perennial gardens, wooded pathways, goldfish pond and waterfall.

This retreat is open to the General Public. Physicians receive 15 CMEs. RNs receive 15 Contact Hours. Call (518) 674-8714 or ONLINE: 15

“ When my Master, Swami Rama, was once asked if he were enlightened, he humbly replied, ‘If I said “yes” it would be ego. If I said “no” it would be a lie. So I said nothing.’ ”

LEONARD PERLMUTTER (RAM LEV) Photo by Jenness Cortez Perlmutter

Tel. 518.674.8714 60 Garner Road, Averill Park, NY 12018

May/June 2013 - Transformation Journal  
Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you