Imagine yourself in a small boat in the middle of the ocean and that a terrifying storm is underway. 40 Miles per hour winds gusts are blowing and your boat is getting pounded by 10 to 20 feet waves. Wouldn’t you find your situation precarious?
But here is this funny thing. In the same ocean a few thousand feet under your boat is a deep sea fish and it has no clue that a storm rages above. The waters are calm and undisturbed and the fish has no reason to believe that anything is amiss. Now here is a question: Would you rather be in the raging storm or in the deep calm ocean?
Most of us think that this analogy speaks to some abstract situation that does not apply to us. But this is not so. It applies to us more than what we think. To understand this we have to realize that many amongst us spend most of our time on the surface of the ocean of consciousness. Here on the surface we are constantly being rocked by “thought-waves”. But deep in the ocean of consciousness there is peace and bliss, so it is strange that we choose to spend most of our time on the stormy surface. Why is this?
The answer is that because most of us identify ourselves with thought-waves. We are unaware of the deep ocean of consciousness where we have a choice to spend our time. Instead we think that our situation is all tied up to being with these thought-waves. The funny thing about these thought-waves is that the more we identify with them the more intense does the storm of thought-wave becomes. This is why most of us spend our entire lives doing battle amongst these waves, as we have no time to consider the alternatives.
The fourth sutra in the first chapter of the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali says that those who identify themselves with thought-waves (or Vrittis as Patanjali calls them) are not in Yoga. This then is a vital sutra as it states the problem clearly. The problem is not thought-waves themselves. It is our identification with them that is the problem. It is this that keeps us on the surface. Once we lose our identification with these surface thought-waves the storm around us calms down and we now have all the energy to easily dive into the deeper levels of consciousness and enjoy the peace and bliss that is available there.
Essentially there are two types of people. One type is the surface dwellers who want to live on the surface of consciousness, remaining forever identified with their ego-identity and its related thought-waves. The others are those who want to shed the skin of ego-identity and undertake a journey to the deeper portion of ocean-consciousness. This is where unity, truth, peace, and ever-renewing bliss exist. The question then for all of us is: Where do we want to be?
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