Yoga can be seen as having three interwoven themes or dimensions. The first involves getting down on the floor and actually doing the exercises. The exercises purify and heal your body by making you balanced, strong, flexible, sensitive, energized, and relaxed. They promote radiant health. They also increase your mental stamina by training your mind to concentrate and sustain a focused attention. In combination, these culminate in the experience of stillness and peace. This is why I refer to the practice of yoga as a way of moving into stillness.

This first theme is exceedingly important because when you experience yourself in stillness and feel the peace within you, you will come upon a new awareness of who you are. This new awareness will convince you that"you"Are part of a greater whole, that you are not a separate energy nor a separate consciousness. You are an individuated and specific expression of one energy, one Consciousness, one Infinite Mind - much like a single wave on the ocean is a specific expression of that ocean. Waves are not separate energies. They are individuated and unique, one of a kind, but they do not exist apart from the ocean.

Similarly, we are not separate entities somehow disconnected from the One and Only, the All. We are individually specific and unique, yet inseparable from the whole. We are individuated conscious expressions of Infinite Conscious Being, Infinite Mind, God, the Father-Mother, the one I Am, the Self. There is no"you"or"me"Apart from It. We are It in specific manifestation. We are Consciousness being specifically conscious.

Ego is when the wave - you or me - mistakenly believes that it stands alone and that, somehow, it is essentially separate and different from the ocean and from other waves. The ego sense is not real, not accurate. It is not an actual energy or presence. It is imagination, misunderstanding, a false sense of Self - the result of an incomplete perception of who we are. It is a misidentification, a limited understanding of the facts based on our conditioning and the data we receive from our five physical senses only. It is thinking we are one thing when we are really something else. it's how we define ourselves prior to knowing what's really true.

It is not surprising that misidentification occurs, because from the wave's vantage point on the surface of the ocean, it does look separate. It looks out, sees other waves, and defines itself as one among many. The underlying sameness is not obvious at first glance. This is how we feel, mostly. We feel separate and distinct from one another, alone in a vast universe, with our underlying sameness not readily apparent. We look out and see"others.”Separateness is what's obvious. But when the underlying oneness begins to be obvious, it will steadily become more obvious, and pretty soon there will be a complete transformation both in the way you think about yourself and the way you see your world. Your existence will then be different, more in harmony with life, because you'll be seeing yourself and the world in a new way.

We are both the wave, individual and unique, and the ocean. Both. At the same time. We are Consciousness, Infinite Mind, God, in specific expression. Because we are Consciousness in specific expression, we are each our own best contact point with that Consciousness. Your mind is your personal best entry point into the awareness of Infinite Mind, your own closest touch point with the creative God Force, which is the life of you and everything else - just as a wave's closest contact point with the ocean is itself. When you realize this, and then take the time to immerse yourself in stillness, you will experience this Godness-Goodness within you as you. As you do this, you awaken to the spiritual meaning of yoga and the spiritual essence that is the real you.


The second dimension of yoga deals with meditation and communion. This involves an enhanced way of using your mind based on your newly emerging perspective of yourself as a mind in Mind, and it is the direct result of having experienced yourself in stillness. This"new" way of using your mind is the basis for expanded thinking, for experiencing personal power, for obtaining inner guidance and insight, for intelligent decision making, and for the sure conviction of the inherent goodness of life. It involves voluntarily giving up your own limited knowledge in glad exchange for the wisdom of the whole. This is the wave asking the ocean, your mind asking Mind.

When you experience yourself in stillness - that is, when your mind is at its most focused, energetic, present, alive, relaxed, and wholehearted - you will"hear"The voice of God whispering in the depths of your being. You will recognize this"voice"- sometimes called the inner voice or little voice - as the voice of your Soul, the voice that speaks your deepest and most genuine desires.

You will then intuitively understand that the Will of God, or the intent of the universe, and the desires of your heart are one and the same. They are not at odds with one another. They do not conflict. In fact, and this is the point, they are not two. This realization, by the way, is tremendously reassuring. It quells fear and restores faith. You will then know that your mind is part of the one Infinite Mind, the Mind of God, that there is no difference, and that there really is an inner voice happy to guide and direct you throughout your life. You will also know that it is in your best interest to listen most attentively to that voice, that it is none other than your own deepest wisdom.


The third dimension is the natural consequence of having clearly experienced your truth: The more familiar you are with the creative God Force in you, the more you will see It and recognize It in others.

This is a monumental theme, and this idea has the power to transform both your individual world and the world at large. No longer will you see an evil, hostile world filled with alien and antagonistic forces. And no longer will it seem reasonable to complain, criticize, and condemn everything you see for being so blatantly imperfect. Instead, you will smile inside as you begin to see the very same creative energy with which you have become familiar within yourself as the energy and life of all things and people. All the world will take on a friendly and non-threatening glow as you see"your"energy everywhere.

When you see your energy in someone else, you will have a sudden moment of recognition. At first you may be confused, not knowing why you recognize them or who they are. Then it will dawn on you. You are seeing yourself. You are seeing the thing in you that you call"you," but you are seeing it in them! it's exactly like seeing your reflection in the store window as you walk by, or looking into a mirror and clearly seeing yourself.

When you see yourself in someone else, you are seeing the Self. The term Self-Realization is actually a very accurate description of what happens when you understand the deeper meaning of yoga. Realize means"to make real.”When the Self becomes real to you - and it will when you experience it within and then see it without - then the notion of a shared Self and common Source will become a conscious reality for you. You will realize that both you and"others"Are simply different faces of one infinite Person, one Infinite Consciousness, one Infinite Mind or Being, God. The spiritual overtone of life will become supremely evident. You will see no difference between yourself and others.

Moving Into Stillness - Self-Realization (Erich Schiffmann)

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