A New Way of Life
Yogacharya J. Oliver Black
Audio from meditation instruction at Detroit Institute of Arts
January 22, 1967
Excerpts are transcribed in the April, 2017 newsletter
Excerpts (edited for clarity):
Now this great ocean of energy or this great ocean of intelligence is this something that we call God. And in various religions the idea of God is called by different names; every religion has its own name for the idea of God. Regardless of what we call it, the amazing thing is that when we study yoga we begin to feel the closeness of everything that we seek. We find that It is present within us, inside of us, near us, outside, to the right, to the left, above and beneath and we're right in It. Just like fish swim in the water, they don't know the water is there, they just go here and there and they think that they're doing really something special, you know. They don't know how they can swim, how water supports them, or anything.
Neither do we know this ocean of energy. We don't see it, we're not conscious of It, because we're in It, we're part of It, and we're It. So we're not conscious of the presence of what we seek.
So yoga teaches you how to prepare yourself or to cultivate and develop through spiritual culture how you can become conscious of this great depthless ocean that has no limits anywhere--that we're in It and all we need to do is become conscious of It.
The yogis talk about prana. That's the highest type and form of energy. That is the life that is within each and every one of us. It's the life within the fish, life within the water, as it were...life within the tree...life everywhere.
And so when you learn to practice yoga for your realization, you find that you don't need to go anywhere to have it. You don't need to go to a monastery, you don't need to go to India, you don't need to go to a foreign land or anywhere. You do it right where you are.
So if we all are seeking the fulfillment of our highest desire, that is, the realization of the Self. We can read our scriptures, and we can read our philosophies and study truth and all, but sooner or later, you're going to have to have shown you a way so that you can really gain the fruits of your labor. And that time is now and yoga affords that we are shown a way.
Yoga knows everything about your body, knows everything about your psychic self, your mental self and your soul, and everything that we possess, and everything that we are a part of and are. Yoga can explain every aspect of your creation. And then it provides techniques of how you can have your realization. And if you will follow them, the last result is sure to happen, sure to follow.
In our psyche we have what is known as the spiritual eye, or the eye of the mind, or the eye of transcendental wisdom; and that is at the point between the eyebrows. In the physiological aspect it's our pineal gland. That is the organ of psychical sight. But in most people it's not open, it hasn't been developed yet or it hasn't been developed and cultured or nurtured so that it will open.
Now, when that eye is opened, the darkness that you see when you close your eyes will vanish and you will be in an ocean of dazzling light. And that light is just behind the darkness. It's within you, without you and everywhere present. And that is known too as the Christ Consciousness. Chaitanya it's called in Hinduism, and it's called Christ Consciousness in the Western world, in the Christian religion. So all religions have a different name for this light that is behind the darkness.
Our Bible tells us about it. It's in the 6th chapter of Matthew: "If thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light." Saying the same thing. But what does it mean to have the eye single? Your two eyes aren't single, but you do focus your two eyes at the point between the eyebrows at the spiritual eye. Then when the physical aspect is relaxed and released, so that you just revert the attention to the spiritual eye, then the two eyes become useless, you might say...or, render the two eyes inactive, and then the single eye opens into that dazzling ocean of light.
So yoga brings these things to focus so you can understand them, so you can practice in order to activate this divine potential that we have and use it. It's ours, and it's everyone's, and no one is shut out from it. Everyone can do it.
But he'll never do it unless he knows what to do, and he'll never do it without practice. Because down through time, and through incarnation after incarnation, we've created so many bad habits that we're not able to do it without practice, we're not able to do it without being re-taught. It's got to be shown to us again, and then, through practice, we can realize that this teaching is true and valid and that practice will make it productive.
Sit with your body quiet and still so that you can begin to take a look at the inside of yourself, and concentrate at the point between the eyebrows. Now, if you will watch your own breathing, and through the pranayamas, through the breathing, you can help to accentuate that inner state and help to bring it about quicker by the way you breathe, putting the mind and the breath together. They're inseparably linked anyway, and when you know that, you can control your inner status by rhythmic breathing.
Just watch your breath now and slow your breathing down, and just breathe out and in real slow, and make it rhythmic-like. Slowly in, then hold it, no breath at all for just a moment, then exhale. Then before the inhale, just have no breath, then inhale, and keep your attention focused at the point between the eyebrows. Keep your attention focused at the point between the eyebrows then watch your breath. Keep your attention fixed so that your eyes are not blinking as you hold their focused attention at the point between the eyebrows. This technique will at least give you an inkling or an idea and maybe some inner conviction, putting you on the path described by the Bible and all the religions of the world.
Jesus says, "The kingdom of heaven is inside you." And all the other great masters said it was inside of you. So why run around here, there, and everywhere when you have everything inside of you? And He says, "The kingdom of heaven is at hand, and now is the accepted time." Anytime you can condition yourself for this great evolutionary experience to happen, it will. Right today, even now, if you can do it.
Yoga will teach you how to do it. The techniques are available in order to help you do it. But it has to be self done. You have to do it by yourself, nobody can do it for you. Preacher, priest or pundit, they'll never help you. They'll go along and encourage you, if they know themselves. But you want to be sure that you're not following the blind that lead the blind.
It's a science. It's not just a religious notion or something like that, or an emotional thing, it isn't at all. It's basically and purely scientific. In this coming age, you'll have the scientific way to do it and that's what we teach here at Self-Realization Fellowship. We make the science of yoga understandable so you can use it, and benefit by it and live by it. It'll give you a whole new way of life. It'll change your personality, your whole nature, you'll look different, you'll behave different and you'll be liked so much better than you ever were before, amongst your fellow men and women if you take advantage of what it offers.
This article is excerpts from audio of meditation instruction given by Yogacharya J. Oliver Black on January 22, 1967 at the Detroit Institute of Arts.