Reflection on Manasana Retreat

February 2019

Attending the second Manasana Retreat solidified the teachings and gleanings from the first gathering on this topic. My most important takeaway was the transmission and conviction regarding the Vedanta-Yoga axiom that everything in the world of manifestation is the mind. From causal to subtle to gross to the most immediate experience of our practical lives, it is all mind. Thus, to transform my character, body-mind mechanism, life, and live in the Goal, the mind is the exclusive and sole means of achievement. I was struck with how some of the beginner manasanas were impregnated with this mind-only Principle. For example, ausadasana, which means “I am naturally healthy,” requires the seeker to shift their mental perspective. They must account for the origin and destruction of disease as rooted in the uncontrolled mind’s fashioning of a body due to ignorance. Additionally, and equally important to note, is that one’s eternal Self is not in the realm of disease and destruction. A portion of our self-identification must be concentrated on this to keep our forbearance of dualities intact.

Practicing and contemplating this mind-only Principle has led to several corollaries for personal mastery. We have to stop seeing our spiritual obstacles as external problems occurring in a matter-only world governed by random chaos of the forces of Nature. The idea of problems, aversions, and attractions are in our own mind first and foremost. Thus the teaching of manasana has forced me to investigate my own physical, emotional, and mental constitution and ask, “What does this say about my mind? My samskaras? What is the mental basis for this action? What standard of living, Vedantically speaking, is reflected in my waking and dream states?” To ask this question is to begin taking responsibility for our own seemingly real involvement in the world of appearances and expose the fallacy of the personal matrix founded in distracted mind. Pairing such contemplation with non-receptivity to guilt, shame, and fear and an unapologetic detachment to conventional living, has led to an abiding state of freedom and peace that is inspiring and comforting along the road to realization.