Ahymsin Newsletter: Yoga is Samadhi

Direct Experience

by Swami Rama

This is an excerpt from A Practical Guide to Holistic Health by Swami Rama. Himalayan International Institute of Yoga Science and Philosophy of the USA. 1999. Page 89.

All human beings want to attain a state of happiness that is free from all pains and fears.  This can be attained by practicing a self-training method.  The ancients described such a program in the traditional yogic manuscripts; it provides us with a way to reach a state of health on all levels.  In following this program we learn through direct experience, and that alone is valid; it cannot be challenged by anyone.  Most people are influenced by the opinions of others; they rarely take the opportunity to form their own opinions.  Suggestion has been the very basis of modern life, and few of us draw our conclusions from direct experience.  But without having direct experience, the information that we gather from external forces always remains questionable.  That is why we need confirmation from others.  Even in our relationships at home we expect others to tell us that it is good to do this or that:  “You look good”; “Your clothes are nice”; “You speak well”.  These expressions show that we constantly seek the confirmation and appreciation of others because we are not sure on our own that we are doing well.

Once you have direct experience, however, you will be sure of your own actions.  Direct experience does not need any evidence to prove its validity.  When you have direct experience no external force can ever influence you, no matter how strong it is.  The suggestions and opinions of others will not affect you then.  For abstract knowing alone is not true knowledge: you obtain true knowledge only when you start experiencing.  So in the program described by the ancient masters you are actually your own textbook and you compare your own experience with that of the sages to verify the theories they give.



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