When we practice pratyahara, or control of the senses, we will experience phenomena that might seem contradictory.
Rather than becoming dull and lifeless, with practice the senses become extraordinarily sharp.
This, of course, adds to our authentic enjoyment and appreciation of the interactions of our body-mind-spirit with all of our surroundings.
In short, the relationship we have with sense objects becomes more enjoyable, not less.
In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali describes the process of human unhappiness and uneasiness and relates it to our influence by outside events and our corresponding effort to suppress unwanted sensations while heightening others. This is a no-win situation.
When people seek out yoga, hoping to find the inner peace that seems so elusive, they often find it was theirs all along. (Ruby slippers anyone?)
In a sense, yoga is nothing more than a system which enables us to stop and look at the processes of our own minds; only in this way can we understand the nature of happiness and unhappiness, and thus transcend them both.
Todays Simple Step
As I look to the Yo-Ki-Bics of sense control (Yoking body/mind/spirit - expressing innate Ki energy - into effective Bites of action) I remember this story...
I once went on retreat with a Buddhist monk who did a process with us called "Raisin' Consciousness."
It involved a deep meditation on appreciating the journey of a small handful of raisins from their initial seed stage to bursting on our tastebuds. This guided meditation seemed to take for-ever !
All the while we simply listened and contemplated the raisins in the palm of our hands.
Rich and varied, our guide took us through the sunny orchards into the harvesting, the processing, the production, the box, the crate, the buying and the market, the truck and the driver... and finally to me and my own shelf in the kitchen.
We stopped along the way to appreciate the life, work, time and sacrifice of every single person who greeted some portion of the tiny raisins journey.
Then we were invited to slowly and silently eat the raisins one by one - knowing - feeling - and relating with gratitude to all aspects of their glorious journey.
You can bet these were just about the best tasting raisins anyone in the group had ever had.
PS - In entirty it took us a full hour to swirl six raisins around our mouths, hearts and minds.
It was worth every moment.
I invite you to do the same with something lucious and alive with flavor.
This is your simple step.
Till next time...