Man is not only his conscious mind. He has also nine times more than the conscious, the unconscious layer of the mind. Not only that, man has the body, the soma, in which this mind exists. The body is absolutely unconscious. Its working is almost non-voluntary. Only the surface of the body is voluntary. The inner sources are non-voluntary; you cannot do anything about them. Your will is not effective.
This pattern of man’s existence has to be understood before one can enter into oneself. And the understanding should not remain only intellectual. It must go deeper. It must penetrate the unconscious layers; it must reach to the very body itself.
Hence, the importance of abhyasa – constant inner practice. These two words are very significant: abhyasa and vairagya. Abhyasa means constant inner practice, and vairagya means non- attachment, desirelessness. The coming sutras of Patanjali are concerned with these two most significant concepts, but before we enter the sutras, that this, the pattern of human personality, is not totally intellectual, has to be firmly grasped.
If it was only intellect, then there would be no need for abhyasa – constant, repetitive effort. You can understand immediately anything, if it is rational, through the mind, but just that understanding won’t do. You can easily understand anger is bad, poisonous, but this understanding is not enough for the anger to leave you, to disappear. In spite of your understanding the anger will continue, because the anger exists in many layers of your unconscious mind – not only in the mind, but in your body also.
The body cannot understand just by verbal communication. Only your head can understand, but the body remains unaffected. And unless understanding reaches to the very roots of the body, you cannot be transformed. You will remain the same. Your ideas may go on changing, but your personality will persist. And then a new conflict will arise. And you will be in more turmoil than ever, because now you can see what is wrong and still you persist doing it; you go on doing it.
A self-guilt and condemnation is created. You start hating yourself; you start thinking yourself a sinner. And the more you understand, the more condemnation grows, because you see how it is difficult, almost impossible, to change yourself.
Yoga does not believe in intellectual understanding. It believes in bodily understanding in a total understanding in which your wholeness is involved. Not only you change in your head, but the deep sources of your being also change.
How can they change? Constant repetition of a particular practice becomes non-voluntary. If you do a particular practice constantly – just repeating it continuously by and by it drops from the conscious, reaches to the unconscious and becomes part of it Once it becomes part of the unconscious, it starts functioning from that deep source.
Anything can become unconscious if you go on repeating it continuously. For example, your name has been repeated so constantly from your childhood. Now it is not part of the conscious, it has become part of the unconscious. You may be sleeping with one hundred persons in a room, and if somebody comes and calls “Ram? Is Ram there?” ninety-nine persons who are not concerned with the name will go on sleeping. They will not be disturbed. But the person who has the name “Ram” will suddenly ask, “Who is calling me? Why are you disturbing my sleep?”
Even in sleep, he knows his name is Ram. How has this name reached so deep? Just by constant repetition. Everybody is repeating his name; everybody is calling him himself, introducing himself. Continuous use. Now it is not conscious. It has reached to the unconscious
The language, your mother tongue, becomes a part of the unconscious. Whatsoever else you learn later on will never be so unconscious; it will remain conscious. That’s why your unconscious language will continuously affect your conscious language.
If a German speaks English, it is different; if a Frenchman speaks English, it is different; if an Indian speaks English, it is different. The difference is not in English, the difference is in their innermost patterns. The Frenchman has a different pattern – unconscious pattern. That affects. So whatsoever you learn later on will be affected by your mother tongue. And if you fall unconscious, then only your mother tongue can penetrate.
One person, who was a Maharashtrian. He was in Germany for twenty years or even more. For twenty years he was using German language. He has completely forgotten his own mother tongue, Marathi. He couldn’t read it, he couldn’t talk in it. Consciously, the language was completely forgotten because it was not used.
Then he was ill. And in that illness sometimes he would become unconscious. Whenever he will become unconscious, a totally different type of personality will evolve. He will start behaving in a different way. In his unconscious, he will utter words from Marathi, not from German. When he is unconscious, then he will utter words which are from Marathi language. And after unconsciousness, when he will come back to consciousness, for a few minutes he will not be able to understand German.
Constant repetition in childhood goes deeper because the child has no conscious really. He has more unconscious just near the surface; everything enters into the unconscious. As he will learn, as he will get educated, the conscious will become a thicker layer – then less and less penetration towards the unconscious.
Psychologists say that almost fifty percent of your learning is finished by the seventh year of your age. The seventh year of your life, you have almost known half of the things that you are ever going to know. Your half education is finished, and this half is going to be the base. Now everything else will be just imposed on it. And the deeper pattern will remain of childhood.
That’s why modern psychology, modern psychoanalysis, psychiatry, they all try to penetrate into your childhood, because if you are mentally ill, somewhere the seed is to be found in your childhood-not now. The pattern must be located there in your childhood. Once that deep pattern is located, then something can be done and you can be transformed.
But how to penetrate it? Yoga has a method. That method is called abhyasa. Abhyasa means constant, repetitive practice of a certain thing. Why, through repetition, something becomes unconscious? There are few reasons for it.
If you want to learn something, you will have to repeat it. Why? If you read a poem just once, you may remember a few words here and there, but if you read it twice, thrice, many more times, then you can remember lines, paragraphs. If you repeat it a hundred times, then you can remember it as a whole pattern. If you repeat it even more, then it may continue, persist in your memory for years. You may not be able to forget it.
What is happening? When you repeat a certain thing, the more you repeat, the more it is engraved on the brain cells. A constant repetition is a constant hammering. Then it is ingrained. It becomes a part of your brain cells. And the more it becomes a part of your brain cells, less consciousness is needed Your consciousness can move; now it is not needed.
So whatsoever you learn deeply, for it you need not be conscious. In the beginning, if you learn driving, how to drive a car, then it is a conscious effort. That’s why it is so much trouble, because you have to be alert continuously, and there are so many things to be aware – the road, the traffic, the mechanism, the wheel, the accelerator, the brakes, and everything, and the rules and regulations of the road. You have to be constantly aware of everything. So you are so much involved in it, it becomes arduous, it becomes a deep effort.
But by and by, you will be able to completely forget everything. You will drive; driving will become unconscious. You need not bring your mind to it, you can go on thinking anything you like, you can be anywhere you like, and the car will move unconsciously. Now your body has learned it. Now the whole mechanism knows it. It has become an unconscious learning.
Whenever something becomes so deep that you need not be conscious about it, it falls into the unconscious. And once the thing has fallen into the unconscious, it will start changing your being, your life, your character. And the change will be effortless now; you need not be concerned with it. Simply you will move in the directions where the unconscious is leading you.
Yoga has worked very much on abhyasa, constant repetition. This constant repetition is just to bring your unconscious into work. And when the unconscious starts functioning, you are at ease. No effort is needed; things become natural. It is said in old scriptures that a sage is not one who has a good character, because even that consciousness shows that the “anti” still exists, the opposite still exists. A sage is one who cannot do bad, cannot think about it. The goodness has become unconscious; it has become like breathing. Whatsoever he is going to do will be good. It has become so deep in his being that no effort is needed. It has become his life. So you cannot say a sage is a good man. He doesn’t know what is good, what is bad. Now there is no conflict. The good has penetrated so deeply that there is no need to be aware about it.
If you are aware of your goodness, the badness still exists side by side. And there is a constant struggle. And every time you have to move into action, you have to choose: “I have to do good; I have not to do bad.” And this choice is going to be a deep turmoil, struggle, a constant inner violence, inner war. And if conflict is there, you cannot be at ease, at home.Tags: Importance Of Abhyasa Inner Practice Patanjali Repetitive Practice