“Yoga means ‘unity’—it means living unified wholeness in the field of diversity. My advice is to continue practicing Yoga on the physical level—but also to start and continue to practice Yoga on all other levels—mental, intellectual, and on the level of self-referral, Transcendental consciousness. On all levels, Yoga will help you to progress in every way, in every field of life. Transcendental Meditation is Yoga. I had to give it a new name— ‘Transcendental Meditation’—because I felt Yoga has been commonly misunderstood in terms of the physical level alone. A great Yoga truth is that, ‘Yoga is superior action.’ When you want a superior quality of action, then you should practice Yoga on all levels. Yoga is a good word, but it should be properly understood and practiced beyond the physical level. The result will be a rapid, holistic evolution of life.”
—His Holiness Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (c1917-2008)
Life, someone has said, is either an adventure, or it is nothing. And the famous outdoor adventurer Yvon Chouinard (b1938) insightfully states, “It’s not an adventure until something goes wrong.”
Life itself is certainly the best adventure! And I agree that adventure, on the conventional level, often begins when challenges come along. But I would balance this by saying that in a much more substantial way life becomes an adventure when things start to go deeply “right”—when holistic unified consciousness begins to organically unfold and stabilize at the innermost level of one’s mind. Living life enhanced by the direct experience of this inner unified quality of consciousness is the most basic level of the adventure of Yoga.
When this expanding inner consciousness begins to also unify with all the great and small challenges of life—whether “outdoor adventure” expeditions, or anything else that may transpire under any given circumstances on any given day,—this is a higher quality of adventure, a larger adventure, and the beginning of the next major stage of Yoga—Karma Yoga, in which Yoga becomes skill in action (“yogah karmasu kaushalam: Yoga is skill in action.”—Gita 2:50). This is the adventure of experiencing one’s inwardly unified consciousness being creatively applied to ongoing growth in more and more emotionally-, intellectually-, and socially-engaged arenas of life. In this exploration of transpersonal, personal, and interpersonal growth, one’s daily thinking and feeling, one’s actions and interactions with others and with the natural and cultural environment, begin to be increasingly joyful, meaningful, effective, creative, and universally life-supporting and life-enhancing. This is when all of daily life really becomes an exciting adventure in transformative happiness, peace, insightful comprehensive wisdom, and spontaneously creative compassion and loving-kindness.
As this organic process of integration of the inner and outer aspects of life—of subjective and objective reality—advances, one’s awareness fully unfolds and stabilizes, harmonizing and unifying with all of life.
This is the ultimate goal of Yoga, in which the fullest permanent state of enlightenment, Unity Consciousness, is effortlessly lived in terms of one’s own daily activities and rest, one’s own likes and dislikes. In this state, the nature of reality is simply lived as the holistic unified continuum of infinite Being. Reality is naturally and spontaneously enjoyed as the Ever-Present Fullness of one’s own continuously unified experience. One blissfully experiences one’s Self in all beings and situations, and all beings and situations are experienced as united with one’s Self at the most intimate level. In this natural ongoing state, the adventure of Yoga is experienced and enjoyed as the great Unity in the midst of all diversity. Daily life in this exciting and fulfilling state of Unity Consciousness is the greatest adventure of all.
A yogi, when spelled with lower case “y”, is anyone who practices Yoga (ancient science and technology of holistic unified consciousness). Traditionally, when spelled with an upper case “Y”, the word “Yogi” is an honorific title or name denoting a person who has attained permanent full enlightenment,—Unity Consciousness,—the goal of Yoga at the personal level. I had the amazing great good fortune to became a personal student of Maharishi, one of the truly great Yogis of all time, in San Francisco during his first world teaching tour in 1959 and to continue to study and train with His Holiness until his passing in 2008.
In 1967 I began a five year individualized teacher training course with Maharishi, involving several months-long retreats, daily practice and study, and extensive fieldwork. Along the way, Maharishi certified me as an instructor of yoga (in its sense as physical exercise), and upon completion of the course in 1972, he certified me as a teacher of his Transcendental Meditation (TM) Program, as a retreat leader, and as a spiritual guide in his ancient Vedic teaching lineage. This unbroken living lineage of teachers is honoured as the source of the original knowledge of Yoga, Ayurveda, Vastu, and Vedanta. In 1976-77, during a six-month intensive retreat with Maharishi, he trained and certified me as a practitioner and teacher of his advanced TM-Sidhi program.