It’s worth starting with a (very paraphrased) Hindu story called the Samudra manthan. I really am paraphrasing here, but in essence, gods and demons collectively wanted to find an elixir of immortality. How a common goal can unite different groups… They combined their power and unearthed it – but in the process, also released a toxin so deadly that it could destroy the whole world. This is beginning to sound more and more like modern economics! They were at a loss what to do with this terrible stuff, until Shiva stepped in. He took the poison, and drank it. He didn’t swallow it, and it remains there suspended in his throat for Vishuddhi chakra to purify and transmute. It’s said to have turned his throat blue, which is why he is often depicted blue and associates the colour blue with Vishuddhi.
Vishuddhi translates to something along the lines of special purity. To me, it’s a reminder that it’s good to be comfortable with truth. Being able to tolerate truth really does purify difficult situations – if all players in the scene really can work with the truth of the matter. To be comfortable with truth would be to be happy giving, receiving and dealing with it – even when it’s something we would rather avoid. Again, the parallels with contemporary world situations are startling.
Truth is about clarity as well. Going after a prize can cause problems – this is one message we could take from the wonderful story we started with. An honest appraisal is needed when we set our eyes on the target: is it worth having, really? Or, are we actually aiming too low? Why – honestly – are we steering or lives as we are?
Clarity in the mind reflects as clarity in the body – or at least it can do, through our physical Yoga and Hot Yoga practice. Clarity in tissue is many things: good flow – of movement, of body processes, and ultimately good flow of life energy. Clarity like this, in mind and body, is a key enabler for living in a complex and changing world.
Ancient Yogis noticed that things tend to come in pairs. Where there’s night, there’s also day. Where there’s happy times, there’s inevitably sad times too etc etc. So, they reasoned, if there is a changing world then there must be its opposite too – a changeless realm: still, serene and full of potential. Surely like everything else, change and changeless must occur together? Well, they really developed this thought, and created practices that realise changelessness in the very fabric of body of mind. Clarity like this enabled them to recognise the potential and serenity in everyone and everything. To live from that place was to be enlightened.
That’s a lofty goal. And since we are talking about honesty when it comes to goals, let’s all think carefully if we want to take our practice that far! But the point is that there really is nowhere to take our practice once clarity arrives. The final – and only – conclusion is that what we seek is already here. When vision clears, the answers appear.