A yogic perspective on Spiritual Warfare

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Warfare and Spirituality are diametrically opposite to each other. Spirituality is about connecting with our inner-self. Warfare does not need any explanation with so many wars being fought in many parts of the world. So that begs the question – what is spiritual warfare?  Is a war being fought somewhere to uphold some ideology or philosophy? Or is it an inner battle of light over darkness? There is a general belief in the world that dark forces are operating in the human realm.  In fact, many comic books have taken this theme and popularized the classic battle of good vs evil.  How does this relate to our world?

All good and bad exists within us.  We hear so many stories of tender acts of kindness, and then on the other hand we hear of crimes committed out of fear, anger, and hatred. Both these actions come out of human beings.  Everyone has the potential to go beyond these tendencies and operate from a higher place within themselves. The entire human anatomy, the body, mind and energy system is meant to be in balance. If we look at nature, it looks brilliant and exuberant – every blade of grass, twig, leaf, tree, animal, sky etc. If we look at the animals, birds and trees, we see that they are completely in tune with nature. Unfortunately animals can only eat, reproduce and perform other simple biological functions. The human being on the other hand is vastly capable. We are the only species that have the capability of going beyond the basic needs of eating and reproducing.  For every other species, life is limited to these two functions. We can consciously experience feelings of joy, love, bliss etc and if willing, explore life infinitely, because the possibilities are simply limitless.

When we are joyful and happy,  we can tackle any type of situation. This is true well-being and a natural state to be in. Major invention and discoveries came from inspiration, motivation, curiosity and feeling of elation of finding out what is on the other side. Fear, anger and other negative feelings have not produced anything besides misery and suffering.  Are we not aware of the above facts?  Yes definitely we are aware as that intrinsic knowledge of our natural state is built into us.

But we get caught up in the day to day, hustle and bustle of activity and forget that aspect of who we are. We are unable to maintain that awareness in this world of instant gratification, where if things don’t happen as per our expectation, we tend to indulge in negativity. Even if we have the best job, best house and car, and married to the love of our life, we still find reasons to become unhappy, angry and operate out of fear. Remember how when we were children, we were simply happy, joyful and exuberant?.  Not having the best toy in town did not mean much at that age, but we were naturally happy.  As we grew up, we lost this natural state only to become who we are not, chasing happiness elsewhere and forgetting that it is all within.  Fortunately for us, the higher nature and possibility is an inexhaustible resource and always available, and it is about turning inward and coming back to ourselves.  Nature is fantastic in that sense, and we need to experience it in order to return to our conscious state of being.

How do we turn inward to bring ourselves into wellbeing?  Yoga is a time tested method, which has been practiced for over 5000 years and its benefits experienced in multifarious ways.  It is a potent practice, whose power we are just now tapping into in the western world. Yoga takes us on an inward journey bringing harmony to the body, mind, emotion and energy.  Naturally when we are in harmony within ourselves, we feel connected to ourselves and to everything else around us.  Feelings of joy, bliss, happiness etc come naturally to  us, because it is all part of the homecoming. This is tremendously empowering as we feel we can take on anything, and there is nothing we cannot achieve.  We feel empowered to make conscious choices, conscious decisions and consciously respond to any situation – good or bad. Through yoga, we develop the capability to consciously respond to any situation, and can overcome the compulsiveness of anger, fear and hatred. Such is its power.  With yoga we can begin the inward spiritual journey and truly conquer all the negative emotion to emerge victorious into the light. Isn’t that a wonderful internal warfare to be engaged in?

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