Yoga: the path to inner perfection. What is inner perfection? Everybody knows that perfection of life is the perfection of happiness, right, who can deny that? Everybody wants to be happy. Why does everybody want to be happy, because it’s the nature of the soul.
The soul has many inherent characteristics, characteristics that can never be separated from the soul. Just like the inherent characteristic of water is wetness. In this glass there is water, I haven’t touched it, but I know for a fact that it is wet because all water is wet. Whether it comes from the sky, from the river, from the tap, or from this glass – it doesn’t matter. It’s wet because it’s an inherent characteristic. Heat and light are inherent characteristics of fire, you cannot separate them.
The soul has many inherent characteristics and one of those is the characteristic of happiness. It is the nature of the soul. When the soul is in its original perfect state, it is filled with what is known as ananda. ‘Ananda’ is the Sanskrit word that means spiritual happiness. When the soul reaches ananda then it can be understood the soul has reached perfection.
This is what we are trying to do right here in our life but what is the problem? We identify with our material body and therefore experience deep within the desire for happiness but translate that into the body’s need for pleasure and satisfaction. We think, “If I make my body happy, then I’ll be happy” and so that becomes my goal – making my body happy. How do you make the body happy? Through the senses, the senses are the avenues of pleasure for the body, right? That is why if you lose one sense, it is a huge loss in your life.
The sense of sight is so important. Why… because I can achieve great pleasure through sight. I can see beautiful things or I can see another object that I can get and bring it to the other senses. Sight is very, very important for my pleasure and my happiness in life. You lose that somehow and wow, what a big loss. Any sense. The sense of smell, the sense of hearing, the touch, the genitals, it’s all really important to me because it is a source of pleasure for me, it is an avenue of happiness. Even if I’m not getting much there, there’s potential, “Oh if I could just see that, if I could just taste that. Now I’m tasting all this other stuff, but if I could just taste that, then I would be happy.”
So we go through our life trying to satisfy our eternal need for pleasure, our eternal need for happiness through a material source. I try to stimulate my senses as much as I can and the way that I decide will give me the most pleasure. Certainly, we all get pleasure from different things by seeing different objects, don’t we? One person sees one object, “Oh, wow, so much pleasure.” Another sees the same object: no pleasure at all. If you’re a computer person, you look at a computer, “Wow, it’s so beautiful, so much pleasure for me there.” If you’re like me, you just look at it and all you see is, “Oh I check my email, nothing going on there for me.” Or you go to some guy’s toilet and you sit down, and he’s got all these magazines; they’re all computer magazines, “I’ve got nothing to read.” But if he had a surfing magazine or a skiing magazine, “Oh wow man!” So we all see things differently, we all have different ideas of what will make me happy, what will stimulate my senses in a pleasurable way.
We’re looking for pleasure with the eyes, we’re listening for pleasure with the ears. Different types of music for different people; some like jazz, some like classical, some like hip-hop, some like something else, but still… we’re looking for that pleasure.
The nose looks for different fragrances, “Oh, I like this perfume, I like this flower, I like this or that,” but whatever, it is still pleasure through the nose, the sense of smell.
The tongue; there is so much pleasure on the tongue. This the big one, isn’t it? All day long we’re trying to stimulate the tongue. The first thing in the morning after we wake up some mouthwash and then a little bit later some breakfast, and then some chewing gum and some candies, and then some of this and some flavored that. It’s all about what is pleasure to the tongue. It is oftentimes not what’s good for the body; it is what tastes good. There’s a huge industry in the world. In America there is a whole section of New Jersey where there are artificial flavor factories. That’s all they do – just make artificial flavors for the tongues of the people of the world and put it in the food, “Ahh great!”
So we’re trying to find our happiness through the tongue, that’s why we overeat. We’ve already got enough for the body long ago, but we’re still trying to get that pleasure, “Has to be more pleasure here”, so we eat and eat, and eat, and then we get to the dessert, “Oh, that’s where the real pleasure is!” And then we get fat, we feel like crap, walk around, “Urrgghhh…” indigestion all day long. But, “hey, it was good while it lasted” and on and on. The genitals, “Oh, so much pleasure there,” it becomes our life. But what happens, it doesn’t really work; because it can’t. I, the spirit soul, get no pleasure from all the sensual experiences of the body. It doesn’t lead to inner satisfaction, inner perfection, and inner happiness.