Article submitted by Hirdaya


A wise teacher once asked his student, “What is your practice?” The student said, “I practise yoga, I meditate, I do pranayama, I read scriptures, I recite mantras.” The teacher replied, “No, that’s your lifestyle. What is your practice?”

This is a big question.

What is practice and what are we practising? Our training tells us that practice involves repetition. If I repeat something enough, eventually I will perfect it. What am I hoping to achieve through my practice?

Fulfillment. So I’m practising in order to achieve fulfillment.

The main teaching in yoga philosophy is that your true nature is already whole, complete, fulfilled. There is no imperfection in you, you are pure, free and forever. This is the truth of who you are.

So if that’s who I am, why don’t I know it? Why do I feel I need to practice to get there? Why do I feel separate or distant from my own fulfillment? I certainly never heard, while growing up, that I am whole and fulfilled. My practice as a growing human being was that I am not complete or fulfilled and I need to get fulfillment however I can through whatever means are available to me in the world.

This basic state of dissatisfaction or unfulfillment belongs to the human mind. It doesn’t belong to our true nature which is forever fulfilled. So the path of yoga is to unite this unfulfilled mind with its source, which is pure fulfillment, pure freedom, pure bliss. How?

First, we need to understand that there is a power called ignorance or forgetfulness that is there as soon as a child is born. It covers the real Self which is pure, free and forever, and manifests as a sense of duality, division, dissatisfaction or separation. This sense of duality is how the mind and intellect functions, and this covering power makes the mind and intellect function to forget the truth of who we are. Now we feel unfulfilled and we seek fulfillment, even though we are already that which we are seeking—but it is not known to us now.

So the first thing we are practising is the removal of this covering power of ignorance. How?

Through unfolding deeper understanding. The one who understands, sees and knows this sense of duality is called the Knower, the Seer, or the Witness Self, who is not ever involved in duality and its ways. It’s like a movie screen. No matter what movie plays on the screen—a romance or the most violent film—nothing is happening to the screen. It remains pure, unaffected by whatever light figures were projected onto it. It doesn’t change into any of the figures, scenes, or story that has been projected on it. Nothing ever happens to the screen. It is pure awareness which is never divided.

We’re actually practising two things: we are practising the truth of what we are, and the truth of what we are not. The truth of what we are is pure awareness, and this is our fulfilled state, known and experienced through meditation. Meditation is our real state of being. In meditation, we are practising the fulfillment of our real being, free from division.

When our eyes are open, we are also practising discrimination (vivek in Sanskrit), purifying our intellects to be able to discern what is true about myself and the world, and what is not. Wherever we perceive division, dissatisfaction, suffering, we now know that it is the appearance of the covering power that makes us ignorant of who we are.

Our practice is to remove ignorance and identify with pure awareness. Our practice is awareness—awareness of who we are in identity: pure, free, forever.

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Heidi Groschler (Hirdaya) has devoted her life to freedom and Self-knowledge. She was drawn to meditation at an early age, recognizing that it provided answers to her innately inquiring mind, and a way of living the life of freedom and fulfillment she had been searching for. For over thirty years she has been extensively teaching and practicing the transforming science of meditation and its philosophy, twenty of which have been spent in a specialized mastership program at the International Meditation Institute in the Himalayas under the guidance of a Self-realized master. Through her intensive practice, Hirdaya has deeply imbibed the spirit of the pure, blissful and timeless wisdom of Self-awareness.