The Seven Stages of Yoga – 7. Self-Transformation

In our practice it is important to connect to our Prana – Vital Energy, Life Force that is intelligent, healing and inspiring. It is filled with boundless energy and power. Increasing Prana in our practice creates Agni – Fire, to burn bright and hot. This is the desired experience of creating heat for positive change called Tapas. What we put in the fire receives this Prana, the Agni transforms it opening opportunities and possibilities of manifesting your true desires, your soul’s longing.

The Buddhist teaching on the 4 Vessels becomes useful as we liken it to ourselves, how we sculpt ourselves in practice, put ourselves into the fire and as a result we have a useful vessel to do our life well. This teaching is a symbolic representation that describes the human systems and the different challenges we face. A vessel suggests it holds or stores something, in this case your body contains your soul, subtle experiences and everything you receive.

Closed Vessels a pot that has no opening, suggesting that it can’t receive anything. It is closed off to all. I am sure most of us can relate to this as at one point in our live’s we have shut down and shut out to protect and avoid the possibility of pain and suffering. However, as we close to what causes us pain we also close to that which brings joy. This image of a closed vessel give us a better understanding when we don’t want to communicated, listen or look at source of problem as we are imprisoned within ourselves. 

Tilted Vessels a pot that is mis-shaped, so one can’t fill it to maximum capacity. This is the understanding that our physical, energetic or mental body might not be able to see beyond it’s limited beliefs that distort the perspective and keep it attached to the smallness of self. This becomes a crutch of blaming ourselves and others for the lack we feel in our lives and the tilted view point of ourselves and the reasons we can’t hold more.

Dirty Vessel is a container that has dirt in it, this dirt is a symbolic depiction of our prior conditioning, how our past negative experiences, impression we call samskaras influence the current perception of life, our emotional state and how we behave motivated by the negative dirt stuck in us, which interferes with the ability to see, think and act clearly as it corrupts and contaminates even the Joyous moments of our lives, the toxicity of unresolved stuff prevents us really celebrating our lives.

Leaky Vessel suggests that there are cracks that prevent us from holding, utilising and or being effective. We can hear and receive, knowing it’s importance and have good intentions…but get distracted easily and it dissipates our energy, vitality and we waste our time on things that distract us that might not be helpful or useful. 

(Stage 1) Self-Awareness brings our attention to contemplate and understand maybe today which vessel we relate to more. Coming to accept what is, then empowering ourselves to use our practice to heal, sooth, reshape our bodies, energy and mind to transform our present state to optimise our fullest potential. To celebrate, be radiant, to thrive in our lives regardless of what is going on. 

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Published on July 3, 2023