- Shani’s gift
- Sun and Saturn
- Bhakti test
Feelgood, and life in general, is like the air you breathe. What do you have to do to earn it, to be worthy of it? Nothing much at all, just – be born into a body. How would it feel to realize this deeply in your being? How does it feel to take a slow deep breath, hold it for a while and… let it out, easy ?
Shani controls Vayu, the Air element. My breath happens to me – that is part of Shani’s gift.
With pranayama practice I can of course make use of this gift in many wonderful ways.
Traditionally, Shani has been given a reputation that might easily strike terror in the heart of the innocent. Shani is said to give you grief and sorrow, bring suffering and make life miserable. Based on my practice of Shatana Dharma meditation and studies in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, I would claim that at its core, Shani’s gift has to do with “focus of attention” and how that is directed. Our experience of life, our “realism”, is what our mind makes it to be. Or to be more precise – what we allow our mind to make of it. It can be like five horses running rampant and wild in five different directions, or it can be a deliberate “focus” of how we choose to embrace the life that we are given.
Let me ask you a practical question. What is the most idiotproof way of getting your attention to focus on something? Have you ever tried this: start worrying about the issue, get all stressed up about it, incessantly trouble your mind with it and become wary of it. Pretty soon your mind will not be able to resist, it just will not let go.
“Let go” is a precious part of Shani’s gift. Where to let go, what to let go, when to let go, how to let go… and how to live with that. How to live your life and be happy in spite of it. At your service, Shani is attempting to provide you with strength to do precisely that.
2. Sun and Saturn
Looking at Sun and Saturn as planetary energies, they appear at the opposite ends of same polarity. Sun is a constant blast of fusion reaction, radiating heat and life-supporting energies all around. What we see as the Sun is not a solid mass: its corona is a “plasma atmosphere of high temperature, extending millions of kilometers into space” – gas in a state of intense and continuous burn.
In contrast to Sun, Saturn offers us something “rock-solid” and relatively unchangeable. Instead of a fast reaction that can incinerate anything that gets in its way, we get slow-moving steamroller of inevitability that will flatten anything which stands in its way. Instead of intense heat of Sun’s corona, we get Saturn’s rings of solidified ice, partly contaminated by dust and chemicals.
So, there are both differences and similarities. Both planets are “Kruura” by nature, which usually translates as “cruel”. I think it more accurate to say they both behave with “equally ruthless compassion” toward anything they encounter – both show absolutely no prejudice, and both have no tolerance for anything less than The Truth. From these two, everyone is guaranteed to receive equal treatment.
Because the game of life has created in our subconsciousness so deeply ingrained grooves of attraction/repulsion behavior patterns, it can be sometimes difficult to let go. Shani’s gift is to strip away what has becomes useless, by giving you losses, deficiency or deprivation, thus helping you to focus your attention on what remains – which is the real Truth about you and reality, the only thing that truly serves the expansion of your consciousness. Just like Shiva playing dicegame with Parvati and losing everything, what will ultimately remain is the True Self. When Shani activates within, it will offer this strength and ability to “keep on losing” (keep on letting go) what no longer serves you, until the only thing that remains is That which can never be lost – the Truth about Who You Really Are.
What happens to your life when your shift priorities?
A feeling of self-evident gratitude must be the most effortless way of attracting into your life whatever feels good to you. It is relatively easy to feel gratitude for anything you already have, because what you already have and enjoy, you can easily praise. How can you feel gratitude for something that you are not yet aware of possessing? What would happen if …your life felt totally different than anything you experienced so far?
”Abandon all sacred duties and seek only me,
do not worry, I shall relieve you of all evil”
~ ~ Bhagavadgita
How many of us pass this ultimate test of Bhakti in our own lives: as the day ends and evening arrives and the dust on the daily battlefield is starting to settle – are you laughing or crying? Not a onetime event, it repeats itself every single day, and must be encountered fresh every single day. But then you already knew that, right?
There is only one problem in life, and that is not real.
Read the previous sentence again.
“The only problem is the thought that there is a problem.”
~ ~ Jamie Smart
Shani’s energy impacts us physiologically through a brain-structure called “putamen”. Putamen regulates signal traffic into the brain, and can restrict and obstruct this dataflow. Part of Shani’s gift is what I call a “bookkeeping function”: to keep track if you have given attention to the unavoidable issues in life that need to be taken care of – either for karmic or survival reasons. Results of this bookkeeping will in turn regulate the function of putamen.
As putamen in turn regulates the signal traffic into the brain, it might seem as if you are “obstructed” from adopting certain attitude or thinking certain kind of thoughts, or forced to concentrate and act only on the bare necessities of survival. Thus adopting a posture of gratitude might appear as an impossible task. BUT – considering what I wrote in the beginning of this article, considering that Shani’s gift has everything to do with “letting go” and deliberately chosen “focus of attention”… what is really true here? to what extent are we talking about a mindgame?
Allow me to suggest a little practical experiment, which you can use to demonstrate this to yourself. Might take a bit of courage to run this experiment, because it can produce intense discomfort as it puts you in touch with deeply ingrained stress patterns, in your nervous system. Thus consider yourself warned.
Now, don’t let the next subtitle fool you:
THE ABSOLUTELY EASIEST WAY TO MAKE ANYTHING INTO A PROBLEM
Think about something, anything. This we will call ORIGINAL THOUGHT. Make that a thought of something precious to you, something truly good, truly valuable. If you wish, you can even think of your Ishta Devata, your desirable form of the divine.
Next: register how it makes you feel to think that, to focus on that ORIGINAL THOUGHT. Not feeling anything much at all is also a “feeling”.
Then, in connection to ORIGINAL THOUGHT, think this SECOND THOUGHT: “it should be different.”
How does that make you feel? Does ORIGINAL THOUGHT still feel equally enjoyable? Notice any change?
Repeat a couple of times.
Then ask yourself: “is that how I WANT to feel? is that how I PREFER to feel?”