Who is Fit for Yoga?
By Sujantra McKeever
Who is fit for yoga? You are fit for yoga, he is fit for yoga, I am fit for yoga.
All human beings without exception are fit for yoga.
~ Sri Chinmoy
Over my 25+ years of study with Sri Chinmoy, I have been greatly inspired by the truths he brought forward that have since become self-evident in my own practice. This quote is from a talk he delivered at an Ivy League college in the 1960’s titled, “Who’s Fit For Yoga.”The ‘yoga’ he refers to is not only hatha yoga as taught in yoga studios, but also the yoga that unites our day-to-day consciousness with our deepest Self.
This yoga is the sum of all spiritual practices, including meditation, that lead to self-realization. It is fit for everybody because it brings about an internal alignment to who we already are and have always been—it requires no performance, effort or accessorizing. It’s a birthright for all bodies and all minds everywhere and it’s only requisite is that we have an openness to try.
Meditation is a very subtle subject.
It is quite different from math, history or other academic subjects where proficiency is determined by the acquisition of facts and the development of analytical skills. Knowledge and analysis will not help with meditation because success in meditation depends upon the ability to step outside of the mental process and experience reality in the moment as it actually is. ‘As it actually is,’ means free from the thoughts and emotions that color and distort our vision of reality.
To meditate well, we must understand that our thoughts, feelings and opinions present the world to us as a virtual, not an actual, reality. If we can step outside the ego long enough to realize this fact, we will be closer to the truth and save ourselves much suffering. However gratifying our internalized virtual reality may be at times, it ultimately distorts our ability to see things in the present moment as they actually are.
When I began my study of meditation, I approached it as if it were academic, a subject to be studied like all the other subjects I had encountered in school. I read books and searched for experts who could answer my questions about life and the challenges that come with adolescence and adulthood. I had many questions and it seemed that everyday new questions arose. At the time, I didn’t understand that meditation was not a technique for answering questions or a mechanism, like logic, for solving problems. Meditation does not answer questions; it dispels them. It gradually reduces our problems because it helps us to avoid repeating the same problems or entering into new problems. Meditation does this by bringing peace and joy into the hidden depths of our inner life, where questions and problems arise. This is a completely intuitive and organic process, not a mechanical or mental activity. As such, meditation is in perfect harmony with the natural flow of life.
Learning from Life
If you think about it, this is the way life teaches, isn’t it?
Life instructs intuitively from within, not by giving answers to our mind’s questions or solving our personal problems. It is in the deeper experience of life that our contradictions and uncertainties are gradually dissolved. We experience life; we don’t solve it and we never fully understand it. A life fully experienced from within is a life fulfilled without. It is that simple. Meditation is just this fulfillment unveiled and realized from within. This ‘within’ is not a jungle of objective facts and statistics common to everyone; it is never ‘one size fits all.’ The inner reality of every human being is always unique and lived out in an intimate and highly personal way; and yet, our psychic reality flows into all other beings to touch them in secret ways, and we are touched by the inner life of others as well in this two-way flow.
To meditate is to become aware of an inner ocean that flows through and in all living beings. This invisible ocean within provides the perfect and only truly private sanctuary we have. It is intensely private and yet it connects us intimately to all other beings.
One asks, ‘How is this possible?’ but one might better ask, ‘How could it not be inevitable?’ Look around. Do branches not spring from the same trunk of the tree? Are the countless plants of this world not rooted in the same earth? Meditation takes us to a depth of being where we are all rooted in the same Being.
Meditative awareness is intimate oneness with that deep portion of our being that flows in and through all beings. Know that ‘to be one with’ is very different than ‘to know about.’ To be ‘one with’ is to fully live an actual existence, not a virtual reality. To live and play in an island paradise is very different than just knowing such places exist. Don’t just read about and study meditation like it was a subject in school; throw yourself into the luminous experience that is meditation.
Swim in the ocean of light that is you.
 Yoga and the Spiritual Life: The Journey of India’s Soul. Chinmoy, S. 1974