This is the second part of an email series called A Map to Happiness Within You.
You can read the first part here.
I hope you’ve made peace with your past life, because there’s no going back.
We’re venturing into previously uncharted areas of yourself, and learning how to navigate the untamed wilderness to find the treasure of happiness within you.
I gave a treasure map in the last newsletter.
Now, as your guide, I’ll begin explaining how to use it.
Decoding The Map
The map is based on the yogic concept of koshas, which are the layers that surround our innermost being. At the core of our being is the treasure of happiness.
The first key to understanding the koshas is that they move inward from the most gross and physical parts of you, to the most subtle.
At each kosha, we’ll need to employ a different skill to make it through that layer successfully.
We’ll also explore the ‘terrain’ or attributes of each kosha, so we know what we’re in for.
There are 5 koshas and 5 skills we’ll learn about.
We’ll cover the first 3 koshas and skills in this email.
On our journey, we’ll travel over the mountain, across rivers, through the jungle, and into the cave where the treasure of happiness within is found.
Are you ready?
Let’s begin our journey within!
The Mountain – Physical Body (Annamaya kosha)
The first obstacle we encounter on our journey within is the mountain–our physical body.
The physical body is the most gross and physical outer layer of our being.
It’s made of skin, fat, muscle, bone, and tendons. We learn to navigate the body by making it comfortable and still in our meditation posture.
A firm, still meditation posture can either make or break the rest of our journey.
Paradoxically, movement is necessary in order to bring about stillness in the body.
We need to properly move and stretch the body, so that it can sit still comfortably.
Learning how to sit comfortably and create stillness in the body will help us navigate ‘rock slides of restlessness’ that can overcome us as we first begin our inward journey.
The Rivers – Nervous System (Pranamaya kosha)
Rivers are the lifeblood of any ecosystem, and the next layer we need to overcome in our journey to find happiness within.
Our nervous system is the pathway of the river, and the energy it carries is the water within it.
The energy in our body is similarly governed by two parts:
The physical nerve pathways and the subtle energy (prana) that moves through them.
The quality of our energy is affected by the food we eat, the water we drink, and the air we breathe.
On our journey, we can go weeks without food and days without water, but we can’t even go a minute without air.
As a result, we practice calming the energy in the body using the breath and pranayama (energy controlling) techniques.
Slowing the flow of breath and energy in the body will bring calmness into the rivers of our nervous system allowing us to easily cross them, and travel deeper on our journey to happiness within.
The Jungle – Mind
Next, we arrive at the verdant, dense and intertwining vines of the mental jungle.
The mind is like a jungle full of thoughts, memories and emotions.
Thoughts are countless and without end like the limbs, branches and trees found in a jungle.
We purify and cut through the dense jungle of the mind by concentrating on an object, like the breath.
When the mind is concentrated, it becomes like a machete able to cut through any thought that stands in the way.
By practicing concentration we cut a path through the dense thoughts of the mind that allow us to transcend it safely and quickly.
Eventually, our concentration becomes so intense we can cut thoughts as soon as they arise.
Creating an almost entirely clear, still and silent mind.
The better our concentration, the quicker we can slash our machete, and move inward through the jungle of the mind towards the treasure of happiness within.
We’re now through 3 of the 5 layers covering the treasure of happiness within you.
How are you faring?
Hopefully, all your limbs are intact to complete the next part of our journey!
You’ll need them because in the next stages we’re entering into the cave–a deep, dark and ominous place.
We’ll set up camp outside for now.
Rest up. Start a fire, and get some rest.
You’re going to need it.
I’ll see you next week, brave traveler