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Yoga La Source

Savoring the “In-between”

by Andre Riehl

From time to time, I ask students who take my course why they come. It’s not due to idle curiosity. It seems that what takes place during the course is a double nourishment. We all have the same hunger, and I like to assure myself that we are headed in the same direction which is not solely the learning of a technique or the practice of a discipline, but the search for the essential.

The teaching is a paradox. First, one frees up time to try to touch a timeless dimension, and then one uses words to attain a state of silence. One constrains oneself to a state of immobility to open toward a dynamic state, and finally, one uses relaxation to increase concentration.

The difficulty is to avoid slipping from paradox into ambiguity. All this is delicate and rests on something which is the domain of trust. This trust is born of and develops through relation. Whether I listen to a teaching, give one, or read the newspaper, I am always in relation, in a link. The “me” is the instrument building that link. The “I” is itself the linking tool.

Beyond that link, unfurls what I call the “In-between”, a space where all relational processes decouple and dissolve. The “me” proves to be an obstacle to the "In-between". However, the teaching is not about banning the “me”, but to bring it into its proper place in an inclusive manner. The “me” isn’t an enemy to destroy, because in the inclusive process, there are no enemies. All are friends.

The process could be summed up as: there is nothing to exclude; each and every thing is the teaching. All those who come to the course and myself have the same desire of unity. The separation, which takes hold when one enters into a mental process of exclusion, doesn’t only put a limit on external relationships, it also fragments oneself internally. When one lives in the belief of separation, one no longer meets the Real, and that leads to great suffering.

Certainly, this can all seem a theory of little import to us in our immediate circumstances. So, to help us integrate this other type of relationship to the world in our daily life, we resort to practices. That of Nidra consists of retrieving freed energy through a state of relaxation. When there is less tension, there is less opposition, less separation. The opposites become complementary, like day and night. We have an old habit which consists of saying: “I prefer this or that”, a habit which cuts, compares, measures, and maintains fragmentation. We therefore put the retrieved energy into the service of concentration - in our concentrating on more and more subtle objects which allows us to begin to savor the delectable taste of the “In-between".

All practices have only one objective – to come closer to one’s self and to make incursions into the essential, into the indescribable subtle matter of the “In-between”.

The desire of the essential reinforces itself. In the same way that I can intensify a sentiment, I can intensify my desire for the essential, which doesn’t open toward a love for someone or something but toward a love beyond the limits of an object. We have many desires, but it is uniquely the energy of desire that guides this teaching and not the object of desire.

The object of desire creates an impasse. One can’t expect that the object of desire will bring about a state of liberation. That will only happen when the energy itself is released. During the practice, we proceed to a filtering of finer detail. That also raises a paradox, because the energy of desire manifests more often through an object of desire. In disassociating the images or the objects from their ambient energy, we learn to differentiate the energy from its support.

It is also something to practice in daily life. One asks, for example when a situation provokes a state of anger, to disassociate the reason or the person (the object) from the ambient energy of anger. When one distinctly succeeds to do this disassociation, the object dissolves instantly to leave space for the energy alone which no longer carries any particular quality. It is no longer energy of this or that, but simply energy freed from all object.

Relation always implies tension whether it concerns an anger or a desire. It is necessary for us to nourish the energy of desire, but without relation, without tension, without restriction. Wishing to possess the object diminishes the energy of desire, and possessing destroys it little by little. If one reduces a love relation to one of possession, one loses its immensity, it is no longer a door, but an enclosure. When you are touched, live the relation. Whether it be a child’s smile or a car accident, live the relation.

The importance is only the link, that which is going to permit the access to the "In-between" and not the object. We are conditioned to seek objectivity which places a static limit on the object - when what is primary is subjectivity which allows for the dynamic nature of relationship to unfold. It's about coming into relation. It requires us to desire the benefit of the relation more than the objects of relation. It’s the same in our relation to the sacred.

When one sufficiently increases the energy of desire, a moment arises where this naked power no longer remains limited to the object. At the moment the object (of desire) shatters, the subject also disappears, because subject and object only exist in their mutual tension. If the tension dissolves, the subject and object dissolve at the same moment. There is no longer anyone or anything! No more relation is possible. Only a state of impersonal communication which is the very nature of the "In-between".

When you fall asleep, it is that which is in question – this dissolution of subject and object. We are extremely vulnerable when we sleep. And ultimately, there will be this definitive event which one calls death. But there is no need to wait for it to experience it. Dying and being born are there in permanence, their appearance and dissolution form the continuum of life. This is something first to consider intellectually, but it is then important subsequently to enter into the sensation of its reality. It is at this level that one needs to become very attentive to avoid introducing a break into the continuum.

To enter into the sensation and let it develop, we have to relax ourselves, to concentrate ourselves, and to desire. The exercises in the practice bring us closer to the Fundamental by bringing about the observation of the state of flowing - the moments where the feeling of marriage is very close. For example, at the break of day and the arrival of night, or the passage between the state of waking and the state of sleeping.

When one observes how the passage works, one perceives that there is no moment where one can say: “now it is day or now it is night”. The notion of limit no longer has a place. The passage is a permanent state, and that which I call “me” in fact disappears. This ensemble of constructions and beliefs which determine and objectify in saying “this is the day, that is the night” also belongs to the passage. Yoga allows the realization that the duel differences that one creates are also bound together: the day isn’t totally the day because it slips into the night. The night isn’t totally the night because it is in the process of slipping into the day.

This thing which believes to be “me” and creates separation, we could just call it “thought”. It is only thought which creates these separations. At the moment of our practice, with the energy retrieved during the relaxation, we study the process of thought, in taking care of not trying to exclude it but to give it back its proper place.

We rely on this thing called “me” to progressively diminish the identification to the observer. Observation sets in with the least possible effort, and little by little, we abandon the observer to enter into a different consciousness. When the “me” releases in accepting to become the passage, it marries, enters and becomes the flow of the universe. The observer disappears, and this disappearance of the centre (which is in fact only a contraction) unmasks an absolute detachment. In this detachment is born the sensation of the disappearance of separation.

It’s a living experience that takes place in the body, and the detachment instantly abolishes all relation, because to maintain a relation, there must be two parts. When this bond disintegrates, all that remains is only the "In-between". This "In-between" manifests itself as Joy and its nature is that of the divine.

André's next workshop here is always listed on our Upcoming Events page.