Your Yogic Gaze is the Playground of Light: Cultivating Darshana

In the philosophy of Yoga, and in practice this week through Thursday and Monday classes, we explore the interplay –Darshana or Drishti, between the “Seeing energy” – Drashta, and the “Seen” –Drishya.
Sometimes the more spiritual or metaphysical aspects of a yoga class may go literally “over one’s head”! All those references to “connecting with cosmic consciousness”, or “opening to Spirit”, or “playing with your Divine spark” can be perceived with our human minds as directly opposed to the “body” that we are knowing through yoga practice – the sensual, sense-filled container for our minds. Isn’t my body and breath what we have to work with? Some of us may wonder about ‘cosmic consciousness’ as we breathe deeply, lengthen, lift, relax, sit, lie, melt, hold, glide, twist, drop, adjust and pump…_MG_6291

Yet – experience and human development relies on both the body and the mind for so much: capacity, action, information, storage and interpretation. Yoga practice shows us where both our bodies, and our mind-soul, hold tension, negativity and darkness. Yoga practice shines the light of awareness, and creates a healing field within us; practicing the tools of Yoga can open the doorway to a host of benefits .

In the Past, when great Yogis taught about the dual nature of each human, they described it as a mirror of the dual nature of the Universe itself. They described the “Matter” (ie. the Body or Drishya) and the “Intelligence” (ie. the Mind or Drashta). Note: I won’t go into the diversity of facets of the Mind in this post, but for our purposes in this writing, please consider both of these natures of “The Mind”: the Ego Mind and the Universal Mind, or the Field of Connected Consciousness.

Drashta means the “Seer” or the “Observer”. When activated, this facet of each human mind allows the light of Universal Intelligence, or Divine Love, to be engaged, and quiets the predominant component of most Western (human?) minds: the Ego. The use of Drashta awakens the very self-same organizing and generating and destroying energy of which the entire Universe itself is consistent. Om. Ong.


When Drashta is activated to dance with Drishya (the body, matter), voila! We have Darshana! A practice of dancing the “Seer” with the “Seen”.

It is this dance we are embracing this week. I also see it consistent with the concept and experience of the Dependent Co-arising of consciousness in Buddhist teachings. Joanna Macy’s writings helped my thinking brain to consider the idea that consciousness alone cannot know itself, and that matter alone is not conscious. Yet, when consciousness and matter interact, it is in that moment/place that what we call “life” or “reality” arises. Both are necessary for living, and also, all living beings are thus connected. In Joanna’s words, “We already and indissolubly belong to each other, for this is the nature of life.”  Thank you, Joanna!

Can one see the light, if not for the dark?

Can one experience life, if not for death?

Can one experience sound, if not for silence?

Drashta (The Energy of Seeing) alone cannot know itself!

It needs a playground!

In our bodies, Drashta mingles and moves, rises and falls, bumps up against corners and edges – and thus, contributes to personal knowledge, and universal knowledge and experience.

Similarly, our Vedic ancestors told stories about how Drishya or the material world, without the spark of life from the supreme OM, lacks Truth (“Sat”), and feeds desire and the ego-mind: the separate, individualistic, memory-based aspect of the human brain that constantly fights for its identity in our consciousness.

If you want to dance Darshana, there are so many access points. And, I humbly report, I don’t/can’t know them all! I “think” that each and every one of you have learned some of your own. You gaze softly in wonder at a dewdrop, and experience a sense of bliss come over you, perhaps? Feeling the tingles and light inside when being kissed by someone? Floating somewhere, almost hovering around your body as it swiftly carries “you” over roots and soft mosses on a trail run, maybe? Stilling the mind and smiling with your whole being as you receive appreciation after a performance? And the list could be endless!!!

Well, now that I’ve enticed you to travel down memory lane and re-kindle your experiences and mentally categorize them as “Darshana” or “not Darshana”….let me offer one more tip:

Yoga is not in memory.

Yoga, union, is in this moment.



I can offer you some access points to Darshana that I’ve come to know through the practice of Kundalini Yoga.

Come to class or practice with me using this video in your own time and space.

Sat Nam!

About shannoncowan

Love growing food, natural settings, water, community Kundalini Yoga Teacher, Doula (DONA), PhD Biology (2001), Mother and Wife
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s