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The first seven months of 2018 we have been looking at the chakras. We began with rooting to rise in January with the first chakra. Basically, building a strong foundation in order to elevate our lives. We made it to the crown chakra in July by bringing our collective focus to allowing potential. We all have a vast reservoir of energy, wisdom and joy within. It is there, lying dormant until it is just the right time to emerge. When we tap into this potential then we move beyond our limitations, fears and worries and emerge closer to the person you know yourself capable to be.

For the rest of 2018 we will be moving in the opposite direction through the koshas or layers of our beingness. We started with the earth chakra and went deeper and deeper towards our highest selves with the chakras and now with the koshas we’ll move inward to outward.

As a basic overview, the koshas are five in number and surround the soul, our highest selves or the atman. The outer most layer is the physical body or Annamaya Kosha. This is literally translated as the food sheath and it makes up the physical aspect of who we are. The next three layers make up the subtle body with the energy, mind and wisdom bodies or the Pranamaya Kosha, Manomaya Kosha and Vinjanamaya Kosha respectively. The inner most part of this system is the Bliss layer or body, the Anandamaya Kosha. It is what is closest to the soul and makes up the Causual Body or the cause of all things in our lives. This is where we begin, moving from the spiritual crown chakra to the layer that is closest to the everlasting soul within.

Ananda literally means Bliss or Joy. Maya is illusion, the illusion that makes us believe we are separate, and Kosha means layer, sheath or body. The koshas represent how we relate to the different levels of reality and essentially conceal or contain our higher consciousness.

We begin at the center with the part of us that understands our greatness, the Anandamaya Kosha. It directly receives the inner light of consciousness and thus knows who we really are. At this level we recognize our essential qualities of love and joy, that happiness is our birthright. This sheath makes up our Causal Body, thus we find the root causes of all things in our lives here. It is a storehouse of the experiences we have brought into this life and new ones we develop in this life, the karmas (actions and reactions), samskaras (patterns of the body and mind, habits), and vasanas (deep desires and motivations).

Even though the root cause of all the “good” and “bad” originate from this level of our being, it also helps us have a positive outlook on life. Even when life is throwing everything at us and nothing feels as if it is going right, there is a part of you deep within that KNOWS that everything is going to be ok, you are strong enough to make it through these trials, and you are enough. You know that it’s “All Good”. Maybe you can’t explain why it’s all good. But something deep down knows it to be true.

Honestly, the part of you that thinks “It’s not all good” is your mind. It is not your highest self.

It is through meeting and overcoming the experiences life gives us that we develop the desire to know who we really are. All of our experiences are important on this journey of self-realization.

Now, this is not to say that the Anandamaya Kosha is a matter of sugar coating your life and ignoring the experiences and emotions you are going through. Not at all. Again, the part of us that would do that is the mind layer not the bliss layer. Everyone goes through hard times. Everyone has joyful experiences in their lives. The outer experiences are constantly in flux. The light of the soul shines through the Anandamaya Kosha to help us recognize our capacity. To activate the dormant energy and potential that exists within us all. So, you can be going through some seriously bad shit and it’s going to be ok. You are all right. Your wisdom body tells you that you will grow and be better because of all this crap.

In the end, you start to realize that you are whole and complete, you are joy and love and nothing that happens in your life can change that. You might forget these truths now and then, but you will come back to the knowingness that you are ALL GOOD.

From the Bliss in My Heart to the Bliss in Yours,

Namaste,

Mindy Arbuckle
Founder of Maitri Yoga