I am conditioned to figure things out. I want things to yield to me. I want to name and see how the pieces fit and work together. I want to understand. I want to get it figured out so that I don’t have to think about it anymore, so that I’ll have understanding sufficient that deep engagement and deep attention won’t be required. I see too that when I begin to consider and name and probe, I create an object relationship with myself as the subject which results in a perceived separation of myself from the other.
Maybe you think that I figured this out. I didn’t. It came to me immediately as knowledge – immediate apprehension, no words involved. I just knew, then I added the words later. This occurred during a yoga training at Kripalu. We had been instructed to go outside and practice samyama. [See Yoga Sutra, 3.4] I began practicing with a leafy sapling of a tree. As I released my own individuality and position as observer, I began to experience no-difference with the tree. There was no tree, no me, just an experience of being. After a while I experienced the wordless knowing described above.
Intuition is an aspect of the vijnanamaya kosha. We may frequently have experience of the intuitive body – the experience of unmediated knowing. The experience can be fleeting though and go unnoticed. Since I have become more mindful of such experience I notice that I often have an immediate, wordless knowledge of something, and then the words come. The knowing is first, then the words.
I might also see intuitively my own motivation for an act. I act selflessly with no motivation of self-gain, and quickly the ego comes in and rationalizes the act into selfishness, looking for a payoff. If I don’t maintain mindfulness and the self-serving words come to dominate and displace the subtle knowing, then I might have regret for having acted selfishly when in truth I had not acted selfishly at all. Likewise with judgement of others. I might have no intuitive criticism of another person’s actions, but the reactionary ego might arise and start to build a case against the other that, at a deeper level, I don’t believe.
Yoga practices can lead us to a progressively deeper understanding of ourselves.