“Man is need of a symbolic life…..but we have no symbolic life…..have you got a corner somewhere in your houses that you perform the rites as you see in India?” - Carl Jung
“Via Joseph Campbell: My friend Heinrich Zimmer of years ago used to say, "The best things can't be told," because they transcend thought. "The second best are misunderstood," because those are the thoughts that are supposed to refer to that which can't be thought about, and one gets stuck in the thoughts."The third best are what we talk about." ― Heinrich Robert Zimmer
Certified Ashtanga Teacher Kino MacGregor in the Gold Sri Yantra Tank. Photo: Agathe Padovani
Yoga and Symbols go beyond the mind. They awaken “that missing part of the whole man”. I clued into this when the people who didn't practice started buying my shirts. Why did they like them? The same reason that I was drawn to the Sri Yantra in the first place.
Symbols are not something that is created by men to serve the ego. They are "discovered" by men when they move into the inner realms and explore the unconscious. They point to the mysteries there, the unknown, something hidden.
Unlike signs what is on the surface is not the whole story. Symbols have a deeper meaning. They speak to a part of us beyond our individual lives that we all share as humans. A primordial centre.
We can use Yoga and Symbols as tools to explore and most importantly experience deeper aspects of the humanity within ourselves.
"Symbols like the yantra are transformers of our psychic energy - such symbols alone allow us to discover a ‘missing part of the whole man’ that makes life joyful, radiant and infinitely meaningful. " - Madhu Khanna
I have absolutely no qualms about recommending that you bring both yoga and symbols into your life. To develop that missing part. In fact it I believe it is a necessity in a world where the vast majority of people are heading in the opposite direction.
When I clued into the power of the Sri Yantra I pretty much haven’t stopped wearing the shirts since. After about 2 years of running Ekaminhale I had maybe 10 of these tanks lying around the house and was so bored of them. When I started to really dig into what Yantra's meant and also their function I started wearing one everyday. This is not an exaggeration.
I literally have these tops on all the time even if it’s just under my t-shirt. I think it’s why you will still see some of the teachers I gave them to like David Robson and Mark Darby 3 years ago now still wearing them. Either that or they just don’t like shopping.
“Sri Yantra is the symbol of Mahamaya. It has been experienced by many and also stated in the scriptures that when we wear a yantra, when we wear the symbol of any cosmic force, it acts like a magnet to attract that cosmic energy. So when we concentrate or practise meditation on Sri Yantra or any other yantra, we are using that as a tool to focus the cosmic energy within us.” - Yogamag, Bihar School of Yoga.
Yantra’s have many meanings but the one that is most applicable to us is the Sri Yantra as symbolic representation of our spiritual journey.
I won't get into the whole way the Sri Yantra works in this post, just like I can’t teach Yoga in 500 words. And it's not necessary. Just like yoga the place to start is to bring it into your life and then let it have an affect on you.
Although the Sri Yantra does have many deep and intricate layers of symbolism that can take a lifetime to learn I’m going to tell you what it symbolizes to me and more than likely to you if you are practicing yoga.
The Sri Yantra symbolizes my commitment to experience another side of myself beyond my day to day thoughts. To explore a part of my being that I share with nature and with the world. A part that is eternal and doesn’t die when my body does. I know this part of me exists because yoga has been one of the ways I am able to experience it. It’s this experience, the experience that is “not-knowing” that keeps me coming back each day.
When I put the Sri Yantra on the shirt my intention was to create something that represented that reason for practicing and even though I didn’t know that was exactly what it meant somehow that was what happened. Intention matters. It matters more than techniques and methods. When your intention is worked out the process will reveal itself.
Certified Ashtanga Teacher Harmony Lichty
The Inward Journey
When I first put up the website I wrote this as the description for Ekaminhale:
"Using the tools of Ashtanga Yoga and Symbols to help people awaken nature within themselves."
Be careful what you write down. It just might come true.
You can use these tools to awaken nature within you. It's something that's desperately needed in our mind dominated society. It's a connection that has been lost and the result is that it's making people unhappy and destroying the planet. It's a gift we all have inherent in us from birth and just needs to be rediscovered. Using tools like yoga, Morning pages and symbols we can start to bring some of the "not knowing" back into our lives.