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Lesson 246 - Intelligence, Bhakti and Genius  (Audio)

From: Yogani
Date: Mon Jan 10, 2005 3:33pm

New Visitors: It is recommended you read from the beginning of the web archive, as previous lessons are prerequisite to this one. The first lesson is, "Why This Discussion?"


Q: Is it really possible to increase the intelligence doing Yoga? What is the technique?

A: There is so much intelligence manifesting everywhere in nature. For the most part it is automatic. We can see complex tasks being performed constantly in the plant and animal kingdoms, not to mention the sustenance of our own complex human bodies. The intelligence inherent in all things seems infinite, limited only by the ability of an earthly plant or creature to manifest it. Some say that the earth itself is alive and oozing with intelligence. 

If we take the point of view that intelligence is an infinite reservoir residing within all of creation, then the answer to your question is easy. Yoga opens our nervous system to what lies within us. Here in the lessons we call it inner silence, pure bliss consciousness, the witness, and many other things. It can be called infinite intelligence also -- the very thing that animates all of life. So, can yoga increase intelligence? Theoretically it seems to be so. Not only that, experientially it seems to happen. Over the years, there have been numerous studies on meditation that demonstrate an increase in IQ. The Transcendental Meditation organization has done a lot of work in this kind of research. See http://www.tm.org/ for many studies on meditation as it relates to improving the quality of daily life. 

But there is much more to this intelligence thing than simply increasing IQ. Intelligence is everywhere in everyone. But of what use is it if it is not applied to a useful purpose? Intelligence unapplied to a useful purpose is reduced to the level of parlor tricks -- reciting the numbers in the phone book from memory, or being able to count cards at the blackjack table. We are designed for far more than that. What it takes is desire -- focused desire, and this is the province of yoga also. Without the benefit of a high ideal and focused desire (bhakti) leading us to daily practice of effective yoga methods, we will not go far anyway, not far beyond the parlor tricks. So the desire for a higher purpose comes first. Then we can have it all -- the infinite intelligence within us, and the fruit of bhakti combined with intelligence, which is genius. By surrendering to our higher purpose, we go to a new level that is beyond raw intelligence. 

Thomas Edison said, "Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration." 

This means that genius is more about relentless devotion to one's ideal than about one's inherent intelligence. Genius is about more than IQ. It is about constant devotion to our highest ideal. 

I think few of us expect to be writing symphonies out of thin air like Mozart could. Or single-handedly deriving the next level of physics like Einstein did. Yet, each of us has within us the ability to be a genius in something -- something that resonates deep in us. We each have a gift to share, and if we commit to that, we can do it. Our effort may not be seen and applauded by the world at large. It will not necessarily be on the evening news. But it will surely be seen by those we love and care for, and everyone on this earth will benefit greatly. Love, cultivated to its heights through daily yoga practices and shared in everyday life, is genius. A very special kind of genius. It is the genius of enlightenment -- the genius of God -- pure intelligence openly shared as overflowing love. It is ours for the asking. 

You know, a funny thing happened a few weeks ago. I opened a fortune cookie at dinner one night, and it made me weep. Here is what it said: 

"Intelligence does what it can. Genius does what it must."

Why would a simple saying like that make me weep? Perhaps it touched a nerve. Clearly intelligence alone isn't the prerequisite for finding happiness in this world. To be devoted to a high ideal is. That is the purpose of yoga -- to open us to the highest purpose within us, to aid us in doing what me must. 

So, yoga does much more than simply increase intelligence. It cultivates genius in us -- intelligence applied relentlessly toward our highest purpose -- ecstatic bliss and outpouring divine love... 

With the methods of meditation, pranayama, and the other practices in these lessons, we can make the journey. 

Thank you for your inspiring question. May your yoga carry you beyond intelligence to genius ... Enjoy! 

The guru is in you.

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Note: For detailed instructions on Bhakti, see the AYP Bhakti and Karma Yoga book.  For detailed discussion on the role of the intellect and intelligence on our path, see the AYP Self-Inquiry book. Also see AYP Plus.

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