Intersection of Physical & Mental, of Conscious & Unconscious
One understanding of the phenomena many of us call “yoga” can be found in the definition of the Aramaic word “naphsha” which, ironically, was a central tenet of what would become the Christian religion during the time of Christ himself. (The Old Testament version of the word was nephish.) … Or at least it was until it got “lost” in translation.
Maybe naphsha was “lost” intentionally? … It’s quite difficult to keep power & control over people who are able to fully & freely function in fundamentally free-thinking and self-responsible ways. Such people do not need leaders to rule over them, be they political or religious. … The Church-State combine might have preferred their subjects to be more subservient.
Personally, since I got started in meditation when I was only 13 years old, I was always uncomfortable that the entire Bible did not seem to have anything much about meditation in it. It seemed so important, yet it was missing, or so I thought.
When I came across the word naphsha, however, I got a LOT more interested in what else the books of the Bible had to say that was clouded in mystery or maybe even purposely hidden.
Yet in the Christian Bible, this word and what it references is the Missing Link to a Western Interpretation of a Meditative Approach to Life and Being, which led me to my ideas & concepts of …
Yoga for the WEST of US
Quoting from a short article on naphsha I wrote here: http://www.dslyoga.com/yoga-west/mental-yoga/naphsha/ …
The highly important Biblical word Naphsha refers to a preconscious aspect of mind, somewhere between the limbic system and cerebral cortex [or including both], either allowing for a linking between conscious processes and ones deeper, unconscious Self, or indicating these are not really separate functions at all.
In his Sermon on the Mount in the New Testament, Emmanuel, also known as Jesus Christ, used the word naphsha multiple times. He was referring to an internal source of the consciousness and power of all the people he was speaking to, mostly peasants of the day. Yet Aramaic was a widely known language, and it is said even the Buddha used the language and the term naphsha all the way over into Asia.
Importantly, this means the concept of naphsha was well known by The People in Middle East, even the Peasants, for at very least 2,000 plus years, and probably much farther back. Given how Jesus used the term in his sermons to the peasants, they much have had a more than rudimentary, even if simple, understanding of a deeper, integrated personal consciousness and inner realities than we do today:
There can be no doubt that the concept to be cued by naphsha is one of the most fundamental of all the Aramaic comprehensions utilized by the prophets.
In the Aramaic teachings of Jesus, He states all law hangs upon two Commandments as follows:
“Love the Lord your G-d in your entire mind, and with your whole naphsha, and in all your actions, and in all your thoughts.”
“Love your neighbor as your naphsha.” (Matthew 22:36-39)
The first appearance of naphsha here is usually rendered as “soul”. The second is rendered as “self”. The concept “soul”, while of Greek origin, is a cornerstone of Christian teaching. The concept “self” is a cornerstone of psychiatry and psychology. Usually these two words, self and soul, are seen to be somewhat conflicting, yet under the Aramaic language they are the same word; “naphsha.”
Clearly, the concept behind naphsha is unknown in the west. Scholars have long sought to unify “soul” and “self” without success. If the meaning of naphsha could be ascertained, the unification is obtained, for the word is source of both “soul” and “self” in western ethics.
We will discuss the importance of these observations in upcoming posts. But here’s a hint:
[It] … is abundantly clear that naphsha, at the time of Jesus, was generally understood as the control entity behind the physical, mental, and behaving self. With the unification of cause and effect implicit in Aramaic and the unification of a control course for the mental and the physical implicit in these uses, naphsha, therefore stands for all mental and physical conditions and the control source of mental and physical development. This span of meaning lays the basis for its translations into the varied English words, “soul”, “self”, “itself”, and “life”.
Some people would, or at least could, argue that you cannot get more “yogic” than that, depending, of course, on what your experience and preferred lineage is.
So at some point in the Middle East, at least 2,000 years ago, these things were reasonably well known by many people. Does it REALLY matter who figured it out first? Or when? Or even HOW? …
What if such things as yoga had only been discovered yesterday? Would they be less useful or valuable? … I think not.
Such events are of course interesting, but too many people seem too attached to the details, to peripheral ideas that just do not make a difference in your day-to-day life. … Unless you make your living as a spiritual historian, I guess. (That would be Ken Wilber of Integral Institute, and maybe Mark Singleton, mentioned up above, but there are probably not a lot of job openings for such positions.)
Yet for the moment, in regards to India being the Home of Yoga, it is well-known there was a far earlier “Aryan invasion,” or (as recent historical research strongly suggests) more likely an infiltration, of the Indian sub-continent. Extensive historical blood type research says the migrations started in northern Africa, moved northward through the Middle East, then northwest toward Europe and Eastward toward Asia.
Meaning much or all of Indian culture was probably developed from migrations originating in parts much further West, including the Middle East. This might well have included those who originally discovered the processes of naphsha, even if in a primitive form. This is something we might never know.
All this infringes a bit on much of current yoga history and philosophy, and the idea that India necessarily “discovered” this “Yogic Essence,” let alone “invented” it.
But Once Again, does it even matter where it was first discovered, by whom, or when? Even if it were a brand new thing, discovered last week, or even yesterday, would that make it any less important? Any less profound? Any less useful? …
I think not.