Finding Sense in ‘Jagat’

jagat-yogilatesAlthough not everybody is consciously aware of it, most people experience a sense that something is missing in their lives, that something doesn’t fit right… usually manifesting as a sense of emptiness together with a sense of insecurity (independently of their financial situation). The way we often deal with these feelings is by trying to have more money, more comfort, more trips, more sex; by building bigger houses, acquiring more property, getting married, having children, looking for the right profession, changing relationships, moving to a new location, etc. Of course there are several reasons (some more essential than others) why we do any of these things, but behind any reason there is often the belief that the sense of emptiness or insecurity will go away. And in some cases it does, but only for a short while.

We are continuously trying to take hold of our life, to take control, to grasp it, but sooner or later we see that’s like trying to grasp water… it just keep slipping through our fingers. We keep trying over and over and over to grab it, to feel secure, to feel safe, to finally feel that we can ‘rest now’, but the more we try, the more it seems to keep getting away from us.

I am talking about this because I was recently reminded about the word ‘world’ in Sanskrit. For us, the word ‘world’ doesn’t have any other meaning apart for world. In Sanskrit, the word for ‘world’ is ‘Jagat’, which is composed of ‘Ja’ and ‘Gat’. ‘Ja’ means ‘what is born’ and Gat means ‘what dies’. So the meaning of the word ‘Jagat’ is ‘everything that is born and dies’, ‘everything that passes’, ‘what does not stay’, ‘what changes’.

Keeping this in mind, what is interesting to me is that everything we do to deal with this shared sense of emptiness and insecurity is to try to grasp things from the world, from Jagat. We depend on money or relationships or power or fame or profession, or on our body… but all these things ARE the world. They are Jagat. My body is the world, money is the world, fame is the world, power is the world, and the world is ‘what is born, and what dies’, what doesn’t stay, what keeps passing, what is not graspable, what is continuously changing. It’s what never stays the same.

Think of the body. Until we are 30 we don’t even notice that we are changing… and when we do, we are actually very happy that it does. But after 30 most people want to make it stop and try many different ways to do it, including diets, surgeries, chemicals, and what not… but of course it does not really work; the body keeps changing.

It is the same with the mind. It is never the same from one minute…one second!…to the next. We put our hopes in our relationships but it doesn’t work because we are changing and because the other persons are also continuously changing. We put our hopes in our jobs, in our professions, but in the long run it doesn’t completely work. We keep all our hopes and desires in Jagat… but how much hope can we have in what doesn’t last?

So, what is there besides the world? What is there besides Jagat? There is this moment, this space of now that is independent of Jagat. In this space of presence I become independent of the world, I become independent even of my own body—it is the only place where that sense of emptiness or insecurity does not enter. In that space it doesn’t matter what happens to the world, it doesn’t matter what happens to the body.

The body has its own life, and that’s fine. It is fine for a baby to be a baby and for an old person to be an old person. Of course, if you ARE an old person, then probably it will not be fine, but if instead you ARE that space of presence, then it’s fine to be young or old.

Why is it fine? Because that’s the way things are. It’s fine that other people change, that we change, that the world changes. But we need to be in that space; we need to BE that space. The second we leave it, we are in Jagat, and to be in Jagat—in the world—is to depend on it, is to try to grasp the ungraspable. That’s why there is so much unhappiness in our society. Because we keep looking for ways to escape Jagat, and we try to escape Jagat through Jagat. And that is no way out.


In the Yogilates classes, the movements, the exercises, are Jagat. We take care of the body and we take care of the mind, which are part of Jagat. But part of the class is also finding for ourselves that space of presence. What is this space? What does it mean? What is presence? The class is like a laboratory where, while working on Jagat, we can have our own ‘aha!’ moments. We can discover for ourselves our own space of presence.

Categories: Reflections

There are 8 comments

  1. Raluca

    You said that we try to change things around us so that we feel less empty. Is this really the only true purpose for which we are doing things? Can we reduce everything to this?
    If, just as an example, I want to paint a wall in green because when I look at it it makes me feel good, in the moment. Is the fact that I want the wall to be green a thing that only distracts me from enjoying a white one? Should I just focus on enjoying a white wall, try to accept it and see the beauty in it or should I make it green and be happy sooner. You are probably going to say that I will probably get tired of the green and want it blue and where is that going to take me…
    My biggest misunderstanding in this perspective is if I accept everything as it comes without adding any change how do I filter things? If something hurts me should I accept it and see it as something I should learn from it or should I change it and then see it as something I should learn from it, what is the order? I mean how long should you keep a thing that it is hurting you… and I am talking about relationships that cannot be broken like mother and child…

    1. Carlos

      Hello Raluca, very nice questions. And nice because they come from the heart.

      If you want to change the wall from white to green, of course do it. There are so many reasons why you may want to do it. One reason may be simply because you enjoy more the color green than the color white, and that is a very good, valid reason (now, it will be different if you find yourself changing wall colors all the time). But while you change the color of your wall, understand that in the long run, this is not going to be a solution for your sense of insatisfaction with life. Of course here with the colors of the wall it seems obvious, but the same applies to your job, your profession, your relationship. If for some reason you feel you need to change any of these, of course do it! But don’t expect it will solve your deepest longings. AND THIS IS ALL I AM SAYING. We need to live our lives, we need to deal with anything that comes our way, and this involves changes, probably lots of changes. But we need to understand that all these changes will not solve our deepest problems, not on the long run.
      Let me give you an example. Let’s say you suffer from back pain and you go to have a massage every week. There is no problem with having a massage weekly, and it can actually be quiet enjoyable. The problem is the expectation that it will solve your pain problem, or the frustration because the pain does not go away or all the money you are spending with no good result, etc, etc. As long as you believe that the massage should solve your back pain, then there is going to be suffering.

      But once you understand that the only real solution to your back pain is, for example, to change the posture you use while sited at your desk, then you may chose to keep having the massage, or not.
      Having the massage is a symbol for all the changes in your life. The correct posture while sited is a symbol for finding your own presence. We can solve our immediate, practical problems changing our circumstances, but we cannot solve our deepest, existential problems outside of presence.

      Then you say: ‘if something hurts me should I accept it and see it as something I should learn from it or should I change it and then see it as something I should learn from it, what is the order?’

      It depends on circumstances. There are so many variables that is impossible to predict. There is no a right ‘order’. If something is hurting (and you have done some basic investigation that is not your own creation) then try to change the situation. Of course you will try to learn from it, but at the same time, if it is painful, get away from it as soon as you are able to…if you can. But many times, we cannot get away. You gave me the example of a mother or a child. There may be many other reasons why I cannot get away. Then, if you cannot get away, learn to embrace the situation.
      I have written something in this regard where I go into more detail here:
      I hope this is useful…

  2. Carmen

    Maybe the “Serenity pray” it could be an answer at this problem:

    God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
    The courage to change the things I can,
    And wisdom to know the difference.

    But maybe…
    I am a mom, too and I know how difficult is to educate a child. Respect, trust and communication are very important, as in every relationship.
    Be calm, understanding but very unwavering on your position, and explain everything you do why is that. In time he will understand you.

  3. Eva

    Everything what is born is what is die, because everything what is dies is what is born, because there is no past, present nor future; there is only one reality present in everything and everywhere, that is what they call Brahman. OM OM OM

  4. Mladen

    I do not really get the end of the text. How is the moment different from Jagat?
    A moment also has a beginning/birth and an end/death, so how is it independent from Jagat?

    1. Carlos

      Hello Mladen,
      Really good question. I am glad you are spending some time ‘thinking’ about this ideas.
      Your question brings a very basic confusion most people have when talking about the moment, presence, the now, or whatever way we refer to it.
      In a few words (this space does not allow for too many words) we can find two very distinct parts to the moment.
      One part, the one that is more obvious, is what is happening now. For example, in this moment, I am writing a response to your question in the computer. We can refer to this action as the present moment. But, as you very well say, this moment is not different from Jagat. Now I am writing, but in a few moments I am going to turn off the computer, get home, have some dinner, then I plan to watch the game (tonight Argentina is playing against Holland! :)), then I go to sleep, etc, etc. Each of these things, the moment when they are happening, IS the moment, but obviously that moment is passing and the next one is coming.

      The other part of ‘The Moment’, one that is not so obvious, is the space that allows all those moments to come and go…It is very difficult to speak about this because it is outside of Jagat, outside of the world, outside of time and space. It is ‘something’ (although it is NOT something) that is ungraspable with the mind…but at the same time, it is the one thing that is here all the time. It is the space that allows everything to happen, it is the space (space is only a word, and as such, it is not correct. It is not really a space…) where Jagat is happening. It is the space where the world takes place. it is what is always present, always alive, always here. We are always seeing it, always touching it, always IN it, but we have no idea that is there…

      Just to give you a little example (but don’t take it too far) imagine being in a movie-theater watching a very nice movie. In the movie something is happening every moment, may be a couple is falling in love, or may be there is a war going on, or may be some friends are having fun or whatever. While you are looking at the movie, what are you actually looking at? Are actually looking at the couple, or the war or the friends? Not really. What you are actually seeing is the screen and light falling on it taking the form of a couple, a war or some friends. What happen in the movie is changing all the time. That is Jagat, the world. But the screen, what you are actually seeing without even realizing it, is never changing, is ever present. The screen is what allows the movie to appear, what allows the couple, the war or the fiends to exist.
      The screen is the symbol for presence. Presence is not what happens, but what allows what happens to be.
      To notice this space, the mind has to be silent, quiet and clear. We could say that the essence of yoga is to clear the mind in order to find, to perceive, to notice that space of presence. And then a whole new world opens up…

      I hope it is useful…

  5. Anca

    Hi, I don`t have many questions usually because your articles are bringing me the quiet mind. So no many questions appear…
    Yet, I was very interested about the distinction between the conscious thinking and the mechanical thinking. Can you say some more about these?

    Thank you.

    1. Carlos

      Hello Anca, I will try to answer the question writing a note about it. But basically the difference is based on attention. Mechanical thinking is what comes without any effort whatsoever. It is completely based on past conditionings and survival. Conscious thinking has attention behind. It may also have conditioning and survival, but it also has love.

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