WHO AM I? I AM NOT. I AM.
In practice, Yoga in all its varied forms, seems to advocate practices of both absorption and negation.
The great irony of genuine Yoga practice is the building up of one’s self up to have the strength, clarity, and love to transcend one’s own authority as a self-existing unit of beingness within the barriers of an ego. Yep, that means you, as you now know yourself will eventually have to go. Gone baby. Gone.
What is interesting is that most students prefer to view the destination of Yoga in terms of the Vedantic definition of ‘union’ meaning awakening to the inherent divine unity underlying all phenomena outside the construct of the individuated ego-based self. On the flip-side, I kind of like a snazzy definition by King Bhoja (11th century) in his commentary of the Yoga Sutras that says it would be correct to view the definition of Yoga to mean ‘separation’ since attaining Yoga is the process of dis-identification with the ego and Prakritic existence altogether. So therein Yoga is separation as much as union. Either way you spin it, you are (at the very least in awareness if not materially) separating from one aspect and becoming absorbed in another.
Though calling it “other” in this regard is a bit messy since what the yogin becomes absorbed in is without form, beginning or end, ineffable, beyond concepts, etc…you get the idea. Pretty much not ANYTHING you could experience or conceive of in the embodied state we all now posses.
In a very literal manner, negation practice as outlined by Ramana Maharshi is a great training tool for getting more comfortable with more loosely identifying with what you experience yourself to now be.
You can practice “neti-neti” (neither this, nor that) or negation practice every moment of the day. You can practice while applying your mascara, cuddling with a loved on the couch, washing the dishes, doing your asana practice, and even while browsing your facebook feed…
“The gross body, composed of the seven humours (dhatus) I am not.
The five cognitive sense organs; the sense of hearing, touch, sight, taste and smell, which apprehend their respective objects, sound, touch, colour, taste and odour, I am not.
The five active sense organs i.e. the organs of speech, locomotion, grasping, excretion and procreation, which have as their respective functions speaking, moving, grasping, excreting and enjoying, I am not.
The five vital pranas or energies, I am not.
Even the mind which thinks, I am not.
The nescience too, which is endowed only with the samskaras or impressions and in which there are no objects and no functioning, I am not.”