Sat Yoga refers to these door levels as psycho-spiritual assemblage points. Each assemblage point may be compared to the sitting stool that the boxing coach puts out onto the ring when the bell ends each round. From the corner stool the boxer is able to see things more clearly, regain his breath, lick his wounds, and receive wise advice (and gracious hope) on how to survive through this seemingly endless seven rounds (yes, Sat Yoga Boxing has only seven rounds, but don’t worry, you’ll get your money’s worth). Sitting at this discernment stool is not an easy job, because the ego is not quite fond of the coach. Therefore, we will try our best to discuss what goes on in this unusual pepping corner.
First of all, it should be understood that the discerning intelligence is not an ordinary process of mental thought. It is an innate realization that begins to take place after a long and serious process of interiorization. Discernment is a direct result of our silent mind. Once we begin to silence the chattering mind (or at least remain faithful to our daily meditations), combined with the studying of psycho-spiritual knowledge from sages, scholars, practitioners, and teachers who have succeeded or gotten far in the process of burning their own objective knots, as well as from the collective wisdom that ancient cultures have inherit to us through their transformational myths, plus a serious commitment to intense inner work, where one’s own egoic traps will be trapped by a professional, wise, and compassionate guide, then discernment may begin to kick in.
Having said all that, we can go deeper on what exactly is the logic of viveka. In this gracious assemblage point of discernment we will begin to separate our real self from our false self. In Alchemy, this process is called “separatio,” where one begins to separate the impurities and stains from the priceless and eternal Substance. This is a metaphor that stands for the purification and sublimation of our consciousness, and it also can be interpreted as a healing intervention. Because when we begin to re-member our real Self, life truly begins to be seen as a beautiful dream, and our hearts begin to gently blossom. The love that radiates from our hearts is the true panacea that the world is urgently waiting for, there is no substitute for this divine remedy.
We begin to discern our real self from our false self, our infinte self from our finite self. This ancient teaching comes from the insight of Eastern and Western psycho-spiritual traditions, which exoterically or esoterically reveal to us that our true living being is One living being. And that this One Self is beyond all possible objective and limited descriptions, its ultimate reality can never be explained through concepts—we can only become It. This is important to remember, because many have walked this path, and few have made it, but those who have have blessed us with this supreme knowledge. If we are able to meditate on this reality, that we are one infinite field of intelligent loving awareness, and not one tiny limited I-body (reduced to a name, physical organism, past-future, girlfriend/boyfriend, bank account, profession, political ideals, etc.), then we can strengthen our support to viveka.
In Advaita Vedanta, which is a nondual spiritual-philosophical path from India, they teach a very suitable metaphor for the understanding of discernment. They compare the ignorance of believing that we are separate I-beings living in a world of separate objects, with the ignorance of confusing a rope lying on the floor of a shadowy room for a snake, just because we see its curly form and we don't have enough light to expose the true nature of the rope. If we become attached to the believe that the rope is a snake, we will probably prefer to skip that dark room, and close that door, and let someone else take care of that mess (also known as blaming the Other for absolutely everything, and avoiding our deepest fears). But for those whose hearts won’t let them live through this delusion, and have the courage (and grace) to open the discernment door and walk through its shadowy path, they will soon find out that there is no such thing as a snake. And by doing this they inherit an open room to the world, which gives its light for everyone to see that there is no snake in that room, and that it is true what the teachings say. So we have a choice of being brave and putting this teaching to a test. To find out through our own psycho-spiritual investigation that the world that we are confusing for a snake of separate objective parts, is nothing more than a rope of blissful, boundless, and intelligent oneness.
Another important Hindu legacy that will strengthen our understanding of viveka is that of the spiritual rite and symbolic ceremony of the sacrificial fire, called a yajna. The ceremony can be considered a metaphor for the burning away of our limited false identity. Each person that participates in the yajna has to throw into the fire some possession of great value for them, something that will never be seen again, that will die into the flames. Those who seek to discern the rope from the snake have to inevitably take part on this sacrificial yajna. We have to sacrifice the I-doll (the limited egoic mind). Always remembering (and praying) that this sacrifice is the ultimate celebration, it is the birth of the real self, it is not a sad loss—it is a sad-hana (where we earnestly let go of the old, with honor and dignity)! Because what we are giving up is the identification with all mental and physical attributes, like the saying “I am tall” or “I am short.” Instead, we recognize, as the Vedantists did, that there is no “I” who is tall or short, that there is only the Real Self (the Atman), and it is the power of satchitananda that will burn away all attributes and fixed identities. Therefore, the ceremony invites us to surrender to the Self all conceptual limitations, attachments, and egoic-seals that we could have adopted from our infanthood, family, nation, even from other life times that we may not yet be able to perceive or consider. We have to give it all up, good or bad, to the Self.
Those who are ready for the next round, who choose to go for the rope, and who surrender all to the eternal internal flame, will soon realize that the Self can sustain any burden that may be given to it, and it will devour the conceptual feast like a wild hungry beast, back to its source. Because the Self is a No-Self, meaning that the Self is the flux-of-life-itself. Whatever block you throw into the lava stream of the volcanic Self, no matter its size or complexity, will rapidly thaw like a glacier in a tepid sea.
This, oh great Ali warrior, is the result of higher discernment. Now remember the coach's strategy, when that old Foreman has you trapped in Maya, just rope-the-dope (containing all the lower egoic punches, and letting that old self tumble into the nothingness)! And then you shall dance like a butterfly with the Real, and sting like a humble-bee with the light.