The Unfolding Life

by Sharon Gannon |
April, 2006

Life is a dream whether we are awake or asleep. What makes it a dream is that the images are manufactured in the processing plant of our own mind. What ever we have experienced we store in our own being. It doesn’t matter much to the mind if the experience is ‘actual’ or virtual. To our mind; and ultimately to us, it is real. Life is real. According to our English dictionary ‘real’ means something actual; of this earth. This definition is opposite to the Vedantic idea of that which is real. Anything which can be perceived in earthly terms of time and measured in space is anything but ‘real’. Real, according to Vedanta is that which is eternal, limitless, and changeless and cannot be bound by time or space. Oneness is the only true reality. The aim of yoga is to realize this Oneness.

We see the everlastingness in everything that’s passing. We become that everlastingness through everything that’s passing. Life is continuously un-folding, never arriving for longer than a moment. The moment now has emerged from the moment before it. The next moment can only come from the one preceding it. Life is process. We are life, as we live.

As yogis we desire to move beyond the biological to the eternal; outside time and space, but to do that we must perfect that which is manifest within relative time and space. We need the help of the Divine Mother, Mother Nature. We are born into Nature it is our means for movement and change. Through Her blessing, we evolve. She gives us our unfolding life as a means for spiritual realization. As preparation for birth takes place in pregnancy, so preparation for the spiritual or non-biological state must be made while alive in physical manifestation. We can only move into the transcendental by going through that which is flesh and blood and seems actual. Through the experiences of life the soul evolves and becomes purified. When the soul through purification arrives in a state of sattvic balance then the self may begin to gain perception of the absolute Self.

On an absolute level there is only One, only Love, but to realize that one must awaken to the dream of relative existence. One must transcend the self as well as all other selves to know the truth of Self.

Asana practice provides the means to purify our relationships with the world of others. Patanjali suggest that our relationships to others should be mutually beneficial and be based on steadiness and joy. (sthira-sukham asanam YS II.46) Our biological systems are made of the accumulation of all our past karmas. Every thought word or deed from every relationship from countless lives can be found in our body/mind personality self at this very moment. You can find it in the movement of the muscles, bones, joints, as well as how the blood flows and the lungs breathe and certainly in how the mind thinks and the heart feels.

Individual Consciousness evolves, like a baby develops moving from concrete to abstract, dense to subtle, from diversity to oneness. Each moment in our lives presents to us an opportunity for growth. Every one we meet reflects to us something of our own limitless possibility for exploration. Without interaction with others no evolution is possible for the individual self. How we treat others will determine how others treat us, how others treat us will determine how we see ourselves, how we see ourselves will determine who we are.

To embrace each moment and each person and situation as wondrous is to move toward truth. There is no one in your life standing in the way of your happiness. Each person in your life, each moment in your life is the way to your enlightenment.

Purusartha-shunyanam gunanam prati-prasavah
kaivalyam svarupa-pratistha va chitti-saktir iti
(YS IV.34)

When Self realization comes, what seems like a great achievement from an individual’s perspective is a non-event from the perspective of the Self. All the ups and downs, struggles and joys of countless lifetimes exist on a finite level only, to the eternal, ever present Self, the one who is forever free, enlightenment is a non event, as there was never ever any un-enlightenment!

Teaching Tips

Unfolding Life Commentary by Sandhi Ferreira

Listen to the Mustn’ts by Shel Silverstein

Listen to the mustn’ts, child
Listen to the don’ts
Listen to the shouldn’ts,
The impossible won’t
Listen to the never haves
Then listen close to me
Anything can happen, child
Anything can be.

Everything we see and hear is the result of all that we have experienced in our lives. Each reaction we have is colored with our unconscious association with these past experiences. This creates the perpetual wheel of all suffering. For example, imagine as if during your childhood every time your parents hit, spanked or laid a hand on you, they stated they did it because they loved you. This happened so frequently that in your adult life you associated love with pain. What do you think would happen? Would you always then expect love to hurt? And if so, what would it take to change that?

Our mission is this: to end all suffering. It’s cause lies in our misidentification with our ego personalities and all that it has experienced. Our entire lives unfold so that our perceived reality is challenged and hopefully we are inspire us to realize our truth: that we ARE love. Everything else, according to the Vedas, isn’t even real. Everything that cannot be measured or changed IS real. That which is not governed by the laws or time IS real. Wow, do you believe it? Can you feel it? How do you know?

As our spiritual practice unfolds and we evolve this becomes clearer. Yoga practice is a means to become conscious, awaken to our birthright and become free from suffering. The practice of yoga is one of enduring the challenge of our attachment to suffering and even pleasure. We get tastes of freedom when a familiar disliked nemesis yoga pose suddenly get easy because we forget we didn’t like that one or we learned to focus on something else and our experience actually changed. For these several beautiful moments we were free.

Now that it is spring, it is the perfect time to clean out your closets, both physical and spiritual, and get rid of all the old garments that don’t fit you and have never fit you.


  1. All things arise, suffer change, and pass away. This is their nature.
    When you know this, nothing perturbs you, nothing hurts you.
    You become still. It is easy.
  2. God made all things. There is only God.
    When you know this, desire melts away.
    Clinging to nothing, you become still.
  3. Sooner or later, fortune or misfortune may befall you.
    When you know this you desire nothing, you grieve for nothing.
    Subduing the senses, you are happy.
  4. Whatever you do brings joy or sorrow, life or death.
    When you know this, you may act freely, without attachment.
    For what is there to accomplish?
  5. All sorrow comes from fear. From nothing else.
    When you know this, you become free of it, and desire melts away.
    You become happy and still.
  6. I am not the body, not is the body mine. I am awareness itself.
    When you know this, you have no thought for what you have dome or left undone.
    You become one, perfect and indivisible.
  7. I am in all things, from Brahma to a blade of grass.
    When you know this, you have no thought for success or failure or the minds inconstancy.
    You are pure. You are still.
  8. The world with all its wonders is nothing.
    When you know this, desire melts away. For you are awareness itself.
    When you know in you heart that there is nothing, you are still.

The Heart of Awareness (trans. of Ashtavakra Gita) by Thomas Byrom

Commentary Teacher Bio: Sandhi Ferreira

Sandhi began studying Yoga in 1995 and teaching in 1999. She received her teaching certificate at the Jivamukti Yoga Center in March 2000 and a Pilates Mat certificate in April 2002. Since then she has been teaching at Jivamukti Yoga Center and in a variety of health clubs, healing centers, corporations, and private homes. The practice of Yoga has transformed her life in such a positive way that it has become her life’s work to share it.

In her own words: “To be searching for wholeness on this path means that we have already glimpsed the world from outside the confines of a mundane reality. This gift transforms our perception of ourselves and this world as we search for a deeper meaning to life. This metamorphosis happens by practicing Tapah-svadhyaya-Ishvara-pranidhanani kriya yogah (YS II:1). Discipline, Self-study, and surrender to Spirit constitute the Yoga of action.”

She continues to explore many types of practices that encourage a balance of the entire being. This has included different styles of yoga (Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Iyengar, Forrest, and Anusara), meditation, Pilates, weight training, dance, studying modern and ancient inspirational texts, and the effects of diet on the body, mind, and spirit.

Sandhi’s classes inspire students to challenge themselves physically and spiritually, to love and trust themselves to step out of their comfort zones and into places they never thought they could reach. She allows students to feel safe to explore, internally and externally, by allowing them to feel their own innate power. Her style is sweet, loving, and nurturing, but also disciplined. Get ready for fun and play!