SELF REALIZATION: THE MOVEMENT FROM PHYSICAL TO SUBTLE CONSCIOUSNESS
Human life is a movement from crudity to subtlety. If this movement is not there, a human life may be only an animal life for surely all the creatures have emotions, feelings. They hunger. They thirst. They need shelter. These are the basics of animal life.
The human body is an animal body, like any other animal body with its desires, its abilities, But human life is distinguished from the rest of the animals of this world, in that human beings have the capacity of self-reflection, the ability to ask, “Who am I?” It is this ability that defines humanity, that develops a stratum of the mind that not only is intellectual in development but is self-reflective. It is this stratum of the mind that is strengthened through meditative practices.
The Yamas and the Niyamas (yogic practices for living in the world) have been under-emphasized in bringing yoga to the West. Even in India, their significance became not entirely understood. The yogis want to meditate long hours every day to realize Parama Purusha (Divine Consciousness) and, indeed, this is a noble task but there is also the need to be able to transmute, to transform daily life into life sublime. The pursuit of divinity should not be limited only to the time spent in meditation.
Meditative practice is essential for developing the subtler strata of the mind, the intuitive capacities of the mind, so that the link to divinity is there. When you develop a regular, deep meditation practice that enables you to not only go through the concentrated practices of dharana, but also through dhyana (focused meditation) and into the samadhi ( union), realizing in your daily life your deep communion with Parama Purusha (Divinity), then you become changed. Your mind, your intentions begin to alter. You begin to take on that with which you are so strongly associated. The qualities and characteristics, the longings of that One become your longings. Your life becomes a vessel, a flow of divine grace. Because you acquire a close association to your divine Beloved, to your Baba, to your Ma in the inner realm, you become connected to that One. The qualities and characteristics of that One begin to reflect in you, to one degree or another. It is from that association, really speaking, that the true practice of Yama and Niyama (balanced life in the world) comes to fruition.
Right Thinking In order to cultivate this relationship to the Supreme, it is essential to begin to cultivate right thinking. Right thinking comes through following the precepts. The Yamas and the Niyamas of yoga give basic life understandings to follow. They are not a secondary practice; they are the primary practice. I suggest to you to keep a journal and to write down each day a self-reflective contemplation of your practice of the Yamas and the Niyamas. Begin to think how you can integrate them into your life, how you can become more steady in your practices, more true in your practices, how you can lead a life of loving kindness and compassion, how you can lead a life of honesty and goodwill, how you can lead a life of generosity and thoughtfulness, how you can develop purity of heart and mind, simplicity, like a child, how you can learn to be happy, really happy and content, to enjoy the life you have, to study deeply the nature of your own Self, the Self of all beings, and surrender everything at the lotus feet of the eternal One.
Take store of your life. Contemplate. Think about it. Never be harsh with yourself. Each time you fall down, pick yourself up, brush yourself off and begin afresh. There is no time for criticism and self-deprecation. These are not useful. But to do your best at all times, that is useful - without judgment of yourself or others. Judgment is an impediment, as is condemnation and criticism of yourself or others. Think how you talk about other people, how you relate to other people. Is it not a reflection of how you relate to yourself? Love is an easy word to say but a little harder to live.
The Yamas and Niyamas are a part of an integrated yogic system of practices that also include asana (yoga postures) practices and the care for your body, as well as your meditative practices. In your meditation it is important to take care to surrender everything inorder know the Divine. Meditation is a process of self-surrender. It is not a process of acquiring anything, even peace of mind. It is a process of letting go, of giving back. So if you want to accomplish and acquire in your meditation, you have already lost your meditation. Surrender. Let go. Think of the beauty, grace and love of the infinite Being. Let that grace fall on you and let go. Surrender, become a hollow vessel, open to the love that is, open to the grace that always exists. Even in the darkest times, even in the deepest struggles of life, that light, that grace is always there. The shower of infinite love is always falling on you.
Sometimes it is the people who have the least who realize this the most, because they take the time to look. They surrender. They give up. They hold to the Beloved because there is no one else to hold to. There is nothing else to distract them. A person may think, “What has happened? Poor me, I have so little when someone else has so much..” And you can feel very sorry for yourselves or else, you can say, “Oh, Lord, I know you are taking care of me and you have given me exactly what I need. I surrender everything to your will, to your grace.” And in that way, unencumbered by many burdens, your mind can becomes very soft and the presence of that divine Beloved emerges to guide, to love, to hold you. Love for the Beloved It is said that one who wants truly to know Parama Purusha (Divinity) must yearn with deep passion. To yearn with he passion that a drowning person has for air, a deep intensity of yearning, “Lord, this world has so many woes and troubles. Please come to me. Come to me, take me from this darkness into your light.” When the heart yearns with intensity and sincerity, how can that one help but answer?
Love is like that, you know. If you put in fifty percent, maybe you will get fifty percent back. If you put in hundred percent, you may get a hundred fifty percent back. But it is not an exchange. It is a willingness to let go, a willingness to trust, a yearning that burns in its power. It burns away the superficiality. So even if life is kind to you and you do not find yourself on the edge, reach inside of yourself, find the deep place within you that wants that Beloved more than anything in this world. Find the deep place inside yourself where you yearn to be whole, where love must be fulfilled and offer everything with all the sincerity of your heart.
Lay it all before your most Beloved. Let that one wipe the tears from your eyes, take you in the arms where you meld forever, until there is only One, not two. Then all around you, you see there is only the Beloved. That one is the guiding force of your life, the goal of your life and, in truth, the Beloved of your heart.
He is in the blade of grass, the green of the trees, the blue of the sky, the eyes of loved ones, in your own breath, in the life of your life, your Beloved exists. Surrender everything and let that one abide where you have been. Already the unstruck music plays. Already the harps are strung. Already existence abounds. Only you have been deaf and you have not heard the music. Only you have been blind and you have not seen the beautiful colors. Take off the blinders, unplug your ears, and dance to the music of eternity. Dance the dance of eternal love.
That is the secret joy awaiting every human being who finds the way to the land of mysticism, to the doors of the heart cavern. Namaskar!