Each 'Choose-day' we will investigate the process by which we can reassess our activity and interaction with the world of plurality and become more congruent within our personality.
KINDLE LIFE. We continue exploring points raised by HH Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda-ji in the publication of this name. Remember, you can purchase, (very economically!), the book from Chinmaya Mission Publications or if you prefer, the Amazon Link. Thus you can read Gurudev's words directly and bring your own voice to the discussion.
We look at chapter six this week. Harmony of existence is the subject undertaken by Gurudev now. He begins by stating "Life is defined as a series of continuous experiences."
This may seem simple enough when we read it, but how would you have defined life if asked? We get all caught up in the intricacies, or begin to mumble on about biology and evolution and such, isn't it? Here, in his typically lucid and functional manner, Gurudev elicits the essence which actually defines life for the thinking being. Even if we approach with hard scientific natures, it is hard to argue. The simplest living organism, in every attempt to survive, goes through a process which can only be called as 'experience'. The more advanced the organism, the wider will be the experiences and the more those experiences will have meaning.
'Experience' then, becomes a unit of currency in life, as it were. Gurudev's example is to liken each experience to that of a brick in a wall. The strength and integrity of the wall is only determined by the quality and material of those bricks as well as how they are assembled; the use of the brick in the construction of the wall determines the quality and appearance of that wall.
The life of the individual is 'textured' by the experiences in that life.
It is said then, that the key to solving problems in life is to channel the experiences, to improve their quality. We need to locate better quality materials from which to construct ourselves. The great Rsis determined that each experience has three elements to it;
The experiencer (the individual to whom this is occurring)
The experienced (the object/situation which is causative of the occurrence)
The experiencing (the binding factor between experiencer and experienced, i.e. the occurrence itself).
We all are experiencers. We all are faced with the pluralistic world offering objects and activities to be experienced. As we engage with the object/activity, we are in the process of experiencing.
The mighty masters of the human state didn't stop their scientific analysis of our subjective nature there. Four different aspects of our make-up were defined;
Each so subtle and all at work during the experiencing. All working in unison, it seems and yet each, on deep analysis can be identified. Every time we engage in experience, these four come into play. These instruments of experience are layered within our personalities; but with each individual the layering has different measurement; and at different times within the same individual, the layers may alter according to the experience and any historical experience. All four elements will always be present, however.
This is demonstrated most often with the mention of a sweet. If it is offered to another in a disrespectful manner, that individual's physical part will have the yearning for the sweet, (mouth watering, anticipation of pleasure and so on); however, due to the lack of respect in the offering, the emotional part of the individual might over-ride the physical out of resentment. Further, the intellectual part will be weighing up not just this factor, but also that - as a diabetic - it would not be good for health anyway. Then the spiritual part of the nature will be thinking about how temptation can cause such turmoil!
It is a basic example but one to which most of us can relate. What is more, this is in action with every experience. One of the most disturbing things in any experience is that rarely is there complete balance between all factors. Even if the first three are happy, the spiritual side may be shrugging with guilt, or the intellect will be railing against the physical and emotional side, condemning its weakness…
Thus we have an internal friction that, quite often, we are not at all clear about within ourselves. It is this misalignment within our personalities which results in stress and discontentment.
Integration of our four 'personalities' is imperative. Only then can we live in harmony. The scriptures provide the practical solutions, the exercises, which can bring about this integration. When adhered to, training all our four parts to appreciate the benefits, then we become congruent beings, free from the travails of samsaara.
All the words in the books are nothing unless we put them into practice.