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.
The ESSENCE IN MAN is the subject of chapter 20.
What is surely becoming clear as you read through these chapters is a simple message; to have an appropriate and fully functioning connection to 'the world', one must be secure in one's own identity - knowing the Real You is paramount to contentment and progress. Behind all our physical, mental and intellectual identity lies the sentient nature which 'knows' them all. Finding our connection with that, which we call 'spirit', the very core of our being-ness, is the pinnacle of personality development.
As you will see in detail as we move along in studies, the physical, the mental AND the intellectual are nothing but matter, albeit of ever more subtle quality. That which 'knows' these things, observes them, drives them, is the Consciousness. Matter without the power of Consciousness is inert. Consciousness without the equipment of matter has no activity. When Consciousness connects with matter, where action and interaction occur, there we find the definition of 'life'. A clear example which is often used here is that of electricity. Think of any piece of equipment you use around the home. Toaster? Kettle? Oven? Refrigerator?..... Gardening tools? Door bell? All these things are but matter moulded into different forms. Without power of electricity to drive them they are nothing more than that. Until they are boosted into their respective actions by that electricity they are nothing more than metal, plastic, and so on. They can only be called 'toaster' or 'kettle' once they are doing what the electricity drives them to do. Only then are they fulfilling their purpose.
The matter ensemble which is labelled 'man' may have different levels of consciousness driving it. There may only be enough that the 'man' can identify simply as a physical being. Everything such a personality does is focused on acquisition, protecting territory, satisfying the senses. Enough is never enough, agitation is constant for fear of loss, for desire to gain more.
Or there may be enough 'juice' that the man lives through his emotional (mental) manifestation. Here at least, there is some level of thought for others. More than physical satisfaction, he seeks the subtler joys of love and companionship. To obtain these, the man begins to understand the need to subjugate some of his own desires in order to maintain relationships.
Further power may be there to drive the man into his intellectual nature. One who identifies with this as the dominant feature of his being begins to understand that the physical and the emotional states must be managed. Even more so, in gaining ever deeper insight, there comes an ability to stand apart, to withdraw from the fires and floods the lower levels of being throw out and his focus is sharpened to whatever subject he has set his sight upon.
Concsiousness, then, is the essence of all living things and is at its most adaptive in man. Just like the electricity, which remains the same regardless of the tool it enters, it changes not. The output may appear different though. All creatures are served by consciousness. The same Consciousness which serves the amoeba serves the man. What makes the difference is the intricacy of the equipment and therefore the tasks which can be undertaken. Only in the human creature can awareness of the 'power which drives' arise. Even then, investigations take many forms and there are many answers available even within the matter formations which the material sciences seek to provide. It is only when man comes to an appreciation of the Unchanging aspect of his nature, that which is ever present and proves to be the foundation upon which he rests, can he find peace from the turmoil of 'life'. The subjective science taught to us via the spiritual texts is as noble a pursuit as any material science.
Through it our focus becomes that spiritual core, the Consciousness which is our real nature; seeking the bliss of returning 'hOMe' is true 'self-care' and through this path alone can we come to understand that the material world has nothing to match it, yet we are also strengthened to deal with that material world.
Reading about the spirit is certainly a saadhana. Reading alone will not bring things into focus however. Practice is what gives meaning to theory. The key practice of Vedanta is mananam - deep and meaningful cogitation upon the subject. A key part of this is to sit in contemplation and leading up to meditation. Today is महाशिवरात्रि/MAHAASHIVRAATRI, when Lord Shiva is worshipped for 24 hours. Sri Jagadeeshwara is the ultimate sadhu, sitting in eternal meditation. He sets the example for all Vedantins. All sadhakas mark at least one hour of the day in which they will sit in full meditational practice. Those who are well-practiced and dedicated will utilise the entire 24 hours. The optimum hours are between 9pm of this day and through to 2am of the following day.
Set aside some time to think on the Lord this day, in whatever form you choose. Be deliberate in this action. Dedicate your hour+ to the Lord by name. Note that this is also the time in the Christian calendar when a period of austerity is undertaken in order to readjust the worldly focus to one of spiritual acknowledgement.