Monday is AUM-day; in search of meditation.
Meditation & Life, with Sw. Chinmayanda (Gurudev).
We are now exploring the writings of Gurudev on our focus subject of Meditation. The book is a thorough treatment of the subject and extends to over 170 pages of closely printed text. No attempt is intended, here, to present the text in its entirety. However, important paragraphs and quotes will be given, within a summary of each section. You are encouraged to use the links on sidebar to obtain a copy for yourselves from CM publications (or from Amazon).
The Cure for Mental Anguish.
In clear and unequivocal terms, Gurudev set out the causative factors which generally prevent mankind from enjoying a degree of happiness which remains steady. Now he turns his focus to what there is available to us to overcome such gloom and doom. It can be no surprise the 'answers' lie in the historic texts which we refer to as scripture. Why are such texts held sacred? For the straightforward reason that the truths are self apparent, the exercises are readily practiced and the results are proven throughout generations. Through all the scriptures of the world there is a common thread of knowledge, technique and promise of relief. In none of these texts do the 'Gurus' despair even of the worst personality. Regardless of the Master and whatever the original native language, the message comes through that "Any individual who has mastered himself is a master of the external world."
It is our own inefficiency in applying the proven tactics, our tendency to always fall to the easier path and thus becoming enslaved by our passions which is our downfall. In current times, there is much societal pressure to live externally and in contradiction to our inner nature.
To train ourselves to live life more simply, more introvertedly, with self-discipline and balance is the purpose of 'religion'. The noble values of life (which are universal) constitute philosophy. "The message of self-mastery is one and the same in all the scriptures of the world, though each may teach a different technique of self-development. If these techniques are mastered, to whatever degree possible by each of us, then we could truly enjoy the godly blessing of the scientific age in which we live. Materialism is certainly acceptable and can be a blessing to us. The comforts of this age, a life made easier by machines, profits gained by harnessing natural forces - all are ours by heritage. To decry them is to insult the intelligence of humanity. However, when technology becomes our master and persecutes us, we must protest…" We stand at risk of allowing technology to drive us, rather than being in full control of technology. Many of us are coming to appreciate this and seek to turn the tables, but without a firm structure to guide us, this can be as hazardous as staying put. Many a misguided soul has 'taken to the hills' in anticipation of peace and quiet, only to find that they have not been prepared for the lack of the things being left or - worst still - of having to face being with themselves. All the great texts in their suggestions for self-mastery and the art of right living do not ask us to escape life, but to maintain an intelligent way of living according to circumstance and to use what is external to us for our internal betterment.
"In every walk of life and at all moments, we must make use of the ever-changing patter of challenges and, while consciously meeting them, train ourselves to become stronger individuals with greater mastery over ourselves and, subsequently, the outer world… The instrument with which we live our experiences is not, as we think, the body. When we observe an individual, we see that the experiencer in him is not his body, but is in all instances his mental makeup and intellectual peculiarities. No doubt, his mind and intellect do come into contact with situations through the instrument of the body**. Thus in a given situation, the experience we gain is as much related to our body as a pair of glasses is related to the eyes. What the eyes see will be coloured by the hue of the glasses; but the efficiency of vision depends entirely upon the sight mechanism within the eye. A blind person will see nothing through wearing glasses...therefore, the condition of the eyes is the primary factor in determining the clarity of vision...similarly, though our experience is [received via] the body, the experiencer is our mind-intellect equipment...the imperfections of our [interface with the world] can be fundamentally improved if the mind-intellect are disciplined to behave better in all circumstances…" It is for this purpose alone that all the techniques of self-mastery are given; the disciplining of our psychological and intellectual selves.
In some cases, the methodologies within various philosophies have been mysticised and make, perhaps, exaggerated claims or imply much superstition. Indeed, such confusion and misappropriation of spiritual philosophy has taken place that very often the various established religions do not directly address the people they seek to guide. The many who feel the call of religion at the philosophical level may find themselves thwarted as very few are able or willing to teach such supplicants, or the individual themselves lacks sufficient intellectual training to take up the subtler points. With a conscious effort though, by adhering to the step-wise guidance absolutely anyone can raise themselves to a better understanding of his or her own religion. Now Gurudev thunders forth his promise; "I am addressing the followers of all religions who may have fallen from their own faith or who still cling to it but find no succour there. I will place before them the logic as well as the methods of meditation. Whoever assimilates the logic and begins his spiritual practice (saadhana), shall come to recognise the sanctity of all life and the true meaning of the religion of his birth. This is the first benefit - and there are a number of them - all finding their consummation in the glorious realisation of the Divine."
**Note that mind and intellect are here and throughout this text differentiated thus; mind is the aspect of thought characterized by doubt, emotion and agitation; intellect is the aspect of thought which judges, decides and discriminates.