Monday is AUM-day; in search of meditation.
Meditation & Life, with Sw. Chinmayananda (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.
Please remember that each of the posts under this title is part of a thought flow and it is important to go back and read the previous post in order to refresh and review the context.
5:The Nature of Desire.
Each of us seeks the same goal; we all want unadulterated, unbroken, absolute joy and peace among the sense objects of the waking world. However, all such objects are a 'fools gold' which glitters then fades; thus the worldly seeker must keep striving in order to acquire ever more of the glittery things. It is within this struggle of earning and spending that we are driven by ever increasing desires for 'stuff'; we become exhausted, dejected and angry when our yearnings, misplaced to the external, are not fulfilled.
If 'peace and joy' are the universal desires, perhaps it is pertinent to ask "What is peace? What is joy?" Indeed, these questions often are asked - but due to our generally external motivation, the responses to the questions are focused in the external also, the point having escaped us. We must realise that the questions are not about the physical, but address instead the subjective enquiry that is the better method.
By peace is meant the mental condition as experienced by the individual and recognised as such in the absolute sorrowless silence within. On this recognition, comes joy of a kind not available in the external. Such an enquiry can, then, only be undertaken by the person who has achieved a level of distance from the outside world and who has learned to introspect, observing his or her internal state. Self-analysis and introspection are the very beginnings of a philosophical inquiry. For as long as one respects the values in life of indulgence and sensuality, our attention is turned outwards and the inner chaos remains. Vedanta helps us strive to understand the inner processes and make better-informed choices in living life more meaningfully.
Tracing the Course of One Desire;
We are starting to appreciate, it is hoped, that desires for external objects only results in increasing desire and not the quelling of same. To demonstrate this Gurudev gives the example of a man desirous of having a son.
The desire initiates as "if only I had a son". The seed having planted itself in his vishva, it sits there taunting and the associated thought that "my life is incomplete without a son" arises. The desire of a son is but a localised disturbance on the mental 'lake' - but now it has entered, it has sent out ripples, which start to hit the banks and spark motivation to satisfy the initiating desire. The desire for the son now produces the agitating problem of whether to marry or not; who to marry; this in turn may induce some 'castle building' - idealistic thoughts of marriage, with a beauty queen perhaps! The thoughts fuel the originating desire further and before long the fellow is unhappy all day with the thought "of for a son, a wife, a home…"
He becomes the slave of the need to satisfy the desire; seeking of a partner, meeting, talking, invitation, procession, marriage! The couple now address their mutual desire to satisfy the originating thought - a son. Now the boy arrives and the fellow who was so keen discovers this entails being 'a father'. It is a joy to him - at first. Then there come the challenges; feeding, illness, medicines, property, and the money to fund them. Soon there is the shuttling between toy shop and home, book shop and school. Every day that source of joy, "my son", provides many hopes, but just as many disappointments and sorrows. Whilst the joy is inherent in the son having manifested, it is not a complete joy. In observing how this desire has resulted in a 'storm', let us analyze more deeply. At the point where the boy was born, the greatest completion of the desire might be said to have taken place. At that point, all the ripples of agitation which arrived at this point will settle as the initiating desire is now satisfied - for a brief moment the mind in its liquid clearness reflects on the glory and triumph. Brief, note; for within the shortest time a whole swathe of further desires now arrive - regarding the son and his comforts, the mother and her health, the finance to support them - and the agitations arise all over again.
"The mind is at once the breeding ground of desire, the dung heap of contending thoughts and also the glorious castle of perfect joy. When the mind is stilled, with no further eruption of thoughts, 'peace' is the subjective experience and that peace is joy. This is why, in peaceful, dreamless sleep, every living creature feels nothing but joy."
In accepting this, we come to see that the peace and joy of the son, is not actually in the son himself, but in the moment of inner calm which his arrival brought. It is only when the mind is still that we truly feel the effulgent flood of inner bliss.
The desire for objects, the struggles to obtain them, understood in this context, shows an external expression of The Truth seeking to assert itself; in understanding this, the clear course of action is to renounce desire. Experiencing full satisfaction and contentment is independent of the external world; it is wholly within us. It is the perfect and achievable goal of life.
World Perfection Through Self-Perfection;
"Having fully, intensely and vividly lived this desireless state of bliss, the liberated one (jivanmukta) no longer responds to the world and its fleeting, illusory joys. In all situations, there is equanimity. You too can become one who, even whilst living this life, are at least minimally affected by it… Live intelligently. Be introverted; the outer world will be as it is. History shows that each generation has thought, in the immediate living of its crises, that theirs was a time unparalleled. Within a given arc, the pendulum of life moves between peace and war. It is a losing game to dedicate one's life to bringing about a perfect readjustment of the world. At best, a mere patch-work job can be done by individual effort. To herald an era of peace, we have to help every human being live the enduring spiritual values of renunciation, desirelessness, non-attachment and true understanding, which requires a universal program of Vedantic education.
Let the world wait… let each one try his best to complete his own self-education… when a hundred persons come forward to live and experience Truth, then those hundred will become the invisible team uplifting the world… Please do not misunderstand; the suggestion is not that we should be without sympathy for the present world. [However, unless we are actually in place of power to effect actual change, the change must begin ourselves]… The individual, shedding his mortal weakness and building spiritual strength, will find a reflection in the external world… "
Mahatma Gandhi's famous quote fits very well here…
"Be the change you wish to see in the world"!