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.
7: How to begin.
The vague idea "I must be happy" will not, of itself, better our present. If you want something, do you not take action to obtain it? How easy, then, to act for happiness! You may of course question, "is it as easy as that?" Well, why not? Should life be a perpetual struggle and an endless botheration? To many of us, suffering has become a habit and are so 'secure' in our insecurity that the idea of sitting in bliss is unacceptable. There can be a dread of freedom to the creature has been caged all its life.
"The divine life is not for habitual pain-eaters. It is meant for the intelligent and heroic seeker who has come to realise that the life being lived within the tight cocoon of desires, passions and lusts, is a worm-life of limitations. Original thinkers and sensitive temperaments alone can gain admission into the noble precincts of the divine life."
The quest for happiness is a universal one; cross cultural, cross-species, cross-realms. Not one person on this earth would not say that happiness is one of their fondest goals. We want something and start striving for it only when we have a total absence of that thing, or there is insufficient quantity of it. Thus we strive to improve our lot. In the case we are discussing here, the 'object of desire' is actually a very abstract concept; what exactly is happiness and do we know whether we can really create it as such? Some claim that though direct making of happiness may be impossible, it is possible to manipulate external objects and events to create a favourable conjunction to provide a sense of happiness. Such folk as say this are the materialists - rich, honoured and generally thought of as intelligent.
According to materialists, happiness is a by-product of acquisition of objects, combined with placing and timing and such like. They will admit that the experiencer will have different experiences with the same objects of experience according to different placing and timing. Herein lies a problem with their theory of happiness. The synchronizing of subject (experiencer) with the object (experienced) to produce and happiness (the experiencing) is difficult!
Hence life has become very complicated for us. The subject remaining the same, depending on conditions of time and place, the very same objects provide different reactions. Even the subject is ever-changing; not just by location, but within at the physical, mental and intellectual levels. It would be a very rare situation indeed to find an individual of the materialist sensibility who has truly obtained a balance in the material life with the desires and interests of his inner life such that there is no further restlessness or discontentment within him (or her), requiring nothing more of the material world they worship.
No. It is a constant flow of supply and demand in life. This breeds also the state of envy; there will always be someone who has more than we do of what we want. Life is an unending river of wishes and wonderings and yearnings and dissatisfactions.
The divine life is without such travails. It is the perfect life, where, complete, eternal, all-perfect happiness is the experience. Since objects are ever-changing how can we compel the required circumstance to remain eternally with us and provide such a life? "There is a method" is the unanimous assertion of the great seers, those venerable Rsis. The goal of happiness and the way to attain it is, they tell us, Vedanta. The attempt to life by Vedanta is the divine life. Its final offering to us is absolute bliss. The only path of progress for the imperfect is to practice working towards perfection. Through divine life we can reach the Life Divine.
One tool through which we can monitor this is the daily journaling of our attempts, our evening introspection, so that we can build detachment from the daily grind and keep our steps steady upon the right path.