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.
6: Spiritual Growth.
It is as true in the spiritual world as in the material, that one can not gain anything from, or for, nothing. Materially, we know that in exchange for obtaining the necessities - and even more so for the luxuries - of life, we must pay with our toil and efforts. Equally, for spiritual gain, there must be an exchange; in this case it is the steady and sincere practice of the examples set by the masters. That which we call 'saadhana'.
What is it that drives an individual to spiritual pursuit of the type which is deep and enduring? Oftentimes there are gaps. There is a tendency only to concentrate on spiritual pursuit when one is laid low and in need of help which cannot be found in the material world. Occasionally, the Lord is remembered and thanked in times of joy. Neither of these two extremes, however, truly makes of us spiritual beings. We are stuck in material mentality whilst trying to draw from our spiritual account. With each successive life (Vedanta explains this cycle - have patience!) the jiiva (the individualised ego-self) goes through the same trials and tribulations; each life may have a different balance of these but they are essentially the same lessons over and over. We keep getting 'our noses rubbed' in the messes of our own making until, finally, after endless returns, there comes a moment of inspiration which fires us up to live life differently; to reach out to the spirit instead of the material… and finding that the material takes care of itself. Gurudev states here, "...now we have a mortal who has evolved through the required lower lives and has come to the gate which opens to the fields of the divine life. Only passing through the dingy caves of ego-based activities can the jiiva emerge into the open expanse of selfless Love… leading in due time to a recognition of the essential Oneness of All creation.."
The Divine Versus The Worldly Life.
To live spiritually, we do not have to retreat to thick forest, high mountains or desert places. Neither do we have to be exceptional folk with special qualifications. Indeed, all too often, those who seek to retreat are doing so to escape the mess of life, rather to arrive at spiritual life - and they find that when the get to their tree-house or cave, that everything they wanted to escape comes with them; for it all comes down to our personality and how we deal with things. We are faced with the 'ghosts' and the facts of who we are. Where we are makes very little difference to spiritual life. The difference only comes by living the divine life...and that can be done anywhere.
It can seem thankless and unproductive in the short term, unlike material life, where gains can be immediate. The aspirant's goal is an eternal experience. Note - not an experience of the eternal (though gaining glimpses as small rewards and encouragement can often occur for the dedicated sadhaka) - but eternal becomes the experience. In other words, never again lost. This return to OM is, strictly, not an experience either, for having returned to our True Condition, we find that we are beyond such concepts. It takes a lot of faith and determination to keep working for such a thing. Somewhat as a sculptor has faith that each lump of rock contains the truth of his art, we must keep chipping away at ourselves. Divine life is the chiseling process by which Truth is brought out to fulfill Itself. Divine life is the technique of self-perfection. To strive for this Truth is the highest of all conscious efforts that any human can make. No other sentient being has the equipment for thus hastening its own evolution as efficiently as the human being. From a spiritual point of view, to have this huge intellectual advantage and not to use it in pursuit of the greatest philosophical challenge, is to waste life.
"Every action of an individual in the outer world is but an attempt to express fully… every word, thought and deed is an unconscious effort to regain the state of Fullness; but the trouble is that the phenomenal world of finite things and beings is not the place to find the Infinite, thus the worldly person never obtains true satisfaction. The eternal Infinite alone is capable of capping that yearning. Lasting satisfaction can never be reached by sense gratification."
The central motivation of all living things, from the animal in the jungle to the leaders of our nations, is directed toward getting rid of pain and gaining happiness. It is a universal instinct. However, even the great thinkers have missed the mark as to the method of reaching the goal. "The true nature of the ocean is water; the waves, the foam, the sparkling ripples, the flickering bubbles - all merely are forms of that same substance, given different names. There is no individuality of each of those forms. All are water only. So too, the multiplicity of things and beings … is merely different names and forms of that One Essential Bliss." It is due to this erroneous belief of separateness of things that the jiiva is born; it suffers as it attaches to the ideas of "I"ness and "my"ness. Choke these and you will have taken a substantial step towards the truth of your nature, that blissful "I AM" which is Existence Itself, non-dual Consciousness.
To obtain this whilst living in the body is a rare thing, but many have attained it throughout the centuries and the methodology is thus tried and proven. It is these 'jiivanmuktas' who have 'lived to tell the tale' and share their example that, thus, all sadhakas can take heart and know that the results will equal their efforts. 'You too can achieve this Supreme state', is the promise...