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.
Character Is The Man.
A particular recording plays a particular song due to the patter of sound laid upon it. The difference between two recordings, both of same substance materially, is the nature of the sounds laid on each, imprinted onto the material substratum, be it vinyl, tape or digital media. The nature of the recording, as such, is entirely its own and no blame can be laid on the material component if that recording falls short of desirability. The recordings are entombed upon the material base, to be resurrected as sound only when 'played'; the recording is the 'character' of the item known as disc or music file.
Actions; Solidified Thoughts.
People, too, have their distinguishing marks determining their character. There are of course the clear physical differences - but those are not the character per se. Yet we are inclined to attribute certain characteristics dependent on how we perceive the exterior, right or wrong. A large and bullish fellow may not, after all, be a threat to us if, inside, he is a mummy's boy and somewhat cowardly! Some of the most feminine and slightly built ladies of history have packed an enormous punch. The real difference, that which is our character, is what makes us who we are and it is how we 'play' in life that demonstrates that character.
Life brings forth laughter from some and sobs from others. Many can cope with grace in trying circumstances, whilst others become blubbering blobs of flesh. For some life is a burden and for others opportunity. The variety is endless.
Over our physical body, reigns the mind. In the mind thoughts flow ceaselessly. They leave impressions, like the recording. These are called in Vedanta as /vaasanas. These form our repetitive patterns… "as we think, so we become."
It is the difference in thoughts which distinguishes person from person. Beside these deeper 'grooves', the physical body makes little difference to our character. The body is merely an instrument, a vehicle for the vaasanas to operate through. Indeed, strength of character can over-ride the body, no matter its condition. Not say that a strong body is not a positive asset, but a strong mind is a valuable possession. Without the flute player, the flute is nothing more than a hollow reed. Don't pamper the body by doping the mind; neither ought one to honour mind alone, neglecting the body. Like hand in glove, they ought to work through life.
Obviously, then, the way to influence a person is through his or her thoughts. This is where books, lectures, discourses and discussions play a key role in all efforts at self-perfection. However none of these holds any benefit unless what is learned is applied in life. The more deeply impressed the mind is with anything heard and learned, the more likely we are to make efforts at self-change. It has to break the lines of erroneous thinking set by our vaasanas, and rewrite our 'recording channels'. From animal-man, we can rise to man-man and, with good will and God's will, move into Divinity.
"If this globe of ours is to be made into a decent place to live, we have to cultivate in our character honour, truthfulness, fidelity and Love; and come to live a life of Self-respect. Only those people in whom Self-respect is ingrained get through life unscathed by dishonour. By this leverage, individuals can become raise and grow to become fine contributors to their community and nation."
Our thoughts create our world. This is the message. Action is the 'endgame' of thought.
When thoughts are changed, a person's character is transformed. It is not that the personality is lost, but the behaviours improve. The essential 'person' will remain as there is praraabdha to play out. However, changing thought channels is not at all easy. Transformation of character is not at all easy. Despite this, the Rsis long ago discovered the subtle art of taming the mind to enable this re-channeling. It is the art of meditation.
Making the Mind Pliable for Remolding.
Our thoughts are stubborn and generally will resist any attempts to remake them in a better image. Force is ineffective; the mind either shatters or rebels forcefully in return. However, if the vase is first heated, it becomes pliable and can be reshaped. Similarly the stubborn mind can be rendered pliable and the 'heat' to apply is reverence.
Most of us lack reverence; we generally understand this as an intellectual appreciation of, or an emotional appeal for, the spiritual ideal. Neither is the reverence, in fact. It requires both together to form a genuine reverence; the intellect to understand the concepts of spiritual matters and the heart of Love and Devotion which arises from the intellectual connection. Reverence bonds us to the revered; 'oneness' arrives. Thus we are told that, before entering meditation, one must invoke a reverential attitude of total surrender and supreme devotion to the guru. When our personality is in attitude of reverential dedication unto the Lord, or surrender to the teacher, our nature becomes available for recasting into the nobler mold. To apply this concept via intellect only cannot provide reward for it is devoid of feeling. The intellect is required to bring one to the feet of the Lord/guru, but then the heart must be released and prostration of our ego-self before the Masters is required. Cry out for guidance, light, Knowledge and courage. The mind will then become pliable enough to change channels.
Examples of such a plea; "Guide me, lead me, show me the goal. Give me the strength to walk the path. My imperfections are many, but I yearn for You my Lord; be my guide!" or "Almighty and most Merciful Father, I have erred and am lost like a sheep. I have left undone those things that ought to be done, and done those which ought not. O Lord of Mercy, spare me. Restore me, your penitent servant, according to Thy promise declared through Christ Jesus. Grant, for His sake, that I may hereafter live a more righteous life to the glory of Thy Name. Amen."