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.
The Gross Body.
A stone is unaware of internal and external world circumstances. Plants are not aware of inner world thoughts. Animals, though aware of the external and inner worlds, are not conscious of their intellect. Human being, animal though it be, is at once conscious of the outer, inner worlds and has the intellectual awareness of no other species. The attempt of the spiritual seeker is to increase this awareness to such an extent that the innermost spirit can also become known to them. The Rsis closely analysed the grades of consciousness and codified their exhaustive study, defining three states; waking, dreaming and deep sleep.
They discovered that in each of these states, the individual identifies himself with a different layer of matter. A further classification for the three states then falls into the five sheaths, manifesting as three distinct 'bodies'. The gross body, consisting of food and vital-air sheaths, is the platform for our interaction with the world. The state of consciousness here is the waking state. The subtle body, which is mind and intellect and where we identify with inner world experiences is associated with the dream state. The causal body is where we identify with the bliss sheath, folding up all contact with both external and inner worlds, and is associated with the deep sleep state. Beyond these is the domain of Divine Truth. It is this which the true seeker longs for.
Through meditation the seeker consciously withdraws his vigilant attention from from the ordinary fields of dissipation, layer by layer. The first stage of meditation preparation requires some withdrawal from the external world. This is not suppression, but should be understood as sublimation. The first is forceful self-denial, usually a mistake of one who is over enthusiastic and lacking in understanding of the task at hand. The second gently 'scrubs' the ego, allowing for the True Self to peek through.
We have already found that each of us consists of multiple personalities and that we judge the world according to particular the vaasana channel working at any given moment. Thus the picture of the world and its happenings changes from moment to moment for the same observer. In a materialistic era, the world is generally views from the physical aspect of a person. The more we look at the world from the point of view of the body, the more we are lured by the seeming charms of objects. The same world, to a Vedantic seeker, is imperfect and unacceptable because he views it through the intellect. This acts like a spotlight and reveals the ugliness beneath the veneer of beauty of the shiny world. Thus, a Vedantin finds it instinctive to withdraw from the outer worldly life and its illusory attractions. The seeker has ordinarily the least concern for the body. The capacity to ignore the body, withdrawing from it and remaining intensely identified with the mind-intellect. Such withdrawal from the body is easier for a Vedantin who has lost the attraction for the external than for one who remains steeped in body-consciousness.
Discrimination and correct thinking confirm the aspirant's conclusion that the body is a liability; thus withdrawal become ever more easy and a distance drawn between the seeker and the external.
However, we generally do not have that high caliber of keen discrimination (viveka) and dispassion (vairaagya). Especially in these days of nervous hurry and divided aims, it is difficult to live a life of discrimination all the hours of the day. We live instead half by instinct and half by training. Rarely, it at all, do we know how to think and live independently. Originality in life is condemned in modern society, for these are the days when imitative repetition seems to be the fashion… even amongst the rebellious! Know that techniques that were effective in the past for developing one's discriminative capacity will be equally effective even today. The methods of self-perfection visualised in various religions of the world are eternal in their application and the most fundamental of them is meditation.