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.
Train The Mind.
"In all religions we hear of the necessity for controlling the mind. The mind is thought-flow, like a river...The character of river is determined of its waters. Whether clean, fast and so on…. Similarly the mind is conditioned by its thoughts and the nature of those thoughts are reflected in the behaviour of the individual… as the thoughts, so the mind; as the mind, so the man."
For transformation of our personality towards a more divine living, the mind must be tackled and controlled. Taming a river involves creating new channels, sometimes building dams. As this example gives, then we need to find ways to redirect our thoughts and also to regulate their flow. The quality of thoughts in our mind depends on the objects which cause us to become distracted and forgetful of purpose. The company of good reading, noble people, having an inspiring goal all provide quality to our thought pattern. Surrender to a Higher Ideal, be it God, or a value such as Love (capital 'ell'!) and the quality of the thoughts will of their own accord improve. Such surrender and focus is called bhakti.
A mind which has essentially flooded, like the river which floods, must be watched for the eventual retreat of the flow. To try and tame a flood is generally limited. Therefore, it is necessary to wait until the source of the flood dries up somewhat… an object of the world can act upon our thoughts the way a deluge can upon the waters of a river. We are constantly at danger of mind floods! The three main triggers for the mental flood are; a) memories - past, b) anxieties - future and c) excitements - present. Control of these 'spigots' will assist us in determining the dimension, velocity, force and sweep of the flooding mind.
Selfless activity, offering all that is undertaken to the Higher, is considered a primary source of rescue from the flood. When we follow an ideal, we can surrender all of a, b and c. If we work with dedication and devotion, the mind becomes peaceful. Practice of this builds up a 'habit' of surrendered activity; the mind adjusts to this being the norm and the karma yogi finds that s/he is starting to become the master and not the slave of the river of thoughts.
"If the quality of thoughts is changed by following the path of devotion (bhakti), and the quantity of thoughts is controlled by pursuing dedicated action (karma), then the direction of thoughts is changed by the pursuit of the path of Knowledge (jnaana)."
To lift ourselves out of the BMI identification, ending our preoccupation with being in PFI as a result of OET. It is imperative we lift our thinking and turn it towards the Infinite Self, knowing that all that we are is an expression of That. Allowing our mind to be extrovert only brings trouble. The thoughts agitate and stir us to baser activity and further maudlin thinking. Make a quest of the 'grail'; the source of very thinking itself, where divinity lies; in this way one is changing the direction of one's thoughts. In this state of introversion the thoughts will naturally tend to peace and serenity.
These three process are not mutually exclusive. Quality cannot be changed without the quantity being altered and unless these two are altered, the direction cannot be changed. Diminished quantity of thoughts leaves room for quality and the direction by nature must change… attempts to change the direction, by looking 'upwards/inwards', thoughts automatically slow and recede and what remains will be quality.
Bhakti, karma and jnaana are to be practiced in synthesis, though of course as one builds practice, each component can take its turn at the forefront. It will be found, though, that with daily application, whichever path is taken initially, the other two will follow very doggedly for the will refuse to be left behind! Whichever yoga you choose, the interconnected-ness of the triumvirate is undeniable and will, to the advanced student, become essential to progress. One of the great techniques which incorporates all three together is japa. This we will discuss next week.