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.
Ch.20; The Positive Mind.
(This chapter will be given in full, as it is a short one and you can get a feel for the 'voice' of Gurudev.)
If a house has been deserted for a long time, it has naturally fallen into disrepair, and every nook and corner of it gets soon covered with dust and cobwebs. On entering it, a moldy smell assails your nostrils. If you want to make it habitable again, you will have to open all doors and windows to ventilate it, scrub it from roof to floor, whitewash it, paint it, repair it where necessary. Still it won't be fit for comfortable living. You will have to fit it intelligently with furnishings of good taste and decor to render it inviting.
The removal of unwanted lumber, dust and cobwebs is but half the process of making the deserted house habitable once again. The other half consists of bringing in new objects calculated to give comfort to the occupants. Similarly, one cannot secure in the mind a new set of positive qualities before the negativities have been removed. Our minds, which are at present encrusted with unhealthy poisons from untold years of neglect, must of necessity first be cleaned to make them fit abodes for divinity. Animal passions, blinding anger and greed must be drained away. Negative values must be shed through consistent efforts at being good, and the mind replenished with positive values of truthfulness, love and beauty. Then alone can divinity come to dwell within.
Spirituality is the technique you need to accomplish this change. Actual achievement must be preceded by firm determination. Once begun, this process gathers momentum; thereafter, constant vigilance ensures smooth transformation.
Merely negating the outer world or our known weaknesses cannot by itself lead to upliftment. Negation is not growth, although it prepares the ground for that growth. In the ground thus prepared, the desired seeds must be sown and diligently watered. Fructification follows as a matter of course. If seeds of positive qualities are not implanted, undesirable weeds will shoot up to create a jungle instead of a garden. Blind, unintelligent negation unaccompanied by assiduous assertion of positive values may lead to the seeker into a despairing vacuum. The mind is suppressed without being simultaneously elated with positive qualities. A suppressed mind is potentially dangerous. In an unguarded moment, it may burst and like dynamite, blast the entire structure of progress. The seeker who merely negates soon reaches a state of impotence and inertia. His is a living death; a wan smile denotes not victory whatever. Hasty, though enthusiastic, seekers have unwittingly landed onto this suicidal path. For want of cultivation of positive qualities of the mind, many gallant seekers after years of impressive practice, have felt bogged down or even fallen back into the mire from which they had sought to lift themselves. Negation is essential, yet dangerous!
A positive mind "does", rather than just refrains from doing. Suppression of desires is replaced by positive desirelessness. A positive mind doees not merely eschew jealousy, but rejoices in the prosperity of others; it does not merely refrain from hating, but it Loves; it does not just tolerate, but it forgives; it does not merely desist from telling lies, but it always speaks the truth; it is not only free of greed, but it is generous… A positive mind is poised in peace, free from delusions, seeking the good of all and flowing with unbroken Love for all. A mind thus cultivated gets attuned to The One and consequently becomes the master of all situations, never a slave. All religions, therefore, prescribe a list of 'dos and don’ts'.
Ch.21; Recharge The Mind
In this chapter, Gurudev reminds us that we have seen how the mind functions, currently, as a scatter-gun; that there have been mentioned, techniques to bring the mind to bear on single fields of enquiry and contemplation. How, in training the mind thusly, it becomes potent, obedient and filled with vitality. At early stages of meditation, advice was to chant, first aloud and then mentally, finally finding that the mind is focused only on the moment - a moment in which there is a profound silence, one which might be termed as 'emptiness'. This emptiness must not be mistaken for nothingness (nonexistence)! The mumukshu will experience ever longer spells within that silence, which remains dynamic, and it is here that the Eternal is discovered. This is the transcendence which many hear about, but very few indeed will ever truly encounter, for the world of objects is something to which the jivaatman is so very attached. Gurudev cites the example of our ancestors being faced with volcanoes and the effects of severe climates; had they known of the microscopic nature of life and how it was possible to survive the rages of Nature, would they not have been less fearful and superstitious? The advanced level meditation which brings about the silence mentioned here is like the discovery of the microscopic life and helps us to survive in the macroscopic.
We are not accustomed to such inner silence. Indeed, there are many folk who are fearful of sitting with themselves this way.
When we delve into this silence, we are in the realm of Truth - it is the ultimate achievement for the human being; in that moment of silence we have the opportunity to truly experience divinity. Recognising it is also a bit of a challenge and sometimes we can become distracted by 'false' experiences, even here! At no time must we give the mind any chance of going off at a tangent.
This is when it useful to have a directive verse to focus upon; Gurudev provides three pages of examples… do obtain a copy of the publication in order to benefit!