Monday is AUM-day; in search of meditation.
We have been exploring the writings of Gurudev, through his book 'Meditation & Life'. All the instructive chapters have been rendered and now there follows twelve 'chapters' which are designed for contemplation both before and after each meditation session. Please note that the actual writings of Gurudev are quite lengthy, so only the gist and key points are going to be given here. You are again encouraged to seek out a copy of the book to keep to hand as it is an inspiration and with each reading something more will drop into place.
Ch. 33; Inner repose
When talking about true meditation we are, in fact, discussing the science of Reality or æüiv*a/brahmavidyaa. All of Vedanta, which is provided through the various teachings of the Rsis, points to this. In Yoga Vashishta, the Guru says, 'Through the elimination of all perceptions, when our mind is uplifted from its natural oscillations between its likes and dislikes, we experience a subjective thrill of joy. To strive to reach this state of experience is called practicing the science of Reality.'
This authoritative statement points to two things; a) methodology of withdrawing our senses from the world of objects and b) methodology of control of mind when one must interact with the sensory world.
We are constantly in a state of rag-Öe;/raaga-dvesha - likes and dislikes - and in our general ignorance, we pay attention to these, allowing them to direct our living. Thus it becomes clear that control of raaga-dvesha is likely to bring some calm. Majority of saadhana is about this only! Learning to control ourselves whilst in connection with the external world, whilst at one and the same time learning to connect with the inner. To do the first without the second would lead to as much if not more trouble; there are many folk in the world who 'withdraw', but in a manner which might more be termed 'hiding', from the world but without the succour and strength which comes from self-Self-exploration. Many will say 'but I go through my dose of scriptures every day and yet still I am in turmoil' - what they have failed to do as allow the scriptures to 'dose' them!
Even when our mind is relatively calm, if we have not learned to switch off the sense organs also, they will disrupt our Higher connection. How often has one sat for meditation and mother/wife is cooking the breakfast; our sense of smell for the pancakes or dosa brings the information into the brain, which alerts the mind and captures our mind from its High focus, pulling it back into the realm of the BMI?! Similar things can happen for sound, touch, and also for taste and sight - even if we are sitting with eyes closed, images will come before us from that deeper mind and if we have not addressed our hunger sufficiently before sitting, taste will play its tricks.
In learning to use our intellect to quash all such uprisings, developing an inner repose which cannot be distracted by the 'children' of our body, we can rise ever Higher in spiritual exploration.
It takes constant practice of steady contemplation upon the nature of Self, reflection upon it, reasoning about it, debating it, becoming convinced of it, for a seeker to fund the 'inner repose' which is sought. The more one is convinced and gains benefits of the practice, the more one develops a taste for it and the easier it is to leave off the lesser 'tastes'. Gurudev writes, 'the force with which the sense organs run and the depth to which they drag us… will depend upon the frequency of agitation in our mind; and these agitations depend upon the type of values or motives we entertain. The quality of the values we respect gets reflected in the quality of thought we entertain and the nature our thoughts determines the texture and nobility of our actions.'
The reference is to the trigunas - saatva, rajas, tamas. Those who are predominantly tamas can rise out of it if there is sufficient practice to light the inner fire for improvement. To do this, they must fund rajasic elements; action and daily activity brings us up from the gutter of sloth and lustful tendencies. A rajasic person who is constantly restless can benefit from encouraging saatvik practices and thinking. Tamas dominance in the mind creates total lack of interest in proper connection with the world, there is no ambition or true intelligence in tamasic thinking and the values are of a base nature. In rajas, whilst much is done in 'doing' it tends also to be selfish; there is an expectation of personal gain and self-satisfaction in dominant rajas. The ego runs high. There are many of rajasic nature who carry noble thoughts and this nobility will come through in their deeds, but there will always be a background of self-gratification and aggrandizement in it.
The Sattvika is ever in a state of calmness and natural repose. A lucky few are born with this as their dominant guna, but mostly we have to learn it. Sattvik thinking and values mean an alert and ever-present personality; in tune with the world around and congruent within. Their thoughts are quiet and focused; their actions will carry grace and meaning without expectation of notice; there will be a serenity that is captivating.
All who attain a dominance of sattva are sure to succeed when they subject themselves to saadhana with sincerity and devotion. Indeed, it can seem, when one adopts such practice, that our spirituality 'speeds up' - perhaps so, but please, hasten slowly.