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. 36; Consistent Efforts
'It is a fact that very many are disappointed in their spiritual attempts and they find themselves often worse off than they were before, even after years of daily meditation. Such sad failures are primarily due to the seekers' unpreparedness to merit an entry into the Higher realms of Consciousness.'
Thus states Gurudev at the start of this chapter of the book. It is said again and again, just as the teacher will say it of the times tables in maths, or grammar in language… you cannot go to the advanced levels without being fully and functionally clear and accurate in the foundation modules! It may be that due to 'spirit' being such a numinous concept, there may be a tendency to not give it appropriate value for the study and application involved. Also, as there are cheats in the general education system, there are those who would seek to cheat in spirituality.
Even those who do follow all the practices and injunctions, there can come periods of stagnation; a spiritual plateau, if you will. Quite often this can be a sign that the practitioner is getting caught up in the 'sideshows' of the journey; even as we evolve, there are still thoughts and emotions and although more subtle and perhaps of higher quality, they are still distractions.
There must be a constant and consistent striving to detach the mind from all its play. This takes a very dedicated personality. Shankaraacharya declares in Jiivanmukti Viveka, 'annihilation of the mind comes readily to one who is not excited easily ad who is a steady striver.'
Then again, even those who succeed in detachment from mind and who are progressing nicely, can sometimes become dispirited and dejected. For such a one the fall from the heights is painful indeed. Our vaasanas, those time-bombs of the personality, can explode even in the advanced stages - simply due to having been most deeply buried and covered over, only revealing themselves due to the very fact of greater advancement. It takes a significant strength and courage to overcome these late-exploding moments.
Yes, we must fund within ourselves a consistent enthusiasm to keep on keeping on. Faith, born of Knowledge, supplies the enthusiasm, and this can only be found when we get involved in our studies, participate in reflections and clarify our understanding to the level of acceptance which transforms into faith. For those who stumble and fail to catch the 'theme' of the teaching and also for those who have difficulty retaining the information, it is recommended to attend regular discussion groups and sit in satsang with those more advanced in the learning. For those, though, who are able to apply themselves to the learning and to retain it, being consistent and diligent in practice, the Divine shines its blessings and help upon them. "The Lord helps those who help themselves"!
Be aware, that no matter how meticulous one is in consistency of practice, the mind remains an ever-present devil! It is far too easy for the 'thought-monkey' to awaken and frisk about again. Consistency goes a long way in this pursuit, bit it also requires stamina, perseverance… indeed, almost a kind of heroism. The human critter is very adept at finding 'explanations' (read excuses) for why something is not working, but the genuine seeker will acknowledge it is simply that there is more work to do. Then get on and do it.
'Be alert. Be vigilant. Avoid all compromises. Be firm on the principles of self-control. Yield not to the mind's charms. Keep cheerful. Turn the mind to the Higher. In devotion, cry out for help from both Lord and teacher. Sing the Lord's glories. Repeat your mantra. Redirect the mind and channel it to reach the thoughts Divine. Success is sure for the sincere. Stop not till the goal is reached… remember to hasten - but slowly.'