'Freedays' are the 'gather our thoughts' days; Q&As; a general review of the week so far…
Last Freeday, the idea of 'commitment' was presented. Daily reading of the teachings here does indeed show some level of commitment to yourself. Something draws the reader back for more. Not just reading/shravanam, though; also deep contemplation/mananam is asked of you, and meditation/nididhyaasanam. Then there are the practical measures of japa, bhajans, daily dedication of activity… and keeping a measure of it all.
The measure you have been asked to utilise for the duration of teachings at this blog is "the note book"… At Sandeepany, we got through a copious number of such notebooks. They are treasured as much as the texts which were studied. It is in these notebooks that one can find where one's thinking 'was at' in an earlier stage of Vedantic understanding. This can raise a laugh, or bring a shrug of embarassment. The understanding of oneself as a human being is what benefits most profoundly from study of this philosophy; if, in the process, a true sense of Spirit and connectedness arises also, so much the better.
` © Yamini Ali MacLean
What is more, if one is of a different faith-structure background, particularly of Christianity, one can return to reading the familiar scriptures with a fresh and sometimes amazed 'eye'.
The further one progresses in the study of Vedanta, the deeper becomes one's appreciation of the sameness of things within our global community.
At the very least, in the note book, you ought to have been noting down all the regularly used Sanskrit terms. Making yourself familiar with them does help when listening to discourses on the 'tube'… and it ought to be seen by now that the English versions of many of the key terms are just inadequate. Each time the word saadhana is used, for example, we know that it means daily practice, but it can also be used in context of 'means' or 'instrument', as in "make me an instrument of your peace, Lord"; saadhana is not simply going through rote chanting or japa, or habitual morning prayers; it is exercising the mind-body connection with only the Higher as focus in order to cleanse ourselves at all levels. When we are asked to attend to our saadhana, it is not that we must think, "oh another chore for the day". It is to be embraced with fullness of heart, Love, ambition even. Ambition to raise ourselves little by little to an increased vibration of energy and experience in each and every day. In knowing this, we can also transform our every thought, word and deed into saadhana.
...and we can note it in the book so as to have a measure of our progress.
Make the book pretty. If it is a cheap stationer's book, cover it with pretty paper. If you can afford it, buy an artisan notebook. Keep the book by your altar/meditation space. Treat this journal of your Self-discovery with the respect it deserves; cherish what it represents. Have the ambition to one day look back upon it and be able to say without fear or shame, "yes, I was blind but now I see".