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Attention

 

 

Every living creature—even a simple cell, however infinitesimal it may be—is conscious of its own life and apprehensive of death. From the moment that living beings—whether humans, animals, or corpuscles (i.e. minute body or cell in an organism) invisible to our senses—acquired a fragile body, continually menaced by all sorts of predators, by natural disasters, and by death, the necessity to protect it has engendered within them the elusive faculty of attention—which varies for every species, according to its degree of evolution, its intelligence, and its level of being.

 

As, from their birth, living beings are obliged to struggle by all possible means to assure their subsistence and protect themselves from all that puts their physical existence in peril, they are, despite themselves, constrained to exert their attention without respite (i.e. without a short period of rest from something difficult or unpleasant) so as not to lose what has become most precious to them: their carnal envelope. For, as soon as a certain perception of their existence awakens within them, their corporeal form transforms into an indispensable instrument, by way of which alone they can feel themselves and be conscious of their existence in this world. Paradoxically, all these dangers that ceaselessly menace their survival not only encourage them to appreciate their incarnate existence, but also play a preponderant role in the development of their attention and in the growth of their intelligence.

 

It is necessary—especially for a seeker already engaged on a spiritual path—to understand and accept the fact that, contrary to what one habitually thinks, without these external dangers that constantly menace human beings’ lives, without the unexpected problems that they must perpetually resolve, and without the physical and emotional suffering linked to such an uncertain and precarious earthly existence, they would sleep within themselves forever; there would be no way of persuading them to make the effort to awaken in order to discover within themselves another universe, beyond time and space, which alone can give meaning to their life.

 

It is only with the development of attention that human beings’ intelligence grows. Their attention constitutes the third part of a trinity within them; it is situated between the Superior and Celestial Aspect of their nature, and the inferior and ordinary aspect of themselves.

 

* * *

 

Without the aspirant realizing it, his attention is the most precious weapon and the most precious treasure he possesses. When he allows his attention to be attracted and held by something, whatever it may be, without him being conscious of it, he places that thing between the Sublime and himself. And, as time passes, he finally becomes too identified with and attached to what holds his attention—whether that be an object of pleasure or a human being—which thus forms a screen between the Sacred and himself, blinds him, and does not allow the Divine Light to reach and illuminate his being.

 

It proves vital for a seeker who has just set himself to meditation or Yoga practice, to be on his guard from the beginning, in order to clearly see that, whatever the object his attention gravitates towards, it is there that he will indubitably find himself. Every thought that occupies his mind, consciously or unconsciously, is only nurtured and maintained within him by his attention. It is his attention that gives it life. If he does not consent to give it his attention, this thought cannot continue to exist within him; it dies through lack of nourishment.

 

Habitually, human beings do not realize to what extent nor in what way their attention constitutes a sort of combustible substance, because it is only through their attention that their thoughts and imaginings can find the force to manifest themselves and subsist within them. Without them being conscious of it, their attention acts as the indispensable combustible material through which their minds can dream and wander where they like—just like the oil in a lamp, which feeds and keeps alive the flame of the wick.

 

Now, the Divine Aspect of human beings also has need of this combustible substance, of their attention, to be able to reveal Itself in their beings and manifest Itself within them.

 

It is the precious gem of their attention that human beings use to set in motion their pointless inner chatter (which imprisons them within themselves and renders their lives sterile), their physical or other desires (which they want, most often, to satisfy without worrying about the consequences), as well as their incessant dreams of permanent earthly happiness (impossible to attain in this form of existence, which is so changeable and full of unexpected events). Without attention, no thought, no fantasy, no covetousness can take life within them.

 

If the aspirant succeeds in awakening, even if only a little, in order to be sufficiently distant from himself, so that he can see what his attention is wasted upon most of the time and what kinds of useless and worthless thoughts or fantasies he is constantly nurturing and keeping alive within him through the precious tool of his attention, he cannot but be horrified!

 

Human beings do not realize that at every moment they are forging themselves into what they are and what they will become, through the kinds of thoughts they allow themselves to feed with the precious treasure of their attention. They do not see the extent to which, unbeknownst to them, they are ceaselessly manipulated by their minds. Human beings are, in a way, comparable to land that one wants to make fertile. To start with, the weeds must be eradicated, the soil turned so that it can breathe, then fertilizer needs to be added; after that, the seeds have to be planted and every young seedling cared for daily so that it can become a tree bearing a great quantity of fruit that will, in the end, contribute to feeding a multitude. The seeker must also consent to go through fairly similar stages: first he must clear his mind, through conscious efforts, then he must sow, in the field of his being, all that is positive and noble so that he can be transformed into a fine instrument that is useful to his Creator and to his fellows. And it is precisely here that his attention plays such an important role in the transformation of himself and his tendencies.

 

In addition, a plant needs light to survive. It is also necessary to water it regularly to assure its healthy growth. In the same way, the superior aspirations of human beings need to be continually fed by the spiritual light provided by reading sacred texts and spending time with men and women who are more evolved than they are. These aspirations also need to be fed every day by attention, so as to assure not only their survival, but also their development within human beings, because if these superior aspirations are not restimulated and maintained day after day, it will be human beings’ ordinary thoughts that will gain the upper hand and inhabit them to their cost. Thus they will live only a banal and vegetative existence. Their sojourn on this Earth will unfold only in the perpetual concern with preserving their physical envelopes and gratifying their various needs.

 

The aspirant must understand that unless he makes conscious and tenacious efforts to awaken to another world within him, a world that belongs to another dimension, beyond time and space, he is programmed by Great Nature to be nothing but an instrument of reproduction, animated by an irrepressible sexual desire in order to serve its design, which is the perpetuation of the species.

 

The sort of attention that human beings generally possess is sufficient for the protection and maintenance of their planetary bodies. However, it is far from being what is necessary for a spiritual quest, which demands a different sort of attention, entirely unknown ordinarily—such a subtle, alert, and vivid attention that it alone can allow the seeker to approach true meditation practice as well as true spiritual work in his daily life.

 

* * *

 

There is a particular link between attention and thoughts. As previously mentioned, it is attention that, without them being conscious of it, works in human beings like combustible material and, thus, animates and perpetuates thoughts within them. And they vibrate within themselves according to the sorts of thoughts that habitually unfold in their minds. Furthermore, they cannot avoid drawing to them the particular conditions corresponding to the way they think and vibrate within themselves.

 

In their ordinary, passive state of being, they do not see that it is their minds that use them and not they who use their minds. It is here that lies the cause of all the misunderstandings and the dissension in the world, because the judgments people habitually make are solely based on what gives satisfaction to their desires and their ambitions and depend on what they believe to be good or bad. They are not capable of reflecting objectively nor of creating sufficient silence within themselves to be able to respond to the call of something more elevated in their being so that a change in their way of thinking and being might occur within them.

 

An unenlightened person wishes for the world and all that surrounds him to conform to what he wants and does not want, as well as what he thinks is good or bad. Another does not agree with him, as he also desires everything to correspond to what he does and does not like and the way he thinks things should be. A third is outraged by what the other two want, for he also has his own ideas about the way everything should work. And so wars break out with all the destruction and suffering they bring in their wake.

 

This phenomenon, alas, is even found in the various religions of the world. Because they are cut off from their Divine Source, human beings do not see that they are only thinking and acting through their ordinary aspect. Everyone has his or her own opinions about the way things should be and wants to impose his or her beliefs on others, by force if necessary.

 

It is important for someone who has just set out on this spiritual journey in a country that is, as yet, unknown to him, to realize, with all of himself, that every tenacious thought, every fantasy (sexual or otherwise) and all inner chatter can only arise in his mind and continue to live within him through the invisible combustible element of his attention, which he consents to give to them. Without him usually being conscious of it, the priceless gem of his attention is, most of the time, wasted in feeding all his thoughts, all his fantasies, and all his inner chatter (most often harmful to himself as well as others), thus allowing them to occupy the hearth of his being—and always at his expense.

 

As long as human beings use their attention to nurture and keep alive all that unfolds in their minds—without discrimination between what is useful and constitutes an aid to their spiritual evolution and what proves unfavorable and is a hindrance to that evolution—and as long as they continue, blindly or through weakness, to allow these spectral entities to take root in their beings, these entities will always remain masters of their inner dwelling, taking the place that should be occupied within them by their Supreme Self.

 

In discovering the dark aspect of his inferior nature, instead of being discouraged or even demoralized, a motivated seeker can use all of his negative thoughts, every feeling of ill-will, and every harmful tendency he discerns in himself—on condition that he regards them without identifying or being emotionally involved with them—as so many means to awaken and turn towards another world within himself, where reigns the unchanging silence of his Celestial Being—just as a bird uses the very resistance of the air as a support to rise aloft.

 

In this way, a mysterious and invisible alchemy may begin to operate in the aspirant, to transform the “crude metal” of his ordinary self into sparkling “Gold.” All his unfavorable penchants and habits—which not only have crystallized within him since he arrived on this Earth, but have also plunged their roots into a time that is so mysteriously distant—must inevitably go through the furnace of ardent work on himself to be sublimated and transformed into traits of inner beauty, so that he becomes worthy of bringing to others the Divine Light and spiritual knowledge he will have acquired after so many years of hard and tenacious efforts.

 

It will then be possible for him to have a glimpse of the real meaning of the word “love”—a word that springs so often from people’s mouths, but whose true sense is so misunderstood, the sentiment itself being so rarely felt. This word “love,” which turns up continually in everyday language, is, alas, even used to express tastes or opinions on things that are entirely banal and unimportant!

 

Ordinarily, one does not see that, generally, one speaks without being conscious of oneself or of what one is saying. The speed with which most people verbally express their thoughts—often without reflecting upon the true meaning of their words or the effect they have on others—does not allow them to see that they are only repeating formulae or phrases acquired mechanically from childhood, which have become habits within them that they practically never question.

 

People do not realize that the word “love”—which is commonly uttered so easily, without concern for the use made of it or what one is associating it with—also signifies attention and compassion, because compassion cannot be dissociated from love.

 

Again, one cannot but remark the extent to which attention proves to be a vital element in a seeker’s work and that it intervenes in all domains, including that of love.

 

If human beings were sufficiently conscious of themselves—that is to say conscious in a way that is not habitual to them—and masters of their attention, they could no longer speak or act as they do ordinarily. Indeed, what one generally calls “love” is, most often, only the expression of the desire to gratify pressing physical needs or to satisfy one’s personal ambitions and interests of the moment.

 

Moreover, human beings are, most of the time, so imprisoned within themselves and so identified with their daily worries that they practically never consider the problems or needs of others in a right way. Sometimes it takes very little for what one calls love to transform into indifference, if not hate.

 

As long as human beings remain cut off from their Divine Source and as long as they do not know, through direct experience, the Divine within themselves, they, most often, only unconsciously obey an instinct of preservation that arises in their profane selves and drives them to live only for themselves and for the various goods they want to obtain from the great external world, in order to meet the pressing demands of their little inner worlds.

 

As they ordinarily are, they are far too identified with what is happening most of the time in their minds, with their daily problems, and with their various physical needs to succeed in being sufficiently distant from themselves in order to begin to know themselves. Because of their conditioning, they spend their terrestrial existence with a sort of stranger within them or, one could even say, with an invisible entity that has taken possession of their beings, which inhabits them and manipulates them as it will, according to its desires of the moment. Furthermore, as their habits—whether they are good or bad—ceaselessly grow and become crystallized within them as they age, all that they see or hear around them sets in motion a mechanism that, without them being conscious of it, automatically sets off within them associations of ideas and corresponding emotions that succeed one another with great rapidity, just like in their nocturnal dreams. In all these mental processes, it is their attention that, without them perceiving it, is taken from them and used, most often, futilely.

 

Unless they have the chance to meet someone who helps them to awaken, they will continue to remain at the mercy of this stranger within them—with which they are so identified, to the point of taking it to be themselves. This invisible aspect of their personalities keeps them in its grip and uses them for the gratification of its various ambitions and its physical appetites, which not only all constitute obstacles to their spiritual fulfillment, but also ceaselessly cause problems for their fellows as well as all other living creatures who have the misfortune to share this planet with them.

 

Without them ever being conscious of it, the thoughts of human beings continually twist and turn and change direction endlessly within their minds, like clouds in the sky, at the will of the wind. Furthermore, like sleepers who—unless they are awoken—do not know that they sleep, they also do not realize that they are hardly ever conscious of themselves in the way they need to be in order to be able to realize what is happening within them. Sometimes, it takes so little for the thing they like at a given moment to lose all interest for them, especially if they no longer need it. On the other hand, tomorrow, they may like the very thing they do not like today, if they should discover that it can be useful to them after all. This also applies to the love a man bears a woman and vice-versa. True, disinterested, and compassionate love seems unknown to most of the human beings inhabiting this Earth.

 

As and when the aspirant advances spiritually and his inner eyes open, he will no longer consider the outside world in the same way. Moreover, he will no longer be able to obey the blind impulses within him in the same way. He will no longer want to act for the satisfaction of his ordinary personal interests, but to respond to something elusive that belongs to another Universe within him, incomprehensible to the people of this world. He will then feel the imperative necessity to change his way of thinking, being, and behaving in everyday life, in order to be ever more honorable and true inside, to become worthy of being admitted into a Holy Place within himself and dwelling there.

 

What one habitually calls “love” will take on a completely different meaning for him. He will begin to find himself in what can only be called a state of love that is beyond him—a compassionate and indescribable state of love that will rise from the depths of his being and cannot fail to touch the people who come into contact with him. As previously mentioned, one cannot dissociate love from compassion and attention. Thus, the aspirant will be ever more attentive and sensitive to the suffering and needs of others, in an entirely particular way that one cannot ordinarily know. He will feel their pain and their emotional distress with inhabitual compassion.

 

This state of love in which he will so mysteriously find himself, as the result of his long years of spiritual practice, will always remain an enigma for him. He will be unable to describe or understand how it manifests itself within him. All he will know is that, suddenly, this state inhabits and illuminates his being. He will always be seized by wonder before its presence within him. This special love will radiate from him, independently of his will, to bring a little light and consolation to others in the painful moments of their lives—just as light emanates naturally from the sun.

 

* * *

 

It is always their attention that is involved in what is happening within human beings as well as in all that they do in the external world—whether for good or ill. It is only through their extremely developed attention that great composers can create musical works so prodigious that they elevate listeners to another plane of being, thus allowing them to experience entirely inhabitual sentiments which it is impossible for them to feel otherwise—sublime sentiments that belong to another elusive universe, inhabited by “Devas” (gods) and their “Gandharvas” (celestial musicians).

 

Furthermore, this music, composed by geniuses with the help of their attention, will, subsequently, year after year, for centuries even, put to work the attention of all the members of symphony orchestras, without them being conscious of what is happening within them. Thus, one can say that through their attention and their great capacity for concentration, composers become, despite themselves, spiritual masters of sorts for all the performers in an orchestra, for the conductor, for the soloists, and even, to some extent, for the listeners too.

 

Is it possible to imagine the many years of hard work on attention and concentration necessary for a pianist to one day be able to rise to the challenge presented by performing, from memory, before an extremely critical audience, a concerto by Beethoven or Brahms, which contains thousands of notes, changes in harmony, modulations, and complicated rhythms? Is it possible to imagine what a great singer needs by way of long tenacious practice of attention and concentration before being able to sing by heart, before an extremely severe public, an opera by Puccini, such as Madame Butterfly or Turandot? One might then, perhaps, understand how much more concentration and, above all, division of attention is demanded of a great composer to be able to write a symphonic work that requires such a great number of musicians for its performance and which is like the creation of a marvelous universe in miniature, where so many different things unfold simultaneously.

 

Thus, it can be seen that, in every great artistic realization, it is always attention that plays the preponderant role. Through attention, the positive effect of these works continues, for centuries after the death of their author, to spread across the world in order to help other people in their efforts to master their attention.

 

Moreover, one can only be filled with wonder when one thinks that, even a long time after the death of great geniuses (such as Beethoven, Brahms, César Franck, or Gustav Mahler), their music continues to nurture the sentiments and minds of an incalculable number of men and women, exalting them and bringing a little light into their lives—a light that is not of this world and that can, little by little, open to them an unhoped-for door to another Universe, so subtle, so fine, and so sublime, that they carry deep within their beings without ordinarily knowing it.

 

Furthermore, music of such genius constantly helps humanity in other ways too; is it truly possible to imagine the number of people throughout the world who have been nurtured and financially supported by the very admirable musical creations of a great composer, such as Beethoven, since he departed this planet? All the performers and their families, the conductors, the soloists, without forgetting either all the people working in the concert halls, the music printers, the impresarios, the instrument makers, etc., all of whom have been able to provide for their needs through the attention and labor of a single human being—or perhaps it would be more correct to say of a giant: Beethoven! What immense work must have been produced by this prodigious musician to succeed in leaving behind him such a great quantity of works—despite the terrible handicap of deafness which began quite early in his life and even though he lived only fifty-seven years. Incidentally, to someone who exclaimed that he must live in a world of enchantments where inspiration flowed in abundance and without effort, he responded indignantly: “My music is only one percent inspiration, the rest is ninety-nine percent perspiration!”

 

The people of this world, plunged into the darkness of their spiritual ignorance, cannot understand in what sense an enlightened being or a great artist is sacrificed. He comes to this earth predestined to be sacrificed for the whole of humanity, without them being conscious of it, in order to help them, directly or indirectly, to apprehend the meaning of their existence on this planet. A great musical genius is even sometimes condemned to spend his whole life in poverty, with no other desire within him than to occupy himself with his artistic creations, in order to accomplish an enigmatic destiny that remains forever elusive for the majority of those who people this Earth.

 

Instead of wasting the precious tool of his attention in worthless thoughts and activities, as most men and women do, the musical genius, driven by a mysterious instinct that is beyond the comprehension of the masses, struggles ceaselessly with himself to concentrate all his forces and all his attention with the sole aim of bringing forth his creations. Indeed, it is only through the continual sacrifice of himself, of what he does and does not want ordinarily, and of everything that might bring him the distracting and fleeting pleasures that most people seek, that he succeeds in being sufficiently concentrated and inwardly silent to hear the mysterious voice that murmurs in his ears the inspirations that are so strangely sublime and moving that they will subsequently transport his listeners into the domain of the gods.

 

It is in this way that not only does the whole of humanity benefit from the work and the sacrifice of a great genius, but the genius himself also benefits from it, because throughout his whole life, he exerts his attention—like an aspirant during his meditation practice or his spiritual exercises in active life. It is right that the price to pay should be so high; it could not be otherwise, with regard to the spectacular result for the world when the attention of a human being is employed in such a positive direction.

 

When someone has used the gift of his life in a constructive way, not only does he leave a beneficial trace on Earth after his departure, but he is also an example for humanity, who can thus look at the future with hope, instead of remaining tied to their self-destructive belief in a material happiness that is impossible to make concrete.

 

The wrong that one does also leaves its imprint upon the world. If, in acting to satisfy a personal interest or in not doing his work properly, someone causes suffering to another, that other may be so emotionally disturbed that, without him meaning to, the state in which he finds himself will trouble other people who come into contact with him and, in their turn, they will also be unable to help disturbing those around them. In this way, the problem caused at the beginning will continue to spread across the world.

 

What a seeker does not generally realize is that, if everything he does is executed carefully and with consideration for others, it will not only be others who will benefit from that, but he will benefit too; in effect, this way of acting will, firstly, exercise his attention and, secondly, make all his qualities grow within him. In this way, it is he who will, in the long run, benefit psychically from his efforts.

 

* * *

 

Every action inevitably brings about consequences, good or bad. It is with their attention that wrong is done by human beings in the world and it is also with their attention that good is accomplished. What is more, where their attention is drawn, it is also there that their interest is. Thus, the aspirant can appreciate the inestimable value of his attention and understand the crucial role it plays in his life and in that of others—especially when he uses it consciously in his various spiritual exercises.

 

Attention can be compared to the atmosphere that surrounds the Earth, because of which alone one can see the daylight and the blue of the sky; as one leaves the earth’s atmosphere, one encounters nothing but darkness. It is the same for human beings; without their attention, by way of which alone they can join with the Light of their Celestial Being, they lose themselves ever more in a state of near dark isolation.

 

The incommensurable space of the Cosmos is made up only of eternal darkness, studded here and there with the minuscule points of light which are the stars, and of countless galaxies separated by inconceivably vast distances. The musical genius is, to some extent, comparable to one of these small points of light that tries to shine through the darkness in which humanity is plunged. He is like a solitary beacon in an immense ocean of men and women of all races who, like the waves of the sea, are ceaselessly born and die, without apprehending the true meaning of their existence on this planet. The composer struggles throughout his life to bring forth his artistic creations and, thus, to assume the mysterious role for which he was predestined. His music is like the light of a lamp that illuminates the souls of humans and shows them the path towards a subtle Universe, usually ineffable and indefinable, that they carry within their beings without being conscious of it.

 

* * *

An aspirant may benefit from observing a particular technology that can be found in the external world. If he grasps the principle, it could encourage him to become more serious and more motivated in his meditation practice, as well as in his spiritual exercises in active life, and help him to understand better the importance of his attention and the crucial role it plays in what he will become, for better or worse, according to whether he employs it in a positive manner or wastes it uselessly in thoughts and activities that are incompatible with his wish to know the Sublime within him and to accede to another plane of being beyond time and space. When, in a boiler, the flame transforms the water into steam and it is channeled and guided in a determined direction, the strong concentration of this steam becomes a formidable and powerful energy that can, then, set in motion enormous engines working for the good of all. Thus, it is through the intense concentration of steam that a locomotive can not only travel at high speed, but also draw a large number of very heavy cars, filled with merchandise of considerable weight.

 

It is the same for the seeker. When his attention has passed through the fire of long and intense meditation practice and when he has finally mastered and channeled it towards a definite aim, then—just like the strong concentration of steam within a boiler becomes a force capable of moving a colossal machine—he will be able to transmute his unfavorable tendencies into positive and creative energies. Unsuspected forces will begin to awaken within him, making him capable of executing all that will be required of him very scrupulously and, even, with a perfection that is not within reach of someone ordinary, because all the tasks he will undertake will then be carried out by another aspect of his nature, which, hitherto, remained in a latent state. He may even discover that he is capable of realizations in various artistic domains with a talent that will astonish those who know him.

 

Furthermore, the intensity of his sentiment will become a source of inspiration for the people who come into contact with him, continually encouraging them to become more motivated in their spiritual practice. A particular force that will emanate from his being will constantly touch aspirants who have come to seek from him the necessary help towards their own emancipation, because he will always want to act in their interest when they have need of him, despite the adverse circumstances he may find himself in.

 

Thus, a serious seeker cannot avoid being profoundly troubled when, through intense and sustained meditation practice, he comes to awaken a little and distance himself from himself sufficiently to be able to note that, without him ordinarily being conscious of it, it is always his attention that is involved in all he thinks, says, and does, whether for good or ill, and it is also his attention that plays a determining role in his evolution or his involution. The way he uses the gift of his attention, as well as the goal he uses it for, will indisputably make of him what he is and what he will become.

 

The moral integrity of human beings as well as their sincerity of spirit cannot subsist within them without being fed by the tool of their attention, just as evil cannot continue to exist within them either without being nourished by that precious combustible substance that is their attention.

 

When attention is channeled in a determined direction, it becomes a phenomenal force, a force that, in the same way that it animates great painters or great composers in their artistic creations, proves indispensable to the seeker in his attempts to know the mysterious Source whence he emerged and in which he will be reabsorbed at the end of his temporary passage on this planet.

 

It is only through the continual renouncement of himself and what he wants and does not want ordinarily (as the geniuses mentioned previously do) that the aspirant can come to master his attention in order to be able to hear within himself the voice of his Celestial Being which is trying to guide him on the path of his hope—a path that is sown with traps of all sorts that are difficult to recognize without the help of someone who has already gone through this kind of trial.

 

* * *

 

In addition to all that has previously been said about attention, there remains a fundamentally important point that a serious seeker must take into consideration and try to understand. It is the crucial question of his interest, because one cannot dissociate human beings’ attention from their interest. When someone is very interested in something, whether that be any sort of object or activity, his attention is inevitably used to feed that interest; effectively, what kindles his interest cannot but capture his attention.

 

Thus, just like a great painter or a musical genius who is profoundly passionate and absorbed in his artistic creations, the aspirant must also come to be so intensely interested and occupied by his quest that it becomes a question of life or death for him. His spiritual practice—meditation and exercises undertaken in active life—must take first place in his existence. Nothing else must count for him.

 

In addition, he must ceaselessly take care that his efforts and his interest do not weaken and lose their initial force, which will inevitably happen if he allows himself to be distracted by the futilities of the external world. This primordial quest must always remain the essential reason for his presence on this planet because, at the hour of his death—an inescapable moment that awaits all living beings without exception—a burning question will arise within him: “Does all I have thought and done, from the day I was born into this world, until this fatal moment, justify the enigmatic gifts of my mind, my attention, and my life?”

 

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I bought first one on Amazon Kindle. Then I was offered 30 day free trial on Kindle unlimited where you can read it for free.

The 2nd one just reinforces the understanding of the mind and it tendencies to wonder and leave the present moment. There are other good chapters like Introvert vs Extrovert mind.

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Simply enlightening.

 

 

Self-Surrender

 

There may be some days when the seeker experiences a great lack of energy to carry out his spiritual practice—because of excessive fatigue, poor health, or even unfavorable atmospheric conditions. He finds himself weighed down and incapable of stimulating himself sufficiently to approach his meditation in a lively manner. His efforts appear to him to be half-hearted and forced. He cannot reanimate his sentiment sufficiently for his spiritual aspirations to find their strength again so as to support him in his meditation and his spiritual exercises. He feels in a foggy state, inwardly arid, poor, and discouraged.

 

It is precisely at these moments, when he cannot restimulate his mind and his sentiment so as to be able to approach his meditation practice and his various concentration exercises with the necessary fervor, that he must learn the subtle art of “self-surrender.” However, in order to avoid a trap that the aspirant risks falling into without being conscious of it, it is necessary to specify that this delicate approach of “self-surrender” does not, in any way, mean sinking into a state of soothing passivity or pleasant subtle inertia—which could easily occur in an unwise seeker. If the aspirant is not sufficiently attentive and circumspect, he will, before he realizes what is happening to him, find himself cradled in a state of pleasant absence to himself, inwardly sleeping more than ever and even, without being able to control himself, drowsing during his meditation.

 

Unlike that condition of mental torpor (a state of physical or mental activity; lethargy), which may result in a sort of agreeable unconscious resignation from which it would be very difficult to detach oneself subsequently, here it is a question of attaining a very particular state of being, characterized by the highest and most subtle inner activity, accompanied by an intense awakening of consciousness. It is also an act of inward opening, extremely subtle and vivid, through which the seeker puts himself at the disposal of a force within himself which is beyond him and through which he will feel an extremely fine vibration and energy begin to act within him and animate his being.

 

If he wants to progress on this arduous path, the aspirant must succeed one day in combining all the spiritual efforts he tries to make—whether during his meditation or his concentration exercises in active life—with this very delicate and subtle inner act of “self-surrender.” He will thereby come to apprehend, through direct experience, what it means to submit to and allow himself to be carried by a superior force within him, which does not depend on his ordinary will, while continuing, simultaneously, to assume his part of the effort, which he must, in any case, still make in this enigmatic spiritual adventure.

 

This approach of “self-surrender”—which the seeker undertakes at the same time as he tries to meditate or to practice a spiritual exercise—is the most difficult inner act to understand and accomplish. It is only after many attempts and following repeated failures—everything depends on his level of being and his sensibility—that he will succeed. He will then come to realize intuitively the necessity of not intervening when a superior force begins to act within his being in order to support him in this difficult journey in quest of his Divine Identity.

 

To help the aspirant better grasp what is so difficult to describe in words, it is perhaps possible to compare this subtle inner act of “self-surrender” with the attitude of a newborn who surrenders himself quite naturally to his mother, with total relaxation and trust—a way of being that the aspirant must come to feel within him through a particular and lively understanding.

 

He must give himself to something else within him—which, to an extent, will always be beyond him—and allow the space within him to be occupied by this Superior Aspect of his double nature. He must allow It to manifest Itself in his being, according to Its Will and according to what It knows is good for him, so as to animate his aspirations and keep his various spiritual practices alive.

 

If the seeker succeeds in undertaking this delicate inner step of “self-surrender” in a right way during his meditation or his other spiritual practices—without allowing himself to sink into a state of torpor or agreeable lethargy, which could seize him so surreptitiously that he may only realize what has happened to him when he is recalled to himself—and if he succeeds in liberating himself from his ordinary will and from all that he habitually wants and does not want, then an out-of-the-ordinary state of being will begin to reveal itself mysteriously within him. This superior state of consciousness will subtly replace his customary individuality and elevate him to another plane of being that is inhabitual to him. At these privileged moments, the aspirant will feel an immense reverential respect arise within him, because he will realize that what he feels belongs to another dimension, outside time and space, ordinarily unknown. At these most blessed moments, he will be permeated by a strange sentiment of the Sacred, accompanied by an indescribable Love, which will take possession of his being, filling him with tranquil felicity.

 

* * *

 

At the beginning of his mysterious spiritual adventure, the seeker may not realize that this inner act of “self-surrender,” which must, little by little, become for him a permanent and natural way of being, in reality constitutes an apprenticeship and an important preparation for the hour of his death, the hour of the dissolution of his corporeal form—a phenomenon that no living creature (who, for a usually unfathomable reason, has taken on a visible body), no celestial star, not even the Universe can escape.

 

Knowing how to surrender himself inwardly will be an inestimable aid for the aspirant when the moment of his physical death comes and he is carried away by an invisible force, in the face of which he will find himself totally helpless. At that fatal moment, it will be so precious to him to be already familiar with this subtle inner approach of “self-surrender.”

 

All his spiritual work must, in fact, become a preparation for that implacable hour, that crucial instant when he will be initiated into something whose immensity he cannot usually conceive—unless he has already had, during his meditation, a glimpse of that enigmatic state, into which he will be reabsorbed after his death; he will then be more confident and be able to surrender himself inwardly without fear when the moment comes for him.

 

Self-surrender (which also involves renunciation of what one is in oneself and all that makes up one’s ordinary personality) will become easier to practice for the seeker the day he sees, with all of himself, the futility of his habitual state of being—a state of being and a way of feeling in which human beings are so tragically trapped, without understanding their situation or even being conscious of it. This delicate inner approach of “self-surrender,” which the aspirant must succeed in undertaking during his meditation and various spiritual exercises, will teach him to accept that life cannot be other than it is and, thus, to submit to the inevitable with the necessary understanding, which will allow him to bear with courage the vicissitudes of earthly existence.

 

This particular attitude that he must, little by little, come to establish within himself, will also teach him how to assume his destiny without rebelling if that destiny seems difficult to him. It will also prepare him to accept his physical death without resisting when that inexorable moment arrives and the god of death stands before him in all his might, enjoining him to quit the world he has known hitherto for another world with which he will, willingly or not, have to familiarize himself.

 

Paradoxically, “self-surrender”—if it is accomplished in a right way—can open to the seeker a door to the possibility of being. As long as he is not capable of being, he cannot do otherwise than react to the circumstances of external life. People are generally not capable of being; consequently, they have no control over their emotions, their thoughts, or the unfolding of their existence. Ordinarily, everything happens to them involuntarily. To be able to act or to have a certain degree of control over the events of their lives, they first need to be able to be. As long as they remain what they are, it is difficult for them to understand what it really means to act. Without ever knowing it, most of the time they only endure. They are constantly manipulated by those around them and drawn along by the changing conditions of the manifest world, without even being able to give any determined direction to their existence.

 

When an aspirant begins to “be,” not only does he have a little choice in relation to the unfolding of his life, but he also attracts more favorable conditions than those he has known hitherto and which correspond to a new way of “vibrating” within himself. Thus, his new way of being can change the course of the rest of his sojourn on Earth. So as to avoid any misunderstanding about a approach that is so difficult to explain and to put into practice correctly, it is necessary to specify once more that this subtle act of self-surrender does not, in any way, consist in remaining inert and passive; on the contrary, it involves a particular inner opening, which makes the seeker extremely alert and through which the seeker is put into contact with an aspect of his nature that exerts the highest and finest inner activity, which he cannot know in his customary state—an aspect of his nature that never sleeps and that manifests itself through a form of consciousness that he cannot not recognize when it reveals itself to his inner vision.

 

It is also important to emphasize that this act of “self-surrender” cannot, in any way, be conditional. It must, effectively, be accomplished without conditions of any sort, without expecting or anticipating anything, if the aspirant does not want to interfere with the action of a superior force that does not depend on his ordinary will and that may begin to manifest itself within him in order to illuminate his being. His attitude must be like that of a small child who does something simply for the pleasure of doing it. That is why the aspirant must be careful not to expect, consciously or unconsciously, a reward of any sort for any spiritual effort he tries to make.

 

As the seeker detaches himself from his ordinary will and becomes more open and more inwardly receptive, he will see his prayer itself transform into wordless meditation. One has less and less to say, until a mysterious and tranquil inner silence installs itself within one. Only then does it prove possible to begin to hear within oneself what was hitherto inaudible.

 

The Superior Aspect of his nature can be recognized by the aspirant only in the interval or the void separating two states or two thoughts. In this moment of silence and inner receptiveness, he will grasp this mystery that is usually completely inexplicable. God only recognizes him when he recognizes God!

 

* * *

 

To be aware of being consciousness of oneself is to begin to die to oneself and one’s ordinary will. It is also, paradoxically, to begin to be able to be, because it is only to the extent that the aspirant dies to himself that he begins to be. And it is only to the extent that he becomes capable of being that he can begin to act in life in a more right way, instead of simply reacting subjectively—as he habitually does.

 

Self-surrender also involves, for the seeker, the surrender of all the things and all the beliefs that are useless to his spiritual evolution and to which he is so attached. Because human beings are cut off from their Primordial Source, their attachment to material goods, their beliefs, and their various physical sensations has become for them a way of assuring themselves that they exist. Their attachment to the beings and things around them gives them the feeling that their identity is assured; in this way, they unconsciously have the impression of perpetuating the survival of their physical bodies. And, curiously, they are even attached to their various torments, their griefs, and their irrational fears in order to have the assurance that they exist.

 

Now, they do not see that their attachment to objects, to the people around them, and to external contingencies only reinforces their desires, which ceaselessly grow and trap them. Consequently, they draw ever further away from their Divine Essence and become more than ever incapable of regarding the world around them and manifest life in an uninvolved and objective manner.

 

Through the study of himself and his various desires, the aspirant will come to notice that it is always the thought that appears first, then this thought leads to the action; in other words, the intention always precedes the act. There is also a close relationship between the action and the motive that incites the action, whatever it is.

 

For that matter, every desire or every irrational dream of something he cannot obtain only causes torments within him. Moreover, every refusal of a situation or of the conditions of life in which his destiny has placed him only brings him sorrows—with no benefit to him.

 

If the seeker succeeds in detaching himself, even if only a little, from his ordinary state of being, in order to study himself, he will remark the contrast between the rare moments when it is really he who speaks and the long moments when he is quite simply manipulated from outside and driven to speak, the contrast between the rare moments when it is truly he who listens and the long moments when he finds himself in the grip of the external and driven to listen, the contrast between the rare instants when it is truly he who acts and the long moments when, without ever being conscious of it, he is driven by external forces simply to react, and so on. Human beings are unaware of the way in which they are helpless and do not see the extent to which they are simply the playthings of external forces that are beyond them. As long as they remain unconscious of themselves and incapable of being, there can be no choice for them in anything.

 

In the artistic domain, the creation of a pictorial or musical masterpiece can only be accomplished if the painter or the composer is capable, at least to some degree, of being while he brings forth his work. One is dazzled when contemplating the extraordinary paintings of Leonardo da Vinci or listening to the immense orchestral compositions of Richard Strauss or Gustav Mahler; however, the creation of such masterpieces was only possible because, without knowing it, the artists demonstrated, during the creative process, a certain degree of being.

 

When this delicate approach of “self-surrender” is undertaken in a right way, it results in a very particular inner awakening. The aspirant will then be put in contact with a superior force and intelligence within him which will instruct him and guide him during his difficult journey in this form of existence. He will not only be protected from himself and his ordinary desires, but also helped so that his intellectual faculties and his physical aptitudes are used towards a more elevated goal than the dreams and ambitions he pursued hitherto. He will become more conscious of the external impressions he allows to infiltrate his being. He will also be able to see when he is influenced by inferior forces within him and when he is inspired by the Superior Aspect of his nature.

 

However, this act of “self-surrender” must not, in any way, be accomplished with the desire, conscious or unconscious, of obtaining anything; that would be a sterile attitude that would bring him only disappointments or even torments. This approach must be free of all personal interest. Self-surrender, as well as attempts to remain inwardly present and awakened, must be acts of recollection and become a sort of silent prayer for the seeker.

 

It is very important that the seeker realize that is only through his patient and repeated attempts to remain present and conscious of himself in the difficult conditions of the external world that he will break, little by little, the chains of his past karma and will protect himself from any act likely to bring him new karmic debts. He will also weaken and cause to disappear the undesirable tendencies installed within him and, thus, he will change the course of his current life and his future destiny.

 

Moreover, by trying to remain conscious of himself at the same time as he tries to surrender himself inwardly, he will note, in a very particular manner, the uselessness of his ordinary state of being. An ardent wish will then be born within him to liberate himself from his servitude to the insatiable desires of his inferior self, which are obstacles on his route towards the Infinite.

 

What prevents human beings from recognizing their superior nature and attaining enlightenment is that they are not capable of grasping, or rather that they are not ready to understand the subtle aspect that is behind manifest existence. Because of an unfortunate tendency within them to always seek ease in everything and in all that they do, their gaze and their attention are, without them realizing it, only attracted to the exterior and directed passively towards the visible and concrete aspect of life. They content themselves with what their sensory organs convey to them by way of impressions. Meditation practice and spiritual exercises have the precise goal of elevating the seeker’s level of consciousness in order to allow him to inwardly cross the threshold of the tangible and recognize, behind it, the subtle and immutable aspect of his double nature, which the laws of gravity and dissolution cannot affect.

 

As, ordinarily, human beings are unaware of the superior aspect of their being, they lose themselves in the pleasures of the senses, in fantasies of all kinds, which bear no relation to reality or the maintenance of their earthly lives, and in futile mental ruminations that are often even self-destructive.

The superior nature within them is a state of grace that eludes the comprehension of the mass of humanity, whose sole interest is centered on the visible and material aspect of Creation. When, through sincere and tenacious efforts, the aspirant succeeds in discovering the Light of his Superior Being and immersing himself in it, subtle creative energies will awaken within him, which will be able to accomplish miracles in his mind and in his way of seeing himself. These subtle energies will be able to give his existence a new direction, completely different from that taken previously. All that used to preoccupy him and be close to his heart before will then lose its importance in his eyes, thus liberating his mind and his thoughts, so that he can put himself at the disposal of this other aspect of his nature. The transformation that will occur in his being will make him capable of apprehending Creation from a radically different perspective. He will draw his inspiration and his strength from an invisible Universe within his being, allowing him to realize his superior destiny and bring wisdom and hope to his fellows who, unaware of the existence of another world within them, live only in discord and perpetual conflict, without gaining any benefit for their evolution from it.

 

Self-surrender is, in fact, a simple approach, but not easy to perform. Because human beings have left the domain of sentiment to fall into that of thought, they have lost a certain tranquility of mind and the sense of beauty. Consequently, they live more and more on the surface of themselves and are now only governed by their minds, instead of being governed by the wisdom and the aesthetic sentiment of their Superior Being. Being thus transformed into a coldly intellectual being, their minds and their emotions have become dramatically active and leave them not a moment’s respite. From this aspect of themselves, they do not know and cannot know peace.

 

Because of the incessant activity of their minds, the screen of clean and immutable consciousness that exists behind all this uncontrolled agitation and din within them always eludes them. Being receptive to something higher within oneself necessitates distancing oneself from what one is habitually and concentrating, without distraction, until one accedes to an inner silence, which alone can allow the Sublime within one to be discovered.

 

When a fierce storm strikes the ocean, the waves attain spectacular heights and furiously crash together. However, although the waves are performing their wild and chaotic dance on the surface, as one plunges into the mysterious depths of the oceans, one finds ever more tranquility, until one comes to absolute calm. It is the same for human beings; the more they succeed in descending into the depths of their being, the more they find inner immobility and peace of mind.

Yet, they are like corks without consistency, floating on the surface of the sea, swept along by the waves, which carry them where they will; when one tries to pull them down into the depths, they systematically bob back up to the surface, as though on a spring.

 

* * *

 

Despite their efforts and all the technical means they may invent, however prodigious these means may be, human beings cannot succeed in making permanent their bodies or the objects of their pleasure or the conditions of this world, which, like all things created in time and space, cannot but be unstable and in perpetual movement and which are prey to the god of death—in the same way as the planet, on which they live and on which they depend entirely for the maintenance of their physical existence, is in continual movement, always changing and inexorably destined to disappear one day.

 

One can only know what is immutable and celestial within one when one succeeds in detaching oneself from one’s ordinary desires, in calming the agitation of one’s mind, and in creating within oneself a certain degree of silence. To succeed in this, it is first necessary to accept the inevitable—to accept the precarious and uncertain conditions of this form of existence that cannot be avoided—then to really understand what this important act of “self-surrender” consists in. Despite what the word “surrender” might suggest, paradoxically this action is not, in any way, passive, but rather, as previously mentioned, belongs to the highest and finest inner activity, which has nothing in common with the crude and obvious activity of the external world.

 

It is only when the aspirant succeeds in being conscious of himself in a way that is not habitual to him, that he will come to be sufficiently distant from himself to notice what is happening within him most of the time and which, ordinarily, eludes him. He will thus be able to discover, with a new gaze, the various manifestations and tendencies of his profane self, which are obstacles to his spiritual quest. Through continual repetition of this gaze on the one who habitually acts within him, the distance between the one who sees and the one who is seen will increase and, the greater this distance between the one who sees and the one who is seen, the greater will be the possibility for the seeker of recognizing this mysterious Immutable and Silent Spectator that he carries in his being.

 

The aspirant will begin to perceive better, in brief flashes at the beginning, the aspect of himself from which he must detach himself so as to be capable of seeing what is happening within him. And, as he continues to observe who is acting within him habitually, a very particular knowledge of what must be inwardly sacrificed throughout his whole life—to allow his superior nature to reign in his being—will grow within him, in an ever clearer way. Self-surrender will also prove to be closely linked to the surrender of his ordinary self—of his individuality as he usually knows it.

 

It is only on the day that he truly recognizes the futility of persisting in nurturing the changing and meaningless fantasies of his profane self that he will find the strength to turn his gaze inward, towards that other aspect of his double nature and to use the precious gift of his attention to maintain himself in that state of being that he must, henceforward, try to hold onto with all of himself.

 

However, it is important to understand that the seeker will be unable to renew this effort of presence to himself—which is the condition of an inhabitual state of consciousness—if he is already carried away and engulfed in his customary state of absence, for, once trapped in this state of absence, it is impossible for him to remember to accomplish this particular effort so as to be inwardly present and conscious of himself.

 

It is only after some time of absence to himself, when a recovery of consciousness suddenly occurs within him, that the aspirant will discover that not only was he absent the moment before, but also that this recovery of consciousness mysteriously occurred within him without him having sought it. This state of consciousness, which manifests itself within him in such an apparently unexpected way, is the result of his previous attempts to remain present to himself. This reminder arises within him as a reward for his previous efforts so as to help him better grasp what is involved for him in this spiritual practice that is so out of the ordinary and what his contribution must be in this strange adventure.

 

What is required of the seeker at such moments is to try, with all his seriousness, to prolong this precious inhabitual presence for as long as possible, before it deteriorates and once again merges with his ordinary state and he loses it completely. It is necessary for him to realize that, once he has felt and recognized this particular consciousness within him, his task will then consist of trying to preserve it for as long as possible or, at the very least, to renew it before it becomes too weak and finally vanishes completely. By constantly trying to revive this state of presence within himself every time it begins to deteriorate and lose its initial force, the aspirant will, little by little, come to know the weak points that cause his fall. He will also be able to see once more that this inhabitual consciousness of oneself inevitably involves the renunciation of oneself and what one usually is—this habitual way of being and feeling which is so deeply rooted in human beings following long conditioning and to which they are not only enslaved, but also, curiously, tragically attached.

 

Every time the seeker tries to remain conscious of himself, he will remark ever more clearly his enslavement to his customary state of being and the various penchants within him which prove to be obstacles to his spiritual aspirations. Thus he will understand, from the depths of himself, the necessity of liberating himself from all these tendencies in order to be capable of obeying something more elevated within him. It is only to the extent that he succeeds in remaining present and joined to this other aspect of his nature that the transformation of his undesirable traits can be effected.

 

The aspirant’s attitude plays a determining role in this difficult inner approach. What matters here is that he continues to observe the manifestations of his inferior nature with the necessary tenacity and patience, but in an uninvolved way and without allowing, at any moment, a feeling of guilt to install itself within him.

 

Corporeal sensation contributes enormously to helping the seeker become more present and conscious of himself. It also encourages that movement of “coming back to oneself” as well as a state of recollection, which is so important on every spiritual path.

 

When the seeker succeeds in holding onto this particular state of consciousness and increasing its duration, it will prove to be both a detachment from what he usually is and a mysterious inner act of wordless prayer.

 

Furthermore, he will discover that his desire to maintain this state of consciousness of himself is, in reality, a secret and imperative need to be.

 

He will come to realize, from the depths of his being, in a way that is quite impossible to describe in rational language, that sinking into his habitual condition of absence to himself or waking sleep is a death and that, conversely, every time that inexplicable movement of coming back to himself occurs—after a brief or long moment of absence—and he finds this inhabitual state of presence again, this recovery of consciousness of himself is a true resurrection.

 

He will then realize, in a way that will shake him, that this spiritual quest is truly a matter of life or death for him.

 

* * *

 

It is only to the extent that the aspirant is capable of remaining present to himself that he can be. However, he must first renounce in order to be able to be and, paradoxically, he must also be—at least to some degree—in order to be able to renounce. Thus, renouncing and being are two conditions that, on a spiritual path, are in continual interdependence.

 

When the day comes that the seeker has the experience of being, even if only weakly to begin with, a strange intuition will arise within him. He will understand that, in fact, one does not need external supports or a physical body to be able to be and that, deep down, being is his true nature—which, generally, remains hidden from him, veiled by his ordinary personality which always needs external stimuli to succeed in feeling its existence.

 

As long as human beings remain as they are, ignorant of their True Identity, no choice is possible for them in the unfolding of their sojourn on Earth; everything happens to them without them being able to change anything. To begin to have a little choice in life, it is first necessary to be a little. And to be able to be, it is first necessary to renounce. Now, to be able to renounce, it is necessary to have understood. Finally, to be able to understand, it is necessary to know what sort of questions to ask oneself—and how to ask them.

 

If these questions are taken seriously by the aspirant and he is capable of keeping them alive within him, with the ardent desire to discover the enigma of his existence on this Earth, they will then, little by little, engender within him the intuitive understanding that his immortality—a word that falls so easily from people’s lips, but whose real meaning is generally so misunderstood—depends on his capacity to be.

 

The seeker needs to accept participating with the Divine in the creation of his future being by making, throughout his life, efforts to regularly practice meditation as well as various spiritual exercises in active life. The Divine cannot oblige human beings to renounce their own will—what they are, what they want and do not want ordinarily—in order that Its Will be done. It would be unjust to force them and it would also not be in accordance with the rules of the Cosmic Game. The aspirant must, of his own accord, come to consent, through a vivid and sincere comprehension, to helping his Creator in Its Mysterious Work so that his accession to a completely different plane of being might be accomplished—a particular evolution, inconceivable to human beings in their habitual state.

 

It is first necessary to understand in order to be able to renounce. It is first necessary to renounce in order to be able to remain conscious of oneself. It is first necessary to remain conscious of oneself in order to be able to be. And, paradoxically, it is necessary to succeed in being a little in order to be able to remain conscious of oneself. It is necessary to succeed in remaining conscious of oneself, even if only a little, in order to be able to renounce. And it is necessary to succeed in renouncing, at least to some degree, in order to be able to understand. Understand what? Renounce what? What does it mean to remain conscious of oneself? What does it mean to be? If someone is not profoundly motivated to approach such practice, the immensity of this spiritual work will frighten him and the tenacious efforts to be made will deter him.

 

However, if the seeker tirelessly pursues his efforts—without considering a distant goal, but only the present moment—he will be able to continue his spiritual practice without becoming discouraged. He will nevertheless need all the help possible to accompany him and support him in his mysterious journey towards the Infinite. Thus, in addition to the corporeal sensation, mentioned earlier, he will sometimes have to use his breathing as a support.

 

Taking a slow, deep breath from time to time during the day, with a brief retention of the breath after the inhalation, constitutes an aid to recenter oneself inwardly and find again in oneself that inhabitual state of being.

 

Through these repeated efforts, the aspirant will come to see the extent to which he ordinarily only lives and acts from the surface of himself. He will then realize that succeeding in centering himself inwardly demands that he let go of and renounce all that usually preoccupies him, as well as surrendering to something within him whose existence he can only sense in the moments when he is trying to distance himself from himself in order to meditate or to perform a concentration exercise.

 

* * *

 

The seeker must remain on his guard and be careful not to approach this spiritual practice with overly rational thought, for this would smother the intuition within him; it would prevent him from accomplishing in a right way this subtle approach of “self-surrender”—which is of extreme importance in this quest. Furthermore, overly rational thought could eventually engender physical, psychic, and emotional tensions within him.

 

Through continual practice of this inner act, the aspirant will finally discover that the fact of being conscious of himself and self-surrender are both closely linked to his sentiment and to a particular awakening within him. He will also perceive that this approach cannot be undertaken while relying on his mind or cold and rational thought. If he accomplishes it in a right way, he will then find himself in a state of extreme tranquility and inner receptiveness.

 

The seeker can use the following exercise, (The author has never allowed a day to pass without practicing this special exercise for half and hour himself – often longer, when his activities allow him to) as an aid, in order to succeed in sensing what this subtle “self-surrender” consists in. He must lie down on the floor (or on his bed) with his head on a fairly flat cushion and his arms alongside his body. He needs to bring his attention to bear on all the parts of his body that are in contact with the floor (or his bed) and try, relentlessly, to remain conscious of them. When he can really feel all the parts of his body that are touching the floor, he must then put, or rather “drop” the weight of his body onto all these points simultaneously. He must remain very attentive to the parts of his body that are in contact with the ground and feel them without interruption, while continuing to “drop” the weight of his body onto these points. At the same time, he needs to listen to and follow the mysterious continuity of the Nada, that particular sound inside his ears, while being careful not to be, at any moment, overcome by a state of torpor—which may occur if he is not sufficiently vigilant. Remaining thus attentive to all the parts of his body that are touching the floor and continuing to “drop” the weight of his body onto these contact points, he will begin to feel pervaded by an immense corporeal and psychic relaxation. All his sorrows, his day-to-day worries, and his physical problems will mysteriously fade into the background, making way for a strange well-being that is not of this world. An intense sensation of surrender will take hold of him, and he will then feel the curious sentiment of being carried by an inner force that is beyond him and that does not depend on his ordinary will, which may even bring him the impression of being freed from the laws of gravity—an impression that he may also have when he attains a state of profound absorption during meditation.

 

The aspirant must not, at any moment, allow himself to comment on what is happening within him, nor seek to explain it, in order to avoid interfering with this mysterious process which he must allow to act within him and nourish his being. He needs, quite simply, to continue to surrender himself with a tranquil confidence in that force that has awakened within him—just like newborns surrender themselves in the loving arms of their mothers, with absolute confidence, without concerning themselves over what will happen to them or worrying about the protection of their bodies or the satisfaction of their physical needs.

 

The existence of every human being should unfold in the same state of mind as that of a newborn. Seekers must consecrate themselves to their spiritual quests without worrying about their futures, without fearing for the survival of their corporeal envelope, and without having an unreasonable fear of the external world. They must simply live in the present.

 

What has just been said must not, however, be interpreted as an incitation not to fulfill one’s duty towards those close to one or not to assume one’s responsibility towards manifest life—which nourishes and sustains the aspirant’s existence in a thousand ways and to which he owes a debt he will never be able to repay. All that he does must be done with the maximum of care and as perfectly as possible, because the way he accomplishes his daily tasks, not only reflects what he is in himself at the present moment—and, consequently, has a favorable or unfavorable effect on his spiritual practice—but also determines what he will inevitably become in the future, for better or worse.

 

When a certain threshold is crossed—whether during this exercise of “self-surrender” or during his meditation—the seeker must quite simply remain in a peaceful state of watchfulness, without seeking, desiring, or anticipating anything. He needs only to submit to that Indescribable Aspect of his nature, in relation to which his ordinary will no longer has any place, and allow It to do what It wants with him.

 

The summit of meditation is reached when the aspirant has lost his individuality as he habitually knows it and he has become one with his Primordial Essence, absorbed into that mysterious Immutable and Celestial Witness that he carries in his being.

 

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On 4/8/2019 at 9:34 PM, Sat1176 said:

Simply enlightening.

 

 

Self-Surrender

 

There may be some days when the seeker experiences a great lack of energy to carry out his spiritual practice—because of excessive fatigue, poor health, or even unfavorable atmospheric conditions. He finds himself weighed down and incapable of stimulating himself sufficiently to approach his meditation in a lively manner. His efforts appear to him to be half-hearted and forced. He cannot reanimate his sentiment sufficiently for his spiritual aspirations to find their strength again so as to support him in his meditation and his spiritual exercises. He feels in a foggy state, inwardly arid, poor, and discouraged.

 

It is precisely at these moments, when he cannot restimulate his mind and his sentiment so as to be able to approach his meditation practice and his various concentration exercises with the necessary fervor, that he must learn the subtle art of “self-surrender.” However, in order to avoid a trap that the aspirant risks falling into without being conscious of it, it is necessary to specify that this delicate approach of “self-surrender” does not, in any way, mean sinking into a state of soothing passivity or pleasant subtle inertia—which could easily occur in an unwise seeker. If the aspirant is not sufficiently attentive and circumspect, he will, before he realizes what is happening to him, find himself cradled in a state of pleasant absence to himself, inwardly sleeping more than ever and even, without being able to control himself, drowsing during his meditation.

 

Unlike that condition of mental torpor (a state of physical or mental activity; lethargy), which may result in a sort of agreeable unconscious resignation from which it would be very difficult to detach oneself subsequently, here it is a question of attaining a very particular state of being, characterized by the highest and most subtle inner activity, accompanied by an intense awakening of consciousness. It is also an act of inward opening, extremely subtle and vivid, through which the seeker puts himself at the disposal of a force within himself which is beyond him and through which he will feel an extremely fine vibration and energy begin to act within him and animate his being.

 

If he wants to progress on this arduous path, the aspirant must succeed one day in combining all the spiritual efforts he tries to make—whether during his meditation or his concentration exercises in active life—with this very delicate and subtle inner act of “self-surrender.” He will thereby come to apprehend, through direct experience, what it means to submit to and allow himself to be carried by a superior force within him, which does not depend on his ordinary will, while continuing, simultaneously, to assume his part of the effort, which he must, in any case, still make in this enigmatic spiritual adventure.

 

This approach of “self-surrender”—which the seeker undertakes at the same time as he tries to meditate or to practice a spiritual exercise—is the most difficult inner act to understand and accomplish. It is only after many attempts and following repeated failures—everything depends on his level of being and his sensibility—that he will succeed. He will then come to realize intuitively the necessity of not intervening when a superior force begins to act within his being in order to support him in this difficult journey in quest of his Divine Identity.

 

To help the aspirant better grasp what is so difficult to describe in words, it is perhaps possible to compare this subtle inner act of “self-surrender” with the attitude of a newborn who surrenders himself quite naturally to his mother, with total relaxation and trust—a way of being that the aspirant must come to feel within him through a particular and lively understanding.

 

He must give himself to something else within him—which, to an extent, will always be beyond him—and allow the space within him to be occupied by this Superior Aspect of his double nature. He must allow It to manifest Itself in his being, according to Its Will and according to what It knows is good for him, so as to animate his aspirations and keep his various spiritual practices alive.

 

If the seeker succeeds in undertaking this delicate inner step of “self-surrender” in a right way during his meditation or his other spiritual practices—without allowing himself to sink into a state of torpor or agreeable lethargy, which could seize him so surreptitiously that he may only realize what has happened to him when he is recalled to himself—and if he succeeds in liberating himself from his ordinary will and from all that he habitually wants and does not want, then an out-of-the-ordinary state of being will begin to reveal itself mysteriously within him. This superior state of consciousness will subtly replace his customary individuality and elevate him to another plane of being that is inhabitual to him. At these privileged moments, the aspirant will feel an immense reverential respect arise within him, because he will realize that what he feels belongs to another dimension, outside time and space, ordinarily unknown. At these most blessed moments, he will be permeated by a strange sentiment of the Sacred, accompanied by an indescribable Love, which will take possession of his being, filling him with tranquil felicity.

 

* * *

 

At the beginning of his mysterious spiritual adventure, the seeker may not realize that this inner act of “self-surrender,” which must, little by little, become for him a permanent and natural way of being, in reality constitutes an apprenticeship and an important preparation for the hour of his death, the hour of the dissolution of his corporeal form—a phenomenon that no living creature (who, for a usually unfathomable reason, has taken on a visible body), no celestial star, not even the Universe can escape.

 

Knowing how to surrender himself inwardly will be an inestimable aid for the aspirant when the moment of his physical death comes and he is carried away by an invisible force, in the face of which he will find himself totally helpless. At that fatal moment, it will be so precious to him to be already familiar with this subtle inner approach of “self-surrender.”

 

All his spiritual work must, in fact, become a preparation for that implacable hour, that crucial instant when he will be initiated into something whose immensity he cannot usually conceive—unless he has already had, during his meditation, a glimpse of that enigmatic state, into which he will be reabsorbed after his death; he will then be more confident and be able to surrender himself inwardly without fear when the moment comes for him.

 

Self-surrender (which also involves renunciation of what one is in oneself and all that makes up one’s ordinary personality) will become easier to practice for the seeker the day he sees, with all of himself, the futility of his habitual state of being—a state of being and a way of feeling in which human beings are so tragically trapped, without understanding their situation or even being conscious of it. This delicate inner approach of “self-surrender,” which the aspirant must succeed in undertaking during his meditation and various spiritual exercises, will teach him to accept that life cannot be other than it is and, thus, to submit to the inevitable with the necessary understanding, which will allow him to bear with courage the vicissitudes of earthly existence.

 

This particular attitude that he must, little by little, come to establish within himself, will also teach him how to assume his destiny without rebelling if that destiny seems difficult to him. It will also prepare him to accept his physical death without resisting when that inexorable moment arrives and the god of death stands before him in all his might, enjoining him to quit the world he has known hitherto for another world with which he will, willingly or not, have to familiarize himself.

 

Paradoxically, “self-surrender”—if it is accomplished in a right way—can open to the seeker a door to the possibility of being. As long as he is not capable of being, he cannot do otherwise than react to the circumstances of external life. People are generally not capable of being; consequently, they have no control over their emotions, their thoughts, or the unfolding of their existence. Ordinarily, everything happens to them involuntarily. To be able to act or to have a certain degree of control over the events of their lives, they first need to be able to be. As long as they remain what they are, it is difficult for them to understand what it really means to act. Without ever knowing it, most of the time they only endure. They are constantly manipulated by those around them and drawn along by the changing conditions of the manifest world, without even being able to give any determined direction to their existence.

 

When an aspirant begins to “be,” not only does he have a little choice in relation to the unfolding of his life, but he also attracts more favorable conditions than those he has known hitherto and which correspond to a new way of “vibrating” within himself. Thus, his new way of being can change the course of the rest of his sojourn on Earth. So as to avoid any misunderstanding about a approach that is so difficult to explain and to put into practice correctly, it is necessary to specify once more that this subtle act of self-surrender does not, in any way, consist in remaining inert and passive; on the contrary, it involves a particular inner opening, which makes the seeker extremely alert and through which the seeker is put into contact with an aspect of his nature that exerts the highest and finest inner activity, which he cannot know in his customary state—an aspect of his nature that never sleeps and that manifests itself through a form of consciousness that he cannot not recognize when it reveals itself to his inner vision.

 

It is also important to emphasize that this act of “self-surrender” cannot, in any way, be conditional. It must, effectively, be accomplished without conditions of any sort, without expecting or anticipating anything, if the aspirant does not want to interfere with the action of a superior force that does not depend on his ordinary will and that may begin to manifest itself within him in order to illuminate his being. His attitude must be like that of a small child who does something simply for the pleasure of doing it. That is why the aspirant must be careful not to expect, consciously or unconsciously, a reward of any sort for any spiritual effort he tries to make.

 

As the seeker detaches himself from his ordinary will and becomes more open and more inwardly receptive, he will see his prayer itself transform into wordless meditation. One has less and less to say, until a mysterious and tranquil inner silence installs itself within one. Only then does it prove possible to begin to hear within oneself what was hitherto inaudible.

 

The Superior Aspect of his nature can be recognized by the aspirant only in the interval or the void separating two states or two thoughts. In this moment of silence and inner receptiveness, he will grasp this mystery that is usually completely inexplicable. God only recognizes him when he recognizes God!

 

* * *

 

To be aware of being consciousness of oneself is to begin to die to oneself and one’s ordinary will. It is also, paradoxically, to begin to be able to be, because it is only to the extent that the aspirant dies to himself that he begins to be. And it is only to the extent that he becomes capable of being that he can begin to act in life in a more right way, instead of simply reacting subjectively—as he habitually does.

 

Self-surrender also involves, for the seeker, the surrender of all the things and all the beliefs that are useless to his spiritual evolution and to which he is so attached. Because human beings are cut off from their Primordial Source, their attachment to material goods, their beliefs, and their various physical sensations has become for them a way of assuring themselves that they exist. Their attachment to the beings and things around them gives them the feeling that their identity is assured; in this way, they unconsciously have the impression of perpetuating the survival of their physical bodies. And, curiously, they are even attached to their various torments, their griefs, and their irrational fears in order to have the assurance that they exist.

 

Now, they do not see that their attachment to objects, to the people around them, and to external contingencies only reinforces their desires, which ceaselessly grow and trap them. Consequently, they draw ever further away from their Divine Essence and become more than ever incapable of regarding the world around them and manifest life in an uninvolved and objective manner.

 

Through the study of himself and his various desires, the aspirant will come to notice that it is always the thought that appears first, then this thought leads to the action; in other words, the intention always precedes the act. There is also a close relationship between the action and the motive that incites the action, whatever it is.

 

For that matter, every desire or every irrational dream of something he cannot obtain only causes torments within him. Moreover, every refusal of a situation or of the conditions of life in which his destiny has placed him only brings him sorrows—with no benefit to him.

 

If the seeker succeeds in detaching himself, even if only a little, from his ordinary state of being, in order to study himself, he will remark the contrast between the rare moments when it is really he who speaks and the long moments when he is quite simply manipulated from outside and driven to speak, the contrast between the rare moments when it is truly he who listens and the long moments when he finds himself in the grip of the external and driven to listen, the contrast between the rare instants when it is truly he who acts and the long moments when, without ever being conscious of it, he is driven by external forces simply to react, and so on. Human beings are unaware of the way in which they are helpless and do not see the extent to which they are simply the playthings of external forces that are beyond them. As long as they remain unconscious of themselves and incapable of being, there can be no choice for them in anything.

 

In the artistic domain, the creation of a pictorial or musical masterpiece can only be accomplished if the painter or the composer is capable, at least to some degree, of being while he brings forth his work. One is dazzled when contemplating the extraordinary paintings of Leonardo da Vinci or listening to the immense orchestral compositions of Richard Strauss or Gustav Mahler; however, the creation of such masterpieces was only possible because, without knowing it, the artists demonstrated, during the creative process, a certain degree of being.

 

When this delicate approach of “self-surrender” is undertaken in a right way, it results in a very particular inner awakening. The aspirant will then be put in contact with a superior force and intelligence within him which will instruct him and guide him during his difficult journey in this form of existence. He will not only be protected from himself and his ordinary desires, but also helped so that his intellectual faculties and his physical aptitudes are used towards a more elevated goal than the dreams and ambitions he pursued hitherto. He will become more conscious of the external impressions he allows to infiltrate his being. He will also be able to see when he is influenced by inferior forces within him and when he is inspired by the Superior Aspect of his nature.

 

However, this act of “self-surrender” must not, in any way, be accomplished with the desire, conscious or unconscious, of obtaining anything; that would be a sterile attitude that would bring him only disappointments or even torments. This approach must be free of all personal interest. Self-surrender, as well as attempts to remain inwardly present and awakened, must be acts of recollection and become a sort of silent prayer for the seeker.

 

It is very important that the seeker realize that is only through his patient and repeated attempts to remain present and conscious of himself in the difficult conditions of the external world that he will break, little by little, the chains of his past karma and will protect himself from any act likely to bring him new karmic debts. He will also weaken and cause to disappear the undesirable tendencies installed within him and, thus, he will change the course of his current life and his future destiny.

 

Moreover, by trying to remain conscious of himself at the same time as he tries to surrender himself inwardly, he will note, in a very particular manner, the uselessness of his ordinary state of being. An ardent wish will then be born within him to liberate himself from his servitude to the insatiable desires of his inferior self, which are obstacles on his route towards the Infinite.

 

What prevents human beings from recognizing their superior nature and attaining enlightenment is that they are not capable of grasping, or rather that they are not ready to understand the subtle aspect that is behind manifest existence. Because of an unfortunate tendency within them to always seek ease in everything and in all that they do, their gaze and their attention are, without them realizing it, only attracted to the exterior and directed passively towards the visible and concrete aspect of life. They content themselves with what their sensory organs convey to them by way of impressions. Meditation practice and spiritual exercises have the precise goal of elevating the seeker’s level of consciousness in order to allow him to inwardly cross the threshold of the tangible and recognize, behind it, the subtle and immutable aspect of his double nature, which the laws of gravity and dissolution cannot affect.

 

As, ordinarily, human beings are unaware of the superior aspect of their being, they lose themselves in the pleasures of the senses, in fantasies of all kinds, which bear no relation to reality or the maintenance of their earthly lives, and in futile mental ruminations that are often even self-destructive.

The superior nature within them is a state of grace that eludes the comprehension of the mass of humanity, whose sole interest is centered on the visible and material aspect of Creation. When, through sincere and tenacious efforts, the aspirant succeeds in discovering the Light of his Superior Being and immersing himself in it, subtle creative energies will awaken within him, which will be able to accomplish miracles in his mind and in his way of seeing himself. These subtle energies will be able to give his existence a new direction, completely different from that taken previously. All that used to preoccupy him and be close to his heart before will then lose its importance in his eyes, thus liberating his mind and his thoughts, so that he can put himself at the disposal of this other aspect of his nature. The transformation that will occur in his being will make him capable of apprehending Creation from a radically different perspective. He will draw his inspiration and his strength from an invisible Universe within his being, allowing him to realize his superior destiny and bring wisdom and hope to his fellows who, unaware of the existence of another world within them, live only in discord and perpetual conflict, without gaining any benefit for their evolution from it.

 

Self-surrender is, in fact, a simple approach, but not easy to perform. Because human beings have left the domain of sentiment to fall into that of thought, they have lost a certain tranquility of mind and the sense of beauty. Consequently, they live more and more on the surface of themselves and are now only governed by their minds, instead of being governed by the wisdom and the aesthetic sentiment of their Superior Being. Being thus transformed into a coldly intellectual being, their minds and their emotions have become dramatically active and leave them not a moment’s respite. From this aspect of themselves, they do not know and cannot know peace.

 

Because of the incessant activity of their minds, the screen of clean and immutable consciousness that exists behind all this uncontrolled agitation and din within them always eludes them. Being receptive to something higher within oneself necessitates distancing oneself from what one is habitually and concentrating, without distraction, until one accedes to an inner silence, which alone can allow the Sublime within one to be discovered.

 

When a fierce storm strikes the ocean, the waves attain spectacular heights and furiously crash together. However, although the waves are performing their wild and chaotic dance on the surface, as one plunges into the mysterious depths of the oceans, one finds ever more tranquility, until one comes to absolute calm. It is the same for human beings; the more they succeed in descending into the depths of their being, the more they find inner immobility and peace of mind.

Yet, they are like corks without consistency, floating on the surface of the sea, swept along by the waves, which carry them where they will; when one tries to pull them down into the depths, they systematically bob back up to the surface, as though on a spring.

 

* * *

 

Despite their efforts and all the technical means they may invent, however prodigious these means may be, human beings cannot succeed in making permanent their bodies or the objects of their pleasure or the conditions of this world, which, like all things created in time and space, cannot but be unstable and in perpetual movement and which are prey to the god of death—in the same way as the planet, on which they live and on which they depend entirely for the maintenance of their physical existence, is in continual movement, always changing and inexorably destined to disappear one day.

 

One can only know what is immutable and celestial within one when one succeeds in detaching oneself from one’s ordinary desires, in calming the agitation of one’s mind, and in creating within oneself a certain degree of silence. To succeed in this, it is first necessary to accept the inevitable—to accept the precarious and uncertain conditions of this form of existence that cannot be avoided—then to really understand what this important act of “self-surrender” consists in. Despite what the word “surrender” might suggest, paradoxically this action is not, in any way, passive, but rather, as previously mentioned, belongs to the highest and finest inner activity, which has nothing in common with the crude and obvious activity of the external world.

 

It is only when the aspirant succeeds in being conscious of himself in a way that is not habitual to him, that he will come to be sufficiently distant from himself to notice what is happening within him most of the time and which, ordinarily, eludes him. He will thus be able to discover, with a new gaze, the various manifestations and tendencies of his profane self, which are obstacles to his spiritual quest. Through continual repetition of this gaze on the one who habitually acts within him, the distance between the one who sees and the one who is seen will increase and, the greater this distance between the one who sees and the one who is seen, the greater will be the possibility for the seeker of recognizing this mysterious Immutable and Silent Spectator that he carries in his being.

 

The aspirant will begin to perceive better, in brief flashes at the beginning, the aspect of himself from which he must detach himself so as to be capable of seeing what is happening within him. And, as he continues to observe who is acting within him habitually, a very particular knowledge of what must be inwardly sacrificed throughout his whole life—to allow his superior nature to reign in his being—will grow within him, in an ever clearer way. Self-surrender will also prove to be closely linked to the surrender of his ordinary self—of his individuality as he usually knows it.

 

It is only on the day that he truly recognizes the futility of persisting in nurturing the changing and meaningless fantasies of his profane self that he will find the strength to turn his gaze inward, towards that other aspect of his double nature and to use the precious gift of his attention to maintain himself in that state of being that he must, henceforward, try to hold onto with all of himself.

 

However, it is important to understand that the seeker will be unable to renew this effort of presence to himself—which is the condition of an inhabitual state of consciousness—if he is already carried away and engulfed in his customary state of absence, for, once trapped in this state of absence, it is impossible for him to remember to accomplish this particular effort so as to be inwardly present and conscious of himself.

 

It is only after some time of absence to himself, when a recovery of consciousness suddenly occurs within him, that the aspirant will discover that not only was he absent the moment before, but also that this recovery of consciousness mysteriously occurred within him without him having sought it. This state of consciousness, which manifests itself within him in such an apparently unexpected way, is the result of his previous attempts to remain present to himself. This reminder arises within him as a reward for his previous efforts so as to help him better grasp what is involved for him in this spiritual practice that is so out of the ordinary and what his contribution must be in this strange adventure.

 

What is required of the seeker at such moments is to try, with all his seriousness, to prolong this precious inhabitual presence for as long as possible, before it deteriorates and once again merges with his ordinary state and he loses it completely. It is necessary for him to realize that, once he has felt and recognized this particular consciousness within him, his task will then consist of trying to preserve it for as long as possible or, at the very least, to renew it before it becomes too weak and finally vanishes completely. By constantly trying to revive this state of presence within himself every time it begins to deteriorate and lose its initial force, the aspirant will, little by little, come to know the weak points that cause his fall. He will also be able to see once more that this inhabitual consciousness of oneself inevitably involves the renunciation of oneself and what one usually is—this habitual way of being and feeling which is so deeply rooted in human beings following long conditioning and to which they are not only enslaved, but also, curiously, tragically attached.

 

Every time the seeker tries to remain conscious of himself, he will remark ever more clearly his enslavement to his customary state of being and the various penchants within him which prove to be obstacles to his spiritual aspirations. Thus he will understand, from the depths of himself, the necessity of liberating himself from all these tendencies in order to be capable of obeying something more elevated within him. It is only to the extent that he succeeds in remaining present and joined to this other aspect of his nature that the transformation of his undesirable traits can be effected.

 

The aspirant’s attitude plays a determining role in this difficult inner approach. What matters here is that he continues to observe the manifestations of his inferior nature with the necessary tenacity and patience, but in an uninvolved way and without allowing, at any moment, a feeling of guilt to install itself within him.

 

Corporeal sensation contributes enormously to helping the seeker become more present and conscious of himself. It also encourages that movement of “coming back to oneself” as well as a state of recollection, which is so important on every spiritual path.

 

When the seeker succeeds in holding onto this particular state of consciousness and increasing its duration, it will prove to be both a detachment from what he usually is and a mysterious inner act of wordless prayer.

 

Furthermore, he will discover that his desire to maintain this state of consciousness of himself is, in reality, a secret and imperative need to be.

 

He will come to realize, from the depths of his being, in a way that is quite impossible to describe in rational language, that sinking into his habitual condition of absence to himself or waking sleep is a death and that, conversely, every time that inexplicable movement of coming back to himself occurs—after a brief or long moment of absence—and he finds this inhabitual state of presence again, this recovery of consciousness of himself is a true resurrection.

 

He will then realize, in a way that will shake him, that this spiritual quest is truly a matter of life or death for him.

 

* * *

 

It is only to the extent that the aspirant is capable of remaining present to himself that he can be. However, he must first renounce in order to be able to be and, paradoxically, he must also be—at least to some degree—in order to be able to renounce. Thus, renouncing and being are two conditions that, on a spiritual path, are in continual interdependence.

 

When the day comes that the seeker has the experience of being, even if only weakly to begin with, a strange intuition will arise within him. He will understand that, in fact, one does not need external supports or a physical body to be able to be and that, deep down, being is his true nature—which, generally, remains hidden from him, veiled by his ordinary personality which always needs external stimuli to succeed in feeling its existence.

 

As long as human beings remain as they are, ignorant of their True Identity, no choice is possible for them in the unfolding of their sojourn on Earth; everything happens to them without them being able to change anything. To begin to have a little choice in life, it is first necessary to be a little. And to be able to be, it is first necessary to renounce. Now, to be able to renounce, it is necessary to have understood. Finally, to be able to understand, it is necessary to know what sort of questions to ask oneself—and how to ask them.

 

If these questions are taken seriously by the aspirant and he is capable of keeping them alive within him, with the ardent desire to discover the enigma of his existence on this Earth, they will then, little by little, engender within him the intuitive understanding that his immortality—a word that falls so easily from people’s lips, but whose real meaning is generally so misunderstood—depends on his capacity to be.

 

The seeker needs to accept participating with the Divine in the creation of his future being by making, throughout his life, efforts to regularly practice meditation as well as various spiritual exercises in active life. The Divine cannot oblige human beings to renounce their own will—what they are, what they want and do not want ordinarily—in order that Its Will be done. It would be unjust to force them and it would also not be in accordance with the rules of the Cosmic Game. The aspirant must, of his own accord, come to consent, through a vivid and sincere comprehension, to helping his Creator in Its Mysterious Work so that his accession to a completely different plane of being might be accomplished—a particular evolution, inconceivable to human beings in their habitual state.

 

It is first necessary to understand in order to be able to renounce. It is first necessary to renounce in order to be able to remain conscious of oneself. It is first necessary to remain conscious of oneself in order to be able to be. And, paradoxically, it is necessary to succeed in being a little in order to be able to remain conscious of oneself. It is necessary to succeed in remaining conscious of oneself, even if only a little, in order to be able to renounce. And it is necessary to succeed in renouncing, at least to some degree, in order to be able to understand. Understand what? Renounce what? What does it mean to remain conscious of oneself? What does it mean to be? If someone is not profoundly motivated to approach such practice, the immensity of this spiritual work will frighten him and the tenacious efforts to be made will deter him.

 

However, if the seeker tirelessly pursues his efforts—without considering a distant goal, but only the present moment—he will be able to continue his spiritual practice without becoming discouraged. He will nevertheless need all the help possible to accompany him and support him in his mysterious journey towards the Infinite. Thus, in addition to the corporeal sensation, mentioned earlier, he will sometimes have to use his breathing as a support.

 

Taking a slow, deep breath from time to time during the day, with a brief retention of the breath after the inhalation, constitutes an aid to recenter oneself inwardly and find again in oneself that inhabitual state of being.

 

Through these repeated efforts, the aspirant will come to see the extent to which he ordinarily only lives and acts from the surface of himself. He will then realize that succeeding in centering himself inwardly demands that he let go of and renounce all that usually preoccupies him, as well as surrendering to something within him whose existence he can only sense in the moments when he is trying to distance himself from himself in order to meditate or to perform a concentration exercise.

 

* * *

 

The seeker must remain on his guard and be careful not to approach this spiritual practice with overly rational thought, for this would smother the intuition within him; it would prevent him from accomplishing in a right way this subtle approach of “self-surrender”—which is of extreme importance in this quest. Furthermore, overly rational thought could eventually engender physical, psychic, and emotional tensions within him.

 

Through continual practice of this inner act, the aspirant will finally discover that the fact of being conscious of himself and self-surrender are both closely linked to his sentiment and to a particular awakening within him. He will also perceive that this approach cannot be undertaken while relying on his mind or cold and rational thought. If he accomplishes it in a right way, he will then find himself in a state of extreme tranquility and inner receptiveness.

 

The seeker can use the following exercise, (The author has never allowed a day to pass without practicing this special exercise for half and hour himself – often longer, when his activities allow him to) as an aid, in order to succeed in sensing what this subtle “self-surrender” consists in. He must lie down on the floor (or on his bed) with his head on a fairly flat cushion and his arms alongside his body. He needs to bring his attention to bear on all the parts of his body that are in contact with the floor (or his bed) and try, relentlessly, to remain conscious of them. When he can really feel all the parts of his body that are touching the floor, he must then put, or rather “drop” the weight of his body onto all these points simultaneously. He must remain very attentive to the parts of his body that are in contact with the ground and feel them without interruption, while continuing to “drop” the weight of his body onto these points. At the same time, he needs to listen to and follow the mysterious continuity of the Nada, that particular sound inside his ears, while being careful not to be, at any moment, overcome by a state of torpor—which may occur if he is not sufficiently vigilant. Remaining thus attentive to all the parts of his body that are touching the floor and continuing to “drop” the weight of his body onto these contact points, he will begin to feel pervaded by an immense corporeal and psychic relaxation. All his sorrows, his day-to-day worries, and his physical problems will mysteriously fade into the background, making way for a strange well-being that is not of this world. An intense sensation of surrender will take hold of him, and he will then feel the curious sentiment of being carried by an inner force that is beyond him and that does not depend on his ordinary will, which may even bring him the impression of being freed from the laws of gravity—an impression that he may also have when he attains a state of profound absorption during meditation.

 

The aspirant must not, at any moment, allow himself to comment on what is happening within him, nor seek to explain it, in order to avoid interfering with this mysterious process which he must allow to act within him and nourish his being. He needs, quite simply, to continue to surrender himself with a tranquil confidence in that force that has awakened within him—just like newborns surrender themselves in the loving arms of their mothers, with absolute confidence, without concerning themselves over what will happen to them or worrying about the protection of their bodies or the satisfaction of their physical needs.

 

The existence of every human being should unfold in the same state of mind as that of a newborn. Seekers must consecrate themselves to their spiritual quests without worrying about their futures, without fearing for the survival of their corporeal envelope, and without having an unreasonable fear of the external world. They must simply live in the present.

 

What has just been said must not, however, be interpreted as an incitation not to fulfill one’s duty towards those close to one or not to assume one’s responsibility towards manifest life—which nourishes and sustains the aspirant’s existence in a thousand ways and to which he owes a debt he will never be able to repay. All that he does must be done with the maximum of care and as perfectly as possible, because the way he accomplishes his daily tasks, not only reflects what he is in himself at the present moment—and, consequently, has a favorable or unfavorable effect on his spiritual practice—but also determines what he will inevitably become in the future, for better or worse.

 

When a certain threshold is crossed—whether during this exercise of “self-surrender” or during his meditation—the seeker must quite simply remain in a peaceful state of watchfulness, without seeking, desiring, or anticipating anything. He needs only to submit to that Indescribable Aspect of his nature, in relation to which his ordinary will no longer has any place, and allow It to do what It wants with him.

 

The summit of meditation is reached when the aspirant has lost his individuality as he habitually knows it and he has become one with his Primordial Essence, absorbed into that mysterious Immutable and Celestial Witness that he carries in his being.

 

How so very enlightening...  But so very difficult.  Shukar hai we are  born in Sikhism and these 'gunns' grow up on their own in us as we read Banis and learn and grow in  Nitnem... like 

1.Killing of vices

2. Increase in concentration

3. Increase in DevGunns(which will include selfsurrender,  killing of ego-haome),  killing of anger- thus becoming soft spoken,  most tolerant etc

 

These 1,2,3 comes on their own as we keep on reading Gurbani/do Nitnem or hold on to Dasam Banis..... The journey thereafter which is bookish for me yet (pls correct if I am wrong) 

4. Sehaj utpann  hona/ bairaag / life seems like a lie

5. Darshan hona-Anhad sunna

6. Bhed Prakat hona-4 khand da gyaan hona

7. Bhavjal Tarna

8 Reach the 5th khand(sach khand) 

9. Get absorbed  in the ULTIMATE TRUTH

 

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