Jump to content
Sat1176

Concentration, Attention & Self-Surrender

Recommended Posts

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?”

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Once he has taken up his seated position to meditate, as he has not yet begun to tire of maintaining his efforts of concentration and the resistance within him has not yet manifested strongly, at the very beginning of his meditation, there occurs within him a flash of a clarity of consciousness, an enigmatic clarity of consciousness, resembling a void, or rather that may give him an impression of emptiness. However, because of his lack of experience and because of the rapidity with which this purity of consciousness deteriorates within him, it eludes his comprehension. It is precisely at this brief moment of mysterious void, made up, in fact, of the most extreme purity of consciousness, that the seeker will be able to glimpse the beginnings of his true Divine Identity, before a thought or an image arises again in his mind and obliterates its diaphanous presence, thus rendering it unknowable.

If the aspirant succeeds in maintaining this clarity of consciousness in all its purity for forty or fifty seconds, without finding himself furtively invaded by thoughts, images, or inner chatter, he will then go beyond a certain threshold, which will allow him to continue to meditate in a much more effective and more satisfying way. It is these first forty or fifty seconds at the beginning of his meditation that are crucial.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is crucial for all men and women to try to find what they were carrying within them at the moment of their birth that, because of the force of gravity, they have lost as they have grown. In the very first moments of their lives, newborns are still very close to the Source whence they emerged.The particular state they find themselves in at the dawn of their incarnation, which it is possible to describe only inadequately as a screen of clear consciousness, free of the thoughts and inner din that afflict adults, deteriorates little by little and becomes tarnished under the influence of the ordinary distractions and preoccupations of the people around them. Children cannot, in the end, resist the attraction of that downward force and, finally, like their elders, are only interested in and only give credit to the visible.

When children have just been born, they are not yet carriers of ambitions, desires, malevolence, dishonesty, etc.; they remain relaxed, trusting, and receptive in whatever place they find themselves, neither expecting nor anticipating anything.

Has the aspirant not something to learn from a newborn? That is to say, to learn to make concentration efforts during his meditation or his various spiritual exercises with a great deal of patience and just for the pleasure of doing them, without desiring anything, expecting anything, anticipating anything, so as not to interfere with the action within him of a Divine Force—which will reveal its August Presence in Its own way, as It intends, in Its own time, and when It feels the ground has become favorable to Its manifestation within him.

The seeker will discover that, despite all that he may hope, because of the force of gravity that ceaselessly regains the upper hand, he will always have to win back this inhabitual state of self-consciousness, which is so fragile to maintain and so difficult to consolidate within himself.

When he has really understood what drama plays out for him in these strange disappearances and reappearances of himself (whether during his meditation practices or in the course of his day) and he has appreciated their decisive meaning in this mysterious quest for his Divine Identity, he must then, firstly, learn to live only for his spiritual goal[68] and, secondly, to seek always to revive within him the desire to increase both the duration and the intensity of this Inner Awakening, which is essential to him, every time it makes its Enigmatic Presence felt within his being.

So that the aspirant might benefit from an aid to recognize better the moments when he is present to and conscious of himself in the way he really should be and, conversely, what being absent to himself entails for him, he must succeed in feeling this presence in his sentiment, in such a way as to create within himself a very particular Inner Awakening and not simply be satisfied with thinking of it. To be more precise, it proves necessary to emphasize three fundamental points without which an inexperienced seeker will always be able to imagine he knows the real meaning of this “presence to himself,” when, in fact, he will simply be thinking of this presence with his mind—which bears no relation to a true practice of presence to oneself.

Firstly, he will see that he absolutely cannot know the moments when he is absent to himself, because it is only when this recovery of consciousness suddenly occurs within him that he realizes, with surprise that, the moment before, he was, in a very particular way, unconscious of himself, engulfed in thoughts that were ceaselessly arising and vanishing within him aimlessly and with no control on his part.

Secondly, when he is really present and conscious of himself in a way that he never is habitually, he cannot not know it—even if, at the beginning of his practice, this presence to himself lasts only a little time before he loses it again.

Finally, he will discover, through continual losses and recoveries of that consciousness of himself, that he never perceives the moment when he sinks into that strange state of absence to himself, nor how it occurs within him—in the same way as he never remarks the moment that he slips into his nocturnal sleep, nor how that occurs within him. It is only when he wakes in the morning that he realizes he has slept.

The aspirant can only apprehend the tragedy of this state of absence to himself or waking sleep (in which people spend their whole lives and which is the cause of so much misfortune, conflict, and suffering in the world) by trying with all his might to oppose it. To do so, he can try to listen to the Nada (a mysterious sound audible inside his ears and head) and use it as a support to remain present to himself (at least to a certain extent) all through the day, without a moment’s interruption, in all that he thinks, says, and does. He cannot then fail to see (as long as he has succeeded in maintaining such an effort of concentration, which is hardly probable before many attempts have been made), that all he has thought, said, and done was nothing but a series of reactions to what he likes and does not like habitually, to what satisfies his personal interests of the moment and his ever-changing ordinary desires—most of the time without being capable of considering the long-term effects of his behavior on his own being and that of others.

The word “self-recollectedness” is frequently used by Buddhists and the concept it refers to constitutes the basis of Buddhist teaching. It is evident that in a state of intense presence to and consciousness of oneself, it is no longer possible to conceive of phenomenal existence or to behave in life in the same way as when one is buried in a state of forgetfulness and absence to oneself.

A sensitive aspirant cannot fail to notice that, when he makes the effort to be present to himself and succeeds in joining with a superior state of consciousness within himself, the procession of his thoughts and his futile inner chatter lose their force or even cease, in proportion to the intensity of his presence; then, as soon as he sinks again into his customary state of being and absence, confused and disordered thoughts, as well as inner chatter, immediately take up their manifestations in his mind again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Concentration

 

Any practice of meditation or concentration has the objective of bringing the seeker back to himself and forcing him to remain in the “present”—which is so contrary to what he is in the habit of doing that he feels lost and troubled at the beginning. Because a true state of inner silence and availability is strange to him, he may even, if he comes to encounter it, experience it as a disquieting void. However, without him realizing it, all his feverish external activities are undertaken only in the hope of one day finding something that might give him a feeling of fullness and the tranquillity of mind to which he aspires, but he does not understand that it is only in succeeding in creating enough inner stillness and silence that he will be able to discover the only wealth that can fulfill him: his Divine Being.

Meditation practice alone is not enough; it must be complemented (especially at the beginning of the aspirant’s engagement in this spiritual work, the scope and difficulty of which he cannot grasp) by concentration exercises that are demanding enough to make him inwardly present in a way that it is impossible for him to experience ordinarily, so that he can more clearly distinguish the moment when his attention wavers and fails him.

It is difficult for a beginner (and sometimes even for someone who already has a certain period of spiritual practice behind him) not to fall gradually into the trap of believing that he is meditating when, in fact, he is plunged into a state of very subtle faraway dreaming, which he does not notice and takes for meditation.

The creation of a void within oneself is not easy. However, this void is the only condition that allows the seeker to attain the revelation of his Divine Identity. Without emptying a recipient of its water, it is impossible for air, which is a much finer element than water, to enter into it in order to occupy it.

The author recalls someone who came to see him to ask him questions about a spiritual practice. She was a Hatha Yoga teacher. After a long conversation, the author advised her to stop teaching for a while and to consecrate herself to strict meditation practice, together with various spiritual exercises, although without interrupting her own Hatha Yoga practice, in order to understand, even if only a little, what she was seeking to attain, before beginning to teach again. In order to illustrate what he was saying, he filled a glass with water and asked her, “If one wants air to be able to enter into this glass, does it not first need to be emptied of its content?” She looked at the author in surprise, then, after a moment of hesitation, she responded, “But, couldn’t it just be half emptied?”

The great majority of seekers do not apparently understand what is truly involved in a spiritual practice; they do not want to renounce anything within themselves, but, despite that, they want to attain another state of being and consciousness. In all good faith, they hope one day to be able to find their Divine Aspect, but in order to add it to what they ordinarily are.

The renunciation of oneself, together with what one wants and does not want ordinarily, is, for the aspirant, the first step to allowing the Divine Aspect of his double nature to begin to manifest to his inner vision. If the seeker wants to know what true meditation should be, he must consent to perform, between his meditation sessions, certain concentration exercises that will oblige him to remain inwardly present and vigilant.

Concentration during meditation or during the performance of a spiritual exercise has the aim of helping the seeker to liberate himself from the grip that the past—with all the pleasant and painful memories associated with it—exerts over his being and over his psyche, so that he can feel within him the miracle of at least one instant of eternal present.

It is only to the extent that he succeeds in detaching himself from the flow of time and becoming to maintain himself in a state of continual inner immobility and silence that he will be able to experience plenitude and the sentiment of the Sacred. This is why he must, above all, favour quality in all his meditation practice, as well as in his concentration exercises.

The state of concentration that the aspirant attains during his meditation and spiritual exercises must come one day to inhabit him at every moment of the day. It is precisely on the quality of his work that the consolidation of the state of awakening to which he aspires will depend—a quality that he must, furthermore, introduce into all his activities. He must become an extreme being.

Concentration exercises must not, in any way, replace meditation. In addition to their importance in helping the seeker to discover what true sustained attention during his meditation sessions should be, these spiritual exercises are also designed to create within him an intense inner presence that it is impossible for him to experience otherwise and that he must not only try to find again subsequently in the very movement of active life, but, moreover, try, with “all of himself,” to keep alive within him

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Problems in Meditation and Their Equivalent When Dying

 

The aspirant will notice (if he is honest enough and truly seeks to know himself) that, in the beginning of his spiritual practice, when he is still struggling with the initial efforts to remain as “present” and as concentrated as he can during his meditation, he has a hidden desire to stop most of the time—and is almost even relieved when he finishes meditating. It is as though he is secretly glad to return to his customary outer-life conditions, once more settling into the ease of his usual vain reveries, habitual feelings, and ordinary preoccupations, preferring all this—including the worries, turmoil, and endless pains this condition brings with it—than to have to make the requisite effort to remain concentrated and present to himself; it is as if, in some inconceivably strange way, he needed all these inner and outer problems to fill an emptiness in his life, which would otherwise be too intolerable to support.

 

The aspirant must clearly see what is happening in him during his meditation (something which, in the usual course of events, would remain concealed from his knowledge) so that the reverse of this way of meditating starts to take place in him. That is to say, instead of secretly wishing to finish his spiritual practice quickly so as to go back to whatever is drawing him outwardly, he will actually long to accomplish rapidly whatever is preoccupying him externally in order to be able to return to his meditation—failing which, there will always be a hidden conflict in him while he is trying to meditate, and his spiritual efforts may then come to nothing. He may finally even be prompted to give up his meditation altogether—something that happens to many seekers without their realizing the true cause for it. But what has been said above must on no account be taken to signify that the seeker should neglect or fulfill his outer duties poorly—for everything must be used as a means to render one more refined, noble, and worthy.

 

When, during his meditation, the aspirant begins to be touched by the effulgence of his Supreme Being, he will, of himself, little by little—through a quiet and subtle discernment that will have imperceptibly germinated in him—start to feel the uselessness of the ordinary aspect of himself in which he has passed the greater part of his earthly existence. He will begin to wish to return continually to this blissful state of reverential inner silence each time he becomes separated from it, in much the same way that someone wants to hear again and again the inspiring strains of a sublime and highly moving piece of music for the feeling of great beauty and subtle truth it inexplicably echoes in the depths of his being. The seeker will, from then onward, ardently look forward to every moment he can get away from his ordinary preoccupations in order to come back to his meditation. And, as he goes deeper into himself, experiencing ever greater states of inner tranquility and ecstasy, not only will his meditation become less and less difficult, but there will naturally grow in him an untiring desire and love for it.

 

This beatific and immutable state that he will experience during his meditation will become for him the only true reality there is in these ever-changing conditions of an impermanent worldly existence. He will now yearn to be able to maintain this unusual state of inner presence in active life as well. He will perceive for himself the urgent need there is for it. For he will find that the more he can remain present to himself in outer life, the more it will afterward have a positive effect on his meditation as well; and the deeper the absorption in meditation, the more present he will be able to be in active life also. Thus, the one will help the other. At the beginning of his practice, a sincere seeker may have noticed that not only was his restless mind refusing to give up its preoccupations and making him even secretly long to finish meditating in order to return to outer activities that kept surreptitiously calling him to them, but that he was also at times using all kinds of subtle inner arguments and pretexts to cease his meditation and get up—because of the necessity to attend to all sorts of important matters first that urgently needed settling. What he may not really see in the beginning is that to all of these things he was, and still is, painfully attached.

 

As has been said earlier, a reversal of the aspirant’s feelings and way of being during his spiritual practice is of extreme importance and must start to take place in him while he is still alive. Just as, when trying to meditate, something in him refuses to abandon whatever it is preoccupied with and to which it is in fact deeply attached, so, when this momentous hour comes when he will be called upon to relinquish his earthly envelope, the same phenomenon will then take place in him. That is to say, all his thoughts and feelings will, at that crucial moment, be directed out toward the world to which he is unwittingly about to bid farewell and to which he has become accustomed and so desperately attached (it being the only thing he has known).

 

Without being aware of it, his attention will be focused with acute nostalgia and pain mainly on the things he was familiar with, on his unsatisfied desires and on his unrealized dreams, most of which are profitless and weighty baggage, unhelpful to him for the great lone journey he is about to embark upon—a lone journey for which he may now find himself dramatically unprepared. He will sense an inexplicable fear and unconscious refusal to enter and abide in this—hitherto unknown to him—mysterious state, a state of subtle consciousness that will seem to him as an incomprehensible void but which, in reality, is his true condition of Being, the Divine Source from which he and all sentient beings originated. If he has not come to recognize the Sacred in himself while still carrying his mortal body, if he has not arrived at a state of knowing this luminous consciousness and vast cosmic silence during his lifetime—be it only a little—then it will not be possible for him to understand it after he leaves this form of existence.

 

When, in active life, the aspirant learns to be more and more “present”—inwardly connected to his Supreme Source—he will then already and inevitably be practicing this indispensable detachment from the bondage to his ordinary self. And each time he loses the felicity of this inner presence again, he will feel as if shipwrecked and cast on a parched, empty, and harsh desert island. It will then seem to him like a cruel inner death. Like a drowning person gasping for breath, he will feel suffocated and experience a painful need to return once more to the fullness of the celestial aspect of his double nature. He will begin to realize that this is the only true life there is and the only real Source from which a higher wisdom can come.

 

If one’s meditation is to become what it should really be—that is to say, pure in the strictest sense of the word—then it is necessary to be able to perceive clearly whenever this higher state of being has become diluted and mixed up again with one’s ordinary state of consciousness. Meditation in its truest sense requires the utmost vigilance and sincerity on the part of the aspirant. At the same time, care must be taken never to force it.

 

The effort to remain present to oneself, although resolute, must at the same time be a very calm and gentle one. The intensity of this effort has to be in the right proportion, neither too much nor too little. If it is overdone, one will not be able to maintain it, and its aftereffect may be very unpleasant. And if it is underdone, it will lead nowhere: one will simply dream away.

 

The aspirant must also, little by little, learn the subtle art of recognizing when the right and delicate moment has arrived for him cautiously to start relaxing his effort, as well as the extent to which he should do so in order to abandon himself to that which is higher in him without the risk of sinking again into his habitual state. Like a kite that has finally become airborne, he should now let himself be carried by the resplendent light of his Supreme Being and be merged in and “one with” the sublime ocean of this Immutable Celestial Consciousness in him.

 

When the aspirant first starts this spiritual work, he will observe that hardly has he touched a more exalted state in himself than his ordinary self and habitual feeling immediately rise up again like a big tidal wave to engulf it. If, after persistent and patient efforts, he can later find enough strength to sustain this superior state of awareness for longer periods, he will then see with yet greater clarity how difficult it is to keep up the quality of this unusual presence in its purest condition for more than a short while, and how, before he realizes what is happening, this state will have begun to be adulterated once more and mixed up with his customary lower consciousness.

 

If he does not clearly see and understand this problem, then there will always be the risk that whatever light that might reach him from the higher regions of his being will always become mingled with all kinds of fantasies and imaginings from his inferior self, and this ineffable divine flame will once more become smothered before it is given the chance fully to reveal and affirm its august presence in him. And if, during meditation, this luminous expanse of consciousness becomes adulterated and diluted in the slightest degree with his habitual state, it will then inevitably cease to be the Truth. For it cannot mix or coexist with his old self and will unavoidably recede into the background, once more becoming obscured and hidden from him, veiled by the haze of his ordinary thinking. Its place will have been usurped once again by his customary everyday self.

 

The greatest sincerity, integrity, and tenacity are vital at the beginning of the aspirant’s struggles. As he advances, he will, little by little, discover the subtle way of sitting still—being actively passive and vigilantly immobile—whereby, in a simple and natural way, he becomes connected to and “one with” the higher aspect of his being.

 

To fully recognize this exalted state in oneself as being the Ultimate and Supreme Truth is to have found the secret key that will open the door of this enigmatic prison in which one is enclosed, eventually releasing one from the tyranny and bondage of one’s lower nature and of duality. One’s purification and deliverance from all the sufferings that ensued from one’s ordinary self will have now begun. It also signifies the extraordinary hope of eventually overcoming death itself—on condition that one has fully understood what death really is. That is to say, in what sense it is to be taken, in what manner one is “dying” all the time without seeing it, and which aspect of one’s nature is subjected to it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sadhana and Enlightenment

 

Part One

 

All the laws of logic and the understanding the human being generally has of the Universe and life dictate that it is inconceivable for him to be able to contemplate his physical self without the aid of some external instrument such as a mirror, a piece of metal, a clear pond, and so on. As to the contemplation of one’s inner or spiritual self, this would normally be considered to be not only totally impossible but even grossly illogical and ludicrous. However, an enlightened being knows, through direct personal experience, that during deep meditation, as one rises to higher planes of consciousness, one attains to other dimensions where the ordinarily inconceivable act of the contemplation of one’s incorporeal Self does indeed become miraculously possible, albeit in a manner wholly inexplicable and incomprehensible to the rational mind.

 

This extraordinary state can be experienced only from deep within and is perceived as a vast and transparent Self without form, spreading out in all directions beyond the physical frame into infinity, a mysterious and formless “Spectator” plunged in silent Self- contemplation. Like a limitless ocean of consciousness without beginning or end, this invisible Self, although formless, has a reality about it that is immeasurably greater than one’s tangible earthly body. Indeed, compared to this unusual state of being, the physical form loses all reality. In this sacred state, the contemplator, the contemplated, and the contemplation are all three united in one. It is a very mysterious and inexplicable act, in which, paradoxically, there is contemplation of the Self at the same time as being the Self that is contemplated. While merged in it, one has the strange feeling of going back into Eternity to one’s Supreme Source. One is pervaded with a sensation of indescribable purity, as well as a blissful feeling of vast “cosmic aloneness” and profound inner peace, surpassing anything one can know of in one’s habitual outer existence.

 

Something of this unusual and beatific state must start to accompany the seeker when occupied in his daily work as well. At first, this will demand from him very delicate and repeated efforts of inner presence while simultaneously abandoning himself to the Sublime in him. Through the patient repetition of these subtle efforts, he will help create the necessary conditions for the transformation of himself, ultimately allowing his higher nature to occupy its rightful place in the celestial city of his being and rule through him. He will thus become a channel for the fulfillment of the Divine Will in himself and on the lower planes of existence. In carrying over this effulgent flame to the somber regions of his nature and to where there is the greatest need for it, he will, through the higher understanding he has so painstakingly acquired, show the way to alleviate the suffering of a forlorn and despairing humanity.

 

After having found this light in himself, the aspirant may at first want only to retire into the quietness and felicity of his inner being, refusing all else. Intoxicated with this celestial wine, he may be tempted to wish solely to lose himself in this beatific state, rejecting the outer world altogether— an outer world that, by comparison, will now seem so crude and dissonant. He will be like a man deeply in love, having found a woman whose extraordinary beauty is beyond anything he could have ever dreamed of before, neglecting everything in life so as to be with her all the time. He may even believe that he has attained all there is to attain and know, and that there is nothing more for him to do but remain tranquil in this heavenly abode or Nirvana that he has, through much effort, deservedly earned. But, alas, it is not so easy as all that.

 

As said earlier, enlightenment does not necessarily mean liberation. It should also not be forgotten that there are different degrees of enlightenment. For the great majority of seekers, enlightenment (if it did take place in them) signifies purely the start of this arduous journey toward their emancipation. Only outer life can provide the conditions the human being requires through which he can learn to know himself better, to find courage in the face of repeated adversities or defeats, not to hate when being wronged, not to take what rightly belongs to another, not to cause suffering around him in satisfying a transitory desire, not to behave dishonorably toward another for selfish reasons, and so on. Enlightenment is but the outset of real sadhana. It is the start of a lifetime’s work and study. For one must not forget where one has started from: one’s untransformed tendencies, as well as one’s sexual urges and other needs, will again and again raise their hungry heads and plague one.

 

Even if a seeker decides to shut himself away from the world completely, he will find that, sooner or later, unless he is one of the rare exceptions, he will be forced out of his retreat, both to satisfy the exigencies of his various wants and by the necessity for him to put his spiritual work into practice in active life also. As in all domains, the right balance must be found between meditation and active life to permit true and healthy spiritual growth to take place. One needs to breathe in in order to breathe out, but one must also breathe out in order to be able to breathe in again. In spite of all the unusual spiritual experiences he may have had, the aspirant will have to face the hard fact that he is still an incomplete being, full of hidden undesirable tendencies, lacking in will and inner strength, and as yet unworthy to serve in a befitting manner. Even if at this stage he tries to impart to others whatever higher knowledge he may have gained, the latter risks being mixed up with inaccuracies, spiritual pride, and sometimes even salted and peppered with a little fantasy born of the concealed desire to appear important in other people’s eyes.

 

If, after having known the luminous aspect of his being, an aspirant cannot raise in himself the strong and sincere wish to know the dark side of his nature as well— perhaps thinking that because of the lofty spiritual experiences he has had, this is no longer important— then he will render his emancipation very uncertain, if not impracticable. The discovery of the Sublime in oneself does not mean the immediate release from the bondage to one’s inferior nature. This divine light must not be misused solely in wanting to withdraw into the bliss of its celestial oasis. It could unconsciously remain a mere desire to escape into higher states only, which— because of one’s level of being— will not in any case last very long before weakening and becoming diluted with one’s ordinary state of consciousness, finally receding into the background, leaving one desolate again in the aridity of one’s habitual state.

 

If, without really understanding what it involves, a seeker remains as he is, then each time he tries to touch these higher states again, they will last for short periods only, and without his realizing why, he will find himself continually flung back to the level that corresponds to his degree of evolution. If the aspirant cannot muster in himself the inner courage patiently to face and suffer again and again the truth of what he is in himself, with all his open or hidden negativities, ill will, conceit, laziness, instability, stupidity, unreliability, and so on, then his sadhana will not have fulfilled its true function for his transformation. It will simply remain a high- sounding word in his mouth, empty and unproductive, like a seed fallen on poor soil.

 

He may not realize it at first, but, each time he can see himself as he is, a mysterious alchemy takes place in him, creating the right and probably only condition for his transformation. Although he will sometimes discover very distasteful things about himself, he must be careful not to brood negatively on them, forgetting the light that is eternally shining there behind them and through which they were seen.

 

Part Two

 

Without the aspirant reaching some degree of enlightenment, the real practice of sadhana cannot begin. He will not understand what this work is about and what is ultimately at stake for him. He will simply remain a prisoner of fantastic ideas and imaginings on spirituality arising from his ordinary self, containing no truth in them whatever. At the most, his concepts will be no more than a collection of intellectual speculations on the enigma of one’s being and existence— perhaps made with much good intention but having no foundation in nor any bearing on reality. In the end, all this will lead nowhere; it will certainly not bring him any nearer to the realization of his True Nature and to a correct comprehension of the hidden meaning behind life and death.

 

Although it is absolutely right that the aspirant at first strive after enlightenment, it is also extremely important for him to understand that, paradoxically, he must under no circumstances do his spiritual practice with either the conscious or unconscious intention of obtaining results. Whatever the subject of his meditation, whether concentration on the lower abdomen while breathing, concentration on the mystical sound inside his ears, concentration on his feet in the slow walking exercise, concentration on a certain chakra (psychic center) situated between the nose and upper lip, he must be very careful not to seek unusual phenomena, even perhaps unknowingly, nor to be constantly on the lookout for results, nor project his imagination in advance of what he thinks illumination might be. All these things will certainly hinder him in his endeavors, which will continuously be colored by the desires and fantasies of his ordinary self, interfering instead of getting out of the way. The aspirant must learn, especially at the beginning of his practice, to concentrate on the subject of his meditation for the love of doing it and for no other reason.

 

Generally, when meditating, the majority of people lose patience without being aware of it and relax the intensity of their concentration just at the very moment when they should more than ever be keeping it up and plunging ever deeper into themselves. Thus, they are never able to pass beyond a certain threshold in their being. But this should not be misunderstood. It is not at all meant as an incitement to be brutal in one’s endeavors, using violence in such sacred work— sacred work that, on the contrary, demands a most delicate approach and subtle understanding. Although it is true that one’s effort must be very firm and sustained, at the same time— as was repeatedly said earlier— it has to be extremely gentle and tranquil, accompanied by the simultaneous surrendering of oneself.

 

The essential thing in meditation is to arrive at experiencing and recognizing with absolute certainty this sublime consciousness in oneself, this subtle, vast, and luminous consciousness that each being unknowingly carries deep within him. There are different paths to arrive at this supreme realization, and under the guidance of a master, this revelation can be attained either rapidly or progressively— depending on how ripe and ready the seeker is for it. But if an aspirant is striving without a guide, he may abruptly touch unusual states or go through exceptionally powerful experiences ordinarily absolutely inconceivable, which may later perturb him if he is not sufficiently prepared for them. It is to avoid any unnecessary shock for someone working alone, as well as to help him better understand his own spiritual experiences, that the following personal experience is recounted— fully realizing that this does not in any way imply everyone will pass through exactly the same states in exactly the same manner to arrive at a comprehension of his True Being. It is told simply to help him should he experience something similar.

 

One day, after having gone through the most terrible suffering and despair, as the author was meditating, and as he kept plunging ever more deeply into himself, stubbornly holding onto the subject of his meditation with growing but quiet determination while at the same time constantly increasing the intensity and strength of his concentration without at any moment letting it falter or fluctuate, abruptly, as the sensation of his body became ever finer and more rarefied, this sacred Nada inside his ears started to vibrate in a most unusual way, thundering in his head with an incredible power and shrillness he had not known before. Suddenly, with a formidable force and astonishing rapidity, he was sucked up to the top of his skull. At the same time, he felt that his forehead had ripped open from inside, and the vision of his two eyes had inwardly merged into the center of his forehead. Simultaneously, he had the strong and strange feeling of having died and gone back to his Source of origin. He was also seized with the inexpressible sensation that he was immersed in and united with the Great Whole, and that he had discovered and understood the mysterious secret behind life, the stars, and the Universe. He was equally pervaded with an extraordinary sense of immense “cosmic aloneness.” An eternal vast silence reigned.

 

Afterward, and for many days, his body seemed incredibly light and free, as if transmuted into ether. Something of this sensation has remained with him ever since. He also experienced a strange and indefinable state of well- being, bathed in an ineffable inner stillness, contentment, and indescribable feeling of love hitherto unknown to him, a profound melting tenderness in the solar plexus— as that of a speechless mother who, after many years of painful separation and suffering, has been unexpectedly reunited with her only child whom she long thought lost.

 

Later, as he tried to formulate into words the strange secret he had discovered concerning life, the stars, and the Universe, he found himself utterly unable to do so. Although the reality of this mysterious comprehension has always stayed with him from that day onward, yet he has never been able to translate it to himself in any known language. He has also found it necessary to keep largely silent on such out- of- the- ordinary matters. These are intimate experiences between the Divine and oneself that cannot be shared with anyone else.

 

Moreover, through this unusual spiritual experience, he had, without having fully understood it at first, received a foretaste and subtle knowledge of the after- death state, a subtle knowledge and higher understanding that have kept silently growing in him, becoming ever clearer, deeper, and more affirmative each time he sat and meditated again. Here also, he deemed it absolutely necessary and expedient never to speak about such a revelation to anyone. Apart from the reasons already mentioned, his silence is also to avoid wrong ideas about the supernatural from arising in the minds of people who might later desecrate a thing of such weighty importance, distorting it in reducing it to their own level of understanding.

 

From that momentous day onward, his existence took an entirely different meaning for him. His thoughts and feelings flowed in a new direction, and his aims in life changed drastically. He looked upon everything from another perspective and in a totally new light. All the things that used to interest him in the past, and that had seemed so important before, suddenly meant nothing to him anymore.

 

He began to see in everyone, without exception, the same Cosmic Consciousness animating their lives, only they are ignorant of it. It is crucified in them and will sadly remain so until they bring themselves to desire it above all else and succeed in making the necessary efforts to seek and discover it— a discovery that will bring in its wake a very particular understanding of the reason and sense of their lives, of where they originated, and into what they will one day be reabsorbed when this form of existence comes to its end for them, as it inevitably will do. Through this inner awakening, or rebirth, they will then start to live in, and through, the higher aspect of their nature, conscious of the supreme Unity behind all sentient beings and the seeming separateness of things.

 

He equally saw the imperative need to strive to maintain as far as possible a state of self- recollectedness in active life as well. This ever- sosubtle inward movement, or rather descent into oneself— which has to be continually renewed— is the key to the understanding of real inner presence. This inner descending movement is, in a certain way, always possible to accomplish, and one will find that, at the very instant when this descent into oneself is effected, the renunciation of one’s ordinary state of being mysteriously takes place at the same time.

 

Later, other strange phenomena occurred during the author’s meditation: sometimes he was seized with a mysterious involuntary shaking of the entire trunk or the head, while at other times a gentle unintentional swaying of the body took place, all of which could last for a considerable length of time before stopping; on other occasions, he felt a strong and pleasant pressure on the top of the skull, at the back of the head, or in the region of the throat with the chin involuntarily pressing tightly against the neck— similar to the Jalandhara pose in Hatha Yoga. At other times, the whole of his abdomen would, of itself, extend outward and rise in a surprising manner, pressing against the solar plexus with considerable force. It would remain in this distended and suspended position for quite a long time— inconceivable in normal conditions. Now and then, he would feel himself taken by an invisible force and, in spite of himself, made to dance in his room in a most strange and ecstatic way while the strains of celestial music vibrated throughout his being.

 

This strange sensation of the opening of the center of his forehead from inside has never left the author. Since the day it occurred it is as if, in some mysterious way, he is always looking out at the world deep from the back of his head at the same time as through the center of his forehead and his physical eyes. His experience also led him to the discovery that he could, through the power of Grace, confer upon another a direct silent transmission. Although this will without doubt be of inestimable help to a seeker, it will, nevertheless, not spare him his share of the efforts that he will have to make throughout his entire life.

 

Part Three

 

When the aspirant has arrived at experiencing and recognizing this out- of- the- ordinary state of consciousness in him as being his Supreme Nature, appreciating its capital value and profound importance for his transformation, he will come to see for himself the urgent need for him to always strive to turn to it, not only during the moments when he sits quietly and meditates but in his active life as well.

 

For he will find that while he is inwardly present to this higher aspect of his being, he cannot any more conduct himself under its intransigent gaze in the same way as he does when in his ordinary state of being. All the things that he generally thinks, says, and does when sunk in the habitual condition of unmindfulness are inconceivable in a state of self- recollectedness. He will perceive that, as long as he is aware of himself, inwardly connected to his Supreme Being, he will not be able to do other than act in conformity to this hallowed Witness. His thoughts, speech, and actions will inevitably be influenced and governed by a higher knowledge and very particular understanding proceeding from it, rendering him compassionate in his contact with the outer world and conscious of the feelings, problems, and sufferings of others. And he will discover that, as soon as he forgets himself again, becoming inwardly disconnected from his True Source, he will start once more to behave through his ordinary lower self, with all its blind urges for the immediate relief of its discomforts, as well as the gratification of its ever- changing cravings and ambitions, oblivious of the consequences of its actions and the unhappiness it inflicts around it, its personal satisfaction being the only thing it knows and cares for. When the seeker is identified with this side of his nature, he generally, knowingly or not, approaches others solely through his needs and desires, which impel him to act mainly in his own interest.

 

Like an iceberg whose biggest and most important part remains submerged and hidden from sight, the human being’s most essential aspect lies mysteriously veiled beneath the mists of his illusory ordinary self. And, because the desires and clamors of this perceptible little self are so noisy, he is impelled to notice only this small part of himself, totally unaware of the majesty of his Supreme Nature concealed behind all this wild uproar in him. To arrive at perceiving the huge and vital part of an iceberg covered from view, it is necessary to make the effort of plunging into the waters that surround the small exposed fragment.

 

Enlightenment reveals how little and insignificant is the visible aspect of the human being, but attaining enlightenment is not easy. Not only does it demand much patient struggle from the seeker but also, and above all, a profound and sustained sincerity.

 

This spiritual struggle equally signifies the start of true sincerity in the aspirant’s relationship with the outside world. For, although he may not be especially aware of it at the time, the very desire to be sincere inevitably entails a very special and subtle effort for its fulfillment, which— at the instant when he is being sincere— automatically brings with it an inward movement, or rather, a particular descent into himself that the seeker normally does not perceive. This descent into himself is the start of and key to self- recollectedness— even though, in the beginning, he may not necessarily recognize or sufficiently understand it. Furthermore, he may also not fully comprehend nor appreciate the secret action and effect this mysterious descent into himself has, both on his feelings and on his mind. Thus, he might perhaps let slip a precious opportunity and means for opening the door that can eventually lead to the realization of his True Nature.

 

All strivings to be sincere call for an act of inner presence, which is the start of inner awakening and the “pushing out of the way” of the seeker’s ordinary self to be replaced by something more worthy. Sincerity, to both himself and others, is the beginning and the end of all things. It is, in any case, unquestionably the basis of all spiritual search. Without it, enlightenment is absolutely impossible.

 

Sincerity is also the very life and force of all great artistic creations. The exalted feelings that a sublime musical work inspires in its listeners are nothing less than the expression of the same lofty sentiments and profound sincerity its creator, the composer, had in him at the time of its creation. For it is solely in the degree to which a composer is himself stirred and elevated when working that he will stir and elevate his audience (if they are receptive enough), and the depth of his sincerity cannot fail but evoke its equivalent in them. The mysterious effect that music can have on the feelings and thoughts of those who listen to it is often colossal. It can even be strangely disquieting at times, showing the terrible responsibility a composer has to all who come under the influence of his music and receive in their being the subtle suggestions his work secretly imparts to them.

 

Ordinarily, there is no way of explaining life and death. To understand life and its meaning, it is necessary to understand death a little; and to understand death a little, it is equally necessary to understand life better— and above all, “That” which is behind it, animating it and sustaining the whole Universe. It would seem there is no possibility of finding the answer to this enigma if it were not that, during particularly profound mystical states in meditation, one can have some foretaste and subtle knowledge of the after- death state— that is to say, into what one will be reabsorbed on leaving this form of existence.

 

Understanding death a little better helps one understand life a little better too, and understanding life a little better helps one understand death also a little better, until one finally arrives at discovering that these two conditions mysteriously merge into one another, revealing a state of nondifferentiation between them— just as there is only one atmosphere surrounding the globe, unchanging in its essence, whether it is day or whether it is night. But these are understandings that can never be clearly and correctly expressed in words. One cannot explain such things beyond a certain limit: firstly, because it would not be possible to avoid distorting them to some degree; and secondly, to prevent their being misunderstood and misrepresented later by others.

 

In addition to the above reasons, the author, having received no education, is extremely mistrustful of himself, considering himself far from qualified to put into words, beyond a certain point, revelations of such importance. Ultimately, each person must seek out and live these extraordinary experiences and truths for himself to be able to understand them. They cannot be understood with the mind, nor transmitted intellectually. In fact, the mind is a veritable handicap in this area.

 

The subtle language of great symphonic music can sometimes explain life and its meaning in a manner that can never be done intellectually nor understood with the rational mind, even though it should not be forgotten that, no matter how great a work of art may be, it is still mixed up to some degree, be it ever so slight, with the artist’s habitual state of being. However, this does not exclude the fact that very elevated feelings and subtle understandings reaching him from higher invisible spheres can, to some extent, mysteriously be translated into music. Its wordless speech, made up of exalted sentiments and silent suggestions, immediately touch the listener’s very being and is secretly understood by him through direct intuition.

 

Although great beauty and spiritual truths can be transmitted through the medium of literature and speech, nevertheless, there is always a considerable danger of their being misinterpreted, each person understanding them in his own way according to his education and conditioning, which, in turn, leads to his deforming them, often resulting in fierce dissension and violence between people.

 

But there is a superior kind of art, or medium of transmission, where the intellect and mouth are silenced. In this form of art, the beauty and spiritual truths imparted are received directly by the eye through sacred paintings, religious sculptures, certain forms of dancing (in particular Indian dancing), and special architectural masterpieces (such as temples, shrines, mosques, and so forth), with a lesser possibility existing of deforming these truths.

 

However, an even higher form of art exists in which the intellect, the mouth, and the eyes are completely passive. The spiritual truths, beauty, and love communicated are received directly through the feelings by the subtle language of music that vibrates deep inside the listener’s heart. Here, the chances of misrepresenting these truths are greatly reduced. For, whatever their creed or race, and no matter where they happen to be, when a group of people are assembled together, listening to the sublime harmonies and wonderful orchestral “colors” of a great symphonic work secretly imparting to them an ineffable truth through expressions of elevated sentiments, the minds, thoughts, and feelings of all are then united in one silent communion. At that exalted hour, words have lost all their meaning.

 

If the aspirant is receptive enough, he will discover that listening to certain music can mysteriously help bring about this important descent into himself spoken of earlier. Some rare beings gifted with very unusual sincerity, capacity of concentration, and great sensitivity, rendering them capable of capturing these invisible influences coming from “the spheres of the gods,” are chosen by higher forces— and are, in an ordinarily incomprehensible way, sacrificed— to transmit to the world through music a ray of light and the enigmatic message of this inward descent into oneself.

 

The force born of the unusual sincerity that some rare composers have in them during their creative moments is something that only someone who has experienced it himself in some form or another can understand, appreciate, and speak of. The inspiration and aesthetic sentiments that move a genius in his periods of creativity can arise in him only in a state of extreme inner stillness, receptivity, and exceptional sincerity, rendering every note he writes inevitable. That is to say, each note of the theme and harmony of his music go where they ought to go and could not possibly have gone anywhere else, evoking in the listener the strange feeling of rediscovering an evident truth that he seems to know already from some enigmatic source— even though he is, in fact, listening to this music for the first time in his life.

 

Apart from the profound sentiments and lofty intimations that some musical masterpieces convey (like a mysterious wind blowing from an invisible and strange land, whispering softly inside the ear of humanity an ever- so- subtle message), the particular sort of tenderness and unusual love that music (especially Indian music) sometimes communicates to the human soul are perhaps its most important contribution to the field of art. This kind of love does not in any way resemble the ordinary love one is familiar with in life, which is always directed outwardly to something or somebody, and mainly aroused through desire. Such love is unstable and unpredictable, influenced by outer circumstances and the need of the moment. It changes like the wind, and is even often transformed into its contrary. The unusually tender love that one encounters in music, speaking subtly to the heart of the human being in the sublime language of the gods, sometimes moving him to tears without any apparent reason for it, comes down to him as an indication pointing the way inward, secretly influencing his feelings and opening his mind to something higher that he otherwise could not experience nor know of in his customary state of being.

 

More so even than in art, sincerity in meditation and sadhana is absolutely vital. It is the essential pillar upon which all spiritual efforts must rest and is unquestionably the seeker’s strongest arm and protection in his difficult quest. Without genuine and profound sincerity, he will merely dream that he is meditating or practicing a sadhana. Each time the aspirant sits and meditates, he has to do it with all his being, with ever renewed sincerity, always meditating as if for the first time, no matter what exalted spiritual experiences he may have been privileged with before.

 

To help an aspirant who— depending on his type and temperament— may pass through similar experiences as those of the author (who was atrociously alone at that time, with no one around him capable of sufficiently understanding his problems, needs, and sufferings to guide him), the following painful trials he underwent will be indirectly recounted, together with some important advice for the seeker.

 

As the aspirant quietly descends into himself during his meditation, remaining inwardly ever so still and silent in a state of continual self- abandonment, a moment may come when, through Divine Grace, he will be stirred by a most unusual feeling of love, filling him with a sublime and tender melting sensation spreading all around from his solar plexus, a sensation so unusual and strong that he may afterward find himself weeping violently without fully understanding why. This out- of- the- ordinary sentiment may, in a very inadequate way, be compared to the strange sensation of experiencing extreme sadness and happiness simultaneously, such as the intense emotions of a bereaved woman who, having lost her beloved under tragic circumstances, suddenly dreams of him in her sleep and is so overcome with joy and affection at seeing him whom she believed dead that her heart is gripped with the most singular feeling of profound pain and felicity as she ever- so- fondly tries to smile at him while shedding endless tears of bliss in her dream.

 

The experience of this uncommon love will deeply affect and mark the seeker. He will unmistakably recognize that what has taken place in him is an out- of- the- ordinary sentiment of mystical love, a most tender and strange love that cannot be compared to anything one normally knows in life. For in this case, this particular love is not stimulated by nor directed to anyone or anything external. There is simply an inexplicable state of love, a most unusual melting sentiment of profound mystical love that one has become immersed in and one with.

 

When the seeker first goes through this unusual experience, he may be so deeply moved that he will afterward find his whole body shaking with the weeping that this strange and ecstatic love will have provoked in him. This intense weeping with which he is so suddenly seized is mainly due to an aspect of his being that is not ready to support such an uncommon and powerful experience, and he has to be extremely careful afterward, since there is the risk in such cases of a destructive emotional state settling in without perhaps his being aware of it. If allowed to remain, it will be very difficult to dislodge, for, strangely enough, one can become attached to this emotional state, which will then devour the person in whom it has installed itself, rendering him tense, withdrawn, and melancholic, unable to work and only wanting to retire ever further into himself and brood on this experience.

 

The danger is even greater when it is accompanied with the avid desire to relive these intense moments. If the seeker gives in to this craving, it will seriously perturb all his future meditations. It will become an obsession, constantly gnawing at him, and drawing him away from what his true aim should be. He will then go through much torment and suffering before he realizes his mistake. This warning applies equally to all other powerful mystical phenomena or states that the seeker may go through. He should never at any time, either consciously or unconsciously, seek to recreate such moments, no matter how fascinating and wonderful they may have been. It is important in any case to understand that experiences of such an extraordinary nature cannot come again at one’s command, in exactly the same manner, bringing with them exactly the same states that one has had before. The aspirant will have to realize that both he and the conditions that helped bring on these states have changed. As already repeatedly stressed, he must learn to cultivate in himself the attitude and subtle art of always starting his meditation with the utmost sincerity and inner stillness as if it were for the first time, forgetting all that took place on previous occasions.

 

Although during one’s meditation one sometimes experiences very strange mystical phenomena and is given foretastes of transcendent emotional states, it should be understood that this does not necessarily mean that one has fully earned or deserved them. They may come as an encouragement and subtle indication only, silently showing the way, according to the particular need of the moment, before being partially withdrawn from the seeker for a certain time. He may afterward have to pass again through terrible moments of uncertainty and despair until he succeeds in making the right efforts to rise to yet greater heights in himself. At that time, other experiences will unexpectedly come to help him advance still further in his spiritual journey.

 

As a result of all his previous inner work he may, at certain privileged moments, suddenly touch a higher dimension and mysteriously see what will seem to him to be all the different aspects and different possibilities of a thing or a situation simultaneously. But the aspirant has to be extremely circumspect afterward, and watch that these exalted states and out- of- the- ordinary experiences that he is sometimes permitted to have are not immediately taken by his lower self and used for itself. There is a lot of stupidity, foolish ideas, and egotism in every man and woman that have to be “knocked out” of them, and this “cleaning up” of oneself is not achieved without much struggle, pain, and suffering.

 

As the seeker becomes more practiced and mature, his lower nature will also have undergone much transformation through all these lofty spiritual experiences and the higher understanding they have brought him. Then a profound cosmic stillness will descend upon him when meditating, and this ineffable state of ecstatic love will also have a different effect on him; he will feel a very tranquil but sublime tenderness into which he will quietly merge; and, as always during such out- of- the- ordinary moments, this enigmatic Nada will more than ever make its presence felt and, with its eternal jewel- like glitter, sing in his ears its supernal song at the same time as it helps him increase his inner absorption. This, as it deepens, will always bring him the strange yet curiously familiar sensation of having returned to the mysterious Source whence he originated, and to which he belongs.

 

The way this divine flame may affect an aspirant the first time it illuminates his being with its ineffable love can be compared to that of a fierce fire consuming a log of wood, its flames leaping about wildly in all directions in the wind. And the way it will affect him later, when he will have acquired deeper spiritual comprehension, more control over his thoughts, and greater inner calm, can be compared to the immobile, soft, and beautiful flame of a candle on a perfectly windless evening. Something of this beatific state will— apart from the moments when he sits alone and meditates— afterward extend itself of its own accord into the seeker’s active life, silently stirring him with a melting feeling of quiescent and compassionate love.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Practice of Concentration While Walking Outside

 

All men and women have in them, without knowing it, an enormous reserve of strength and energy, much of which remains unused. If these forces are not consciously channelled and constructively utilized into some form of physical, intellectual, or artistic work, then, like milk that turns sour when left standing, these forces will turn negative, or even become destructive—as can often be seen in many children and adults.

 

For special reasons that may not be comprehensible to the ordinary person, life always procreates in an excess of abundance—but cosmic laws demand that nothing in the Universe can remain static or unused or be wasted. When unproductive, these forces will—depending on the person’s type and temperament—either go inward, acting against the person himself and eventually destroying him without his being aware of it, being used up in worries, anxieties, and restlessness, or they will flow outwardly, into sensuality, propagating tensions and strife around him—and even, on a wider scale, in engendering wars! These extra energies in the human being are destined to be utilized for his spiritual quest and struggles, as well as to adorn the world with the beauties of great artistic creations. When these higher aims are not fulfilled, then, as always, gravity will pull these forces in the only other direction they can go—downward.

 

Most states of depression, negative emotions, and sensual desires are generally indications of unused energies. A vigilant aspirant should immediately recognize these symptoms when they arise in him and try to give his forces a positive and creative outlet before they turn rancid and seep through his being, secretly flooding it with destructive thoughts and feelings.

 

The further one rises up a mountain, the more the atmosphere is rarefied and pure; and the nearer one approaches the peak, the more the perspective becomes vast and imposing. Similarly, there are different levels of consciousness in the Universe, from the highest to the lowest. In the higher mysterious spheres, the Devas (sublime gods) reign, reflecting their divine splendor all around in the form of spiritual light, exalted sentiments, and inspiring artistic accomplishments; while the inferior regions are inhabited by the Asuras (demonic gods), spreading dark influences everywhere. And the human being carries these two extremes hidden in him. If he does not consciously struggle to rise to the superior levels of himself, then the lower aspects of his nature will inevitably dominate and use him without his perceiving it, fruitlessly sapping his vitality.

 

A wise and heedful aspirant will carefully watch over and protect his forces from being stealthily drawn away from him, wasted in negative emotions, futile imaginings, and unprofitable activities. He knows that he needs every drop of his energy for his spiritual struggles, and that economizing that energy is essential for him. However, if, on certain occasions, the aspirant finds himself in a disturbed, restless, or depressed mood, and for some reason or other he is unable to muster the strength to disengage himself from it, then, before this state gathers too much momentum in a downward movement and increases its hold on him, it is better that he leave his room and take up another form of spiritual practice while walking outside—a form of spiritual practice that he should, in any case, always do whenever he happens to be out of doors.

 

Not only will this way of walking use his energies productively on days when his inner state is too difficult to control, but it will also open new avenues for him toward deeper spiritual insights and self-knowledge. The difficulties he will have to cope with in this exercise will help him see better the imperative need to remain in a state of intense self-recollectedness in action also, and not only when quietly meditating behind the walls of a monastery or in his room. Failing this, all his spiritual achievements, no matter how lofty they may be, will not have been put to the test in active life, and he cannot know how he will react or stand up to the unpredictable and fierce winds of the outside world when destiny unexpectedly flings him in their midst. For, even though he may be able to withdraw from outer life for a certain time, sooner or later he will be made to leave the protection of his seclusion and share with an agonizing humanity the fruits of his spiritual harvest—which must not, by divine law, be kept for him alone.

 

This important new exercise mentioned above consists in concentrating all one’s attention on the soles of the feet while walking in the street. Generally, when someone is out walking, he is never present and aware of himself in the manner in which he really should be. He moves about in a state of mental absence, lost in a maze of futile imaginings. So that an aspirant might begin to understand the sense of his existence, and what is required of him by the supreme universal Mind that gave him his breath of life and intelligence, it is at first necessary for him to understand this dramatic problem of the strange state of oblivion in which he passes his life. And he needs every possible bit of help for that. He will be greatly assisted in his efforts at remaining present to himself in this exercise by feeling the soles of his feet each time they touch the ground. In this particular work, concentration on the extremities of the legs will show the aspirant the paramount need there is for him to get away from his head and his habitual thinking so as to permit a new sort of consciousness to arise in him and occupy the place of his ordinary mind. If his lower self does not remove itself—to some degree at least—to make way for something more worthy in him, then this luminous consciousness that he unknowingly carries in the depths of himself cannot come to the foreground of his being sufficiently to make its presence felt.

 

It will be expedient for the aspirant not to venture upon such a difficult and unusual battle without some inner preparations first—otherwise he will either forget to do it most of the time, or he will not have gathered in him the necessary strength and determination to maintain such a delicate struggle. His efforts will consequently be lukewarm and not enough to bring him any positive results.

 

Each time he is thinking of going out, he should inwardly prepare himself, even though it be for only thirty seconds. And, before starting to do this, or any other, spiritual exercise, the aspirant should always first try to feel what is at stake for him at such moments. Instead of letting his mind wander aimlessly in vain reveries, he must make it a habit always to occupy his attention in this important work with the utmost of his sincerity. He should tenaciously continue this particular exercise until he is able, at will, to remain connected inwardly to his higher Source throughout all his outer life activities, until there comes a day when this temporary support will no longer be necessary, or he may need to come back to it only in times of inner difficulty.

 

This special work should not be given up because of the strong resistance the aspirant will encounter in himself at first. As he will notice, the slightest unexpected movement or sound can suddenly distract him from his aim: it may be a passer-by who accidentally jostles him, a fly insisting on settling on his face, or the loud bark of a dog—but, whatever it is, before he realizes what has happened, he is no longer “present”!

 

In the beginning of his struggles to stay present, the seeker will discover that hardly has he taken a few steps than, abruptly, and in an unaccountable manner, he becomes absent and dispersed again, completely forgetting about this important spiritual work and his intention to remain concentrated. Two, or even five, minutes later or longer, he will be just as surprised when, suddenly, as in a flash, there is a strange, inexplicable and very rapid inward movement that takes place in him—the significance of which he may not appreciate nor understand at first—and he has come back to an awareness of himself again! At that very instant, he will realize that, not only had he altogether forgotten about this exercise, but that—what is even more curious—in an incomprehensible way, the knowledge and feeling of his existence had been strangely obliterated at the same time. He was mysteriously swallowed up and—so to speak—“died” in this state of self-forgetfulness!

 

The aspirant must take particular care not to become irritated and intolerant with himself each time he loses the thread of his attention in this manner. He should patiently and persistently begin again with even greater determination, fixing his attention on, and feeling, the soles of his feet as they come down and touch the ground. Through this way of working, he will, among other things, also start to know himself as he is. He will suddenly notice all his hidden, changing, and contradictory sentiments, his unconscious inclinations to criticize, his desires, tensions, restlessness, and many other things that he otherwise could not have known.

 

If the aspirant finds it too difficult to maintain a state of self-recollectedness during this exercise, then he should try aiming from one tree to another (without necessarily looking at them), using the distance that separates them as an additional support while keeping his attention fixed on the soles of his feet. If there are no trees about, then any other object will do. When reaching this landmark, he must immediately aim at another. But he should gradually increase the distance between them every day until he can finally drop this additional prop altogether.

 

It is this mysterious movement toward oneself that the seeker must arrive at clearly perceiving and understanding. However, this comprehension should not come from his intellect but through his feeling and intuition. He will not fail to observe afterward—that is to say, when he recovers the awareness of himself—how, every time this state of self-oblivion descends upon and engulfs him, it is characterized by his being once more lost and identified with the ordinary aspect of his nature made up of endless fantasies, ambitions, frustrations, worries, and impracticable hopes, all of which, like a kaleidoscope, constantly change and replace one another moment by moment.

 

In contrast, every time this sudden inward movement takes place in him, he experiences for a short instant another state of consciousness that does not last long—an unusual, uninvolved state of consciousness that he may miss, or not clearly see in the beginning. This inward movement is so narrow at first, and it happens so quickly, that he may not realize its profound meaning and importance without an enlightened teacher to point it out and expound it to him. Nevertheless, as the aspirant keeps losing and regaining this special awareness of himself, he will, little by little, come to see and understand more and better this strange phenomenon of his “disappearance and reappearance.” He will begin intuitively to perceive particularly what it was he was lost in the moment before, and to what other state of being he is recalled. He will eventually come to realize that each time this strange and inexplicable movement toward himself takes place it is like a rebirth, and whenever there is the contrary movement, going outward and “away” from himself, it is like a death.

 

He will start to discover how he “dies” in his habitual state of oblivion at every instant of his life without seeing it.

 

When later, after long practice, he is able to remain aware of himself for longer periods, he will then begin to live, see, and hear differently. From this impersonal higher aspect of his being, he will begin—in little flashes at first—to see things as they truly are. He will penetrate the feelings of other beings and read mysterious messages in trees, in mountains, and in all other things his eyes happen to settle upon.

 

A human being can live more fully only insofar as he is capable of being present and connected to his Supreme Source—this mysterious, silent, uninvolved Spectator in him.

 

Strength grows when utilized wisely and constructively. As one puts it into use, it will increase and reward its owner with yet more strength—just as when a farmer makes the initial efforts to plow his field and sow some grains of wheat, and it enigmatically brings forth a far greater harvest than was originally planted. If the aspirant can arrive at finding in himself the necessary force to start making the preliminary efforts of remaining present to himself, and begin to live through the higher levels of his consciousness, he will then muster in himself yet more energy to make further efforts and rise to still higher planes of being. In that way, he will, by his own strivings, aid his spiritual growth and transformation—for no one else can make these efforts on his behalf and work for his redemption, just as nobody can take vitality and profit from the food that is eaten and digested by another person.

 

Strength produces more strength when put to use. By working tenaciously for his own enlightenment and salvation, the seeker will find his inner power of concentration and capacity for attention expanding. And this will develop in him intuition, insight, and intelligence of a superior order, which, when put into action, will continue mysteriously to germinate and augment and give birth to further wisdom on a still higher plane.

 

The more one does, the more one will be capable of doing; and the less one does, the less one will be able to do. If, through his perseverance and ardent efforts, the seeker finally attains some degree of enlightenment and realizes the nature of his True Being, then, whenever moments of self-forgetfulness occur and he suddenly “comes back” to himself again (remembering, that is, to turn his look inward to the presence in him of this enigmatic, impartial, and silent “Spectator”), he will invariably find that this mysterious and luminous aspect of his consciousness is always there, ever-glowing and lighting up his being with its effulgence. In fact, it has been there unceasingly and has never at any time abandoned him. If, on certain occasions, he may have thought it was absent, it is only because he himself had turned his gaze away from it, and had forgotten it.

 

After some time the aspirant will be surprised to find on looking back that, paradoxically, even these periods of “forgetfulness” had their place and meaning in the scheme of things to help him rise to the higher planes of his being. For he will not have failed to notice that (apart from the outer problems and pains this self-forgetfulness brings with it), each time he loses the awareness of his existence, and his attention and interest are once more drawn away from him to be wasted in fruitless reveries and activities, he suffers from a terrible emptiness and solitude in the depths of his soul. He will then begin to see clearly that the only moments he is truly conscious of existing, and has a feeling of the fullness of himself, are the moments when his look is once more turned inward toward the light of his higher nature. Afterward, he will find that, whenever he sinks again into his habitual state of oblivion, it will not be a state of such total forgetfulness as before—because, during such moments, he will experience a curious and unaccountable feeling of being ill at ease. If he is sensitive enough to recognize this condition in himself quickly, he can then turn this strange and uncomfortable feeling into yet another means or reminder to disentangle himself from whatever had so uselessly absorbed him, and to turn back forthwith to the awareness of his higher being and true life, dwelling wakefully in the peace of his celestial inner abode.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Liberation and Choice

 

In their limited way, human beings know that they have no control over the conditions of their conception and their coming into this world. At these crucial moments, their will plays no part in anything that happens to them. However, they do not know why or how they have neither power nor choice over these events—such mysterious and determining events for their temporary passage on this planet. They also do not know the way in which they are, at such moments, the playthings of laws and forces that are beyond them and that, as long as they remain what they are, will always constitute an unfathomable enigma for them.

 

As they usually are, they are incapable of understanding why they are helpless in the face of these forces that manipulate them and decide their destiny—without leaving them any possibility of choice. As long as they remain as they are, they will never know that they are subject to the inexorable law of attraction and gravity, which controls the conditions of their conception, their birth, and their sojourn on this Earth. They are attracted, involuntarily, towards the type of mother and father they will have, the kind of existence they will lead, the places where their lives will unfold, as well as towards the particular conditions they will be constrained to bear throughout their earthly sojourn—unless something unexpected happens during their temporary passage on this globe and opens to them a door to a possibility of evolving to another plane of being, ordinarily completely unknown.

 

Human beings’ level of consciousness, the level of their being, and the degree of their intelligence, play a preponderant role in their destiny. The kinds of desires, habits, and penchants they accumulate within them also have a considerable influence on the direction their existence will take, whether for good or ill, towards a fertile or sterile accomplishment. Unless a profound change occurs within them, they will find themselves always subject to invisible laws and forces that are beyond them and that manipulate them mysteriously as they will, without leaving them any choice in anything at all. Despite all that they may wish, they will be continually projected into situations that correspond to what they have made of themselves.

 

They can do nothing against these forces that, in such an ordinarily enigmatic and incomprehensible way, they have themselves engendered, through their way of thinking and behaving—forces that precipitate them ceaselessly into conditions of life that are often difficult for them to bear, with the uncertain struggles that they must undertake for their survival and the continual conflicts they experience with their fellows—and which are their own, because they correspond to the way they vibrate within themselves.

 

It is also necessary to take into consideration the fact that, although their personal karma plays an important role, the karma of their parents, that of those around them, as well as that of their country—even of their race and of all humanity—may sometimes project them into dramatic situations over which they will have little or no control.

 

Nothing is the product of chance. There is always a cause somewhere—visible or invisible—which determines what all human beings are at the moment of their arrival in the world as well as what they will become in the future.

 

Without them being capable of grasping the reason for it, all incarnate men and women find themselves mysteriously placed in the very conditions that are necessary for their evolution. And it is useless for them to complain if these conditions prove demanding or to rebel against them, because, in a way that eludes their comprehension, it is they themselves who are at the origin of them and it is they who must patiently endure their consequences.

 

What has just been said does not, of course, apply to the collective tragedies which have, in all times, shed the blood of humanity and it does not mean that one can, with a tranquil conscience, look upon people who are suffering a sometimes dreadful fate and say to oneself: “It is their karma, the play of cause and effect, that has led them into that situation, so it is their fault if they find themselves in difficulty.” The forces present in this domain are so complex that they are impossible to apprehend through ordinary logic. Faced with distress of this kind, one must, on the contrary, do all that is humanly possible to help such people.

 

Incidentally, it must be noted that, even in the most terrible circumstances where collective karma is preponderant, all people nevertheless react according to what they are in themselves (the author, who went through the tragedy of the Second World War, which caused him so much suffering, is speaking here from personal experience).

 

If an aspirant takes the trouble to reflect on these mysterious laws that govern the manifest world, she will come to understand that she must not, in order to carry out her spiritual practice, waste her time in dreams of benefiting from conditions she may imagine to be easier than those in which she finds herself—and that she judges too hard for her. Without her realizing it, the situation in which destiny placed her at the very moment she took a spiritual path is perhaps exactly the one she needs to allow her to go beyond herself and liberate herself from all her undesirable tendencies and habits, in order that something decisive can occur in her life that will lead her towards another Universe within herself, where the Light of her Celestial Being reigns.

 

Thus, a seeker must come to recognize what hinders her personally on her journey. However, it is necessary to specify again that there must be no confusion between active acceptance and passive resignation. Accepting the conditions in which one finds oneself does not mean that, if an opportunity presents itself to improve one’s lot, one should not seize it. Incidentally, it must not be forgotten that the further an aspirant progresses on the path, the more elevated her levels of consciousness and being will be and the less subject she will be to the mechanical laws of attraction and gravity.

 

* * *

 

As previously mentioned, the majority of people have no choice concerning the type of parents who will conceive them; nor can they decide on their physique or the kind of life they will have, any more than the place or the time in which they will be born. Furthermore, apart from their own karma, they inevitably share that of their ancestors and their family, as well as all those around them. Everything unfolds for them outside their control, through the law that like attracts like. An eagle cannot be born to bears, any more than a bear can be born to eagles—unless a radical change occurs in the totality of its being.

 

All human beings gravitate, through the force of their desires, towards the kinds of things and the form of existence that are proper to them and that meet their most intimate aspirations. Even the choice of the partner with whom they will share their lives is mysteriously determined through the karma of each of them, by their level of being, as well as by the level of their desires—whether these are of an elevated nature or, on the contrary, are situated on an almost animal plane. However, the more an aspirant evolves and liberates herself from the shackles of her unfavorable desires and penchants, the more true her being becomes; she then begins to free herself a little from these external laws that enslave the majority of people and, consequently, to have some choice.

 

Thus, for a second category of humanity, a very small number of the men and women who are born on this globe, there may be a possibility of limited choice. In this case, the child will encounter the kind of parents who, perhaps without knowing it, may possess qualities or even a particular talent that will enrich the potential the newborn already holds within her. She will be born in the place that corresponds to her needs, in order to foster the growth and perfecting of her predominant aptitudes, as well as in the time that will bring together the necessary conditions for the realization of her destiny.

 

Furthermore, she will become incarnate bringing with her a rich heritage of knowledge acquired in a far distant past—too enigmatic for the mind of the average human being to apprehend it—which will determine the direction that her new life will inevitably take.

 

Thus she will find herself, despite herself, mysteriously drawn to a particular accomplishment, whether it be of a spiritual, artistic, or scientific order, already undertaken in an unfathomable past, but that remained unfinished. Often, from her childhood, driven by an inexplicable force, she will have within her a curious intuition, even a certitude, quite incomprehensible to those around her, of what she will do with her existence. She will pursue her path with strange determination, despite the difficulties and the obstacles that may ceaselessly plague her and that she will continually have to overcome in order to succeed in accomplishing the enigmatic task for which she has come to this globe. Everything she will subsequently realize will be permeated by a strange life and an assurance that will ceaselessly astonish the world.

 

However, despite what a being of this type is in herself and however singular her life may be, even she cannot escape the law of attraction and gravity—which still plays a relatively important role in her being and in what she will become.

 

On the other hand, there is a third category of human beings for whom there is a true choice. However, these are very rare exceptions and the incarnation of such beings in a human body, as well as the unfolding of their lives—which often prove very eventful—will forever remain an impenetrable enigma for the mass of humanity inhabiting this planet.

 

It is said, for example, that before his coming to Earth, the Buddha chose his mother, the place he wanted to be born, and the conditions he wanted for the realization of himself and his mission. And the same phenomenon must have occurred for Christ.

 

It is also important to remember that these extraordinary beings had mothers who were themselves women without stain and entirely out of the ordinary. Consequently, they were at a sufficiently elevated level of being to be able to assume the heavy responsibility of carrying beings as luminous and remarkable as Christ or the Buddha. Indeed, the crucial place of women in the world must not be forgotten; they are the symbol of protection in Nature and their persons must be protected and honored so that Nature itself is respected and safeguarded through them. It is necessary to take into consideration the essential position that the mother holds in the life of every child—for whom, without exception, she is irreplaceable—as well as her vital and determining role during pregnancy. The importance of her mysterious contribution to the formation of the child’s psyche, during the whole gestation period as well as after birth, is generally so poorly understood and given so little consideration in society.

 

* * *

 

As long as human beings remain as they are, prisoners of their old ideas, of what they subjectively believe to be good or bad, of their undesirable penchants, and of their unrealistic dreams of permanent corporeal security—in a world that is itself in no way safe or durable—there can be no freedom of choice for them. And they cannot even understand the way in which their unconscious attachments to their ordinary desires and to their tendencies not only prevent them having any possibility of choice, but also prevent them from knowing what they must objectively choose in order to help their evolution.

 

Generally, they believe that it is they who decide all that they do in their everyday lives; the reality, however, is quite different. They do not see the extent to which they are—except in moments of extreme danger when they become a little more awakened and conscious of themselves—manipulated by their hidden tendencies, by the conditions of their environments, and by the furtive suggestions they receive from the external world, which will determine what they will do with their lives.

 

Just like pieces of straw floating on the surface of a river, carried by the tides without being able to resist, they generally follow the current of the mass of humanity, without being capable of opposing it. Most of the time, they only imitate others in all that they do, whether it be their way of thinking, speaking, dressing, nourishing themselves, and so on. A lot of courage and strength is needed to go against the current that, without being conscious of it, the majority of people follow so passively.

 

Moreover, the multitude yields to all the fluctuations of customs, habits, and fashions—which ceaselessly change from one generation to the next, even from one year to the next—without ever questioning them. The aspirant’s struggle will be all the more arduous if these changes are contrary to any spiritual evolution—as can currently be seen in many domains, in particular that of art.

 

As most men and women are not conscious of themselves in the way they should really be, they cannot observe their behavior in everyday life nor the unfavorable impulses within them that drive them to act without thinking—to their own detriment as well as that of their fellows. It is enough for someone, for the space of a moment, to blindly cede to an irrepressible desire for her to commit an error that may, subsequently, oblige her to spend the rest of her earthly existence laboriously trying to repair it and correct its effects—often without even succeeding.

 

Without being conscious of it, human beings, as they ordinarily are, are their own victims; they have become the victims of their penchants, their habits, and their desires, which are all so firmly fixed within them that they completely color their psyches and obscure them through their continual demands. The aspirant is no different. Therefore she will have to try to discover and study, one by one, the various unprofitable tendencies of her nature. Then, just as she must apply herself to pulling out the weeds in her garden thoroughly, so that those weeds do not smother what she has planted there for her subsistence, she must resolutely strive to strip herself of all that stands as an obstacle between her and the Light she seeks to attain.

 

The first goal of any spiritual practice is to succeed in making the seeker sufficiently strong and conscious of herself so that she no longer cedes so unthinkingly to the unfavorable impulses within her without envisaging in advance the consequences for her being. In order to do this, she must first accept making the necessary efforts to be distant enough from herself in order to be able to see these urges that are habitually hidden from her inner vision and that make her her own victim—urges that, curiously, she becomes more and more attached to as she yields to their demands.

 

It is important for a seeker who seriously wishes to know herself to understand that someone can become strangely attached to her negative thoughts as well as to the self-destructive emotions that accompany them. It is for this reason that it is vital for her to continually recall that nothing can remain static in external life or in herself. If her attention and her energies are not channeled in a positive direction, they will inevitably be drawn downwards and used by her profane self to nourish fantasies (often sexual), negative emotions or thoughts, and futile inner chatter.

 

The aspirant embarks on a spiritual path in quest of felicity, but it is difficult for her to realize that it is impossible to attain such a state without first liberating herself from her unfavorable tendencies and the crude and demeaning desires of her profane self, which block the route to the Light of her Celestial Self. It is not the search for felicity that should animate her at the beginning, but rather the sincere wish to know the undesirable penchants and states of her nature which do not allow felicity to spread within her and elevate her being. It is completely inconceivable that felicity could coexist with her inner chatter, her ordinary desires, and her negative thoughts. Felicity and silence of mind are indissociable, just like liberation and choice: one does not exist without the other.

 

By withdrawing tranquilly into herself so as to be able to reflect on these questions with the necessary seriousness, the seeker may come to sense, through a subtle intuition that will come to arise silently within her being, what liberation—a word that is so often evoked, but whose meaning most aspirants seem not to grasp—might consist in.

 

A serious seeker must watch over herself with the greatest vigilance, like a conscientious mother who attentively watches over her child, for fear that he will do something that may harm him. Indeed, once a bad tendency installs itself in someone, she becomes its victim and, the more she yields to its demands, every time it calls for satisfaction, the less she is capable of thinking about the consequences that has for her being. Thus, this tendency becomes ever more difficult to extract if she realizes the damage it has caused within her.

 

The aspirant must try, with all her seriousness, to liberate herself as quickly as possible from any undesirable penchant and any undesirable habit that defile and debase her, before they have had time to take root in her being—just like someone who does not want to burn to death strips herself as quickly as possible of clothing that has caught alight. So as to be able to objectively choose between what constitutes an obstacle and what is profitable to her spiritual evolution, it is first necessary for her to awaken and to question her behavior as well as her way of thinking and being in everyday life.

 

The more a seeker awakens and rids herself of her unfavorable tendencies and habits, the more free she becomes within herself and the more she begins to rise to another plane of being that gives her the possibility of choosing with more discernment. She will also need to learn not to be emotionally engaged in what she says, sees, or hears, because a state of emotional involvement obscures her mind and prevents this awakening that is so important for her evolution—a particular awakening that will help her to consider more clearly the problems that she will encounter in external life and that, as far as possible, will make her difficult earthly journey easier.

 

If, by means of certain exercises, the aspirant comes to truly see what her eyes are looking at and truly hear what her ears are listening to, she will notice that a strange and silent inner presence and a consciousness of herself, which is entirely inhabitual to her, will begin to manifest themselves within her. However, she will discover that she cannot or, rather, she does not want to maintain this state of consciousness that was hitherto unknown to her, because this consciousness of herself involves awakening; well, paradoxically, despite all that she might think, she does not want to awaken!

 

Awakening and, above all, remaining awakened demand, at the beginning, a particular and tenacious effort that one does not like to make. One prefers to sleep tranquilly within oneself and dream—which demands no price to be paid—rather than make the efforts necessary to this crucial awakening. Yet, without this awakening, there can exist no possibility of objective and real choice for human beings. They will always be manipulated by the impulses of their profane selves and by external forces, without being capable of realizing the way in which they are the playthings of those impulses and forces.

 

* * *

 

The question of liberation and choice arises again here. For every man and every woman engaged in a spiritual practice, all the interrogations that arise within them on such an important subject must be asked and asked again, day after day, with a great deal of seriousness and sincerity.

 

“What is liberation?”

“What does liberation really involve?”

“Does one truly understand what one wishes to be liberated from?”

“Can there be objective and real choice without liberation?”

“Do choice and liberation go together?”

“Can choice precede liberation or is it the reverse?”

 

The word “liberation” springs so often from the lips of many seekers; do they truly understand the price to be paid in order to obtain such a spectacular result?

 

The aspirant must avoid giving herself formulaic responses to these questions. It is preferable for her to leave them unanswered until she senses what is involved for her, personally, in the terms: “liberation and choice.” Indeed, attachments, psychological problems, and unsatisfied desires vary and are different in nature from one person to the next.

The specific tendencies against which one seeker must struggle, sometimes for her whole life, are not necessarily the same as those of another. Thus, an unwise seeker may bring to these important questions answers that she believes to be satisfactory, but which, in reality, are only the projections of her subjective beliefs or mental speculations—which will prevent her arriving at a knowledge of another order which would have been able to help her later.

 

It is necessary to be as prudent and as scrupulous as possible regarding a domain so delicate that even very advanced seekers cannot approach it without discernment. The aspirant must be careful, throughout her quest, not to trust any intellectual explanation that crosses her mind—and which is often only a reminiscence of poorly digested reading. She must, on the contrary, strive to remain available and inwardly silent to leave space for the intuitive insights that will bring her a non-verbal understanding.

 

And it is here again that great music plays such an important role in the life of human beings—as long as they are receptive enough. This is because there can be, in the music of some great composers, moments of dazzling mystical ecstasy, that verbal expressions are powerless to describe. As the words are of secondary importance, the listeners’ minds remain sufficiently silent for their sentiment to be able to receive what is being communicated to them. Thus, the risk of a misinterpretation and a betrayal of what is being transmitted is less. No intellectual formulation can express what is directly received by the sentiment. One is never moved “in one’s head.” The intellect can only make comments (most often subjective and erroneous) on what is seen or heard. Any state of exaltation or ecstasy is felt in the sentiment and not intellectually.

 

Intellectual comments are, perhaps without one being conscious of it, principally based on past experiences—experiences related to what one wanted and did not want, to what one liked and did not like, to what one felt or did not feel longing for, as well as countless failures one has suffered, psychological or other problems one has not been able to resolve, various problems one has known in one’s life, how one experienced one’s childhood, etc. Thus the thoughts that arise within oneself, like the words one says, are inevitably subjective and, consequently, not truthful in relation to the situation of the moment, which is always new.

 

Indeed, if someone who is plunged into her state of habitual absence, repeats word for word a truth belonging to the past—although it may formerly have been a truth—it has, in the present moment, lost its force; it has become a sort of lie, sometimes even a dangerous one. For a truth to be alive, it must be connected to the reality of the moment. If one wants the truth to be able to find its place in manifest life, human beings themselves must become true and, for such a thing to be able to occur, it is necessary for them to begin by awakening and becoming conscious of themselves in a way that they cannot usually know.

 

Thus, whatever the path followed by the aspirant, it must necessarily include particular concentration exercises (or other means) sufficiently powerful to help her to awaken.

 

First she must awaken to be able to become conscious of herself. And she must become conscious of herself to be able to know the principal penchants within her that debase her and prevent her from elevating herself to another plane of being. And it is necessary for her to know what she is, with her unsatisfied desires, her subjective beliefs, and her attachment to her ordinary individuality, in order to come to understand more clearly the aim of her spiritual practice. And understanding the aim of her practice leads the seeker to consent to make the efforts indispensable to her transformation. And the transformation of herself may finally lead to her liberation and the possibility of choice previously mentioned.

 

The various stages of this work can be summarized as follows: awakening, becoming conscious of oneself, knowing oneself, understanding the aim, transformation, and, finally, liberation and choice.

 

However the main key that can open to an aspirant the door to the Celestial Palace, where the inestimable treasure of her Supreme Self lies, consists in becoming conscious of herself.

 

One can try, now, in the precise instant that one is reading these lines, to be, with all the seriousness one is capable of, profoundly conscious of oneself in a totally inhabitual manner and, while striving to maintain this particular state of consciousness for a few moments, to feel with all one’s being, what it means to be really present and conscious of oneself.

 

She who succeeds in recognizing clearly within herself an entirely unaccustomed state of presence, an intense presence, and a keen consciousness of herself that has pulled her from her ordinary state of being and feeling, has gained the most precious thing that can exist in the life of a human being.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Experience of the Sublime

 

 

Any meditation practice essentially has the purpose of accomplishing the tearing away of the aspirant from himself—tearing him away from his ordinary individuality, as well as the habitual feeling that he has of himself, crystallized in him since a time far in the past and which, because of long conditioning, he believes to be his only identity—in order to discover, within his being, the other aspect of his double nature which habitually remains hidden from him because his interest and his attention are continually directed only towards the outside world.

 

Behind the thick screen of his corporeal form, behind his ordinary individuality, and behind his little world and everything he considers to be himself, there is, within the human being, another Universe of an extreme delicacy and an extreme ethereal transparency, an inner Universe ineffable and luminous, which is his True Nature, his Divine Nature.

 

To succeed in tearing himself away from the habitual feeling he has of himself and his ordinary individuality, he has to make a very particular effort, because it involves the effort to accept renouncing this individuality. However, habit is extremely strong and tenacious and, for the majority of seekers, achieving (even a partial) renunciation that constitutes, so to speak, a voluntary inner death, requires long years of meditation and tenacious struggles—provided that they are serious and motivated enough not to capitulate en route. They have to succeed in tearing away from themselves enough to create at least a certain degree of emptiness in their being—an indispensable emptiness that will allow them to recognize a completely different world and a completely different consciousness buried within them in a latent state.

 

Achieving the creation of this emptiness in oneself necessitates accepting the loss of name, form, individuality, desires, past, future, etc. during the whole time the aspirant is trying to meditate, until one day he comes to be filled with a strange and profound inner silence; an inner silence that was unknown to him up until that moment and within which he will begin to feel awaken within him, in the form of very subtle quiverings, the first manifestations of his Celestial Being. As the seeker succeeds in deepening and prolonging the duration of his meditation, he will start to feel the beginning of the liberation and expansion of his consciousness. His consciousness will seem to expand infinitely and to become ever more luminous, fine, and ethereal. Furthermore, instead of feeling the dense and weighty matter of his corporeal form as he habitually does, he will experience the indescribable sensation of a very subtle and ineffable ethereal transparency of being.

 

An intense nostalgia will arise from the deepest part of himself, inciting him to want to give himself forever to this inhabitual state of being—which he will experience as a new birth that has just taken place within him; however, at the same time, he will realize the impossibility of such an accomplishment at this stage of his spiritual evolution, because he will still feel weighed down and held back by certain penchants and desires within his being that have not yet been transmuted.

 

One will have to take into consideration the fact that there are different degrees of enlightenment—depending on the level of being and consciousness of the seeker—and that, for the great majority of aspirants on the Path, enlightenment (if they achieve it) will not signify their liberation. They may even (because of certain old tendencies that are still alive within them) still be far from it.

 

* * *

 

Every time the aspirant comes out of his meditation, if his sensibility is developed enough and acute enough, he will begin to experience a new sensation, the inexpressible and disconcerting sensation that his consciousness is again shrinking and once again becoming matter, thus taking on again his dense and habitual corporeal form, with which he identifies, and within which he sinks down and sleeps once more—or, rather, within which he dies internally once more.

 

After a long practice of meditation, when he reaches ever more elevated levels of being, he will experience, when he comes out of his meditation, in an even more troubling manner, the strange feeling that his consciousness is effectively undergoing an expansion every time it is no longer condensed into a material form and a shrinking when it once again condenses and takes on its dense material form again.

 

A mysterious thought will then begin to germinate and to take form within his being: perhaps the final liberation of consciousness in the human beings consists in definitively losing the need (ingrained by force of habit) of sinking back into matter and to taking on some sort of form—which is ordinarily necessary to experience the sensation and knowledge of one’s existence.

 

A dizzying question will arise in his mind and will not cease to trouble him: is it possible that, on a much vaster scale, these myriads and myriads of celestial bodies inhabiting this immense Universe are themselves only consciousness condensed into matter and that the whole Cosmos, itself, also has the secret need to liberate itself from imprisonment in a material manifestation?

 

* * *

 

After what has just been said about the purpose of meditation, it is nevertheless necessary to be prepared to accept the fact that the practice of meditation cannot, in any way, be easy, especially for a beginner. The sustained concentration demanded during meditation—concentration which is of fundamental importance in any serious spiritual practice—may even prove to be laborious for some people. This is because the purpose of all spiritual concentration is to tear away and detach the aspirant from himself and from what he habitually is in order to constrain him to remain in the present—which is entirely contrary to what he is accustomed to doing.

 

Ordinarily (except for very brief moments of fleeting presence here and there), the mind of the human being is continually wandering uncontrolledly in the past or busy worrying (with justification or not) about the future—with all that the future may bring him by way of problems to solve the next day, or the next week, or the next year. Really exceptional conditions (such as bodily danger, terminal illnesses, accidents, natural disasters, etc.) are necessary to constrain him to remain in the present. Even then—this all depends on the type of person and his level of being—his presence, owing to his conditioning, may be very much partial and mixed with what his ordinary self unconsciously apprehends or does or does not want.

 

It is just this constraint to have to remain in the present during his meditation that takes the beginner by surprise and deters him. This is because, during the whole time he was growing up, he simply allowed his thoughts and emotions to flow passively where they would—just like the water of a river which flows in the direction that offers it least resistance, that is to say, downwards.

 

Whether for water or for a human being, the consequences of descending are always identical. Like water, which always “collects” more and more impurities in the course of its descending movement, a human being, if he is not vigilant, collects all sorts of habits and unprofitable tendencies in the course of the inevitable descent of his earthly journey towards old age and the death of his planetary body—habits and tendencies that may bring with them serious consequences for his spiritual possibilities.

 

This is why, whether during meditation or when he is carrying out his various spiritual exercises in his active life, if the aspirant is really serious in his spiritual quest, he must learn to become, so to speak, an “extreme” being. He cannot allow himself to be divided.

 

One desires Grace, enlightenment, Satori, but one never gives of oneself enough to obtain it. The seeker must watch over himself with the greatest vigilance, for fear that a detrimental thought or desire may slip furtively through the cracks of his inner home and install itself there at his expense.

 

Whether it is a negative thought, a sexual thought, or any other unwholesome mental suggestion, once the aspirant has allowed it, through weakness, to penetrate his inner home and install itself there, this undesirable intruder will immediately take possession of the premises and the aspirant will find himself outside.

 

* * *

 

Because of the extreme rapidity of the flow of thoughts succeeding one another, human beings never manage to notice the space or the void that exists between two of the thoughts that arise and recede in their minds. Just as ordinarily they do not perceive this void between two successive thoughts, they have the impression of a continuity within their minds and in the unfolding of their thoughts.

 

When the aspirant succeeds in gaining more control over his attention and becoming more and more concentrated during his meditation, moments will come where, suddenly, he will notice a space or a void between one thought or image and the following one—a void that is, in fact, simply an extremely acute and very subtle consciousness. It is precisely through this subtleness and this acuteness that characterize it that this consciousness escapes the understanding of most seekers.

 

If he succeeds in recognizing this short instant of void between two thoughts during his meditation (provided that he does not spend his time looking for it), his delicate task will henceforth consist in trying to prolong the duration of this emptiness more and more and to remain with it (by continually abandoning himself and remaining silent within himself, so as not to interfere with what is happening within him through inner commentary) until he comes to feel within him an immense ethereal transparency of being that will pervade him and take complete possession of his physical body. It will seem to him that he has been transformed into a mysterious Silent Witness who was and always will be there within him—without him having previously suspected it.

 

This new state, so acute, so ethereal, and so inhabitual, into which he has been transformed, will be accompanied by an inexpressible sensation of unspeakable tenderness within his chest, as though he were melting inside into a deep, ineffable love. He will experience the strange feeling of someone who smiles through silent tears and who, after having lost his way and wandered desperately through the world of pain since, what seems to him to have been, the dawn of time, has finally found his Original Home and a peace beyond all description, within which he will want to stay forever.

 

However, to succeed in recognizing this void between each successive thought and image that arise and recede within him, he will have to continually renounce these. If he does not do so, as previously stated, these thoughts and images will infiltrate him and take possession of his inner home, thus taking from him the possibility of recognizing this particular space that exists between one thought and another.

 

* * *

 

To try to grasp at least a little this particular consciousness of himself and this inhabitual transparency of being into which an advanced seeker will metamorphose when he is in a state of profound meditation, the aspirant may find valuable help if he succeeds in understanding the very specific state of consciousness he finds himself in during the very first moments of awakening after a night’s sleep.

 

When he awakens in the morning, the first part of the body that he begins to be aware of and that he feels is—usually without realizing it—the head. Then, progressively, he becomes aware of his neck, his torso, his legs, until he reaches his feet. But before completely awakening, he finds himself, for a very brief moment, during which he is no longer completely asleep nor yet really awake, between two states.

 

If he tries to prolong this moment during which he is no longer completely asleep nor yet really awake and to remain for as long as possible in this state before it recedes, then this particular state that he finds himself in at this precise moment will constitute a very valuable indication to help him recognize and better understand what will happen to him when he is immersed in profound meditation and when the first signs of this transformation, so ethereal and subtle, of his corporeal form and his consciousness take place within him.

 

However, even if he succeeds in recognizing this out of the ordinary state during his meditation, he will have to expect that certain tendencies and certain desires within him, whose roots have not yet lost their life force, will continue to weigh him down and to make difficult the delicate task of maintaining himself in this new state of transparency, so indescribable and inhabitual to him hitherto.

 

* * *

 

In order for the aspirant to better understand the influence of thoughts on his being and the necessity to succeed, at least to some extent, in mastering his mind, it is important to explain further the process of loss and regaining of consciousness at various moments in the life of a human being. At the moment of birth, it is (with rare exceptions) the head of the child that emerges first and the feet come last; in the same way, when a human being comes out of his nocturnal sleep, it is the sensation and consciousness of his head that comes to him first and that of his feet comes last.

 

In parallel with this, just as he loses the sensation and consciousness of his feet first, when his nocturnal sleep carries him away, and only loses the sensation and consciousness of his head at the last moment, in the same way, when the time of his death comes, a human being loses the sensation and consciousness of his feet first and only loses the sensation and consciousness of his head at the last moment.

 

Thus, as it is the sensation and consciousness of his head that leaves him last, the most important thoughts, those that have dominated his being during his life, will, consciously or unconsciously, inhabit the mind of the dying person at that crucial moment and will determine the direction his future destiny will take.

 

In the same way, since it is always the sensation and the consciousness of his head that leaves him last, before he sinks into his nocturnal sleep, it is important for any aspirant to take into consideration the sort of thoughts that he allows himself to carry with him into that mysterious inner world, a world that belongs to him alone and that cannot be shared by anyone.

 

During their nocturnal sleep, human beings reach regions of their consciousness that are inaccessible to them during their diurnal state and, sometimes, some enigmatic process takes place during the night and the difficult problems they struggled with the previous day are resolved when they awaken.

 

So the importance of the thoughts one takes with one can be seen, not only in nocturnal sleep, but especially during the last and longest sleep, that of death. In the same way, the aspirant must be attentive to the sort of thoughts that occupy him during the moments that precede meditation.

 

* * *

 

Furthermore, it is essential that the seeker learns to cultivate the habit of always approaching his meditation practice with an inner attitude of intense devotional respect and humility, humility based on the intimate comprehension that, as he is ordinarily, with everything that makes up his personality, he is nothing.

 

Without being aware of it, the aspirant wants to undertake a spiritual practice with the hidden desire of remaining what he habitually is, without renouncing anything whatsoever within himself. He wants to keep his ordinary individuality, as well as all his attachments to the goods and pleasures of this world and, despite this, to obtain even so the right to a revelation belonging to a completely different Universe where the slightest harmful tendency, the slightest undesirable habit not yet transformed, cannot be accepted and continually forms a barrier to the accomplishment of his spiritual aspirations.

 

This reverential approach that he must cultivate within himself during his meditation must, little by little, pervade and encompass his everyday life as well; it has to end up becoming an integral part of his daily life, so as to help him carry out all that is externally required of him in a manner that is compatible with what he wishes to attain during his meditation.

 

He has to learn, every time he loses it, to re-evoke calmly within himself this devotional feeling in his active life. Everywhere he goes and in everything he undertakes, not only must he try to maintain himself in this state of inner reverence, but also try to remain discreetly humble, because the world around him will do everything in its power to make him forget how dependent and how small he is.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good point:

I have so often heard spiritual teachers in India, and even in the West, say to their disciples: “No efforts, Everything is already here.” Or better: “You are already a Buddha; effort comes from the ego wanting to grasp it.” Such statements, if not simply deceitful, are at least the result of a dangerous kind of spiritual ignorance. It is true that “All is here,” but does one really know the “All” that is here? And even if, after great effort, one should, through a real direct experience, arrive at knowing the “All” that is here in its immensity, can one remain with this “All” and be merged in It?”

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Puzzling spiritual experiences. 😱😲

In his books, Salim mentions some of his spiritual experiences in order to enable a better understanding of what a practice consists of and also to encourage aspirants. Naturally, among the people who would come to see him, the majority were hoping themselves to have powerful spiritual experiences, but without realizing the necessity of being ready to be able to bear them.

Salim would put them on their guard by explaining to them: “As these experiences cannot be compared or related to any known thing existing in the tangible world, they can subsequently be disquieting and disturbing. If a seeker wishes to obtain Grace, it is indispensable, through assiduous work on himself, not only for his undesirable tendencies to be transmuted, but also for his levels of being and of consciousness to be sufficiently elevated, otherwise he will find himself submerged, even crushed, by these Holy manifestations”.

Most of the time, Salim avoided speaking of the mystic phenomena that had occurred to him, because it is a temptation for an aspirant to want to seek them instead of remaining new and open to the present. Thus, most of the phenomenal experiences he had will remain, as he would say: “A secret between the Divine and him”.

Salim often received the thoughts of people close to him, particularly those of his pupils, and often he would even see in his mind what they were doing or going to do, or he would know in advance the content of letters he was going to receive, but which had not yet been written. He also received, in the streets, in public places or elsewhere, in a disconcerting manner, thoughts of the people around him. This was not particularly pleasant. Thus he could receive the kind of images that arise in the masculine mind when a young woman goes by. He could not help thinking, at such times, that if this woman suspected the crudeness of the fantasies that emerged in the heads of men and what she was reduced to at that moment, she would certainly not feel flattered by their looks nor desirous of attracting their attention. Salim emphasized that, in such circumstances, a man did not understand the gravity of the wrong he did both to the woman and to himself in allowing himself to harbor such imaginings. “It must not be forgotten,” he would add, “that a human being is a creature of habit and, through the repetition of the sort of thoughts he allows to traverse his mind, without being conscious of it, he allows them to plow their furrow ever more deeply in his being. If these thoughts prove incompatible with spiritual aspiration, this person closes to himself, without knowing it, the door to the Divine Light within himself.”

Salim had, many times, spiritual experiences linked to food, which allowed him to better comprehend the importance of the daily act of feeding oneself. One day when, while working on himself, he was just about to eat a few grapes, he was seized by an indefinable feeling. He remained immobile for a moment, contemplating the grape in front of him, when, suddenly, an enigmatic contact began to establish itself silently between him and the fruit. In a way that was impossible to describe, he felt the being of these grapes and felt, within himself, their fear. They were, in their own way, surprisingly conscious that the time had come for them to lose their lives. They lay before him, impotent and incapable of flight, and, for Salim, their fear in the face of imminent death was evident and incontestable. He remained frozen in the same posture while inexpressible thoughts on the unfathomable mystery of Creation and of existence ran through his mind. At this moment, no doubt was possible for him concerning the fact that all the food human beings eat possesses a form of consciousness that is ordinarily impossible to comprehend and, consequently, it senses its life and fears its death.

Thus a human being finds himself in the unfortunate position of being obliged to suppress living things in order to sustain his own organism. But, as Salim received confirmation one day when cutting a tomato or, on another occasion, when he was about to cook some rice, these foodstuffs know, in their way, what death is and dread it. “That is the reason,” he would say, “for the necessity, through a very particular inner attitude and respect for the sort of sensibility that these living entities possess, to be able to reassure them regarding the pain that they cannot fail to feel before bringing their lives to an end in order to eat them. The fact of remaining immobile for a few moments in silent prayer and joining oneself to the food that is going to be cooked or eaten helps the aspirant to become present and to be ‘placed’ in himself in a manner that is different from his habitual manner. Moreover, this awakens in him a sense of responsibility and respect for these entities which are about to be sacrificed in order to maintain his physical existence. Finally, this attitude allows him to calm the feelings of the food, which, at that moment, is going to lose its life and its individuality in the interest of the seeker, and, as far as possible, help to relieve its fear and pain.”

However, it must not be concluded that, as all creatures suffer when one takes their lives, there is no difference between eating meat and satisfying oneself with a vegetarian diet.

As Salim recalls in “The Way of Inner Vigilance”, the level of suffering is not the same in a plant as in a mammal or a fish. Furthermore, if people who eat meat without wishing to think of the suffering of the animal had to slit its throat themselves, what would be their attitude then? Would they agree to do what is done behind the walls of the slaughterhouse? Salim wrote on this subject:

“Because of the tremendous terror, physical pain, and moral agony dumb creatures must inevitably go through when faced with their bewilderingly precipitate and harsh death at the hands of humans, it is better to refrain altogether from eating animal flesh. For every piece of meat less that is consumed means in time one animal less will go to the slaughterhouse.”

“At such an atrocious moment, these unfortunate creatures become intensely alert and concentrated. The feelings of terror, helplessness, and despair that they go through during these fearful instants—not to mention also the anger and hatred that they bear toward the people who are slaughtering them—are, in keeping with the violence of these moments, extremely powerful. These final terrible emotions that they take with them when dying inevitably infect their flesh and remain highly active in it, and when consumed by human beings—especially in the heedless manner in which they generally do so—it is bound to influence their inner state adversely and gradually fill them with sentiments corresponding to those that these ill-fated beings had in them at the time of their death.”

When he was in the East, Salim had unbearable experiences from every point of view in seeing buffalo and other animals having their throats slit in the public square by men who, afterwards, talked blithely among themselves while witnessing the lengthy death throes of these unfortunate beasts without showing the slightest pity for them. “Compassion! One has to feel compassion,” Salim would exclaim, “towards all living creatures who, despite the fact that they do not possess the same level of consciousness or the same capacity for reflection as the human being, are no less aware of pain in all its reality and know what death means.”

Moreover, Salim was always astounded when someone told him that a fish did not suffer when a hook tore through its palate and it was hauled out of the water. Many times, he had painful experiences feeling in himself the terror and the suffering of these mute creatures. “Even if one has not oneself been touched by perceptions of this nature, it is enough,” he would say, “to observe the manner in which a fish twists and contorts itself in all directions and with all its strength when it is torn from its aquatic lair and thrown on the ground where it lengthily agonizes before dying, to realize that it is inconceivable that this animal is insensible to pain, to fear, and to death.”

He told me one day of a strange experience that had occurred to him when he was living in his tiny room on the Rue du Cherche-Midi. Nelly Caron, the friend who greatly admired his music and who had enabled him to obtain that providential shelter, had come to pay him a visit. She had brought him some provisions, wrapped in paper, which she had put down in a corner of the room. After she left, he opened the packet and saw, to his grief, that, among the food contained therein, there was a piece of meat. Salim explained to me that he had been completely taken by surprise by the state he was suddenly plunged into upon seeing this piece of meat which, in an entirely accidental manner, had fallen into his hands. He was seized with a terrible feeling of pity for the animal, whose silent cries, it seemed to him at the time, he could hear and so anguished were they that he remained troubled and unable to move. It was as though the poor beast wanted to be relieved of the dreadful suffering that it had been subjected to when its life was taken. Salim did not know exactly how long he remained in this distant state, filled with compassion for the unfortunate creature while that mysterious sound, the Nada, vibrated in his ears in such a striking manner that he had the impression his head would not be able to bear it.

When he had, so to speak, come back to himself, at least half an hour had passed and, to his astonishment, the slice of meat, which he had held in his hands throughout this time, had become hard like stone; it was as though it was mummified. When, a few days later, he showed Nelly Caron what had happened to the meat that she had bought him, she was so surprised and touched that she asked him for permission to keep this strange relic, which he immediately gave to her, asking her not to bring him any more meat in the future. He also spoke of this troubling event with Mr Adie, who, after a moment’s silence, told him: “There are things that occur sometimes in life that one cannot understand or explain at all”. Then he remained pensive for a long time, looking at Salim.

On the subject of this phenomenon, Salim was eager to emphasize that it had happened independently of his will, that he had absolutely not sought it and that he did not, himself, understand in what mysterious manner this piece of meat had become mummified in his hands.

On another occasion, when he was coming back from the Saint-Eustache church, extremely hurt by the manner in which he had been received by the priest attached to this church, who didn’t think it appropriate to play a mass written by a non-Catholic, he passed through the old neighborhood of Les Halles, plunged in thought, when his eyes suddenly fell on a vast warehouse opening onto the road, where hundreds of cattle carcasses were suspended. Through his mind’s eye, so to speak, he suddenly had a vision of the panic-stricken spirits of these animals who, without understanding what had happened to them, were desperately trying to find their bodies in the midst of all these remains that burly workers, dressed in blood stained overalls, were manipulating with total indifference and insensitivity.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The image one has of oneself.

Without ever being conscious of it, everyone has an image of him/ herself, which he or she does not wish to renounce and which closes the door of his/ her evolution on another plane of being.

What do I mean by image?

(Salim points out two people in turn): If I had the power to transform you into so and so, would you accept? Vice versa, if I asked so and so, can I transform you into this person, would you accept?

Don’t answer, just think about it.

I have an image of myself, I am deeply in love with this image without knowing it.

Everyone has this problem, without exception. This image that one has of oneself is closely linked to self-esteem. One does not see it, that’s the tragedy of it. If ever one says of someone something that injures this self-esteem, then the person spends his time like a dog, licking his wound, in other words ruminating on the injury that his ego has received, you understand?

He or she cannot see, in his/ her blindness, the self-consideration within him/ herself and which is an obstacle to his/ her spiritual practice.

How can this image one has of oneself be recognized?

One takes oneself, unconsciously–all of this is unconscious–one takes oneself for someone special. “I am special”, it is enough to look at photos of celebrities in magazines. “I am someone special”. Yes, one loves oneself, one has an image of oneself that one does not want to let go, one is special. There is no-one who does not have this problem. One takes oneself for someone unique and one must become simple, an absolutely simple being, to lose this image that one has of oneself. I have suffered with this image of myself in the past.

Someone attacked my music, I had an image of myself, self-esteem, how could my contribution go unseen? When there were meetings of composers, the ultra-modern composers would say with contempt: “This music is still tonal”. So, I also, like all of you, have suffered from that. When I saw how it blocked the path, then I began, with invisible scissors, every time I saw this manifestation of self-esteem: snip (Salim mimes cutting something with scissors).

When I was living in Rue Turgot, opposite the building, at street level, there was a hat shop. One day, a woman came past, dragging a little dog after her, when, suddenly, she saw a hat in the shop window. She doubled back on herself, pulling on the dog’s lead. She looked at the hat, then she went on, pulling the dog after her. Then, finally, she doubled back again, went into the shop, pulling the dog (who was not at all interested), and when she came out... the hat had bought the woman. She was walking and admiring herself in the shop windows: I am a hat...

Another day, we were walking, a long time ago now, and there was a young man walking towards us, he had very long hair, he was proud of himself: I am hair...

The image that one has of oneself, he was forgetting that he was going to age one day, his hair would become white, he would lack energy, like I do today...

If one could see the life of a human being speeded up, from birth to death, the crying baby, he gets married, he has children, that’s it, it’s over.

On another level, for the Infinite, our lives from our birth until our death, are nothing but a click of the fingers, a flash. At the level of the Universe, we are not even a virus.

This image one has of oneself, this self-esteem, it is the cause of all the misfortune that afflicts humanity. When one is absent to oneself, there is only reaction and self-esteem. It is said, in Hinduism that the aspirant must become selfless for his emancipation, otherwise there can be no emancipation. What is liberation?

One does not understand from what I must liberate myself, I must liberate myself from myself, from my mechanical reactions, then I attain the Absolute; what a paradox it is, to liberate myself from myself...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, ragnarok said:

which book is this?

They are from all his books but last couple of posts are from

The Price of a Remarkable Destiny: The Life and Spiritual Journey of Edward Salim Michael https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1503382583/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_wbAZCbXJAVY25

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Meditation Obstacles

 

It is precisely at the beginning, when the aspirant has decided to set herself to the task of meditation, that all the undesirable tendencies and old habits that have accumulated within her from a time far in the past, and which she has not previously paid attention to, will rear up again and create an obstacle to her attempts at concentration. It is at exactly these moments that she will need to appeal to all her perseverance and all her tenacity to reject their demands—or even to see through their ruses, which may infiltrate her meditation practice in the form of spiritual fantasies.

 

Some beginners may even believe they are meditating when, without them perceiving it, their mind is full of dreams and speculations mixed up with what they ordinarily want and do not want—dreams and speculations about spirituality that they take for meditation. Creating silence in the mind is not easy, especially for aspirants who have not yet known the various sorts of adversaries they will have to confront. They will have to demonstrate resolute patience when they engage in this mysterious journey into the interior of their being. Even for an advanced adept, remaining concentrated requires a sustained effort and a great deal of vigilance.

 

What is more, the various difficulties a seeker encounters in her meditation may change from one day to the next, depending on her state of mind, her health, how she has spent that particular day or the preceding days.

 

* * *

 

If, from the beginning, the seeker is not internally prepared to accept the difficulties that await her on the way and to face these, she will not be able to go beyond herself to accomplish a true effort of concentration. She may even fool herself at the beginning of her voyage into a world that was hitherto unknown to her, and believe, since she has spiritual aspirations, that concentrating will not pose too much of a problem for her. However, when she comes up against the first obstacles within herself, if she is not sufficiently motivated, it is possible she will be so surprised and perturbed that she may be discouraged to the point of completely renouncing her meditation practice. It is easier to sleep within herself; this waking sleep does not demand any effort of her. Her mind will henceforth furnish her with all the pretexts and all the justifications she could wish for to convince her that she can stop her meditation practice with an easy conscience.

 

If one wants to know what the devil is, one does not need to go far to find it and understand it. It is enough to look within oneself and to study one’s mind and one’s thoughts to know it. The seeker will not fail to notice at such moments that all sorts of futile or harmful inner chatter inhabits her, as well as an interminable cortege of thoughts that are of no value, are negative, or even destructive—in addition to the pretexts that her mind will fabricate to turn her aside from her goal. It may whisper to her that this spiritual journey is too difficult or too vague and enigmatic, that the seeker herself does not even know what she may find in exchange for her efforts and that she does not even know the path that leads to this mysterious goal. The mind may also insinuate that, after all, what she thinks she knows about the outcome of this meditation practice rests only on her faith in what she has read or heard said by other people. It may even suggest to her that it isn’t worth it or it isn’t really necessary to begin her spiritual practices immediately, that she can put them off until later, because the time isn’t right to set out on such an adventure…

 

However, the seeker must realize that the favorable moment or the right time will never come; she must create it and it is precisely this present moment that is the right time, the favorable moment, to begin this spiritual work. All these problems must be seen and understood by the aspirant from the beginning of this inner adventure, so that she might come, through patient and assiduous work on herself, to master her profane self while she is trying to meditate and to undertake her various spiritual exercises in her active life.

 

* * *

 

It is necessary for the seeker to be ready to confront another difficulty of considerable importance which may arise within her and which may stop her en route, or, at the very least, delay the outcome of her spiritual evolution. Fear: Fear of the unknown.

 

In fact, fear is always present in life and in human beings. As well as the inertia that ceaselessly infiltrates existential life and which will always be ready to perform the service of bogging her down, the aspirant may, without perceiving it, carry the fear of the unknown into her meditation practice.

 

This particular fear will then constitute a serious obstacle to be overcome, unless, from her first steps in an invisible country within her being (demanding all her resources and all her intelligence), she prepares for unexpected eventualities—as a soldier does before battle—so that, as far as possible, she is not taken unawares when faced with an unforeseen adversary.

 

This is why the struggle to learn staying intensely present and conscious of oneself in one’s active life must be an essential complement to the seeker’s meditation practice. It must go hand in hand with all her other spiritual practices, for this struggle will teach her that it is precisely fear that is often the obstacle preventing her from staying present and conscious of herself in a very particular way through the very movement, agitation, and incertitude of the existential world—fear of life and of the other. This is one of the main reasons (among others) that cause a human being to not know how to or to be unable to love.

 

This fear constitutes a strange phenomenon within her: it is as though she believes, without perceiving it, that by remaining unconscious of herself, all the dangers and the problems of external life that surround her cannot touch her. Without knowing it, she adopts the attitude of the ostrich hiding its head in the sand as soon as it believes itself in danger, thinking that if it cannot see its enemy, its enemy cannot see it either.

 

A fear of this sort prevents the aspirant from remaining in a state of inner awakening and consciousness of herself, which is of the highest importance for her, so as to be able to really see what her eyes are looking at and really hear what her ears are listening to.

 

Indeed, as they ordinarily are, human beings live only very partially; they perceive only an infinitesimal part of all that the opportunity of being alive offers to them. As they do not really live, they are, so to speak, the living dead. It is only when the seeker begins to awaken internally and to become conscious of herself in a manner that is not habitual to her, that she can accomplish the first steps on the path back to her Divine Source and also learn to live more fully.

 

* * *

 

Because of all the furtive suggestions invading their minds from all sides, insidiously suggesting to them that their happiness can be found externally, in what is visible—in pleasure, in food, in distractions, in power, in wealth, in comfort, and so on—human beings do not seek at any moment to reveal the mystery of their Original Source, the Divine Source that has granted them the gift of life. Seduced by the visible, they attach themselves to what their senses perceive. Thus, they forget that, when the time comes for them to quit this world, they will leave with no other baggage than what they will have made of themselves during their brief passage on this Earth. At this fatal moment, when they are constrained to accomplish this vertiginous journey within their being, they will find themselves helpless; they will not have carried out any preparation for this monumental moment that has been awaiting them from the very instant when they drew in the first breath of life.

 

It is the height of paradox for human beings to accept that the only and unique purpose for which they are incarnated in the existential world is to learn to die—but, in reality, learning to die in order to find the True Life within themselves. It is necessary for the seeker to remember every day that the hour will inexorably come when her body will leave her and that the world, as well as the whole Universe, will also leave her; at this decisive moment, what will she find herself with?

 

In fact, and perhaps she does not know it at the beginning, meditation (or any other spiritual practice, if it is authentic) has no other purpose than to help her to find within herself her Divine Nature and to prepare her for the hour of her corporeal death—which is, without her having previously realized it, a capital initiation into the obscure secret of the enigma of Life and of the Cosmos.

 

 * * *

 

Another obstacle that may arise in the seeker’s path is believing that, because at certain moments, she feels at peace and in harmony with what is around her, she is having a true spiritual experience. Thus, some aspirants sometimes say they have spent a little time in the mountains, in the middle of a forest, or at the ocean, and have experienced, during this contact with nature, a feeling of exceptional spiritual happiness. They must demonstrate circumspection regarding such a delicate area and ask themselves whether what they felt was really an authentic spiritual experience or whether it was the result of agreeable external conditions that they took for spiritual happiness. It is possible, in certain circumstances that someone might feel a very strong sense of animal well-being, for example like a cat or a dog, and take that for spiritual happiness. However these agreeable conditions will, in any case, vanish one day when the time comes for the person to bid her farewells to the phenomenal world. What will become of her in the state she finds herself in after her corporeal death, when there are no more of these mountains, forests, or beaches that she relied on to experience these feelings of well-being?

 

The seeker must understand that, even during her lifetime, she risks losing the privileged conditions that have allowed her to experience, at exceptional moments, these feelings of well-being—especially if human beings continue stubbornly to act without compassion towards nature. If these conditions disappear, what will the aspirant be able to rely on to recover these elevated feelings? It is for this reason that it is essential for her to find within herself the true happiness that does not depend on the phenomenal world, or on physical well-being. This does not mean in any way that the seeker should not profit from external conditions favorable to the well-being of her body and her mind when these present themselves—as long as she makes a clear distinction between allowing herself to be carried away by a pleasant external environment and accomplishing the true spiritual efforts that, alone, will allow her to gain this out of the ordinary felicity as well as to render it permanent within her.

 

She will need to always keep in mind that everything that is received and felt by her sensory organs is, inevitably, precarious and impermanent—as are her sensory organs themselves—and that it is the implacable god of impermanence who holds the throne of the existential world and who reigns there.

 

* * *

 

It is indispensible for a sincere aspirant to understand, from the depths of her being, that if she wants to come to know the Sublime within herself, in no circumstances should there be a distinction in her mind between the meditation practice undertaken in the tranquility of her room and her activities in external life. The way she behaves in her everyday life and the way she acts with her fellows must not only be compatible with her highest spiritual aspirations, but must also be the driving force behind all her spiritual exercises in active life. It is for this reason that she must continually struggle to try to consolidate within herself this state of awakening and this inhabitual manner of being conscious of herself in all that she does externally—whether it be looking, listening, walking, eating, getting dressed, etc.

 

It may be of tremendous help to her, in order to affirm and consolidate within herself this internal awakening and particular state of consciousness, if she learns to slow down (even if only a very little) in all that she does externally. To begin with, she will not be able to avoid experiencing difficulties, because this slowing down involves going against the current of existential life. She will have to find for herself the way of succeeding in this delicate and difficult process, without making herself noticeable and causing problems for others. Indeed, the way the aspirant spends her day will have a considerable effect on her meditation, for better or worse.

 

What one is within oneself in the present moment can only be the result of the way one has lived the moment before and, by an implacable law, against which no one can argue, the way this day is lived will inevitably determine what one will become tomorrow, next week, or in an undetermined future. One cannot escape the responsibility of what one is and of what one will become.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Renunciation

 

Before speaking about meditation itself and the different means needed—especially at the beginning—as aids to lean on so as to be able to remain concentrated, an important problem must still be addressed, that of laziness and inertia.

 

The beginner must know that it is indispensable for him to meditate every day, with inalterable regularity, if he wants to succeed in subduing his rebellious mind and reaching the Superior Aspect of his double nature—his Celestial Aspect. At the beginning, he may even believe himself fully motivated and ready to give himself to his spiritual practice. He may even think he is really persuaded and very determined to dedicate himself to it, but, despite this conviction, upon which he thinks he can rely, it is as though there were within him somebody hidden, another self, who furtively says to him, “Yes, but not straight away!”

 

Why not straight away? Because a multitude of little “but firsts” require sorting out before he begins. If he gives way before these countless little “but firsts” that will ceaselessly clamor to be satisfied, he will never set himself to regular meditation and, even when he does, perhaps it will be with a divided mind, which will lead him nowhere. It is indispensible that the aspirant learns to obey himself when the time for meditation arrives. It must always be remembered that the more one obeys oneself, the more one will be able to obey oneself and that the less one obeys oneself the less one will be able to obey oneself. Furthermore, the more one does the more one will be able to do and the less one does the less one will be able to do.

 

In no circumstances should one allow oneself to be led by these countless little “but firsts” and neglect or put off until later, or until tomorrow, the meditation that should be done at that very moment. If he gives in to the insistent clamoring of these little “but firsts,” the seeker will not meditate the next day either, because he will discover with consternation that the same preoccupations will prevent him meditating the next day and the day after that and the day after that too.

 

Perhaps, hidden behind all these little “but firsts” are laziness and inertia. It is a very strange phenomenon in human beings. When it comes to meditation, they always find some pretext and even the necessary energy to do something else, but they do not succeed in finding sufficient strength within themselves to constrain themselves to sit down and meditate—especially if they have already tried to meditate before and if they have experienced a great deal of difficulty in controlling their rebellious minds.

 

They need to understand that, if they do not want to sit down to make the effort to subdue their minds and if they prefer to be active in external life rather than compel themselves to meditate, it is because a real struggle to concentrate is confronting them with the imperative necessity of letting go and renunciation. In fact, meditation involves continual renunciation, the constant renunciation of everything that comes into one’s mind. One must ceaselessly renounce every thought that arises within one, every desire, every image, one’s inner chatter, etc. and one must do so, without interruption, so as to be able to begin to dedicate oneself, with all of oneself, to this primordial quest. This renunciation of one’s thoughts and one’s imagination (as well as all that one wants and does not want ordinarily) constitutes a sort of mental fast that will henceforth have to begin for the seeker and it is this that is unacceptable to his ordinary self.

 

Without this “letting go” or renunciation, the seeker will meet with failure every time he sets himself to meditation. Once he has tasted failure, he may unconsciously begin each meditation session in a more and more defeatist state of mind. It is at this point that he will find himself faced with a great challenge, the challenge of abandoning himself and all that he has known in the past by way of agreeable or disagreeable experiences, by way of pleasure or pain, by way of success or failure, etc.

 

If an aspirant wants to succeed in going beyond his “little self” and overcoming the various obstacles barring his route towards his Celestial Identity—whether these are exterior obstacles or interior obstacles (such as his unfavorable tendencies)—he will have to understand, with all of himself, that it is vital for him to cultivate a very particular truth of being and to become (like certain great composers and painters) a passionate being, an extreme being—passionate and extreme in the true sense of those words.

 

Every time he sits down to meditate, he will have to evoke and keep within himself the feeling of being ready to remain seated in order to concentrate for eternity. He cannot escape the price to be paid to obtain the right to enter into a Sacred Territory within himself and to reach his Celestial Origin.

 

* * *

 

Now it is necessary to envisage in detail meditation supports. Concerning the seated position, if he cannot sit in the Lotus position (that is, with the left foot placed on the right thigh and the right foot on the left thigh), the aspirant may adopt any position that is more comfortable for him, as long as his back always remains straight (which will help him to avoid sleepiness) and his head is in the Jalandhara position (that is, with the chin slightly drawn in and the nape of the neck stretched upwards).

 

It is important to use three or at least two supports, simultaneously, in order to concentrate. In this way, if the aspirant’s attention weakens and he loses concentration on one of the supports, he will still have the second (or third) to recall him to himself.

 

Firstly, one can use as a support a particular sound, known in India as the Nada, which can be heard within one’s ears. It resembles the murmur of the wind or the ocean, with a crystalline timbre and, in addition, infinitely subtle and continuous ultrasounds. One should also support oneself through one’s breathing, fixing one’s attention, during the breath in and the breath out, on the movement of the belly which must remain extremely relaxed. Finally, one must constantly keep a global corporeal sensation. One must concentrate simultaneously on these three supports if one wants to push away one’s ordinary and futile thoughts and imaginings.

 

All these crutches will fade into the background the day the aspirant recognizes the Superior Aspect of his double nature to which he will henceforward always have to give his attention and abandon himself. He will only come back to these supports if he feels the need of them.

 

Breathing is divided into three stages: The breath in, the breath out, and a pause following each breath out. It is important to be very careful not to block the pause after the breath out (as some people may have a tendency to do), but to leave it, so to speak, “floating,” so as to avoid tension installing itself in the belly and ending up causing breathlessness.

 

During the whole of the time he tries to meditate, the seeker must take care not to sink into a state of subtle torpor during the pause after the breath out, otherwise he will end up falling asleep.

 

If he is sufficiently attentive, he will notice that, during this pause after the breath out, a slight lull will occur in his mind, and it is during the breath in that the mind begins to become agitated again. The seeker must make the most of this brief lull in his mind during the pause following the breath out, so as not to allow it to recommence its agitated movement during the next breath in. In this way, he will be able to increase the duration of this lull with every pause after the breath out, until he reaches a deep inner silence.

 

Within this inhabitual silence of his mind, he will hear the Nada vibrating mysteriously inside his ears like the ineffable singing of the Universe. He will begin, at the same time, to feel a strange transparency of being—an extremely subtle transparency of being that is of the utmost importance to help him recognize his Original Source and, ultimately, unite with It.

 

Starting from this crucial moment—which will be like a new birth—he will no longer consider his inevitable physical death with the same state of mind or the same apprehension as in the past.

 

* * *

 

It is necessary to put meditants on their guard, especially those who come to set forth on this mysterious journey—an enigmatic, inhabitual, and invisible journey within their being—not to seek (consciously or unconsciously) anything whatsoever during the whole duration of their meditation; they must learn to expect nothing, desire nothing, imagine nothing, project nothing, if they wish not to lose their way or even provoke within themselves, through their imaginations, spiritual pseudo-experiences and phenomena that will later lock them into a psychic prison, which they may be unable to leave. It is the very effort of concentrating that must become their only pleasure. In this way, they will avoid interfering with the way their Superior Being seeks to reveal to them its August Presence. This will be accomplished quite naturally when a sufficient transformation of their undesirable tendencies and habits has taken place within them and their level of consciousness, their level of being, and their level of intelligence have become more elevated.

 

It has become, since the dawn of time, a habit rooted in human beings to always expect something in return for what they have accomplished in external life. They work one day, two days, a week, a month, after which they expect their recompense, their salary, to be delivered to them. Unfortunately, they cannot prevent themselves from carrying this tendency over into their spiritual practice too. A seeker works assiduously at his meditation for a month, then, suddenly, he raises his head towards the heavens in indignation and cries, “Well, Lord? Well Your Grace? What are you waiting for to give me Your Grace, Satori, enlightenment?”

 

It seems to be the height of paradox to ask a seeker to make all these efforts of concentration without expecting anything in return. However, if only one realized it, there can be no greater happiness for an aspirant than to abandon himself, without desiring any other recompense than the pleasure of accomplishing this act.

 

The more sincere the seeker, the more he will be capable of giving himself without asking anything in exchange. To facilitate this gift of oneself, it is important to emphasize once more the necessity to succeed in having within oneself no other wish than that of wanting to start over and over again, to make the effort to concentrate, for the joy of doing it and nothing else. In this way, the seeker’s meditation will become more and more comfortable and subtle, until the first signs manifest themselves within him, making him feel that his corporeal form has mysteriously metamorphosed into this enigmatic and indescribable Transparency of Being, already mentioned.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Concentration

 

Any practice of meditation or concentration has the objective of bringing the seeker back to himself and forcing him to remain in the “present”—which is so contrary to what he is in the habit of doing that he feels lost and troubled at the beginning. Because a true state of inner silence and availability is strange to him, he may even, if he comes to encounter it, experience it as a disquieting void. However, without him realizing it, all his feverish external activities are undertaken only in the hope of one day finding something that might give him a feeling of fullness and the tranquillity of mind to which he aspires, but he does not understand that it is only in succeeding in creating enough inner stillness and silence that he will be able to discover the only wealth that can fulfill him: his Divine Being.

Meditation practice alone is not enough; it must be complemented (especially at the beginning of the aspirant’s engagement in this spiritual work, the scope and difficulty of which he cannot grasp) by concentration exercises that are demanding enough to make him inwardly present in a way that it is impossible for him to experience ordinarily, so that he can more clearly distinguish the moment when his attention wavers and fails him.

It is difficult for a beginner (and sometimes even for someone who already has a certain period of spiritual practice behind him) not to fall gradually into the trap of believing that he is meditating when, in fact, he is plunged into a state of very subtle faraway dreaming, which he does not notice and takes for meditation.

The creation of a void within oneself is not easy. However, this void is the only condition that allows the seeker to attain the revelation of his Divine Identity. Without emptying a recipient of its water, it is impossible for air, which is a much finer element than water, to enter into it in order to occupy it.

The author recalls someone who came to see him to ask him questions about a spiritual practice. She was a Hatha Yoga teacher. After a long conversation, the author advised her to stop teaching for a while and to consecrate herself to strict meditation practice, together with various spiritual exercises, although without interrupting her own Hatha Yoga practice, in order to understand, even if only a little, what she was seeking to attain, before beginning to teach again. In order to illustrate what he was saying, he filled a glass with water and asked her, “If one wants air to be able to enter into this glass, does it not first need to be emptied of its content?” She looked at the author in surprise, then, after a moment of hesitation, she responded, “But, couldn’t it just be half emptied?”

The great majority of seekers do not apparently understand what is truly involved in a spiritual practice; they do not want to renounce anything within themselves, but, despite that, they want to attain another state of being and consciousness. In all good faith, they hope one day to be able to find their Divine Aspect, but in order to add it to what they ordinarily are.

The renunciation of oneself, together with what one wants and does not want ordinarily, is, for the aspirant, the first step to allowing the Divine Aspect of his double nature to begin to manifest to his inner vision. If the seeker wants to know what true meditation should be, he must consent to perform, between his meditation sessions, certain concentration exercises that will oblige him to remain inwardly present and vigilant.

Concentration during meditation or during the performance of a spiritual exercise has the aim of helping the seeker to liberate himself from the grip that the past—with all the pleasant and painful memories associated with it—exerts over his being and over his psyche, so that he can feel within him the miracle of at least one instant of eternal present.

It is only to the extent that he succeeds in detaching himself from the flow of time and becoming to maintain himself in a state of continual inner immobility and silence that he will be able to experience plenitude and the sentiment of the Sacred. This is why he must, above all, favor quality in all his meditation practice, as well as in his concentration exercises.

The state of concentration that the aspirant attains during his meditation and spiritual exercises must come one day to inhabit him at every moment of the day. It is precisely on the quality of his work that the consolidation of the state of awakening to which he aspires will depend—a quality that he must, furthermore, introduce into all his activities. He must become an extreme being.

Concentration exercises must not, in any way, replace meditation. In addition to their importance in helping the seeker to discover what true sustained attention during his meditation sessions should be, these spiritual exercises are also designed to create within him an intense inner presence that it is impossible for him to experience otherwise and that he must not only try to find again subsequently in the very movement of active life, but, moreover, try, with “all of himself,” to keep alive within him.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You are posting as a guest. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...