Good morning everyone. This is from today’s Master Course Lesson.
“When you first begin your daily sadhana, it is likely to begin in an awkward way, and you may come to know yourself in a way that you don’t want to know yourself. Don’t be discouraged when the mind runs wild as you sit quietly and are unable to control it. Don’t be discouraged if you find that you are unable to even choose a time to sit quietly for one half hour on a regular daily basis. If you persist, soon all this will be overcome and a firmness of mind will be felt, for it is through the regular practice of sadhana that the mind becomes firm and the intellect pure. It is through the regular practice of concentration that awareness detaches itself from the external mind and hovers within, internalizing the knowledge of the physical body, the breath and the emotions. Concentration of the forces of the body, mind and emotions brings us automatically into meditation, dhyana, and into deeper internalized awareness.”
So one of the ideas here is the benefit of regular practice, even though, it’s not always that successful, shall we say. We’re sitting and we’re meditating and the mind is all over the place so we’re upset that day and can’t really focus. It’s easy to say: Well our sadhana or meditation period was a waste. But, the point is, it’s not a waste; that’s the point. Just putting in the effort on a consistent basis causes us to progress over time. So, even though it isn’t fruitful every day it’s still beneficial — those periods — as well as the good periods of successful meditation.
“The spiritual practice should be reasonable, should not take up too much time, and should be done at the same time every day. Often seekers who become associated with Hindu sadhana go to extremes and proceed with great vigor in an effort to attain results immediately. Sitting two or three hours a day, they wear themselves out and then stop. Here’s a formula for beginners: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, twenty minutes to a half an hour of sadhana at the same time every day; Saturday and Sunday, no sadhana.”
So, that’s an important point there is to pace yourself for the long run; this is not a fifty yard dash. We need to set a pace that we can sustain throughout our life at a practice that’s actually feasible. Better than trying to commit to too much which is something that someone new tends to do. Commit to too much and then you can’t sustain it and so you have to give it up all together. So, that’s not good to go from one extreme to the another. From two hours a day practice to zero practice. But in addition to this — it’s not brought up here but it’s a relevant point — we can intensify for specific periods of time. For example, going on a pilgrimage for two weeks. We’re putting in much more than twenty minutes a day into our spiritual practice but it’s for a two week period. We’re not trying to do it all year. Similarly, during a festival such as Skanda Shasti, six days we can take on an extra practice for those six days only. And then after the six days are over we stop the practice.
So we can have two approaches going at the same time. The minimal approach that we sustain year around and then extra sadhana that we do on occasion for festivals or pilgrimage or other times.
“The keys are moderation and consistency. (Next sentence is a classic.) Consistency is the key to the conquest of karma.”
That’s one of the statements that you just want to remember. Said as a question: What is the key to the conquest of karma? Consistency. So, when you say it like that it takes a slightly broader meaning. We can think of conquering karma a number of ways but if we’re not consistent then we won’t make progress. That’s the point. We can’t, for example, manage to control our tendency to get angry three months in a row and then the fourth month we let it go and then start up again. So it’s three months doing well, one month doing poorly, three months doing well, one month doing poorly is not called consistency. So, we won’t make the progress we should by letting ourselves slip backwards in some area of discipline.
“If you go to extremes or are sporadic in your sadhana, you can easily slide backwards. What happens when you slide backwards? You become fearful, you become angry, you become jealous, you become confused. What happens when you move forward? You become brave, you become calm, you become self-confident and your mind is clear.
“It is often feared that meditation and religious devotion cause a withdrawal from the world. The practice of sadhana I have described does not detach you from or make you indifferent to the world. Rather, it brings up a strength within you, a shakti, enabling you to move the forces of the world in a positive way. What is meant by ‘moving the forces of the world?’ That means fulfilling realistic goals that you set for yourself. That means performing your job as an employer or as an employee in the most excellent way possible. That means stretching your mind and emotions and endurance to the limit and therefore getting stronger and stronger day by day. You are involved in the world, and the world is in a technological age.”
So if our practice is making us feel that we’re withdrawing from the world, we’re not doing it right, is the point. It shouldn’t. If we feel less like fulfilling our duties in life because of our practice of meditation and temple worship, something is wrong. We’re approaching it in the wrong way. It shouldn’t make us withdraw from the world. We should be able to function in the world better. That’s the point. We should be more inspired to fulfill our duties, not, not less inspired. So, if we find that approach if we don’t have it. So the meditation and temple worship for going inside ourselves to be more centered, to be more dynamic, so that, when we go our in the world we do better there than we would have without the practice.
“The sadhana that you perform will make your mind steady and your will strong so that you can move the forces of the physical world with love and understanding, rather than through anger, hatred, antagonism, cunning, jealousy and greed. Daily sadhana performed in the right way will help you overcome these instinctive barriers to peace of mind and the fullness of being. If you have children, the rewards of your sadhana will help you educate your children properly in fine schools and universities and see that all of their physical needs are met through the flow of material abundance that automatically comes as you progress in your inner life.”
So, there are people who motivate through anger, hatred antagonism, cunning, jealousy and greed; they think it’s necessary to get things done. But, when you’re on the spiritual path then you want to not slip into that way of motivating people but rather motivate through love and understanding. It actually works much better.
“Through daily sadhana we shall come to know the body, we shall come to know the emotions, we shall come to know the nerve system, we shall come to know the breath and we shall come to know the mind in its totality. Each one of you will soon be able to mentally pick up all of the dross of your subconscious, throw it within, into the great cavity of inner knowing at the feet of the Gods, there to be absorbed, dissolved and to disappear. All this and more can be unfolded from within each of you, each one of you through your daily practice of sadhana. Sadhana is one of the great boons given to us in our religion.”
So sometimes, when we are practicing sadhana, we encounter something within ourselves that we didn’t know was there. Some regret about the past, some issue with another person we forgot about, just pops into our mind. So, the idea is: we can get rid of it. We don’t have to say: “Oops, that’s there and live with it. We can get rid of these kinds of issues regarding the past, regarding other people. So Gurudeva, in this case is saying: It can be absorbed inside ourselves through understanding which is utilizing your subsuperconscious mind to absorb and dissolve it. We can also write certain things down and burn them up. That’s a very good one, the Vasana Daha Tantra. The point is if we run into something inside ourselves we need to get rid of it. Meditation and temple worship make us more aware of what’s inside ourselves but we don’t have to live with it if we don’t like it. We can also clean house. We can get rid of it through the various practices that Gurudeva gives us.
So, have a wonderful week.
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