Good morning everyone. From today’s Living With Siva lesson, it’s called: “Control of the Pranas.”
“A great flow of prana is beginning to occur among the families of our congregation worldwide because each one has decided to discipline himself or herself and the children to perform sadhana. That brings the prana under control. If the prana is not under the control of the individual, it is controlled by other individuals. The negative control of prana is a control, and positive control of prana is a control. That’s why we say, ‘Seek good company,’ because if you can’t control your prana, other people who do control their pranas can help you. The group helps the individual and the individual helps the group. If you mix with bad company, then the pranas begin to get disturbed. Once that happens, your energies are like a team of horses out of control. It takes a lot of skill and strength on the part of the individual to get those pranas back under control.”
So, that’s focusing on how we’re influenced by other individuals — both positively and negatively — so, in terms of positively one of the experiences I’ve had a few times is individuals e-mail me and they say: “Oh I haven’t been doing my sadhanas for a few years and now I’m back and I want to do them.” You know, what are your suggestions? So, one of the suggestions I always make is that they try and participate in some kind of a group activity. You know, weekly satsang and so forth with others who are on the path because it’s very hard to start anew, start or restart the habit of doing of doing regular sadhana if you don’t associate with anyone else who’s doing regular sadhana. It’s just very hard, so associating with others who do helps you establish or reestablish a habit pattern and once you have a strong habit pattern you’ll be OK on your own. But, we are influenced by those we associate with more than we realize.
Another example is of course, teenagers. Those of you who’ve raised teenagers probably know better than I do but my opinion they’re very influenced by others. And many of them, the worst possible thing is to be different. So they’re trying to conform to some group standard. So therefore, it’s very important to monitor the friendships of teenagers because they’re easily influenced and pick up the negative habits of others.
Also, at work, we need to be careful, we’re influenced by those we work with. So, we need to give thought to that, you know, and not just pick up certain of their habits by association. But, rather discriminate. You know, think about: How is this person influencing me? Am I starting to act like them more? Sometimes we encounter people that swear a lot. So, am I starting to swear mentally? You know: Am I picking up that habit because I’m with those who do? So, those are the kinds of ways in which influence is important.
“The control of prana is equally important on the inner planes. When you leave the physical body, you are in your astral body, your subtle body. It is not made of flesh and bones like your physical body–as the Buddhists say, ‘thirty-two kinds of dirt wrapped up in skin.’ (That’s interesting isn’t it?) The astral body is made of prana. It floats. It can fly. It’s guided by your mind, which is composed of more rarefied prana, actinic energy. Wherever you want to go, you’ll be there immediately. And, of course, you do this in your sleep, in your dreams and after death. Many of you have had astral experiences and can testify how quickly you can move here and there when your astral body is detached from the physical body. However, if you don’t have control of your prana, you don’t have control of your astral body. Then where do you go when you drop off your physical body at death? You are magnetized to desires, uncontrollably magnetized to fulfilling unfulfilled desires. You are magnetized to groups of people who are fulfilling similar unfulfilled desires, and generally your consciousness goes down into lower chakras. Only in controlling your astral body do you have conscious control of your soul body, which is, of course, living within the astral body and resonating to the energy of the higher chakras.”
So, that’s a very interesting description there by Gurudeva, giving us a sense of desire. So, in other words, it’s not enough to simply not act on desires. And then, that’s a good start if we have strong worldly desires and we don’t act on them. It’s better than acting on them, right? But still, if they’re in our mind they’re in our mind and it’s a limitation particularly when we drop off the physical body. It determines where we will live in the inner worlds, the amount of desires we have. So, you know, we all want to live in a refined part of the inner world, not in the part that’s filled with people fulfilling desires. So, how do we know if we have lots of unfulfilled desires? Well, they’ll show up in our dreams now and then. That’s how we know. If we monitor our dreams in a general sense, not analyzing them, you know, and if we find ourselves fulfilling various kinds of instinctive desires in our dreams, then we know we have to work harder to actually remove them from the mind. So, this doesn’t mean that we have one problematic dream every year. You know, this is more a sense of regularity, of certain kinds of dreams. If we see a pattern, then we can understand that we have certain desires in the mind that we need to work on fixing. How do we fix them? Well, that’s coming up.
“My satguru, Siva Yogaswami, spoke of Saivism as the sadhana marga, ‘the path of striving,’ explaining that it is a religion not only to be studied but also to be lived. ‘See God everywhere. This is practice.’ First do it intellectually. Then you will know, he taught. Much knowledge comes through learning to interpret and understand the experiences of life. To avoid the sadhana marga is to avoid understanding the challenges of life. We must not fail to realize that each challenge is brought to us by our own actions of the past. Sadhana marga leads us into the yoga pada quite naturally. (I’ll skip forward here.) To be awake on the inside means waking up early in the morning. You woke up early this morning. That may have been difficult. But you got the body up, you got the emotions up, you got the mind up, and your instinctive mind did not want to do all that. Did it? No! Spiritual life is a twenty-four-hour-a-day vigil, as all my close devotees are realizing who have taken the vrata of 365 Nandinatha Sutras. It means going to bed at night early so you can get up early in the morning. It means studying the teachings before you go to bed so that you can go into the inner planes in absolute control. It means in the morning reading from my trilogy, Dancing with Siva, Living with Siva and Merging with Siva, to prepare yourself to face the day, to be a strong person and move the forces of the world.”
So, the idea there is: Sadhana on a regular basis helps up control desire. So, doing sadhana in the morning, first thing, is a very effective way of controlling desires. We have something that I wrote on that. Might as well start at the beginning here. Starts off on happiness then it gets into desire.
“The non-mystical approach to happiness is that if you attain what you desire, you are happy; and if you don’t, you are unhappy. Win the lottery, get a great job, and you are happy. Miss the lottery, lose your job, and you are miserable. The dictionary tells us that happiness is ‘the emotion evoked by success or by the prospect of possessing what one desires.’ A reflective person knows that this kind of happiness is fleeting. When we finally possess what we have been desiring, somehow the happiness soon fades and, before we know it, we are back to our dissatisfied self again, desiring something new to give us that elusive happiness. The cycle of desire-fulfillment-pleasure-loss-pain-suffering?that is the cycle of seeking happiness in outer things, be they possessions or people.
“What is the solution? Some say, ‘Give up desire!’ Desire is what is causing the whole problem. It drives us to get what we want, and when the happiness of that getting eventually wears off we start all over again with a new desire. So, if you can get rid of desire, you solve the whole problem. Right?
“Gurudeva looked at it differently. He said, ‘Desire is life, and the reason we desire things is because we are alive. Desire is energy expressing itself.’ The only way you could get rid of desire would be to get rid of life. Even if the physical body has passed on, even if we don’t have a physical body, we are still ‘alive,’ still active, creative and motivated by what? Desire. So, trying to get rid of desire is not really a solution to the cycle of desire and fulfillment.
“Instead, Gurudeva suggests we focus on uplifting our consciousness and changing what we desire. That is how we solve the problem, by channeling or transmuting our energy, desiring things that are more refined. Instead of desiring just to make ourselves happy, we desire to make our family and friends happy, too. That is a higher desire.”
So, that’s the idea there is that to realize that reason there is desire is because we have energy. And that energy expresses itself and one of the simple ways of looking at it to think of the seven chakras; and we’re expressing energy through the seven chakras — sometimes the chakras below — and therefore what we desire is a product of what chakras the energy is flowing through. Flowing through some chakras we desire to talk about the past. It’s the most fun thing. Obviously, that’s the memory chakra. Another chakra, we desire to read a lot. Another chakra, we desire to get out and do something. Another chakra, we desire to worship. Another chakra, we desire to meditate. If we’re down low, you know, we desire to retaliate. So, energy expressing itself through the various chakras is how what we desire is determined. So, obviously, the goal is to get the energy up, express itself through the higher chakras, rather than have it down, express itself through the lower chakras.
So, that’s Gurudeva’s point is: One of the most effective ways of getting energy up is early morning sadhana. So, the energy is up and if we do that before we start our day, then we face our day from a higher perspective. Or, our subsuperconscious mind is more accessible to us and we’re more in touch with it because we’ve done our sadhana before we started our day.
So, the key is to not react, overly react, if our energy goes down for some reason and we start having different kinds of base instinctive desires. We don’t want to condemn ourselves. It just means we need to uplift the energy somehow. And if that happens on a regular basis then we need to look at our routine. You know, what in our routine isn’t challenging enough? Isn’t challenging enough. What isn’t causing us to uplift the energy? You know, are we sleeping too much, eating heavy foods, associating with friends that are externalizing us. You know, what’s causing the energy not to come up the way it, we know it can. So, you know, we’re trying to figure that our. So, it can be very challenging if you don’t have enough to do to keep your energies high. In other words, if lots of people end up in a cave for six months it can be hard to make that work, you know. It’s hard to uplift yourself unless you’re really good in meditation by having nothing external to do. Just sit in a cave. So, good external routine of activity is very useful in keeping the energy high.
So then, I won’t read the article I’ll just summarize; you’ve heard it. But it talks about schooling and you know the first aspect of schooling is of course memory. When children start school they memorize a lot. So, that doesn’t sound like a big deal but it’s getting the energy strong in the muladhara, you know, the first main chakra. Pulling energy up from fear and anger — those areas of the mind — into memory, which is a higher state of consciousness than fear and anger. So, schooling and then we come up into reason. And then, ideally we come up into willpower by being given challenging things to do. Both in school and at home, you know, we’re challenged. So, we learn to do something that’s difficult to do, not give up. That’s willpower! And then cultural practices are traditional: music, dance, those kinds of activities bring the energy up even further, ideally. Anahata chakra! And then worship can bring it up into the visuddha chakra when you start to feel a real love of God, which means visuddha. And go higher than that it’s through meditation, get into the top two chakras.
So, that’s the idea, there’s certain logical activities that bring energy up. And it’s part of the education process and it’s why one of the reasons cultural practice are important; it’s the refinement. Make someone a more refined person brings them out of just memory, reason and will and into cultural refinements and subsuperconscious understanding.
So, that’s the idea of equating energy and desire and not trying to give up desire but rather, desire higher things rather than lower things and our dreams will be peaceful.
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