The Practice of Contentment


Reflect on happiness, joy and sorrow. Even when having what we want, suffering is built in. Sometimes we condition our happiness. During morning sadhana claim and move awareness into the fourth dimension, (simvumkami in Shum), the anahata chakra, contentment. The goal is to find your inner bliss, ananda, in meditation, feel the spiritual energy of the spine and hold it throughout the day. In Shum ibihaiiishum: The sadhana of bringing forth from oneself joy and happiness under all circumstances.

Master Course, Dancing with Siva, Lesson 51

Unedited Transcript:

Good morning everyone.

Some thoughts from Master Course Trilogy. This is starting with Dancing with Siva, Sloka 51 which was the lesson from a couple of days ago.

"Why is There Suffering in the World?

"The nature of the world is duality. It contains each thing and its opposite: joy and sorrow, goodness and evil, love and hate. Through experience of these, we learn and evolve, finally seeking Truth beyond all opposites.

"There is a divine purpose even in the existence of suffering in the world. Suffering cannot be totally avoided. It is a natural part of human life and the impetus for much spiritual growth for the soul. Knowing this, the wise accept suffering from any source, be it from hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, famine, wars, disease or inexplicable tragedies. Just as the intense fire of the furnace purifies gold, so does suffering purify the soul to resplendence. So also does suffering offer us the important realization that true happiness and freedom cannot be found in the world, for earthly joy is inextricably bound to sorrow, and worldly freedom to bondage. Having learned this, devotees seek a satguru who teaches them to understand suffering, and brings them into the intentional hardships of sadhana and tapas leading to liberation from the cycles of experience in the realm of duality. The Agamas explain, 'That which appears as cold or as hot, fresh or spoiled, good fortune and bad, love and hate, effort and laziness, the exalted and the depraved, the rich and the poor, the well-founded and the ill-founded, all this is God Himself; none other than Him can we know.'"

Interesting to reflect, reflect philosophically on the world. There's a verse in Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, talks about suffering. And it says: When you finally get what you want, in terms of external getting, what happens then? You start worrying about the possibility of losing it. So suffering's there even when you have what you want cause you're, somebody may steal it. I may lose it. So, it's so interesting that even in having what we want suffering is built in according to Patanjali.

So, clearly, this is talking about "...earthly joy is inextricably bound to sorrow..." And the idea is happiness, joy and sorrow is a very interesting philosophical point to think about. So what I found is sometimes without giving it much thought, in our ordinary behavior, a persons decides not to be happy unless another person acts a certain way or does a certain task.

So I'll give you two examples.

One spouse is not satisfied with the other spouses behavior and without giving it much thought decides to be dissatisfied until the other spouse changes which may never happen.

So that's a very frustrating state of mind where one spouse is set up to be unhappy unless the other spouse changes or does things another way. A guaranteed way of not being happy very soon.

Then there's a statement I use in talks which also cause us to think about his philosophically.

How do others have to treat you today for you to be happy?

Sometime we condition our happiness just on the people we're going to meet in the morning, you know, if we're going to school our school friends. If we're going to work our comrades at work. Sometimes we condition our happiness. If they don't treat us a certain way we're not going to be happy the whole day. So, again that's kind of silly when you look at it from an overview.

Have a full talk on happiness and has a few quotes from Swami Chinmayananda which captures this idea we're talking about:

"Don't put the key to your happiness in someone else's pocket."

So, that's what all this is talking about. We're depending on how someone else acts. If they don't act the way you want them to we're not going to be happy. So, that's putting the key to your happiness in someone else's pocket which when you think about it, it's not a good place to put it.

So in the language of Shum which is Gurudeva's language of meditation, this area of being content, contentment is, relates to the fourth chakra, anahata chakra. And it's just a state of consciousness we can claim. The way I look at it that ideally in the morning we're performing some kind of sadhana, some kind of religious discipline. And during that period we claim our contentment. We move our awareness into a state of mind which is totally contented. Why is that? Not because everything is perfect in our life but because we can accept things in our life as they are. And that allows us to be content. And then the challenge is how long can we hold that contentment before we before we lose it? Can we get up to ten o'clock? Can we get up to lunch? Two o'clock? It's harder in the afternoon cause we're a little bit tired.

I was talking to a young couple, very keen Hindu couple. Very keen on practicing their yoga; we were talking about contentment. It was the same idea, inner bliss, inner happiness, ananda. And I said: Well the goal is find your inner bliss in meditation and then you try and carry it through out the day. And they admitted right away that that was really hard to do. So I said: Well, we're not trying for perfection, we're trying for improvement. So, what does that mean? Well in my simple example it means we're trying to hold contentment, we claim it in our morning sadhana. And if we're trying to hold it through out the day. Progress is last year I held it to 9:30, now I'm all the way up to 10 o'clock. Maybe next year I'll get up to 10:30. So we look for progress. We don't look for perfection. Perfection is too high a mark. As I like to say if someone was perfect they wouldn't have been born in the first place. Perfect people don't get born. So, everybody has certain imperfections and we simply need to improve. That's a more realistic way of thinking of ourselves.

So this is looking at it, starting to get what Gurudeva calls the fourth dimension which is how life looks like when we look out from the anahata chakra.

"From the vantage point of the fourth dimension we can view the building of emotional involvements within the third dimension, (which means the chakras below) observing the workings of the emotional and intellectual units of ourselves and others. From this detachment we gain the ability to dissolve confusions, conflicts and the various and varied entanglements that are encountered daily.

"In the fourth dimension, the first glimmer of inner light within the head is seen. It is usually a pale, moon-like glow seen at the top of the head. This dimension gives us a 'mountaintop consciousness' that looks over, in and through everything and gives the facility to enjoy and participate fully in the world while knowing at all times exactly where we are in the mind. "

So again that's saying the same thing we were talking about before, holding our contentment when we get out in the world. Gurudeva used to stress that he'd say: "Easy to be peaceful in a peaceful place." The challenge is you know in downtown Manhattan or downtown Calcutta or someplace to hold that same peace when everything is really too busy for you senses. So, we need to hold it in the world.

"Artists are in the fourth dimension. Each time you designed or created anything, you were bringing the beauty of the within through your nerve system into manifestation. It is a beautiful place to be, and you can be there all of the time by feeling the power of your spine. The minute you feel that radiant energy in the spine you are disconnected from the third dimension and soar into the fourth."

So that's the simple key to getting there. There's energy in the spine, means the spiritual energy in the spine. It doesn't mean the physical energy. There's a spiritual energy that we can most easily feel by thinking about the spine. This kind of a dynamic positiveness. It's not super intense but it's a, has a certain dynamism that feels very positive and confident and centered. That's the spiritual energy in the spine.

So there's a Shum word for the fourth dimension. Simvumkami which I'm going to read the definition of:

"Dimension, fourth; subsuperconscious mind; awareness cognizing the interrelated forces of the fifth, fourth and third dimensions; from this detachment we gain the ability to dissolve confusions, conflicts and the various and varied entanglements that are encountered daily; the realm of artistic creativity; here is the resting place where we look in and up and out and down; consciousness should never go lower but when soaring higher returns to the resting place within the fourth dimension; this dimension relates to the kamshumalinga rehmtyenali (which means the anahata chakra); to experience the portraits within this dimension, look at the world from the chest."

So that's, if you can look out through your chest you're using the anahata chakra and you would naturally tend to be content.

And the last part here; I'm trying to keep this short. There's four Shum words that relate to this. One we usually use is bihaiiishum but there's one more that starts first:

"Ibihaiiishum: The sadhana of bringing forth from oneself joy and happiness under all circumstances..."

So that's a nice way of putting it right? No matter what's going on on the outside, no matter where we are in this play of dual forces that we started with, we should be able to bring forth from oneself joy and happiness under all circumstances.

"...great joy is found when this tantra is mastered..."

"Bihaiiishum (slightly less powerful). Feeling of completeness and contentment under all circumstances; used as a greeting."

Instead of namaste you can say bihaiiishum. Or, be content.

"Haiiishum (third dimensional word is) Security; a feeling of security."

And "ishum" is a fish. Yeah ishum is a fish. Gurudeva felt a fish looked very contented. So, we have restocked our pond that is near the pali outlook. We had a nice donation of some koi fish so there's a lot more koi fish in it now so you can go out there and study the koi and see contented the are.

So, thank you very much. Have a wonderful day.

Aum Namah Sivaya.

Photo of  Gurudeva
A satguru is needed because the mind is so cunning and the ego is a self-perpetuating mechanism. It is he who inspires, assists, guides and impels the shishya toward the Self of himself.
—Gurudeva