Mindfullness, Being in the Present

Being mindful, observant, you can learn by watching the reactions of other people and the consequences of their actions. Quiet that area of the mind which wants to excessively talk and think a lot and dwelling in the past and in the future; that is counterproductive to being observant, to awakening the superconscious region and to feeling content.

Master Course, Merging with Siva, Lessons 18,19

Unedited Transcript:

Guru Brahma, Guru Vishnu, Guru Devo Mahesvara, Guru Sakshat, Parabrahma, Tasmai Sri Gurave Namaha.

Good morning everyone.

Short talk dwelling on our lessons of the day from the Master Course Trilogy. This one is from lesson 19, Merging with Siva.

"The Habit of Being Constant

"There are several ways we can make decisions, and there are guidelines to help us. There are basic principles that we can follow in life that other people have followed which helped guide their decisions along. It worked out fairly well, so we can follow these basic principles, too. And we'll go in after a while to outlining some of these basic principles that help us make good, positive decisions, for we can learn by observing other people, the decisions they have made, the reactions and experiential patterns that follow. We can learn by observing other people."

Gurudeva, in the next paragraph he says: "...Some mystics live several lifetimes in one in this way."

Well how can you learn by watching the reactions of other people? Called television. Go watch all the reactions of people, I remember Gurudeva when he was young... Well he wasn't young, I guess he was... Anyway, I don't remember exactly what year it was in his life but he liked to watch "As the World Turns" it was a soap opera. Ancient soap opera. Why? For the same reason. To see if people would make decisions and then they'd face the consequences of those decisions and then the reactions to that and so forth.

So you can learn a lot if you approach it that you're there to learn. You can also be entertained but you know you have to kind of have the idea: Well what can I learn from this? Do I have to go through that same experience or maybe just by watching this person go through the experience that's sufficient for me. I've already learned the lesson just by watching some one else do that. Well in that way television can be a boon otherwise it's quite a distraction.

"The first faculty of the expression of the inner being of your immortal soul is..." (Anybody remember? What's the first faculty? Observation, right.) "...is the great power of observation, to learn through observation, as your individual awareness detaches itself from that which it is aware of. You have tremendous powers of observation, for you are a free spirit..."

Observation is, another way of saying it is mindfulness. That's a phrase that used these days. Being observant or being mindful. Really focusing on what, where you are and what you're doing instead of just letting the mind wander on something else; you're not really paying attention. And it's important because we live in a very distracting world and some of the, the medical profession are concerned about this, our younger people growing up with so much distraction on the Internet and how it impacts their ability to be mindful, to observe or to concentrate. They're just used to constant excitement. And therefore it's important, particularly if you're raising younger people, to make sure they spend time just being observant. Put away the smart phone, put away the Twitter account, pay attention.

Some of you have heard this story before but some haven't so I'll tell it. It really struck me with this family from Australia was here on pilgrimage. Husband, wife, two children, maybe in the ten to thirteen year old age range. And they, they'd flown here from Australia. One of the things about Australia is it's expensive to get here. So, they had spent a lot to have a good quality vacation in Hawaii. And they came up to the temple a few times. And I happened to see them in town and the boys were walking around just looking at their smart phone playing some video game. Here they were in Hawaii, Hawaii's a beautiful place. They probably came from a place that wasn't as nice in Australia. Here they are in this beautiful place and they're not even observing it. They're just stuck in this video world no matter where they are. So, we don't want that to happen. It's okay to enjoy it but you should be able to turn it off when it's appropriate and enjoy what's around you.

One of the suggestions I made in the past is just go for a walk and try and observe what's there. Very beautiful in Hawaii, chose a nice time of day, sunrise, sunset it's even nicer. You can see a lot of birds that aren't there in the middle of the day. Bird calls you can listen to and of course our wonderful roosters are there all the day long. And different plants, different colors in the sky, etcetera. You know, just pay attention and it's an important practice because in our modern world there's just so much and it encourages us to not be observant, to not be mindful of where we are.

Observation! I took this from another part of the Master Course when I read this on observation:

"Observation is the first faculty to appear in the awakening of the superconscious regions. Observation, when perceptively performed, is cultivated by (Anybody remember?) abstinence from excessive talk. (Right!) Talk dissipates the energies of the aura and of the vital body... A mystic generally does not talk very much, for his intuition works through reason, but does not use the processes of reason..."

This is a very important practice and it also includes thinking unnecessarily. We just want to quiet down that area which wants to talk a lot and wants to think a lot. And that's counter-productive to being observant. And it doesn't mean you don't talk, you don't talk excessively. So what's excessively? Well it depends on the situation. You're meeting somebody for the first time you can't simply say hello, you know. But if you're meeting a close relative you can say: Nice to see you, you know and carry on. You don't have to say a lot. So you have to determine what's excessive based on social norms, depending on the situation. But definitely you don't want to carry on excessively. It's counter productive to awakening the superconscious region and also counter productive to feeling content.

There's a related point which is in lesson 18, the previous lesson. Just touch on it quickly here.

"Life is a series of decisions also. One decision builds into another. To make a good decision, we have to again bring our total awareness to the eternity of the moment."

Which is related to observation. Just being in the present. Eternity of the moment means just being in the present moment, not really being concerned about the future or being concerned about the past. Gurudeva calls that the eternity, eternal now is what he calls it.

"If we project ourselves into the future to try to make a decision, we do not make a decision with wisdom. If we project ourselves into the past and in that way formulate our decisions, again they are not wise decisions, for they are decisions made through the powers of the intellect or the instinctive area of the mind. The only good decisions come to us when we hold the consciousness of the eternity of the moment and go within our self for the answer."

This is a related point in the, what can generate a lot of talk is just thinking about the past unnecessarily. So it's not that we want to renounce the past but we don't want to dwell there unnecessarily; it pulls us out of the present. Likewise, we don't want to dwell in the future unnecessarily; there should be a reason to be there in our thinking. We're thinking about the future for a specific purpose: to make a decision or to visualize something or create something but we're just not worrying about the future. Therefore, when we can control unnecessarily going into the past and into the future we're more in the present moment and we're more observant, which is our previous point, we're mindful and we're also able to make better decisions. That's the point that Gurudeva's adding. The more we're in the present moment the more we can sort things out.

So, thank you very much for listening to those thoughts.

Photo of  Gurudeva
If you do not understand your reaction to something, wait until it subsides emotionally, so you will not be upset, then try to understand it by writing about it in a quiet moment. Then burn the paper in an inauspicious fire, such as in a garbage can.