Yama number 5 - kshama, patience. The youth group in Malaysia is focusing on the yamas and niyamas as the basics for successful temple worship. There are many opportunities to test our impatience. The key to maintaining patience is acceptance through understand the law of karma and the fact that everything is God. Bodhinatha gives many tips for being more patient.
Good Morning, everyone. This morning, we are looking at Yama #5 - Patience, Kshama.
We are developing material on the yamas and the niyamas for multiple uses, one of which is for the youth group in Malaysia. As we know, in Malaysia youth is anyone up to the age of 30. There is a dynamic youth group there who are wanting to be more active in teaching from the Master Course. With the help of Arvind Raj who is coordinating it, they are developing material for seminars and classes on the Master Course. Part of it that they are counting on heavily is the yamas and niyamas, to put them forward in a practical way. So, we are working with them on developing that material.
As well as, for the Singapore Center. They are counting on us, through our members there, to provide information for a children's class, as well as, an adult class. Again, we are going to put forth the yamas and niyamas. It is good material.
As you know, Gurudeva's emphasis when he came back from the last Innersearch to Europe was, what is really needed to make progress is two things. One is good character and the other is a good philosophical understanding. He didn't want to encourage people to throw themselves into lots of temple worship and other practices without those two qualities being well established first. Even to do the Maha Vasana Daha Tantra, he felt, required a good philosophical understanding. Otherwise, you run into parts of your life that you don't really want to face and it can discourage you. The idea that you are a divine soul, that it is okay to make mistakes, escapes you at that moment and instead you just get feeling guilty and burdened and drop the Maha Vasana Daha Tantra, hit a bad year.
So, a foundation of good character and philosophy is what we are focusing on.
The #5 yama is Patience. Kshama is the #5 yama and is retraining in tolerance with people and impatience with circumstances. Modern life is fast paced and stressful and therefore filled with opportunities to become impatient. Here are four common situations in which many people react by losing their patience.
1. An infant cannot stop crying and you are forced to listen to her loud cries for hours.
2. Your connecting plane flight is delayed by six hours.
3. Someone explains to you what happened in overly long, exasperating detail.
4. You have an important deadline and you are determined to be super-productive at your job today and not be interrupted.
That is a sure-fire case, you are running into impatience!
A patient person faces these situations with calmness, self-control and lack of complaint. An impatient person, on the other hand, faces them with franticness, loss of self-control and lots of complaints. This is the difference between reacting to life in a cultured or a crude manner.
The Tirukural devotes a full chapter on this subject, entitled 'Possession of Forbearance'. One of the verses, Verse 153, stresses the importance of being patient in this way.
"It is impoverished poverty to be inhospitable to guests. It is stalwart strength to be patient with fools."
So, that is a Tamil phrase. "In poverty, it is poverty. In strength, it is strength." Of all the strengths, to be patient with fools is the best one."
Gurudeva points out that an excellent key to maintaining patience is having the power of acceptance. Accepting people as they are, accepting events as they are happening. That forestalls intolerance and impatience. Gurudeva goes on to say, "Acceptance is developed in a person by understanding the law of karma." So, karma comes into play here.
"And, In seeing God Siva and His work everywhere, accepting the perfection of the timing of the creation, preservation and absorption of the entire universe. We know that in successfully facing the difficulties coming to us in life, we are resolving karma and moving forward on the spiritual path. Acceptance does not mean being resigned to one's situation and avoiding challenges, giving in to the difficulties we face in life. Rather, we know that we ourselves created our own situation, our own challenges in a former time by sending forth our energies, thoughts, words and deeds. We hold the philosophical perspective, "It is our karma." As these energies on their cycle back, manifest through people, happenings and circumstances, we must patiently deal with the situation, not fight it or try to avoid it or be discouraged because of it. Patience cannot be acquired in depth in any other way."
Life abounds with examples of situations where we simply need to accept. We are responsible for taking care of an elderly parent. No matter how much care and love we give, the parent remains unhappy and complains constantly. We feel the parent should change, show more appreciation, be happier. The solution is - accepting the parent as he or she is.
We have an in-law who we need to see a few times a year, who is always criticizing us and speaking unpleasant words about us. Every time we see the person, we are upset for a few days afterwards. Why? Because we feel the person should act differently towards us. Solution - accept the person as *he or she is*.
People are the way they are because of their experiences in this and past lives. Many people have no concept that they can change their nature by self-effort, can improve their behavior if they want to, raise their state of consciousness through sadhana. Rather, they remain as the person they are because of the belief that this is all that is possible. Therefore, it is only wisdom to accept who they are.
In some situations, the behavior of the other person is more than irritating, it is actually hostile. An example is a husband who regularly speaks angrily to his wife and threatens violence. It is easy to feel justified in retaliating and speaking angrily back.
This is where tolerance needs to deepen into forbearance, refraining from retaliating back with your own angry words and bearing with the problem and acting in ways that encourage the husband to improve his behavior by controlling his anger.
The Kural's Chapter 16 has many verses on forbearance. Here is verse 160.
"Great are those who suffer fasting's hardships. Yet they are surpassed by those who suffer hard words."
It is also extremely important to maintain patience with oneself. Many people are masters of the facade of being patient with others but take their frustrations out on themselves.
For example, an individual is impatient with the speed at which his spiritual progress is happening. He feels it should be faster, that his negative habits are persisting too long. This can be compared to watching a slow-growing tree developing up over the years and feeling discontent because it is not growing faster. In both cases, the solution is acceptance. This is the speed at which the process takes place. If we are regular in our sadhana, regular in our daily worship and meditation and in our yearly routine of attending festivals and a pilgrimage, tirthayatra, that is all we can do to move forward spiritually. There is no way we can make it happen more quickly. Simply accept it and be happy.
Let us turn now to impatience with circumstances. Our fast-paced modern life is very demanding. It is easy to get totally caught up in this swirl of activity, for our awareness to become externalized. In that state of mind, delays are unacceptable and obstacles must be removed immediately. We are totally unwilling to accept that certain delays are unavoidable. The idea that an obstacle might cause us to adjust to a wiser course of action, never crosses our mind.
Welcome to the conscious mind! The world of desire and its fulfillment. We have become impatience personified.
Obviously, a more balanced state of mind is needed and the remedy that Gurudeva gives us to restrain our desires by regulating our life, is daily worship and meditation.
"The external behavior we described, is of someone who lets his intellect get out of control. Others may let their instincts get the best of them as well. Such people have an irreverent attitude. Nothing is sacred to them, nothing holy. But through daily exercising anger, malice and the other lower emotions, they do without knowing invoke the demonic forces of the narakaloka."
Beautiful Gurudeva statement!
"Then they must suffer the backlash, have nightmares, confusion, separations and even perform heinous acts."
The remedy in both cases, when the intellect is out of control or the instincts, is daily worship and meditation. To quote 'Living with Siva', "Let all people of the world restrain themselves and be patient. Through the practice of daily worship and meditation, which retroactively invokes the divine forces from the devaloka. May a greater peace pervade the planet as the well earned result of these practices."
There is also a metaphysical tool that is helpful in overcoming impatience, which is living in the eternity of the moment. It produces the feeling that one has nothing to do, no future to work towards and no past to rely on. This excellent spiritual practice can be performed now and again during the day by anyone. Gurudeva suggests we practice it by asking ourself the question, "Am I not all right, right now?" And answer it, "I am all right, right now." Keep asking and answering, until you strongly feel positive, self-assured and fine. That may take five minutes, it might take fifteen minutes, it might take half an hour. We just keep doing it, till it changes our consciousness.
Gurudeva discovered this technique when he was seven years old and describes the experience in detail in 'Merging with Siva'.
"It came to me from the inside one day when I was worried about missing my favorite radio program. We were on our way home in a snow storm at Lake Tahoe and I was afraid we might get stuck and I would miss the program. I saw my mind, awareness, go off into the future, and I brought it back by telling myself, "I am all right, right now. It hasn't happened yet." As it turned out, we didn't get stuck in the snow and I did get to listen to Captain Midnight. After that, I would say to myself, "I am all right, right now," every time something came up that stretched my imagination into the future, into worry, or into the past when something disturbing lingered in my memory patterns that I did yesterday that maybe I shouldn't have done. Each time that happened I would say, "I am all right, right now. Am I not?" And, I would have to always answer, "Of course, yes." I started doing this at the age of seven, and still today I am convinced that I am all right, right now."
There is a philosophical principle that is also helpful in mastering impatience. It is one of Satguru Chellappaswami's Mahavakyam, Great Sayings, "Oru pollappum illai". There is not even one thing in the world that is not perfect.
Periodically meditate on this statement. Think of events in the world and in your own life. Reflect upon the fact that they are the result of karma, of past actions in this and previous lives. Accepting them as such and not blaming life on others, we can move forward on the spiritual path.
Gurudeva includes in the section of 'Living with Siva' on patience, a paragraph addressed specifically to Sadhakas and Sannyasins.
"Sadhakas and Sannyasins must be perfect in kshama, forbearing with people and patient under all circumstances, as they have harnessed their karmas of this life and the lives before, compressed them to be experienced in this one lifetime. There is no cause for them, if they are to succeed, to harbor intolerance or experience any kind of impatience with people or circumstances. Their instinctive, intellectual nature should be caught up in daily devotion, unreserved worship, meditation and deep self-inquiry. Therefore, the practice, niyama, that mitigates intolerance is devotion, Isvarapujana, cultivating devotion through daily worship and meditation."
Gurudeva concludes by stressing that, "The next time you find yourself becoming impatient, just stop for a moment and remember that you are on the upward path, now facing a rare opportunity to take one more step upward by overcoming these feelings, putting all that you have previously learned into practice. One does not progress on the spiritual path by words, ideas or unused knowledge, memorized precepts, slokas. All the shoulds and should-not's are good but unless used will not propel one inch further than you all ready are. It is putting what you have learned into practice in these moments of experiencing impatience and controlling it through command of your spiritual will, that moves you forward. These steps forward can never be retracted when a test comes. Prevail."
Aum Namah Sivaya.
Thank you very much. You were very patient to listen to all of that!