Achieve the maximum possibilities we can attain in this life inwardly and outwardly. Attachments, regrets about the past, clinging to people and possessions, burden us and prevent us from moving forward. Purify the mind, clear out the subconscious, overcome imperfections. Learn and forgive. Worship Lord Ganesha to move up out of fear and become stabilized in memory.
"The banks of the Ganges River high in the Himalayas we can liken to our own conception and entrance into physical consciousness. As the river flows to meet the sea, it drops off many disturbances, just as our life absorbs many of its hindrances. The rapids smooth out, the waterfalls become smaller, the mouth of the river broadens, and as the river flows into the ocean we can see this esoteric symbol of life ending its manifest physical form.
"Let us relate that symbol to our own consciousness, holding it within our mind, the river as a symbol of life. Now look at yourself and see what stops that river from flowing. What stops you from flowing with cosmic forces and becoming one with life's ocean of eternal bliss? Is it not attachment that keeps us clinging to the bank of the river? Is it not fear that we are attached to? All of the personalities we know and the various material objects we are clinging to keep us holding tightly to the banks of life's cosmic river. The river still flows on, but we do not flow with it. We are fighting against life's currents when we allow ourselves to become attached.
"Think today about the personal experiences in your lifetime and clearly view just how often you cling to the banks of life's river by attaching yourself to personalities and possessions. Have you ever stopped to think that we even become attached to things that we do not like and to the things that we have done against our better judgment? We are attached to objects, values, schedules, habits, memories, even likes and dislikes. We become attached because we do not stop to understand that each of those experiences that conceived the attachment was just a boulder, a waterfall or an old tree trunk blocking one of the little rivulets as it tried to merge with the great stream ever merging itself into the ocean."
A simple way to look at what Gurudeva's saying is to view ourselves as coming down a river, such as Wailua River we have here, and the goal is to get to the ocean. The ocean represents the maximum possibilities we can attain in this life; what we can achieve inwardly and outwardly. If we get to the ocean we've achieved everything that's capable of being achieved. But many people don't get to the ocean; they stop somewhere along the way. And why do they stop? Because of attachment or clinging to experiences or clinging to possessions or clinging to people in a way that gives us security or keeps us where we are because that's where we want to be. But, we're not moving forward either inwardly in our inner life or outwardly in our outer life.
So, what are some of those things? Well Gurudeva points them out. One of them is just regrets about the past. It's one of the challenges of life. When we start out we're jumping around, an innocent child; we have no past. We have nothing to regret. That's why children look so happy. You know, there's no past to regret; we're not burdened by anything. Nothing's happened yet.
But then as we get older we start to pick up regrets for the things we did wrong, the things we should have done differently. And those burden us. And if we have enough of them, we're really clinging to the side of the river. We're just staying where we are. We're not able to move forward in a significant way either inwardly or outwardly. Because, we have such, so many regrets about all the things we did wrong we shouldn't have done.
Well, clearly, in Gurudeva's teachings, we don't want to just stay in that stage of mind; we want to get rid of the regrets. We want to purify the mind, clear out the subconscious of those kinds of experiences. One of the causes of regret is we think we should have done better than we did. I should have done it different; I should have done it better. And therefore, we're critical of ourselves. Or, if we should have done it better we would have done it better. We just didn't know something that now we know. We weren't as wise; we weren't as mature. We didn't have as much knowledge then as we do now and we did the best we could.
For any mistakes, we need to let them go. One of the clear ways to let them go is to figure out how to handle the situation in a better way when it comes up the next time we do something wrong. The example I use is such a simple one. Our back driveway used to have large potholes in it. You drive along, you'd hit a pothole. And everybody in the car would jump up and hit the ceiling if they were tall enough. Oh, how many times are you going to do that? Once is excusable but are you going to bang you passengers heads on the car the rest of your life or are you going to learn quickly from that experience? So if we can learn quickly: There's a pothole on that side; when I get there I'm going to drive to the left a little more slowly to avoid it. And we don't feel badly about what we did the first time because we figured out a way not to do it again.
So, that's just one simple example of how an attachment is keeping us from flowing with the river of life, of regret for past mistakes can be overcome. Of course, there's other examples in Gurudeva's teachings as well.
A common one is entanglements with family and friends. We have serious negative feelings about how our parents raised us. We just really can't accept that we were treated that way by them. And that's holding us back; it's just a burden. We feel it shouldn't have happened. And that's not a wise perspective. Parents do the best they can; they are who they are. They're not perfect beings. As I like to say: Anyone was a perfect being they wouldn't be born here in the first place. Everyone's imperfect in one way or another. That's why we're here. We're here to overcome our imperfections. We're not here because we are perfect; we're here to become more perfect.
Parents do the best they can and children receive what they should. If it was a difficult childhood we must have given somebody else a difficult childhood in a past life. So let's learn from it. Let's forgive them and move on and learn the lessons again. When I'm a parent what can I do so I don't fall into that same behavioral pattern that my parents did?
And attachments that some people face is fear of the future. We don't want to move forward cause we're not sure what's there and at least we know where we are. We know all about it. May not be that great but we don't have the fear of something different needing to be experienced. We're comfortable with the shortcomings and strengths of our current situation. Well that's not taking advantage of life fully. We should move forward and achieve as much as we can outwardly and inwardly and not simply allow ourselves to become fearful.
I remember a couple of years ago talking to a young woman and her biggest fear was peak oil. She was really afraid of it that the world was going to run out of oil. And because the world was going to run out of oil, she wasn't doing that much in the present because she thought there was no point to it. The world is going to have a crisis. Whey should I try and accomplish anything in the meantime? It won't survive; it won't last. Well obviously, that's a very big attachment, a very big obstacle to doing worthwhile things in our life.
Fear can be overcome. A general fear like that which is just about the future -- Gurudeva's affirmation: "I'm all right right now" is a perfect tool to apply to that cause it's nothing specific. It's just a general concern. "I'm all right right now." There's no reason to panic. All kinds of things can happen in the world but there's no reason to think that this one will necessarily happen.
Other ways of overcoming a more generalized fear -- we just find ourselves fearful in general -- is the worship of Lord Ganesha. Gurudeva gives that a tool for just generalized fear. We're afraid of this, we're afraid of that; we're afraid of all kinds of things. Afraid of going out the door sometimes. Why does the worship of Lord Ganesha work? Because it brings us up. We have to think of the chakras. The seven principle chakras. The first one is memory. If we're situated in memory we're not fearful. And Lord Ganesha is strongly attached to that chakra. So His worship stabilizes us in memory. We can also -- if we're an adult -- memorize new things; strengthen memory. Deliberately try and memorize new scriptures, new songs and so forth. Strengthen that and that brings us up from the chakra below that which is fear. It's just down one, not that far away.
We can pull ourselves by applying that kind of teaching out of fear and therefore, feel more confident to accomplish more in life and therefore, move closer to our potential which is symbolized as reaching the ocean. If we can manage to come all the way down the river and reach the ocean then we've fulfilled the most we've been able to do in this particular lifetime through overcoming the attachments which cause us to cling to the banks for one reason or another.
Thank you very much.
Aum Namah Sivaya
[End of transcript.]