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Spiritual Practice, the World of Life

Trilogy Commentary, MWS Lesson 65

Overcome the cycle of disappointment, discouragement, depression and despair. Focus on control of thoughts, feelings and emotions, remaining positive and depersonalizing negative experiences in the ebb and flow of life. "The world is an Ashram" a place to realize Parasiva, realize the Self, achieve Moksha.

Master Course Trilogy, Merging with Siva, Lesson 65

Patanjali's Yoga Sutras

Unedited Transcript:

Good morning everyone.

Starting with some introductory remarks and then coming up to Lesson 65 from Merging with Siva.

In the last couple of talks we made the point that any individuals when they're getting more interested in spiritual life, have the tendency to withdraw from the world. The world is a worldly place, I want to be more spiritual, so I'm going to back away from it, not put as much energy into it. And of course, as we read from Gurudeva's introductory remarks in the front of each of the Master Course Trilogy books he says: Don't do that. It's not positive. What you should do is put more energy into the world, finish everything you start, do everything to the best of your ability and so forth. Try and do even better than you were in your worldly accomplishments.

So this relates to that. Starts with Gurudeva's definition of moksha. He has a couple of definitions of moksha. This, I call this one: "The Three-Fold Definition of Moksha:"

The one-fold, single idea of moksha, is you realize Parasiva, you realize the Self and then you achieve moksha. Simple idea. The two-fold definition is, well you have to take into account karma. If you still have karma to resolve then even though you've achieved a realization you won't achieve moksha because you're needing to resolve that karma first. It makes sense. Then the three-fold one is the one that surprises many individuals. That's that you have to fulfill all dharma well. In other words, we need a certain amount of experience or accomplishments in the world in order to achieve moksha. So that's the one I'll read. Three-fold definition.

"Moksha comes when earthly karma has been resolved, dharma well performed and God fully realized. Each soul must have performed well through many lives the varna dharmas, or four castes, and lived through life's varied experiences, in order to not be pulled back to physical birth by a deed left undone."

Very interesting explanation.

Well Patanjali has a parallel statement. He's talking about the world.

"What is experienced has the character of brightness, activity, and inertia. (That must be a translation of sattva, rajas and tamas.) It is embodied in the elements and the sense organs. Its purpose is to provide both experience and liberation."

So same idea. We have to go through a certain number of experiences as well as achieve Realization. Then there's one more. This is the last verse.

"The involution of the gunas, (That means the tattvas in our terminology) which are now devoid of purpose for the purusha, is what is called kaivalya or the establishment of the power of awareness in its essential nature."

So the purpose of course is two-fold which was explained in the previous one, to provide experience and finally liberation.

"Seeking for God in the depths of one's being through control of the mind, control of one's thoughts, feelings and emotions, gives birth to the highest qualities of nature. This transformation begins to take place as the light of the soul becomes more and more apparent within the mind..."

That's the Lesson 65 starting there. So that's the key is control. And control of the mind, control of one's thoughts, feelings and emotions. All of that is something we need to focus on.

Then Gurudeva moves on to:

"Disappointment, Discouragement.

"Another instinctive response to the ebb and flow of life force is disappointment, which intensified becomes discouragement, depression and despair. These three negative states are obstacles to all human endeavor, especially for the spiritual seeker, who must learn early to regulate, control and balance the emotional ups and downs so well that he never experiences discouragement, which is nothing more than an imbalance of force..."

So that's something that many people don't think about, that they can actually overcome the cycle of disappointment becoming discouragement, depression and despair, by first of all, understanding it as a cycle. Or, as Gurudeva says, it's imbalance of force. We're reacting to experiences, experiences are throwing us off center and therefore we're going through this cycle of negativity.

"...Life tests and retests our emotional maturity. Whether we meet those tests or fail is entirely up to us. On the Saivite path, the satguru gives the tests in order to mold and strengthen the seeker's character. Great strength of character is required to attain spiritual goals, enormous courage and forbearance, and anyone who lacks that strength and stamina will cease striving long before full realization is attained.

"Therefore, to bring out the natural strengths, the guru will offer challenges. He knows that we all fall short of our own expectations now and then, and that we react either positively by reaffirmation or negatively through discouragement. As the tests of life present themselves, the satguru will observe the seeker's response time... (read that one again). As the tests of life present themselves, the satguru will observe the seeker's response time and time again until his emotional body grows strong enough to combat negative reaction to what appears to be failure and later to absorb within itself all reaction to disappointment, the father of discouragement.

"It is the day-to-day reactions to circumstance that indicate the attainment and not mere recorded knowledge about the path..."

That's a very important point. It's one thing to be able to intellectually explain about the emotional nature and how we should always be positive, but it's something quite distinct to actually be able to remain positive in the midst of seriously negative experiences.

"...When the aspirant is able to meet ordinary happenings and respond to them in the effortless wisdom born of detachment, that indicates that his striving is genuine. When he is able to encounter conditions that send ordinary people into states of disappointment or discouragement and when his emotional nature indicates mastery over these lesser states of consciousness, he is well on his way toward filling the gaps of a natural growth of the instinctive vehicles--body, emotions and intellect.

"But to attain emotional stability, recognition of those vulnerable areas must be cultivated. It is quite natural to encounter circumstances that are potential sources of disappointment. The very recognition and admission are half of the necessary adjustments. As one set of conditions is resolved, another set of a more intense vibration arises naturally to be mastered. With disappointment reined in, the aspirant next faces tendencies of discouragement, then depression and finally despair, for they are all linked together in the instinctive nature of humankind. Once he recognizes these states as belonging to all men and ceases to identify them as personal tendencies, he is then able to cognize its source and convert it. In this way the emotional nature matures under the loving guidance of the spiritual teacher."

So, that's the key there in the last sentence; to make it impersonal. Personal is: I'm totally discouraged today. That's making it personal. Impersonal is: I hit a big obstacle yesterday and it threw me kind of off center, such is human nature. I have to do something today to re-center myself. Totally impersonal. It's just human nature. It's not anything unique to you. It's just the nature of a being. We are the external being and how it reacts to negative experiences. So, depersonalizing it, impersonalizing it, says the key, I'll read that one more time, the close:

"...Once he recognizes these states as belonging to all men and ceases to identify them as personal tendencies, he is then able to cognize its source and convert it..."

So of course, it's source is you're reacting to some experience or experiences and it's throwing you off center. Converting it is getting centered again.

"...In this way the emotional nature matures under the loving guidance of the spiritual teacher."

So this all relates to the first idea of, Gurudeva's teachings don't have us withdraw from the world and they have us handle the experiences of the world in a positive way.

Or, as Yogaswami says: "The world is an ashram" a place where you can mature spiritually and of course the world is whatever you project on it, it's, in and of itself it isn't anything. It all depends on how you're looking at the world, what it is. So in this case we're looking at the world as providing us with experiences, the reactions to them we need to master so we don't become discouraged and negative. We're able to pull ourselves together quickly. And as Gurudeva says: Well congratulations, you've done that; now you're going to have an even bigger challenge come along. Then you'll have to pull yourself together after that one.

Have a wonderful day.

Photo of  Gurudeva
When you say to yourself, "I am all right, right now," you immediately bring the forces of the mind together. All fears, worries and doubts cease. An influx of spiritual energy fills the subconscious, and a sense of dynamic security permeates your being.