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Abstain from Drugs, Don't Be Discouraged

Merging with Siva


Negative states of mind, disappointment, discouragement, depression and despair are nothing more than an imbalance of the instinctive forces belonging to all human kind. To attain full Realization, enormous courage and forbearance, strength, stamina and striving are required. We are a perfect soul surrounded by an imperfect emotional and intellectual nature. The emotional nature matures under the loving guidance of the spiritual teacher who gives the shishyas 'ukanuhshum' sadhanas, challenges to balance and lessen the instinctive forces and to further self-control over the flows of awareness. To gain freedom, lean on no one but our Self and thereby love and bless the world, wishing all well in the journey on the path.

Master Course Trilogy, Merging with Siva, Guru Chronicles

Unedited Transcript:

Good morning everyone.

Well we're slowing a bit this morning, aren't we. So this our "Merging with Siva" series. We do this the first day of the phase, lunar phase. And we're going through the lessons of "Merging with Siva" in the chronological order that Gurudeva gave them, not in the order they're in the book. And the idea is, we get a sense of how his teachings of, were over the years and what he was emphasizing in certain years and what he wasn't. And it's very interesting plus we can weave in the stories from "Guru Chronicles" which gives a little context to what was going on at the time he gave the talk.

And we're in:

"From Darkness to Light" Chapter 10, given in 1965 at the San Francisco Temple. So we're reading about what's happening in 1965 from "Guru Chronicles."

This is Gurudeva in the first person, starts:

"The first time that I learned of LSD, shortly after it was discovered [by recreational users], I went to the Menlo Park Clinic to find out something about it. I talked with one of the psychiatrists there and he began explaining these different experiences one might have on the drug. I said to him, 'Some of these experiences you describe--spiritual revelations, expanded awareness, blissful and brilliant inner experiences--are the ones I have had every day of my life for the last twenty years through the faculty of meditation.' Psychiatrist responded, 'Well, my, you are fortunate, aren't you?' (And back to the narrative.)

"The crisis had its influence on the Church. As the year progressed, the number of odd-looking visitors to classes and services increased. (Because the Haight Asbury is within walking distance, where all the youth were.) For several years the American guru would counsel thousands of LSD users. His primary point was not that drugs are wrong, but that there is a better way, an ancient, natural and proven way, to achieve mystical experiences.

"Gently, he encouraged young men and women to abstain from all drugs and, instead, to undertake the disciplines of yoga. The trouble with drugs, he told them, was that even if drugs stimulate such experiences, they provide no foundation or understanding of them, no way to repeat the experience or benefit from it. Nothing is gained for the damage done to the nerve system and mind. His words were never accusatory, and they had special power, for he knew personally the profound states of mind they had experienced and told him of. He had been there, they could see, so they trusted his counsel.

"Gurudeva's meditations on this social upheaval, whose epicenter was in his city, led to a talk in the temple called 'Chemical Chaos,' an exposition and criticism of the psychedelic movement and its philosophy. He directed the monks and adult counselors to do what they could to relieve the human suffering caused by the use of drugs, and he helped a great deal to spread an understanding of the nature of the problem among the city's ministers and others."

So, I remember an interesting story, somewhere in this era, Gurudeva came down one morning and said: "In the inner worlds these young people keep popping in and out." In order words, Gurudeva's there in the inner worlds in his sleep and they're popping in and out, popping in and out. So he said: "They haven't earned the right to be there yet." So in a very interesting statement.

So to the Lesson, 65:

"Disappointment, Discouragement"

The text:

"Another instinctive response to the ebb and flow of life force is disappointment, which intensified becomes discouragement, depression and despair. (Got our four 'd's there: disappointment, 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.

"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 again, and that we react either positively by re-affirmation or negatively through discouragement. 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 happens to be failure and later to absorb within itself all reaction to disappointment, the father of discouragement."

So commentary:

In Shum we have a word you all know, "ukanuhshum." Relates to guru giving you challenges:

1) An order, direction or assignment given by the guru to his shishya, the working through and final accomplishment of which helps the shishya arrive into a full control over the flow of awareness; (That's beautifully said.) 2) spiritual yoga discipline, sadhana given by one's guru; 3) the state of causing a deliberate innovation to one's consciousness by taking on such a spiritual discipline; 4) the taking on of, the name of, and performance of a spiritual discipline given by one's guru; 5) causing the student to employ all his faculties to accomplish sadhana.

So that's nicely pointing out the need to be challenged. In Gurudeva's teachings we're not trying for a life free of challenges. That's one idea, the ideal environment. No challenges, I'm so peaceful. That's good but its not going to cause you to strive further, further develop your self control. Or, as Gurudeva says: "Further move toward full control over the flow of awareness." We need to be challenged.

So, back to the text:

"It is the day-to-day reactions to circumstance that indicate the attainment and not mere recorded knowledge about the path. 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...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 human kind. Once he recognizes these states as belonging to all men and ceases to identify them as personal tendencies, he is then able to cognize their source and convert them. In this way the emotional nature matures under the loving guidance of the spiritual teacher."

So my comment:

Gurudeva gave an important key to mastering the negative progression of discouragement, depression and despair. It is to recognize these states as belonging to all men and thereby ceasing to identify them as personal tendencies. It is part of the instinctive nature of human kind. In other words, we need to catch this tendency when it is still in the first stage of discouragement and find a way to overcome it before it deepens into depression. Generally, we need to create a new plan to encompass the recent events that have not previously been anticipated.

So that's very important. Some individuals they get stuck in the discouragement and the depression of things having gone wrong and never get around to creating a new plan. What's needed of course is a new plan. The old plan didn't work out. We have to regroup here and develop a new plan to meet what's actually going on.

And the text:

"Emotional Maturity

"What is it. It certainly is not to be equated with physical age. I know people who are well past middle life and are not yet emotionally mature. Even if the physical body is totally mature, the intellect, as well as the emotional unit, can remain childish and unstable. The mind may have been educated to the nth degree, and yet a scholar remains vulnerable to depression and discouragement. The very first step toward emotional mastery is recognition coupled with admission that in some areas we are not yet perfect. Only through open admission can we devote ourselves to the sadhana that will balance and lessen the forces, allowing us to strive within ourselves to secure ourselves within ourselves. An emotionally mature man or woman is totally secure within and prepared to tap the greater realms of spiritual being."

And my comment:

Gurudeva's statement: "...recognition coupled with admission that in some areas we are not yet perfect." So my comment is: It is easier to accomplish this when we view ourself as a perfect soul surrounded by an imperfect emotional and intellectual nature.

So the inside's always perfect. The outside is always imperfect and we're striving to make it better, striving to make it more refined. And then we identify with the inside, then it's easier to admit imperfection in the outside. But when we, if we identify totally with the outside then we have to save face. So, we don't want to acknowledge that something's imperfect out there.

Text:

"We make very little progress when we strive to conquer these baser instincts in a good mood. However, vast strides are possible when we are miserable and work with ourselves to replace our misery with joy and understanding. Therefore, if you are ever disappointed or discouraged, count it a blessing, for you then have the opportunity to conquer the instinctive nature and really stabilize yourself dynamically on the spiritual path."

So that's what I was talking about earlier, the idea of, the erroneous idea that the goal of spiritual life is just to live in a challenge free environment. So, Gurudeva is saying the opposite. It's even good to get miserable. Cause then we have to fight to become unmiserable.

And the text:

"Often we are disappointed not only with ourselves and our circumstances but with other people as well. We can oversee this and other instinctive responses, such as mental criticism or jealousy, by looking at everyone and saying to ourselves, 'I like you. I send you blessings.' We cannot be discouraged or disappointed or jealous when we look our fellow man in the eye and say and simultaneously feel and believe through every atom of our being, 'I like you. I send you blessings.' Impossible! Love overcomes all instinctive barriers between people.

"There may be certain people or a certain person to whom you can say, 'I like you,' but for whom this is hard to believe in your heart. If you look deeper into them, you may find they are emotionally immature, a twelve-year-old emotional body walking around in a thirty-five-year-old physical body. Are you going to dislike a person for that? No, of course not. You are going to understand him or her. I've seen people with twenty-two-year-old bodies with the wisdom of an eighty-year old and the emotional stability of a forty-year old. I've seen people walking around in a sixty-year-old body with a twelve-year-old emotional body. By learning to understand, we cease to be a personality leaning upon our fellow man and falling into disappointment when he lets us down. No, we must lean on no one but ourselves, our own spine, and not be the reactionary victims of the ups and downs of the world around us or the people around us. Then we will gain our freedom from the instinctive forces we were born into and attain sufficient emotional maturity to love and bless the world, no matter what our circumstances may be."

So that a good summary there, Gurudeva's last sentence. I'll repeat it one more time and then we'll be finished.

"Then we will gain our freedom from the instinctive forces we were born into and attain sufficient emotional maturity to love and bless the world, no matter what our circumstances may be."

So one way I conceptualize that is obviously we get along well with some people, moderately well with others and not at all with others, right? Such is life. But the important point is not to be critical of the people we don't get along with. We need to wish them well, that's what Gurudeva's saying. We need to see them maturing, not spiritually, we need to see them continuing to unfold spiritually in this life and future lives. Then we have the right attitude toward them. In other words everybody's on the spiritual path as Gurudeva says, it's just some people don't know it, or some people aren't consciously on the path. But everybody is on the path of improvement, containing better control over the instinctive and intellectual minds. So we need to see them in that light and wish them well in their journey and not be critical of them because we have trouble getting along with them.

So thank you very much. Have a wonderful day.

Photo of  Gurudeva
Meat-eating contributes to a mentality of violence, for with the chemically complex meat ingested, one absorbs the slaughtered creature's fear, pain and terror.
—Gurudeva