The Meditator: Remolding the Subconscious
Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami , 2007-07-15
Through deliberate effort we don't have to think the way we think; to remember the things about the past we remember. Daily meditation. The forces of positive accomplishment from each of our past lives. The importance of having a wise plan, a positive attitude, auspicious timing, Ganesha's blessing. The art of anticipating and handling obstacles with intelligence.
Good morning everyone.
In Gurudeva's "Master Course Trilogy" the current lesson we're studying this week in "Living With Siva" is Chapter 14: The Meditator.
"Externalization of awareness results in one layer upon another layer of misunderstanding void of an inner point of reference. We have to reprogram the subconscious mind to change it, and not worry over the old impressions. We have to make this change in a very dynamic way by always remaining positive. You have heard many people say, 'It can't be done,' and then go right ahead and prove it by failing.
"Never use the word can't, as it becomes very restrictive to the subconscious. If often used, it becomes almost an incantation. This is not good. As soon as we say, 'I can't,' all positive doors subconsciously close for us. The flow of pure life force is diminished, the subconscious is confused and we know we are going to fail, so we don't even try. The solution to subconscious confusion is to set a goal for ourselves in the external world and to have a positive plan incorporating daily meditation as a lifestyle within that goal. Through this positive initiative and daily effort in meditation, awareness is centered within. We learn how to disentangle and unexternalize awareness."
So certainly, the most dominant idea in that material is the idea of saying can't verses saying can. And sometimes we have a habit pattern of being more negative about things than we realize. We may think we're a positive person and normally we are, but it's good still, to reflect and be self-observant as to our attitudes, particularly when something demanding comes up which we have to do, which we know we'll be challenged at doing. Is our attitude one of confidence, you know, do we think we can do it? Or, are we sure we can't, or are we somewhere in the middle? So, to be able to determine that is a useful ability and one of the qualities that Gurudeva describes, describes to the subconscious mind is: It's quite changeable, we can remold it. In other words the way you, we habitually think, can be changed. We don't have to think the way we think. We don't have to remember the things about the past we remember. The subconscious mind can be remolded through deliberate effort.
"As soon as strong initiative is taken to change our nature toward refinement, a new inner process begins to take place. The forces of positive accomplishment from each of our past lives begins to manifest in this one. The high points of a past life, when something great has happened, become strung together. These merits or good deeds are vibrations in the ether substance of our memory patterns, because each one of us, right now, is a sum total of all previous experience. All of the distractions of the external area of the mind begin to fade, and positive meditation becomes easily attainable. It is not difficult to move our individual awareness quickly within when distractions occur.
"This new pattern of setting goals and meeting them strengthens the will."
So that's a very interesting concept that Gurudeva explains that when we're positive toward our life, toward our plans, toward making accomplishments both in the outer world and inside ourselves, and we're able to sustain that kind of positive attitude without major slumps of feeling, "I can't," then our past life merits string together. The high points, "The forces of positive accomplishment from each of our past lives begin to manifest in this one."
So you've probably seen that in some people, they just seem unstoppable. They seem so positive so dynamic you wonder: How can someone be so positive? They seem to have a different attitude. Well, it must be something like this, you know, they've taken an approach in this life that's put them in touch with all these positive accomplishments from previous lives which allows them to be more successful in this life than they would be otherwise.
So the last idea Gurudeva brought up was the idea of setting goals. And, as we know, Gurudeva thought planning was very important; he loved to plan; he loved to encourage others to plan and wrote a few sutras about it. The one that's probably the key one is this one:
"Siva's devotees approach each enterprise with deliberate thoughtfulness, and act only after careful consideration. They succeed in every undertaking by having a clear purpose, a wise plan, persistence and push."
So purpose is the same as a goal. So setting goals or setting purposes is the same thing. So in this case Gurudeva wanted four "P's." Purpose, plan, persistence and push. That's why he didn't use the word goal. And then he would like to add: "Once your plan is complete inaugurate it through prayer." Which is the fifth "P," prayer. Go to the temple on an auspicious day and worship Lord Ganesha through attending puja, having an archana or special abhishekam or homa, beseeching His blessings for a grand success.
So that's a very important point and something we've been stressing recently is: goals and plans to achieve the goals. We put that in our last "Publisher's Desk." Made the quotation: "A goal without a plan is only a wish." That's the one we used, famous quote, and unfortunately, all people don't plan adequately, shall we say. We have good ideas, good purposes, goals we want to achieve but we don't take enough time to systematically plan out how to accomplish them. And therefore, we're only partially successful or not even successful at all. And the story I used in the "Publisher's Desk" actually happened and was quite a sad story.
Young couple came here, Hindu couple from Florida. Probably about 30 years old, right, wouldn't you say Sadhaka Dandapani? He met with them also. And they had been, both of them had been employed and had a reasonable income in Florida but they wanted to go into the ice cream business. They wanted to open an ice cream franchise. And asked me for blessings and so I said: "Well, you need a good plan." And I suggested they contact the Small Business Administration, you know, because clearly, they had no business skills. They'd just been working for others. That's why the Small Business Administration, it's a government service that gives very useful advice to people starting businesses for the first time, you know, helps them create a plan. So, that was my advice to them. And so, we got an e-mail, probably about four or five months later, and it said things weren't going too well and I sent back my advice. You know, please go see the SBA, the Small Business Administration and get a plan. And then we got another e-mail back, about a year after they started, and said they had to fold up, that it didn't manifest. So, far as I know they never took my advice to really create a solid plan and never saw the Small Business Administration and you know, unfortunately weren't successful. But, it's not that easy to be successful in your first business. It requires some skill, some planning that you may not have without the help of someone else who's gone through it a number of times.
So even in our personal life, we don't necessarily plan enough. We have our goals, we have our purposes, but we don't spend the time or get the expert knowledge that would enable us to be totally successful. We just kind of jump into things with inspiration and hope that they'll work out. But, if something's complicated, definitely you know, we need these, we need a wise plan.
So, clear purpose, wise plan, persistence -- stick to it don't give up easily. One of the questions I get asked, and it's an interpretation of obstacles, is: If you meet a couple of obstacles in pursuing your plan you know, is that an inauspicious sign that we're not doing things right? And so, handling obstacles or events that don't go well is a definite art. Because, sometimes we do need to change our course of action because of something, but oftentimes we don't. And Gurudeva's advice, for example, on a large project like our Iraivan Temple construction project is: "Anticipate all kinds of obstacles before you start and then you won't won't be discouraged when you encounter them."
This is a huge project, you know, building a hand carved temple in Hawaii that's carved in India, etcetera etcetera you know, so it's never been done. So, definitely we encounter obstacles but we expect them. And because we expect them we don't get discouraged by them. We say: "Well that's an interesting obstacle. Didn't expect that one. Expected this other one, you know. Got this one instead."
So, persistence is important and part of persistence is being able to handle obstacles with intelligence.
Push is the idea of, just it takes a lot of energy. Sometimes toward the end it can be kind of difficult to finish something. You know, our inspiration's kind of run out. And so, we want to not finish it to the best of our ability or in someway take a shortcut. Or do something we hadn't originally planned to and if we can muster up enough energy, we can push; we can give it that energy burst that might need at the end to accomplish it in the way we originally envisioned.
And then when to initiate an important project is also important. As it says here, we want to initiate it through prayer by going to the temple and getting Ganesha's blessings for success for any major project, but we also want to initiate it at an auspicious time. And it's counterproductive to not take the time to choose an auspicious time for a major event. Auspicious time to start it.
That's probably enough for this morning. Thank you very much.
[End of transcript.]