Methods for Maintaining Inner Awareness
Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami , 2012-05-14
When going into meditation have a destiny; find the spiritual energy, the power that's within the spine. Learn how to direct where awareness goes. Keep the awareness found in meditation, the within of us, alive throughout the day. Avoid dropping into an emotional level. Upset, another word for externalized. Move awareness from concern, worry, into the spine, stay a while, and then reconnect, launch out into a positive area of the mind. Master Course, Lesson 32.
Good morning everyone.
A few comments on Merging with Siva, lesson for the day, which is Lesson 32 and entitled:
"Living Two-Thirds Within"
The lesson points out that the idea of meditation sounds very intriguing. And going within ourselves, finding the spiritual part of our mind, inner light, inner love, omnipresence, all those wonderful qualities that are there within us. But, in turning within, that's not what we necessarily find or found. So inside of us are also our regrets about the past, doubts, emotional upsets, worries.
All of that's there as well. And one of the common experiences that Gurudeva encountered was: Someone would be very serious about turning within in meditation; they'd practice it for a few months. And instead of running into the spiritual part of the mind they run into these other aspects of the mind which are fairly unpleasant. And so, what do you do? You quickly distract yourself cause you don't to face that part of yourself. And start watching more television, turn up the music a little more loudly in the room to keep you externalized all day or whatever. Spend a lot of time on the phone with friends. The things we do to distract ourselves to keep us from looking inside and seeing the unpleasant things that are inside.
So, Gurudeva has a simple key to that. He says: When you go inside yourself, a very easy spiritual part of you to find is the spiritual energy that's within the spine. There's a certain power there that you can find. And go to that when you go inside. In other words, we need a specific destination. That's one of the qualities of Gurudeva's approach to meditation. It's not just sitting there and quieting the thoughts. We're thinking about God in some way. It's having a destination in mind, a specific place we're going. In this case the place is the spiritual energy within the spine.
Therefore, when we sit down and close our eyes and meditate, instead of ending up in this miscellany and negative thoughts and emotions and concerns, we go right to the energy in the spine and we don't experience that. Therefore, our inner life, our inner experience is a pleasant one. It's not one that troubles us because we've learned how to direct where our awareness goes.
One of the important aspects of this idea is when we're successful at it, when we actually go inside ourselves in meditation and find something spiritual. When we come out of meditation and engage in the activities of our day we're not supposed to totally forget about it. It's not supposed to go away. We're supposed to maintain it. And that can done through practice. We can kind of be looking inside and outside at the same time without having a divided mind. It's just the mind is encompassing two directions instead of one direction.
And, Gurudeva suggests a couple of simple keys for that to keep the awareness alive of what we found inside in our meditation. we need to keep the spine straight. Sit up straight during the day if we're sitting, not allow ourselves to slump. Sitting up straight and then he says: Regulate your breath. So those two qualities. In other words, we're doing a pranayama but we're just kind of breathing from the diaphragm and breathing in and out in a natural relaxed pattern. We don't allow our breath to become, we don't allow our diaphragm to become tense and therefore our breath to become shallow. That's externalizing.
In fact, if you're facing something that's a little, going to be a little challenging than usual, an activity that's a little more challenging, the diaphragm may tighten up in anticipation. So, it's good to reflect: Do I have my diaphragm tightened up? And if it has to spend a couple of minutes, if you have that opportunity, to just relax, just breathe deeply from the diaphragm, get it relaxed. And therefore, the tension goes away along with the apprehension about what we're doing. Cause tension and apprehension come together. Relaxation and lack of apprehension come together.
There's two other keys I want to add. They aren't in the lesson but I found them very helpful. One of the easiest ways to forget about the inner, that we experienced during our morning mediation is excessive talk. We're just talking all day long. Talking all day long is very externalizing. It just draws you out and out and out. And, of course, we need to find a balance. We can't be socially awkward by not talking enough. That's not the point. But, we don't have to talk to excess either. We can talk and find some time where we don't have to talk. And that's very internalizing, helpful in keeping in touch with the within.
And then another simple principle is to avoid emotional entanglements or simple arguments with people. In other words try -- if there's a disagreement -- try to keep it in the intellectual level. Try to keep it from dropping into an emotional level where it adds these strong emotional feelings. And then you go away upset. And if you're upset, upset is another word for externalized. So, we want to avoid that as well.
There's nothing in Gurudeva's teaching said you can't disagree, or shouldn't disagree. Disagreements are natural between people. We have different ways of looking at things. Our natures aren't the same. Husband and wife will disagree because one's a man and one's a woman. They don't look at life the same way. They're not supposed to.
So disagreements are natural but it's how we handle them that's the important thing. We want to keep them polite, courteous. And, just like we would at work, if we had a disagreement with someone, a co-worker, we couldn't let it become an argument. Pretty soon we wouldn't have a job anymore. We have to handle it professionally. So likewise, in our private life, if we can handle disagreements professionally without them becoming filled with lots of emotion and becoming minor arguments, then that helps too in keeping the within of us alive throughout the day.
Gurudeva gives a related suggestion. If we find ourselves stuck in an area of the mind. Sometimes we end up in worry, for example, or some negative thinking or some petty concern. And we can't seem to stop thinking about it. So, Gurudeva says: Well, think instead about the power in the spine, the spiritual energy in the spine. If you're not quite feeling it you can move your spine back and forth. Obviously, the spine moved, energy was used to move it, right?
Movement comes from energy. So, there's energy there and just think about the energy more than the movement in the spine and you start to reconnect with the energy in the spine. So, we want to move our awareness from the petty concern, worry, to thinking about the spine. And then launch out into a more positive area. So we don't try and go from this area of the mind to that area of the mind. Trying to go from this area, which isn't that productive, into the spine, stay there for a while and then come back out into an area that we want to be thinking about.
Thank you very much.