Today, a temple decoration, a banana plant, was blocking the light that normally shines on Bodhinatha when he gives his upadesha. His face was in a shadow. He took this as an opportunity to comment on a classic image of mental blockages. Thoughts: Worries, guilt, regrets, concerns, decisions to make, come up and block, get in between, cover up the inner light. Take advantage of Gurudeva's tools to quiet all five kinds of thoughts, resolve mental distress: Vasana daha tantra, learning lessons -- having an alternate plan, affirmations, setting appointments with yourself, pranayama.
Have a nice symbol up there, a leaf. Blocking the light. The light's still there, right? Same light that usually shines on me so you can see me. And now there's a leaf in front of it. Good topic for a talk.
That's what can go on inside of us. That inner light is there but when we look inside there's something between us and it, so to speak. Something's blocking it.
Common mental leaf's are worries, major worries about the future, major regrets about the past. Those are the kinds of thoughts that come up in our mind and block or cover up the inner light. Many people are too busy to think about that but if you're interested in seeing the inner light you need to take it into account; make sure there's no leaves blocking inside.
I did a Publisher's Desk on that some time ago. Remember categorized thoughts into, I think it's five categories. And gave a different tool from Gurudeva's teachings for each one. A common blockage is recent events that are unresolved. Having an argument with our spouse or someone at work. Didn't quite settle right. We're still rehashing it. Every day we kind of think about it. Maybe I should have said this; maybe I should have said that. Bothers us.
Well, what can we do? Well, if we're close enough to the person we can apologize. Apology is a very good way of resolving something in the, that didn't quite go right in the recent past. If we're not that close we can try and find a way to make amends another way: give them a gift without knowing they're getting a gift. What would that be. Or you invite them to a dinner party you're having which you didn't plan to invite them to in the first place. And they say yes. So, you feel better about what happened.
If none of that works then you can write it down and burn it up and perhaps skip a meal. It's always good to impress the mind that: Okay, I skipped a meal. Everything's okay. Cause part of us feels that we did something wrong so we need to fix that. Feeling we did something wrong ideally is just a temporary state of mind. We don't want to live in that state of mind permanently. Gurudeva stresses that a lot in his teachings. You know: "Life is meant to be lived joyously." We're not supposed to feel, run around feeling guilty for all the things we did wrong our whole life.
If we feel guilty about something we need to get rid of that guild through using one of Gurudeva's tools. As the article pointed out, the Publisher's Desk, the mind is very helpful, the subconscious mind in that regard of a recent event that went wrong. It keeps reminding us. Says: This event went wrong; fix it. Reminds us tomorrow: This event went wrong; fix it. Then after a while it stops because it knows that something else is going to go wrong and it can't keep reminding you about everything. You would suffer from mental distress. So it stops, goes away. So, if you don't resolve it within a few weeks you'll forget about it. Well the mind is helpful in that regard if you realize it's encouraging you to resolve it in a certain time frame.
Then events that happen a long time ago, we all know we have our vasana daha tantra to adjust those because you can't go around apologizing to someone for something that happened thirty years ago. They'll think you're crazy. You'd have to apologize in your own mind by writing it down and burning it up until you feel okay about it. One of the ways we can feel okay about something is making sure we've learned the lesson from it. In other words, it didn't go very well. Learning the lesson from it means we figured out a different way to handle that situation in the future so that it goes better. That's what learning the lesson means: We have an alternate plan to handle such an event in the future which we think will avoid the problem that occurred last time.
The third kind of thought that blocks the light is worry about the future. Lot's of things to worry about: running out of oil, rising sea levels, crazy governments, whatever. There's plenty of things to worry about but there's no value in worrying. Worry is to think about something then jump to another topic. You never resolve it; you're just concerned about something, usually fairly general point. Well Gurudeva gives us affirmations, the major one in that regard is: "I'm all right right now." Right? I'm all right right now. Just, there's no point getting concerned about something that's totally beyond my control. I can't make a difference if we run out of oil or not; I can't stop sea levels from rising; I can't fix crazy governments. You know, we can't do anything about it. So, it shouldn't really disturb us. It's a waste of mental energy. So, we just need to use a tool which is affirmations. " I'm all right right now."
Other one you remember is a major decision you have to make and quiet the mind on that by making an appointment with yourself when you have enough time to think about it. So if we think about it in the interim you say: Go away, I have an appointment with you Saturday from 10-12 and I'm going to solve this concern. And, if I think about you between now and then, no need. I have an appointment. And you can quiet your mind by setting an appointment with yourself for major decisions.
And then the fifth one, after you've got all that under control, right? What's left? I wonder what's for breakfast? What TV program are we going to watch tonight? Think it'll rain today? Don't have an umbrella. Concerns about the day. Small things just about today. You know, it's natural. Nothing unnatural about thinking about those things but there's no need if we're trying to meditate or we're trying to worship, right? We don't have to have those thoughts block what's inside of us.
So that's where we have the tool of pranayama, just regulating the breath. The breath and ordinary thoughts are linked. So, if we, if our thoughts become agitated our breath becomes agitated. If our breath slows down our thoughts slow down. The two things are linked, both directions. So, therefore we can take advantage of that. And if we're trying to meditate, trying to worship and these kinds of thoughts come into our head then we just take time to do some pranayama; regulate the breath and quiet everything down. All five categories of thoughts will be gone and guess what? You'll be able to see me again.
Won't be any leaves up there.
Well, have a great day.