The Art of Giving, Of Doing Nothing; True Perception and Talking Things Over
Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami , 1962-06-24
Gurudeva shares insights about three forms of communication that remove stress and bring harmony into our lives, namely: giving, talking uncomfortable things over, and using true superconscious perception. These three practices, remove barriers to communication and tensions within and among people. Giving gives the person who receives humility and the ability to give. Talking things over, the ability to address difficult topics removes a great barrier for individuals to reach Self-Realization and for groups dedicated to Yoga to flourish. Real perception brings the person in touch with his soul which unfolds love and kindness toward those who surround him.
I had a nice meditation on giving in studying the animal kingdom the other day. If you have a wild animal, he will take and it is quite natural to him to take what he wants. However, if you have a so-called tame animal, an animal in which you give to the animal, then when these wild tendencies come up within the animal to take, he gives you a guilty look after he does so, why? Because he knows that receiving something is a higher vibration than taking. The soul that is developing within him gives him this innate knowing. So for a wild animal it is quite natural for him to take. But if you take a wild animal and start to give to the wild animal, you are awakening refinement, and the wild animal becomes tame. Then when he does take something, he will give you that guilty look, the tail between the legs guilty look that lets you know he knows that he was wrong.
So can we not apply that to people also? Year to year taking my counsel, many many people have said,"Well aah how will the other person take it? They might think that I'm giving too much, they might think that maybe I might want something from them." That gives as an expression of yourself. It's an old old Oriental custom not to visit any home but what you would take something in your hand as an offering to the home that should be a temple. What does this do? It actually tames down an instinctive nature of the person. It makes the person more spiritual to one who receives. And it also builds up within the one who receives the power to give. Now unless you have been given to, it is very difficult for you to be generous and give. Because you do not have the power to give. The power to give is in a sense given to you.
So therefore this New Year, I urge you to give one to another. And help one another all you can, and give gifts one to another. Therefore you will uplift one another. The receiver will gain in receiving a gift deep humility. And that will give him the power also to give in a sense a feeling of humility to someone else. Why don't you meditate on giving, and my story about the animal kingdom and then apply it to people and then see how you can make this spiritual law work for yourself and in your own life all of this coming year. When you come to the temple, ladies bring flowers, decorate the altar. You will have a joy in giving and you will be open and more open to receive the spiritual teachings. And more open to understand that which you have received. Therefore giving is a form of communication. Giving is a form of communication.
It's an old Oriental custom to practice the great art which you know nothing about here in America. But it is a very great art of just sitting and doing nothing. It's called the art of Maha Yoga. Sitting and doing nothing and basking in your own radiance and then those who would sit with you would bask in your radiance and in their own and just sitting and doing nothing. An American newspaper remarked upon visiting the late Prime Minister Nehru's office. In a great large building in Madras and we went in and the different secretaries and public relations men who were all around and everyone was there sitting and doing nothing, enjoying their inner self and also one-another. He said it had the atmosphere as if nothing was going on and yet when something had to be done, they would do it, but they were calm enough within the security of themselves which is also of the Orient to be able to do nothing and yet be inwardly radiant.
When you have to always feel you have to be doing something fussing with this and fussing with this and moving this here and there and so forth, that is representative of inner frustrations or parts of the mind that haven't yet been controlled. Practice just sitting doing nothing. Now if you come into our new [Word or phrase inaudible] see many paintings around, now put a painting in front of you and sit and look at it and appreciate it. Put a flower in front of you, arrange it and just sit.
Now of course, the busy businessman would say, "I would like to sit and do nothing. I really need the rest." Well that is not the way to practice this great form of inner communion.You must not be tired when you practice Maha Yoga. You must be full of life in order to harness your forces and just sit and do nothing for a period of time. Not long periods of time. Just 10 or 15 minutes at a time to start off with. And you will find you'll be more efficient in your daily activity and routine. And when you practice concentration and meditation you will be calm enough to get a better control over your mind. This is a form of communication as giving is a form of communication.
Another form of communication is perception. Many people often take their own personal feeling from their conscious mind impressions and their subconscious, as being perceptive. However, there is one key to know whether you are functioning in perception or not, for perception gives you love, a kindly feeling for it all--compassion--a light in your eyes, a feeling of complete oneness with everyone, regardless of their ability or disability. It is that deep spiritual understanding that tends to see the mind of all right to the core of the Self within them. That is perception. Any other feelings are simply the feelings, the rumbling feelings of the lower emotions and whatever thoughts they produce within the mind aren't perceptive thoughts at all, unless they are accompanied with a universal love which is free from all strain and stress, a deep inner happiness which is expressed, a spiritual light in your eyes and the kindly feelings toward all. That is the nature of the person who is in perception.
Now when you are awakening your Superconscious -ness and you come into a kindly feeling for all and a universal love and compassion coupled with understanding and that piercing vision which can see a situation as it is without holding any personal resentment or personal feelings, then you are functioning [Word or phrase inaudible] in perception. If you go out into the conscious and subconscious mind and get socially hurt and have personal feelings and so forth, these feelings are not of perception. They are only of the instinctive and intellectual consciousness.
Quite often, I come into one of our yoga groups and there is such a strained atmosphere, and this is what we have been trying to break down and clear up these last three weeks. There's a strained atmosphere among our yoga students. And you can see a real [inaudible word] until you come like to a Sunday morning breakfast and then you get into this [Word or phrase inaudible] strained atmosphere. This is a lack of communication. Now I have gone among people who can communicate and the atmosphere of love and happiness, even if you are feeling under stress and strain, it will release the stress and the strain within you because they function without strain. Why? Because they can talk over what is on their minds without holding personal feelings afterwards. They are enough in perception to talk over what is on their mind without holding personal feelings. When you are in perception, you have the feeling like you are a being -- like you didn't come from anywhere, that you're not going anywhere, but you just exist as a being.
So I'd to urge all of you who have experienced this strained and stressed feeling to go to whomever you feel the feeling is coming from or you feel it is involved with and talk over your differences. Otherwise these strained and stressed conditions if you may even have them in your own home, will bind you down into the instinctive, intellectual consciousness and even snuff out any desire for Self-realization eventually. I have been to people's homes where it's been so stressed and strained you couldn't even eat. They couldn't either. They're all thin. But, use your skill of discrimination and clear up any stress or strain or misunderstanding. Because I want our Yoga people now to work very closely together as spiritual beings - as spiritual beings.
I've lived in an Oriental home not much bigger than this room, but of course it was divided in rooms with three children and they were younger children. I counted at one time for over two months, fifteen people living there. And you would not know. They had their inner consciousness so much under control. They were just ordinary people, they weren't necessarily practicing Yoga, you wouldn't know but what they like two people only be living there. You would not see in any one room at a time more than two or three people. If the room got - became loaded with five people, two of them had caution enough to move into another room so that there was no stress or strain in the room. You would never hear of misunderstanding because they were intelligent enough to talk over their differences. And you would never feel crowded.
Americans living under such conditions probably only two of them could get along and the third one only causing contention and the fourth person would be a big crowd and they'd be fighting before long. Why? Lack of duty, lack of the soul really coming out. Lack of art, lack of perception, which brings in universal love and kindness, lack of communication, verbal communication. We have found that with the narcotic and the alcoholic it is lack of communication that keeps them all bottled up within themselves so that they have to resort to something else in order to relax and express themselves for a period of time.
Lack of communication has to be overcome by any constructive Yoga group. And then you will go ahead and you will flourish. So we have two forms of communication. Number one, giving. That is the simplest form of communication. And in order to have a minimum amount of stress and strain among our relatives and friends, we do give Christmas card once a year. This will help us keep in touch. Actually what it does, it eases the strained condition that begins to develop within twelve months. And believe me a strained condition can develop within a twelve month period. Giving is the most elemental form of communication and oh so hard to practice, especially if you have never been given very much to. It's very hard for you to give. The next form of communication is what? Silence. Sitting and enjoying yourself, eliminating strain from yourself and then enjoying the friends and anyone else who would come along and sit with you. And then the next, is talking it over. Whatever it is, talking it over and having enough love and enough perception to hold no reaction afterward. Then you are a being and a being functioning in real perception, fully conscious of the dividing line.
I would talk [??] perception something like this. You have a inner state of consciousness as you all know. Now, I'll give you an example. You've all worn a belt haven't you? And have you ever put on a belt and the buckle was upside-down? Then you had to go and take the twist out of the belt so the buckle would be right-side-up. So we'll call this belt the road to the within. All right, as you are going within you are going through the instinctive and the intellectual, then it gets twisted and the inner man says "This is real me," looking out at the instinctive and intellectual. But when you are on the other side of the cliff, you say, "This is the real me, I am trying to go in myself." So you have two states of awareness, that which is the outer man trying to go within and find the inner man and then you have your perceptive state of the man who is within looking out and radiating out from his perceptive state upon the instinctive intellectual mind. That person is easy to communicate with. Why? Because he knows the instinctive intellectual states of mind. He is the one that can release tensions. Also, when you go into yourself far enough, you can release tensions.
Why do tensions build up in the first place? Lack of courage. Lack of courage. We have found that our men sitting for Self-realization these last few months, their biggest barrier has been lack of courage. They get so far and they get scared of the Self. They get scared of themselves. So if you're getting afraid of yourself, what must they be of other people? What a strained and tense condition must they have with other people at certain times? So if you don't want to be afraid of yourself, practice not being afraid of other people. Practice the art of giving. Practice the art of talking over your differences and misunderstandings or just say, "Now I feel a strained condition, what is it?" Then, you will not have to practice the art of perception. Or, you won't have to try to love everybody because you just will! You'll just be a spiritual being.