Psycho-Spiritual Progress – Part 1

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What do you see here?

icecube

I have been showing this picture in different courses and talks, and when I place the question “what do you see in this picture?” I get the same answer in 95% of the cases: ice cubes and water.

That is correct, by the way. But if in the audience I have some who is more scientifically oriented (especially in chemistry), they might  reply “only water” or “only H2O”. Which is also totally correct.

So, are there two different things, or just one? How can both answers be correct if they are different? It’s all a matter of perspective, really. But for you to reply with the 2nd option, you must have some knowledge of chemistry.

What’s so interesting about this? Well, in life all around us, exactly the same thing is happening.

We may look at the world and see “ice” and “water”, we see different people, different objects, different manifestations, each with its own individual attributes, characteristics and movements. But if, like a chemist, you are able to grasp a bit deeper the essence of what you are looking at, then you would know that in fact, there is no ice and water, there is only H2O. That is, the same One vibrational entity is behind all sorts of manifestations, having apparent differences, but in fact, being only one and the same.

Just like water takes up different forms(vapour, liquid, solid) according to external forces, so that One infinite consciousness manifests itself in many ways, according to a cosmic cycle of evolution. From subtle to crude and back from crude to subtle.

The challenging part in all this is that, unlike in chemistry, you can not just pick up a book and study the subject. Well, you can, but it won’t change much of anything in your real life as it will only be a theoretical concept.

This is why focused spiritual meditation is so important. Gradually it will change the lens by which you see the world, and the idea that “we are all one” and “everything is connected” will transform itself from an intellectual thing to a state of being.

a relationship

Relationships need to be nurtured. Whether we speak about relationships with our relatives, boyfriend or girlfriend, friends, they all need attention and care in order to be healthy and to grow.

When we loose that care, the relationship tends to fade away with time, as it slowly looses its importance and that very special thing that made it valuable. It’s up to us to maintain it, just like a flower in a pot.

The relationship with the Supreme is no different. It is up to us to put some of our energy, atention and love in it, and that, with time, will make it feel more and more special, more and more close.

This next quote is still my favourite definition of what meditation is, as it easily breaks our standard view of meditation as a “practice”, a “habit”, or something else. It takes us to a different level, where everything is about love.

meditation-relationship

Discipline

«That weekend there was a seminar on superconscious meditation, and the title of Swamiji’s lecture was “Preparation for Meditation”. Swamiji started his lecture in his typical style: “I pray to the Divinity in you. How are you today? Are you comfortable? Do you like the food? . . .The topic given to me this morning is ‘Preparation for Meditation’ “. But within a few minutes he dropped the topic and started talking about discipline.

He said, “Discipline means cultivating qualities and qualifications that enable you to become a disciple. Let me tell you the difference between a student and a disciple. A student comes, takes some classes, and goes away. He may practice a part of what he has learned and ignore the rest. He still has doubts and fears regarding the teacher, the teachings, and his own ability to practice the teachings. A disciple is he who has an organized mind and knows the value of his time as well as the value of his teacher’s time. He is determined to undertake a practice, for he knows it is the practice that makes one perfect. There is a silent understanding between teacher and disciple: ‘I will teach provided that you practice’ – ‘I will practice no matter what.’

In this circumstance both teacher and disciple follow certain disciplines. At a spiritual level the teacher makes himself available whenever the disciple needs his help. The only thing the teacher asks from the disciple is ‘Be disciplined’. The first step in disciplining yourself is to overcome your carelessness. To start and complete your practice, first you have to organize your external and internal life. And you can do so only when you are not careless. A vigilant person alone can make the best use of his time and learn the art of how to be creative and productive. According to the sages, carelessness is the mother of all sins. So many times you do now want to make a mistake but due to carelessness, you commit mistakes. Carelessness is a negative trait that resides in the dark and dull corners of the mind. Unless you throw away this trait you cannot discipline yourself, and unless you discipline yourself, you cannot deserve to be a disciple. True wisdom is imparted only to the disciples, whereas information is disseminated to all students and followers.” »

“The Official Biography of Swami Rama of the Himalayas”
Pandit Rajmani Tigunati

On meditation

It’s definitely a good thing that spirituality is becoming more and more common, more accessible to all, more widespread.
The disadvantage of anything becoming trendy and widespread is that it very easily starts loosing its original essence, as more and more people spread it by their own personal understanding. Sometimes, that understanding is very far from the original idea.

I feel this has been happening a lot to practices like yoga and meditation. We have such a big amount of books, teachers, courses, schools, each one with their own understanding and tendencies.

Don’t get me wrong, whatever meditation you do, is best than no meditation at all. So it is good we have all this, it reaches more people at different stages of understanding and depth of spiritual practices. What kind of annoys me is the fact that the core essence of these practices seems to be further and further way and harder to get.

Meditation has been on the news a lot, due to many scientific studies that prove its benefits. Things like, decreased heart-rate and blood pressure, relaxes the nervous system, improves calmness and memory, and even increase your lifespan! All good, no doubt. But really, meditation it’s not meant for that.

Spiritual practices like meditation have one purpose: to withdraw the mind from external objects and direct it inwards, towards it’s own core, it’s own essence. And when that goal is achieved, then the mind knows itself, or should I say, it knows that is actually something much bigger than just a “mind”. This inner psychic process is difficult, is challenging. It’s not about putting some nice sea sounds cd, and burning a candle or incense sticks. It’s not about “being in the present when you eat or go for a walk” (although I most certainly advise you to do so ;) It’s about conquering a universal force of extroversion and, with each battle won, at each step, feeling ourselves getting closer and closer to that pure entity, pure consciousness, far from being affected by life’s problems, needs, joys and sorrows. It’s a magical journey. If you ask me what are the benefits of meditation, I could come up with a few of them:

  • Reducing mental agitation and desires
  • Naturally achieve a state of detachment
  • Increase our own radius of love and compassion
  • Developing a concern and care for the welfare of all beings
  • Achieve a deeper understanding of things, not based on intellect but intuition
  • Finding a source of limitless bliss
  • Discovering the most beautiful, romantic and mystic connection one can have: the one with the supreme (call it god if you wish)
  • Become as big as the universe itself

Everything else, is nothing but pleasant side-effects ;)