We don't have to do anything to become God. Religion gives us an age-old, well proven structure to move forward. Daily vigil is the discipline, practice and the maturing of yoga into wisdom. Kamsatyamne. Meditation produces humility; enough humility, you can surrender in God. Master Course, Lesson 2
Good morning everyone.
Master Course study is a bit like reincarnation. You finish it and what do you do? You start over again. A little wiser. So we're starting over. Today is Lesson 2 in the new cycle of the Master Course study.
Dancing with Siva says:
"Where Am I Going? What Is My Path?
"We are all growing toward God, and experience is the path. Through experience we mature out of fear into fearlessness, out of anger into love, out of conflict into peace, out of darkness into light and union in God.
"We have taken birth in the physical body to grow and evolve into our divine potential."
Interesting, on our last trip we were in Toronto talking to a Dr. Lambodharan whose mission is being a doctor, Monday through Friday. Teaches a very large group of children with some assistance on Sunday. Teaching them traditional Saivism. And, we were talking about children and this idea of the purpose of life: "We have taken birth in the physical body to grow and evolve into our divine potential."
And he was saying that he's found that, being a doctor, parents are so focused on their children's academic study that they don't even allow their children time for physical exercise. They're so singularly focused. So, the health of the children is suffering because of the singular focus on academics. Then he went on to say if parents don't even consider the health, exercise of the child important how much importance are they going to give to spirituality? That was his point.
Definitely, there's a challenge in the Hindu world today to find a better balance in the different aspects of life. In this case we're talking about just a normal pursuit of academics and then career. Reasonable approach to exercise and health and a reasonable amount of time put into spiritual practices. That generally, we don't have that balance taking place in life, in the Hindu world today.
"We are inwardly already one with God."
It's a very interesting point to reflect upon; it sounds so simple. If I were to ask everyone: Are you inwardly already one with God? You, of course, you'd say yes, before I read that I mean. Of course, I'm inwardly one with God. That's our teaching. That's the teachings of the Upanishads, the Vedanta. But to actually start to think like that is a big challenge in our day to day life. Cause we tend to not only identify with our personality, we tend to focus on the negative aspects of our personality or the shortcomings of our personality. Not only are we a person, we're a flawed person. We're aware of our flaws; we tend to think about them. It's human nature to reflect upon what we did wrong rather than what we did right. How things went poorly last week instead of the things that went well. It's just human nature to do that and, of course, we have to overcome that tendency.
And, one of the ways to do that is through affirmations. Gurudeva has beautiful writings on using different affirmations. "I am a spiritual being filled with divine energy." Things like that to convince us that part of us is already God. We don't have to do anything to become God.
In one of the keynotes, I was trying to find an analogy, you know I love analogies. So I thought of the one of buying a new house with an attic. Well, you buy a new house and there's an attic there and you put some things in it. But then after you've had the house a few months you spend more time in the attic and you find there's a door, in the attic. And you open it up and you find there's a little storage room there that you didn't know was there all the time you had the house.
So that's like the part of us that is identical with God. It's there. It's just, we haven't quite found it yet. We haven't quite opened the door to that essence of our soul which is always identical with God.
The point being to give up the idea that you have to do something. Don't have to do something to realize your oneness with God; you just have to find that part of you that's always one with God. So, that's the key.
"Our religion contains the knowledge of how to realize this oneness..."
Isn't that a beautiful definition of religion? What is religion? That set of beliefs, that set of practices which allows us to realize the part of us that is identical with God. How clear!
"... and not create unwanted experiences along the way."
Meaning, it gives us the wisdom as to what the karmic reaction would be to various actions. And by having that knowledge and reflecting ,before we act, we avoid unnecessary experiences along the way. We just don't want to create that reaction in our life so we refrain from the action.
"The peerless path is following the way of our spiritual forefathers, ..."
Yogaswami had a nice statement in that regard. He said: "The train must run on the tracks." So, you just can't have a train go anywhere if it doesn't have tracks. So meaning: We do better when we adhere to a structure. And that's what religion gives us. It gives us a structure, an age old structure, well proven structure that allows us to move forward.
"... discovering the mystical meaning of the scriptures. "
That's a good one. In other words, memorizing the scriptures is good but not enough, right? Just being able to remember the scriptures, that's not the mystical meaning of the scriptures. Being able to explain them logically. Being able to compare them with another religion as to how this differs from how the other religion looks at it. That's an understanding. But again that isn't the mystical experience of the scriptures. The mystical meaning of the scriptures means: We need have to have the same experience that the scripture is talking about. So the scripture is talking about the body turns to inner light then we have to have that experience. And the understanding that it's possible, shouldn't be memorizing it. Being able to explain what it is: The inner light is the friction between odic and actinic force. Right? It's a friction; it's a spark. Two objects coming together will create a spark. So this is an inner spark. A light. But that's not the mystical experience.
"The peerless path is commitment,..."
Gurudeva liked to describe the New Age as a, being committed to non-commitment. People following a New Age set of beliefs that kind of jump here, jump there. They won't commit. They don't want to fit into an orthodox structure so they're committed to being non-committed.
Whereas, we need commitment. Commitment comes, or should come after the next point, study. In other words, we need to understand what Hinduism offers before we commit to any particular part of it otherwise, our commitment won't be solid. For example in our pre-monastic, monastic program, someone has an idea about monastic life but usually, they haven't even been to a monastery. So, it's a fantasy. So if you ask for a commitment it's not a solid commitment. So what do we do? We have someone come here for six months, go away, think about it before we even ask for a commitment.
What's the commitment based upon? Based upon study. Based upon experience. So, a commitment to be strong needs to be based upon something.
"... discipline, practice and the maturing of yoga into wisdom. "
Certainly, all three -- discipline, practice and maturing of yoga into wisdom -- are captured in the idea of a daily vigil.
I was recently trying to answer a query about Gurudeva's teachings and the sutras and all. And so I had to find a simple point of focus. And the point of focus was the daily vigil.
Gurudeva asks those who want to follow his teachings to perform a one hour vigil, except on the weekends or when traveling, every day, ideally at the same time if your schedule permits that. Cause the same time is really helpful in building up continuity. If you're not doing a vigil then you're not really following Gurudeva's teachings. That's the essence of it. You think you're following Gurudeva's teachings but it's the daily vigil that is the "...discipline, practice and the maturing of yoga into wisdom."
"In the beginning stages, we suffer until we learn."
That's easy to identify with, right? Can all remember suffering. Course this isn't talking about physical pain; it's talking about mental pain. What causes mental pain? Doing something we shouldn't have done. That's what causes mental pain, backs up on us eventually. So we suffer until we learn. Lean means: Learn not to do that because we understand the consequences, it'll cause suffering then we refrain from doing it and therefore, we don't suffer.
"Learning leads us to service;..."
Service is very important particularly in the west, I think, because we tend to grow up a bit selfish, a bit self-centered. Focused on my needs, my possessions, my this my that. And, of course, that's not good for spiritual unfoldment. So, I encourage families and Hindu institutions to perform some form of service at least once a year for the community. You know, get out there on the food drive or clothing, whatever. Do something to help the community at least once a year.
I made that point in Singapore at a talk. I used the, I did some research cause I knew I was giving the talk. So I did "Adopt a Highway" I thought that was a good program. I mean, businesses, I think it's, does anybody remember is it once a quarter they have to do it? There's a certain minimum commitment. You take two miles of highway and you clean it. The sign goes up for your business. So, that idea that a business would commit it's employees to cleaning the highway four times a year, they liked the idea in Singapore. They said: "Oh that's great." If we commit our business to doing something like that. It's a simple form of service that helps the community and helps keep Hawaii clean.
"...service is the beginning of spiritual striving. Service leads us to understanding."
So, understanding means insight, starting to see the patterns. It, it's the difference. It's in Shum it's called kamsatyamne -- overview. It's the difference between kind of wandering around the forest, kind of lost, not knowing where you're going. Verses being above the forest and looking down on it. You know exactly where everything is. So, looking down on our life and seeing the pattern, seeing the inter-relatedness of it all. Seeing our positive habits, our negative habits. That looking down, being able to observe our life from an overview is called understanding.
"Understanding leads us to meditate deeply and without distractions."
You've head my point on that a number of times but it so impressed me. Gurudeva said many times that when he meditates he rarely thinks. Rarely has a thought go by. And if he does it's like a fish swimming by in a fish tank. It's just so apparent. Well how could he not have distractions when he meditated? Well he had such an intensity of energy present. The more intense your energy is the less you think.
"Finally, meditation leads us to surrender in God."
That is very interesting. Cause it's, it's Monistic Theism. You've got your meditation which is your monism and your surrender which is your theism in one sentence. So, meditation produces humility. Get enough humility you can surrender in God.
"This is the straight and certain path,..."
Those are the tracks we were talking about, the train tracks.
"...the San Marga, leading to Self Realization--the inmost purpose of life--and subsequently to moksha, freedom from rebirth. The Vedas wisely affirm, 'By austerity, goodness is obtained.'"
So goodness means right action. Right action comes from a pure mind and a pure mind comes from austerity. So austerity purifies the mind and a pure mind naturally acts in a good way.
"From goodness, understanding is reached."
So there's enough calmness in the mind because of right action, we're not constantly upset by doing the wrong thing and tangling with people, that we have this overview.
"From goodness, understanding is reached. From understanding, the Self is obtained, and he who obtains the Self is freed from the cycle of birth and death."
So, I could keep going but we'd be here for another hour. So have to go out and raise the flag, yes? Cause we have a new ritau this morning