October 2014 Newsletter Contents
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Keys To Successful Living
by Swami Rama
Keys to Successful Living
Everyone wants to be successful in life, but where are the keys to success? Do we have to go out and search for those keys, or do we have those potentials already within ourselves? When we begin to examine life, we can see that it is divided into two aspects -- life within and life without; internal life and external life -- and we can see that these aspects are of equal importance. Even if we have renounced the world, gone far away from civilization, and live in the wilderness doing nothing but meditation, we cannot ignore external life. We still have to see that we eat, do our ablutions, and perform our practices on time. So life in the external world is as important as life in the internal world. Even one who has renounced the world has to understand the word relationship properly, because life itself is actually relationship. The body is related to the breath, and the breath is related to the mind. The body, breath, senses, and mind all function together as a unit. So life virtually means relationship, and thus the art of living and being requires an understanding of one's relationship to the external world and the relationships within oneself.
All human beings have inner potentials, but many people are not aware of those potentials and do not know how to use them to have a successful life. Those who are not happy internally can never be happy externally; those who are not happy within themselves can never make others happy. Those who do not love themselves can never love others.
If we are not happy, how can we be successful in life? Success lies in our happiness. The keys to happiness lie within us, but our modern education does not teach us how to find them. It is helpful to have a few formulas to practice in daily life to make it more successful. I have not created these formulas; they are derived from observations based on experience. There are five points to remember: first, how to decide things on time; second, how to study personal habit patterns; third, how to conduct ourselves in the external world; fourth, what attitude to take; fifth, where to find happiness. To attain success in life, one should learn and apply these five points.
Deciding Things on Time
The first point to understand is the philosophy and science of decision -- how to make decisions on time. The most successful person is that person who knows how to decide on time. There are many extraordinarily brilliant people who understand things very quickly, but when the time comes to make a decision, when an opportunity comes, they withdraw and are not able to act. They do not know how to decide. They know they should learn to decide on time, but they don't do it. They always say, "Well, I knew it. I understood the key, but I did not act in time." Though they may think correctly, and accurately understand the situation properly, they suddenly lose confidence. This is a world of competition; someone else is always trying to attain the same thing we are. So if we do not decide on time, someone else will attain what we want. Time is valuable in the external world. A tender bamboo can be easily bent, but if we try to bend a mature bamboo, it will break. That which we have to do today, we should not postpone for tomorrow, but we should also not make decisions in haste.
We may have a setback if we make a wrong decision, but our mistakes will teach us. Many people avoid making decisions their whole lives, so their decisive faculty of mind, the faculty of discrimination, becomes rusty and dies. Such people become totally dependent on others. When we study the four functions of the mind -- buddhi, the faculty of decisiveness; ego, the principle of identity; chitta, the storehouse of impressions; and manas, the importer and exporter of sensations and experience -- then we become aware of the power of the will. Will power is that something within us that comes forward and says, "Do this. It will be helpful for you." Training the internal functions helps us to understand the decisive faculty of the mind, without which we cannot be successful. [See also the article on the Four Functions of Mind]
We should understand our capacities and potentials, and then we should express ourselves in the external world with full confidence, acting without any reservations. Thus there are three steps in performing an action: first, forming an opinion within ourselves; second, expressing our opinion to others; and third, executing our opinion in action.
Understanding Habit Patterns
The main thing that one should learn in life -- and it is not taught in the home or in the schools -- is self-analysis. We should learn to analyze ourselves. If we really want to understand ourselves, we can analyze our personality by understanding our habit patterns. This is not difficult. We should simply try to be consciously aware of every action we perform and realize that our actions are virtually our thoughts. Without thought there can be no action. Habit patterns and thoughts are revealed through behavior.
There is a branch of psychology called behaviorism that is based on this concept. But one should understand that external behavior alone cannot reveal everything about a person. Laughter, for example, cannot be analyzed behaviorally. If I were to laugh, you might also laugh with me simply because I was laughing but without understanding why I was laughing. Your laughter is out of sheer reaction. Then you might laugh a second time, this time at yourself because you did not understand why you were laughing and yet you laughed. You might also laugh a third time because you finally understand what I was laughing at and you now also find it funny. All three times your laughter might seem the same to others, but each time it had a different motivation. So internal states cannot be understood through behavior analysis alone. Only a small part of oneself and others can be understood through observing behavior. But knowing our habit patterns can help us to analyze and understand our personality.
What is personality? The word "personality" comes from the root persona, which means "mask." Our personality is a mask that we wear. We don't have to wear a mask when we are by ourselves; we wear a mask to express ourselves to others. Our personality is a character, and that character is composed of certain habits. Each of us has numerous habits; so when we want to understand our personality, we should understand our habit patterns. A habit pattern is a conscious thought or action that one repeats again and again. This creates a groove in the unconscious mind and forms an unconscious habit. Unconscious habits are stronger than conscious habits. All habit patterns are self-created. When we sit down and try to understand which of our habits control our life, we see that there are many deep-rooted habits within us. We should learn to study them. Once we become aware of harmful thoughts and emotions that have created deep grooves in the mind, we can begin to change them by creating new grooves. Then the mind will stop flowing to the old grooves and start flowing to the new ones. In this way we can change our habits.
You should also learn to execute your intentions. For instance, many people have very good intentions to do something nice for their neighbors, and they think about it all the time, but then those thoughts are never executed, they are never allowed to become actions. We have many thoughts that have never been executed, and that is why we are miserable. If we learn to select those thoughts that are helpful and then allow ourselves to execute them, that brings fulfillment, and life will be happy. We create misery for ourselves when we do not bring our good thoughts into action. One of the French writers has explained this concept beautifully: "All good thoughts that are not brought into action are either treachery or abortion." Good thoughts are those that help others and that help us also. Bad thoughts are those that obstruct our progress and create barriers for others.
Deep-seated habits can keep you from doing that which you know would be good for you to do. You become helpless because of the obsessions and addictions that are caused by your habits. You may continue in a habit that you know is not good -- that is neither healthy nor helpful and that should not be done -- because the habit has become so deep-rooted that you are powerless to change your behavior. Society does not help you change your bad habits, and there are very few places where you can get help. Many people who are in the penitentiary know that what they have done is a crime, but the force of habit led them to act improperly. Their faculty of discrimination within functions -- they understand what is right and what is not right -- but their deep-seated habits have motivated them to do something that is not good, that is not acceptable. Actually, no one should be considered either a good person or a bad person. In traditional English law, when someone was punished, he was told, "We are not punishing you for yourself. We are punishing you for your bad habits."
Controlling the Primitive Urges
Habit patterns are very strong motivations in life; we should not ignore them. We should not create a defense mechanism and say, "Well, so what if I have this habit?" We should learn to study our habit patterns and work with our habits to change them. There are very few basic habits, and they arise from four fountains: food, sex, sleep, and self-preservation. By understanding these four primitive fountains, we can understand our habit patterns, and then we can learn to change them and to transform the personality.
Food is the first basic urge. If a husband tells his wife, "Don't overeat," she may say, "I overeat because of you. You don't pay attention to me, so I have to overeat." Sometimes when the sexual appetite is not dealt with properly, people overeat. This is the universal law of compensation. If we maintain a nutritious diet, we will not have any problem from the primitive fountain called food. Food goes through the body and then affects the mind, but sex originates in the mind and then is expressed through the body. If our mind is balanced and we have attained emotional maturity, then we can deal competently with the sex urge. For it is the mind, not the body, that deals with sex. The poor body cannot handle the rush, the flood, of mind, and so almost no one is sexually happy. To have a balanced sex life, one should understand that a calm, tranquil mind is very helpful.
Sleep is another primitive fountain. We consider ourselves to be extremely knowledgeable and highly advanced, but we do not know anything about how to sleep. It is very important to understand the anatomy of sleep. If you wanted to go to sleep right now, you could not do it because you need many accommodations to create the proper atmosphere for sleep, but yogis know how to go to sleep voluntarily, remain conscious, and then wake up at the exact moment they had determined they would. People go to sleep just out of habit, but we should learn to train our will so we can go to sleep or wake up anytime we want to. And when we sleep, we should be conscious. This is possible. There are methods for going to deep sleep, recording what is going on around us, and then waking up and remembering it. Yogis know these methods and have demonstrated them scientifically. People do not need to sleep as much as they are in the habit of doing. We can go to the state of deep sleep for just two hours and awaken totally refreshed. This has been observed by scientists who have done research on the anatomy of sleep. If we know how to sleep, we can give complete rest to the body and to the conscious mind anytime.
The fourth fountain is self-preservation. Fear comes from the urge for self-preservation, and when fears are deepened, they create phobias. People are always trying to protect themselves; they are always afraid. It is good to protect ourselves from the physical world, but it is not good to protect ourselves from the mental world -- that is very dangerous. People should learn to face their inner fears and to understand why they are afraid. People always want to avoid unpleasant things, and so they never examine their fears. That is why they have innumerable fears within them. Most fears are unexamined, and they are imaginary; they are not valid. "My husband has not come home. Perhaps he has had an accident. Perhaps something awful has happened!" Why imagine only the negative; why not imagine the positive also? "My husband has not come home. Perhaps he has won the lottery today. Perhaps he has become a millionaire!" People are in the habit of creating imaginary fears, and when they don't come true, they forget them. They don't go back and analyze those fears. Even when people know that their fear is imaginary, that self-created fear still makes them miserable.
Even when people are in love, they are afraid of the beloved. "Perhaps she is angry. Perhaps I have done something wrong and made her unhappy." People are also always afraid of their enemies. People form a strong habit of being afraid of everything. But when they learn to examine their fears, they realize that all fears are imaginary. Imaginary means there is an image within. We receive an image from outside, from our relationship, and then we create an image within; we have millions of images within us. To be free from all fears, we must learn to face fearsome images and to examine them. Fears are extremely dangerous, but they are all self-created. Learning to live free from the fears that arise from the urge of self-preservation is very important.
Living in the External World
How can one live successfully in the external world? It is very difficult to live in the external world, to put up with the world, to deal with the whims of many people, to please everyone. So it is helpful to have a few principles to apply to the various situations and circumstances we find ourselves involved in. Then alone is it possible for us to be successful. We have numerous experiences every day -- some pleasant, some unpleasant. But there is one category of experience for which we long: the kind of experience that guides us, that motivates us to do something helpful for others and for ourselves. But such experiences are very rare.
We waste our time and energy. Even the time and energy that we think we are spending in pleasure we do not enjoy, because we do not really know how to enjoy the things of the world. But we can learn how to do this; all the things of the world can be enjoyed. The renunciates say, "Your world does not have anything. It's not a good world. All things are fleeting, all things are changing. All things are momentary, and nothing makes you happy. Why are you in this world? Why do you not renounce?" But they are wrong. We can live in the world and learn to use the things of the world as means. As St. Bernard says, "Learn to use the things of the world, but love God alone." The things of the world should not be loved. Their nature should be understood, and they should become means, but they should not be loved. When we use them, we tend to get attached to them -- that is not healthy. We should love God alone, and we should learn that all the things of the world are to be used solely as means for attaining the center of love. The Lord of life is called love. We should learn to love our responsibilities and to discharge our duties lovingly, without any attachment.
Western students think that it is not possible to love someone without attachment. But perhaps the word attachment is not understood. Love is different from attachment. In love we give -- we do our duties lovingly -- and that is entirely different from attachment. Attachment is unauthorized. In attachment we become blindfolded and selfish. In attachment we expect all the time and we are never fulfilled, and thus we become miserable. There is not one single thing that we can say is really ours. We can have things -- and we should learn to look after them properly -- but we should not try to possess them. In attachment people are afraid. "This is mine. What will happen to me if it dies? What will happen to me if it is destroyed?" People remain constantly under the pressure of the fear of losing what they have or of not gaining what they want. The whole problem of fear arises from these two sources.
Most people are not aware that they are on a voyage. They are in the habit of collecting useless garbage, and it creates problems for them. People should learn to understand that needs and necessities are different from wants and desires. If we need something, we should have it, but we should not uselessly want to have unnecessary things. In studying the lives of great people, we find they share one trait that has made them successful: they do not take what they do not need. Once when Buddha was going as usual from door to door with his begging bowl to beg for alms, housewife shouted at him, "You idiot! You are so healthy, so strong, and so handsome. You were a prince! Why did you renounce your home and start troubling us? Every day you come with your begging bowl. It has become too much for us." She was very angry because the whole city was full of renunciates, and there were very few householders; it was a problem for the householders to feed all the monks. She became so angry that she picked up some filth and tried to give it to him. He smiled and said, "Mother, I don't need it." He started to go on his way, but one of his disciples got angry and told the woman, "I am going to kill you for behaving like this with my Lord!" Buddha turned back to him and said, "You are not my disciple. You have not learned anything from me. If somebody wants to give you something undesirable, don't take it. If somebody says you are bad, don't accept such a negative suggestion." We should learn to understand this point, and then we can go through the process of life unaffected.
But instead of remaining unaffected, people allow their cultural values to make them dependent on external suggestions. We are blasted by suggestions all the time, and the power of suggestion is immense. If ten people say that we look ill, then we begin to feel sick. If someone says "You ugly person," then your whole day is ruined. But if someone says "Oh, you look beautiful then you say "You have made my day." You are already beautiful, but if nobody appreciates you, you don't believe in your beauty. You should learn to appreciate and admire yourself; you should learn to understand and come in touch with that beauty which is within you all the time. You are already beautiful just as you are! You do not need others to tell you are beautiful. You should not become dependent on others' opinions; you should not try to know yourself through others.
There is a very dangerous characteristic in this culture: people make themselves dependent on each other. People live on suggestions; they are swayed by whatever anyone says. People are in the habit of always wanting and expecting attention from others, and this is very dangerous, because then life becomes totally dependent on others. This is the worst trait I have seen in Western culture. Wives nag their husbands and husbands criticize their wives because they expect too much from each other. When people become dependent on their relationships, when they expect too much from their relationships, then they are bound to suffer.
When a girl goes to school, the thought that constantly lives in her mind is that she will meet a good boy, get married, and be happy. But there is no Bible in the world that says marriage will make someone happy. Marriage does not make anyone happy; it is only a means for happiness in life, and if this is understood, then it is very good. But if one expects too much and thinks that marriage is the answer to all the vital questions of life, then that person will find only disappointment. People grow up with unreal expectations about marriage, and the philosophy of marriage is not taught. What is the purpose of marriage? What is the philosophy of remaining single? If a single person does not know how to use his time positively, and if he has no personal philosophy of life, then he becomes perverted. Those who are unmarried are not happy, and those who are married are also not happy. Marriage is like a fortress: those who are inside cannot come out, and those who are outside are rushing to get in. So I have not seen anyone who is happy. This does not mean that people should not get married; the institution of marriage is very necessary. If it crumbles, all of society will crumble. This is a great discipline for human society.
Developing the Proper Attitude
What should our attitude in the world be? It should be that relationships and all the things of the world are means. The world has never given anyone enlightenment, but at the same time it is impossible for one to get enlightened if one does not live in the world. What helplessness! The world does not give enlightenment, and yet we have to live in the world. Therefore let us understand that the world should be a means for enlightenment. There are two ways of using the world for this purpose: first, you can have the attitude that you will not allow the world to disturb you, so that you can thereby get enlightenment; and second, you can have the attitude that you can use the world to help you, so that you can thereby get enlightenment. Both attitudes should be applied. One should have the same attitudes toward relationships: "I will behave in such a way with my spouse and children that they don't disturb my inner peace; I will behave in such a way that they become helpful to me and that they also grow."
You should first have the attitude that no matter what happens, you will not be disturbed. Otherwise, when you get something, you become emotional and imbalanced, and when you don't get something, you become depressed and disorganized. This means that you do not have the proper attitude behind your thinking and behavior. Great leaders like Moses and Jesus had to face many serious problems, but they had the proper attitude. That attitude can be built only when you consider all relationships in the external world and all the objects of the world simply as means, not ends. Then it doesn't matter if today you expect something to become your means, and tomorrow you see that it will not. When your attitude toward the external world is that all the things of the world are means, and not disturbances, then you can find happiness.
Where Is Happiness?
If happiness were external, Americans would have it. Americans have many things, but they are not happy. Many people are very nice to others, but they are not nice to themselves. They have a mechanical way of behaving nicely with others, but they do not know how to be happy within themselves. They are creating a great conflict, a split personality, by pretending to express a happiness that is not there. Happiness is not in the external world; it is not attained through objects. People spend their whole lives wanting to have this and have that; they love objects, and they cannot love without objects. But the day you learn to love without an object, that will be the day of greatest happiness. When one learns to love God, that is love without an object. God is not an object; God is beyond all objects. So love without an object is love for God.
Happiness lies within you, and you should learn to use all things and apply all means to attain that happiness. This inner happiness is in a dormant form; you have to unfold yourself to experience it. Therefore you should learn to be still, so that the godly part in you can reveal itself to you. "Be still and know that I am God." What a great promise! This is the greatest aphorism. Many Christians and Jews think that there is no meditation in the Bible, but this one sentence reveals the entire philosophy of meditation.
Every human being should learn to be calm and quiet, and to see God in others. Then you can be detached from the nongodly part, and you will be loving the godly part. You are a shrine of God. I should love you because I should love God in you. It's good to love people because everyone is a temple of God. People do not worship the walls of a temple; their love is directed toward that which dwells inside it. So whomever you love, love God in that person.
I pray to the divinity within you.
Happiness is Within
Three things are important: first to learn to love your duty, and second, to have the concept that all the things of the world are means and are not meant to be possessed.
The third thing is to remember to be happy in all situations. No matter where you go, in any situation, whatever you do, morning, afternoon, and night, learn to be happy. Never forget that!
Whatever people consider happiness to be is a concept and varies according to age and experience. Many people are content, whether they have something or not. Others are never content, no matter how much they have.
Happiness is not what you want, but wanting what you have.
In some villages in India, they still use a method of drawing water from a kind of well in which a wheel is pulled by horses or bulls, and it brings up the water. Once a horseman, riding through a forest, got tired and thirsty. He wanted his horse to drink water so he went to the well. The machine that draws water from the well was making a lot of noise, and that noise was very annoying. When the horseman took his horse there, the horse tried to run away from there.
The horseman said, “Please stop this sound, for my horse is running away.”
The other man said, “If the sound stops, the water will also stop.”
The horseman asked, “What to do?”
The other man replied, “Create a condition for your horse, so that the horse will drink water in this situation.”
You have to create such a condition in this world to live happily. That requires human effort. Otherwise, the water will stop. You are all wanting to stop the sound, the noise, the pollution. Yet, if you go to the forest where there is nothing, you will be disturbed by the rush and roar of the wind.
You cannot find peace anywhere because there is no peace within. Peace does not mean that nobody should make noise. The noise will continue. Still you should have peace within. In all situations you should be peaceful, no matter what happens.
There is a problem with your concept of enjoyment. You need an object to enjoy, and then you depend on that object. You search for an object, and you work hard to obtain that object; then you are disappointed, because no object has the capacity to give you enjoyment. Enjoyment is a concept, an internal state that you have to create. Enjoyment means every moment of life should be enjoyed.
You suffer from your thinking. Mind is like a small foot rule that has no power to measure or fathom the deeper levels of your being. Mind and heart together, in a systematic way, can help you to attain contentment.
Contentment is the first and foremost virtue that should be cultivated. It comes only when you have done your duties to your fullest capacity without worrying for the results. It is a virtue that always helps and never disappoints the seeker.
Do not keep undecided thoughts in your mind, for they disturb the equilibrium and create sickness. Life is very short and you should learn to enjoy every moment by remembering the Lord of Life, and always assuming your body to be a shrine of his living presence.
The Lord of Life is love. Never get sad. Be happy and take care of your happiness. Jump in joy without worrying for the future. Why remain serious? Let you learn to jump in joy and smile all the time. God bless you.
Happiness is within and the source is the center of consciousness, love, and wisdom.
Conclusion of the series:
Love, Serve and Remember
by Swami Nitya
We understand, that New Science, Yogis and Mystics since ever… know that ultimately there is only One. It’s beyond our comprehension, in total abstraction simply BEYOND, it’s what we call Brahman, the Absolute.
Yet within that there is a Force, Swami Rama talks about the Divine Force, it’s that force which functions “behind” all others; everything we are, everything that exists, literally everything is “That” Force. Now “Force” is not an abstract term, it’s not the result of a theory – yet, as Swami Rama writes: That divine Force cannot be compared to any mundane object or physical force of the world. Known as Shakti, -the Divine Force is the centre of consciousness. In different parts of the world people have addressed this Divine Force by different names. Depending on their insight, some view this force as a personal God; others consider it to be universal TRUTH. Some consider it to be apart from the universe; others consider this universe to be a manifestation of that force!”
The more we become aware of that Divine Force, the more we realize, experience, know - that all of existence is nothing but a form, a manifestation of this Shakti, which we - due to the way our brain-mind unit functions, perceive to be made of separate objects, thoughts and feelings.
Means, we all have no separate existence, are no- thing, but all of existence is a phenomena, an embodiment of the Divine Force, meaning… we , all of existence is Shakti (Chit-shakti).
Swami Rama says: (A call to Humanity; p. 13) “Although inseparable from Brahman, Shakti, the power of Brahman, is the cause of the creation, maintenance and dissolution of the universe.” With the greatest Magnifying glass, or Microscope we can see that there is Space, which we do not understand, and within it energy moves intelligently….so says NEW Science! When we look through the less effective sense organs, we perceive only the gross, in fact so gross that existence appears to be made up of separate objects (why? Because we can’t see the Space-in-between… for example).
Within all of existence, or even better said: all of existence is simply that Divine Force moving, creating the different currents, vibrations… waves… whatever you want to call it – that we perceive as individual forms. So in a very real sense… all is simply ONE phenomena…i.e. Divine Force moving!
Swami Rama writes: “The universe originates from Shakti, resides in Shakti, and is ultimately absorbed in Shakti. The one single, non-dual Shakti transforms herself into the fast universe.” There is only HER! And Swami Rama continues: There is no Brahman apart from Shakti and there is no Shakti apart from Brahman. Just as waves arise and subside in water, the world of multiplicity appears, exists for a moment and dissolves in Shakti. As Water resides in the ocean, Shakti resides in Brahman.”
So even these two ultimate powers are the same. It means: “The world is not different from God, since there exists nothing but God!” Every ant, every tree, every human….one brotherhood!
SR says: ”All living and non-living, moving and non-moving , gross and subtle objects of the world are manifestation of the Divine Force. All the known forces of the world function under the guidance of that Divine Force.” The how can we treat one person with love…the other with disdain, jealousy or hatred? How can we poison the water, break open the earth , kill people, animals and plants ? We cannot, if we remember this. So that’s why the Motto says… remember!!!! When you remember… this is your brother…than you cannot kill him, mistreat or enslave him or her. If you are aware, if you remember he is like you, she is like you… the trees are life like you… the flowers are that same life-forcer as you… how can you break them?
Let me draw yet on another line…
Remember…we associate this word with something, in the past. So at the beginning, we understood something by looking at evolution… by going to the past, the source, to the beginning, …to our original nature/existence etc… Now when I hear these words… going back to our original Nature… immediately I think: “Tada swarupa vasthanam….” This is how Patanjali describes the goal of Yoga. Did you hear what I said: Patanjali describes the goal of Yoga this way! So the goal of Yoga is to return, to remember is returning to where we started out. Means what? Past and future are the same, in other words – in this context- there is nothing like TIME. What was – IS! The snake bites its tail. The circle is closed, no beginning no end… One! One means no beginning no end….ALL ONE. Including Time… again, this reminds me of the start of the Yoga Sutras: NOW… ATHA Swami Rama explained atha as a “now without time”… meaning, it’s eternal; it does not refer to past! It’s without time, it’s always NOW, in the moment.
So remember, as understood on the highest level is reminding us, that the “time is NOW; it’s not referring to the PAST, but it is TIME- LESS remembering; which is awareness, which is consciousness. We need to wake up… to the fact that time is not linear; therefore existence is not linear…
In my eyes it effects all of thinking about karma , in the sense of cause and effect, there are infinite causes and infinite effects…in nth dimension. IN the ONNESS, in UNION, in the state of YOGA….
So wake up, truth is One, Brahman and Shakti are one, Past and Future is One, all of existence is ONE. Wake up and remember THAT! Which includes waking up and remembering who you are.
All cultures remember a time, when human beings were aware that they are connected in an infinite web, so intimately connected there was no difference between them, they were One…they felt One! One with nature, one with each other and they lived accordingly in peace and harmony.
Children, small children still live in this state….their brainwaves, are the same as a person in the meditative state. We have forgotten this our original state of existence; remember! With the help of modern Science we can start to refocus, get a glimpse of the truth the sages of all parts of the globe have told since time began, namely that we all come from the same source and are on our way back to that same source, hence we are One.
As a species we have neglected the wider intuitive perception as such, i.e. we have educated ourselves away from pure consciousness that is aware of the totality! We consider this Progress!!! By doing so, we have more and more grown into limited beings. There is an ancient story told many times: A group of wise men were gathered discussing the Absolute (God/Brahman/the unified field of consciousness) and its appearance as the many fold world; the Absolute being all there is, and yet in itself being efficiently ordered , functioning through phases and on levels interacting through divine laws that apply everywhere. After the discourse, one of the listeners went to the market, and he mused over the truth he had just heard, when an elephant came along the road. Remembering that the Absolute is everywhere, he didn’t think it necessary to give way as he thought: ”The Elephant won’t harm me, the Absolute is in him, as in me”. The Mahout, the rider (guide) of the Elephant shouted at him, to get out of the way, but the man on the road took no notice; - until the elephant picked him up and threw him on the side of the road. The man got up painfully and slowly, with each painful step aware of his suffering; he walked back to the group of wise men. He complained that they had misinformed him, he told them, that he thought the Absolute was the Elephant, the Absolute was him –and the Absolute would not harm the Absolute in any way, but he had been hurt. So the wise men answered: ‘You forgot the mahout was also the Absolute; because you were not listening to the Absolute, you were reaping the consequences. You separated and selected to see the Absolute only in two parts. Do not show prejudice, do not have preferences, do not separate according to your limited mind- then everything will be clear and you will easily find your way through life.’
We think and act like the man on the street; we separate and choose, we select, we judge, we prefer… we like and dislike… and don’t see the whole. Then we get attached to this and that, and expect this and that according to our limited perception. Then because of the choices WE MADE we suffer; and yet this suffering is completely un-necessary, if only we remember.. and listen to the greater vision, the whole picture… and that means expanding our mind….expanding our vision, expanding, including all.. excluding None!
Wake up! You have forgotten that all actors and all situations in the Play of Life are within the Absolute! Stop worrying and generating this negative energy of fear by building barriers, walls, boundaries…to protect… what? The Absolute from the Absolute? None of this ...neither worry nor separateness, nor protection is needed if only we would remember that we are part of ONE HUMANITY, (as Swami Rama voices it) and as Sages and now Scientists have said for “ever”. Widen your perspective, there is only one huge big field of energy (since the big bang and/or even before) and its ripples appear to us, as trees, sun; people or mountains….Everything is of the same nature, everything is of that Divine Force.
Indigenous people have known, have remembered this wisdom of the ancestors; this wisdom in Yoga has been told by the Rishis since earliest time. Everything is intimately connected….like a multidimensional web (Wicca/ Celtic Europe). In a Buddhist scripture (Hua –Yen trad.) the symbol of the great God Indra is used holding “ a wonderful net that stretches out in all directions”; in the Avata Saka Sutra the universe is described as “a wonderful net (of energy) which was “hung”, so that it stretches infinitely in all directions – as the universe. In Hindu-scriptures, we have the analogy of Brahman, the indescribable final field who has woven the universe, like a spider weaves his web out of its own self! The ancient Greeks, i.e. of pre-classical times, the Pythagoreans and even before with Parmenidas….knew that ultimately there was space as essence ; it held the breath of the Divine, an intelligent breath, that the Indians call Prā?na… from which all forms result, which according to the Prashnopanishad… is Shakti, is the Great Divine Force, as Mother.
We have to make sure we understand right: there is not us- looking at, understanding the Web… but this web is holographic, has no locality…; it means everything exists in everything else at the same time. Moreover the equation of Einstein mc2 is not anymore understood as energy = matter but = consciousness. All three are recognized to be One! The quantum physicists John Hagelin (1999) writes: “Now in the light of recent scientific discoveries the ancient scriptures make sense. They describe consciousness as a universal field of intelligence underlying all of the material creation.”
If the origin of existence is One, then it means what you do, is effecting everything else in the entire existence. It takes some waking up to see the implication of this. All changes, all words, all thoughts all actions of yours effect the entire system - and the entire system.. effects you. (Not just you and the Elephant - but the mahout too). It means: anything that happens to the environment, has an effect on your life! Anything that anyone of this earth says or does - or anything that causes and experiences suffering on this earth has an effect on you! Equally any joy that you spread and kind word that you say, and any loving thought that you harbour has an effect on the entirety of the globe!
So wake up and fill your life with positive thoughts, loving thoughts gestures and intentions – so the harmonic waves can spread and return to you as that very love, contentment and thought. Wake up and change your perspective, from focussing on the negative, result of the narrow “I perspective” and instead of worrying about your individual, separate concerns, consider the wellbeing of every child; consider every family having enough food on the table; everyone having shelter over their heads, every teenager guided to safe adulthood, every leader to become a virtuous leader and…. consider the wellbeing of every tree, the oceans, the air, our earth – all these are all of the same nature as you! Think not of yourself, but feel connected. “When I see you through my eyes-I think we are different; when I see you through my heart, I know we are the same” ( D. Zantamata)
Sri Yukteshwar, (the Mystic and Master of Paramahamsa Yogananda) wrote: “The deeper the Self –realization of a man, the more he influences the whole universe by his subtle spiritual vibrations and the less he is affected by the phenomenal flux.”
In order to feel the Oneness, which is also called the unified field of LOVE, we need to turn inward; stop paying attention and be influences by the loud voices of the marketing world/ the town-criers of woe and worries, the temptations and desires of that which the market forces want you to believe; instead turn inwards listen to your own wisdom. Start listening to your own inner “Mahout”. See the wider picture, not of separate “I-ness” that wants, but see the ocean of love, of positive drive, courage and good will shared by all. Such positive, uplifting energy is inherently human; it is your nature and the nature of the entirety. Wake up to see it, allow a wider vision of life, one without the limiting separation…then that will have an effect on your interaction, your relationships, your view of the world, your behaviour, our ethics, our daily life. With this we discover that everything is sacred! Including ourselves! From there we start living different; from there we can only live after the motto: Love, Serve and Remember
YES, but how… how to remember? LISTEN….not to the voices of the conditioned self, not to the voices outside ….instead become quiet, listen…. get rid of everything that intervenes (interferes), everything that distracts - become quiet, develop stillness, silence…listen…for the sense of expansion ….call it Oneness, call it Love. From the awareness of THAT, from remembering your true nature, Love and serve… the entirety of life.
Swami Rama writes: Divine virtues grow in the fertile soil of love, compassion, generosity and selflessness…These qualities inspire a human being to open himself to divine communion. We must replace our egos with the presence of the Divine… Without the guidance of the Divine Force within, all other forces remain disorientated….In the world of today, one can be at peace with oneself only if one’s neighbour is also at peace. The continents have come closer together. With the modern means of communication, the vast world of ours has contracted. We must learn to co-exist and cultivate peace, harmony and love, and universal brotherhood. The whole world has to live like one family… ( because we are One) The welfare of the entire world is every human being’s concern!”
And Swami Rama writes in: Love Whispers: “I belong to no one but the boundless cosmos. Free thinkers and those who walk on the path of light are my brothers and sisters. The spiritual brotherhood creates a new bond that time cannot sever….Fearlessness has now become my religion, for I believe that to lose something is to gain something and to gain something is to lose something… existence remains unchanged..”
And He writes in “Sadhana”… I refused to persuade myself to accept the sayings of manmade religions. I kept myself free from influence and dominance of any creed that had its sanction in the rigid authority of some Scriptures. I always doubted the teachings of organized bodies of worshippers….”
And he continued what this freedom meant for him in “Love whispers”… I revere freedom… actual freedom, which is based on inner happiness born of self-surrender, self-purification, self-control and self-enlightenment. I have a burning desire to see each person’s spirit free to give it wings to sore high, so that it may have expansive vision and boundless space. Let everyone be open to new light. I continue to be a seeker of silence, searching for the deeper meaning of life to bring it forth, so that it can be dispensed to console and comfort the weary suffering world. I believe that every moment of life should be useful, fruitful, and purposeful: …in the world – through selfless service…. …and in solitude - through meditation and contemplation.”
It is from meditation and contemplation that intuition reveals the deepest Truth, the memory of what we ultimately are. In Love all these three have their roots, hence: Love serve and remember…
In self-less service, the Ego, and its companion the self-obsessed mind is dissolved , so that all three can root within us; hence Love, Serve and Remember.
In remembering who we truly are.. all three have their roots: hence Love Serve and Remember!
RAISING SPIRITUAL FAMILIES
© Lalita Arya
In December 2014 – January 2015 SRSG campus will again witness many families attending the retreat meant for families with children or those expecting children or those who just love children. These retreats have become very popular and successful. They call for a lot of management and preparations and we always compliment the organizers for the good work. Classes have to be scheduled, teachers who will be able to relate to children, their needs and their wants have to be researched and meals have to be such that children from any part of the world find them easily digestible. Too much spicing is avoided not so much because many families are foreign, but in Yoga philosophy young children are protected from too much stimulation in any field of life. Games have to be devised that all may participate, for while yoga asanas meant for the young are part of the daily practice, children do need to run around and play in the open air.
From the last retreats we have been able to transcribe some of the lectures, interviews, and are attempting to compile them in a format – both digital and publishable as a guide for those who have attended and those who are interested in raising spiritual families and are unable to attend.
I would like to thank many people who have helped in this project – but will mention three most important – Michael Smith, Mariella Silva and Apoorva Pal Rathode who have helped in the compilation of the articles.
These articles are from the 1980’s – before Swami Veda took vows. Once upon a time he used to be a husband and a father of four blood related children – three daughters and one son. So he speaks from his own personal experiences of raising a spiritual family. Though he spent a lot of time on Yoga and Meditation lecture tours, he did manage to squeeze in enough time for fatherhood. His knowledge is so vast and being a Sanskritist he information on vocabulary is immense. In fact he used to be a Lecturer in the South Asian Studies and Sanskrit departments at the University of Minnesota and was so popular that he was one year awarded the Best Teacher Plaque. So it was no surprise to his children that the conversation at dinners usually turned to words, their meanings, their etymologies and their cultural connotations. That is where they first learned that the English word ‘man’ comes from the Sanskrit ‘manan’ to contemplate or as some believe in Hindu etymology from the original Manu.
We both lectured on various topics on different occasions at the Meditation Center that he and I founded with a Board of Governors in Minneapolis, Sometimes when it was convenient we were able to give interviews together with others like Nancy Cole. Nancy was a great contributer to help people meditate. Not in the teaching way, but in just making arrangements for the children of meditators to have at least 45 minutes on Thursday nights when they may sit with Dr. Arya and meditate in peace. She took care of preparing programs to keep the children busy in the basement.
This compilation contains many chapters like – the Sixteen Vedic Sacraments transcribed from a lecture given by Swami Veda in Burkina Faso in Africa. Other chapters are some Thoughts on Rituals, the Values of Samskaras, how to foster the Spiritual Development of Children, the Importance of Innocence, the Brother-Sister relationship, Children and Family Life, Educating and Parenting for Peace, the Yoga Philosophy of Education, and Sources of Inspiration.
These chapters are mainly by Dr. Arya, myself, and Swami Veda.
We now hope to add some more, for example notes from a seminar given at one of these retreats by Dr.Surya Pierce on Spices and their uses. There are also two articles by Ayurvedic specialist Gary Gran – The Saatvic Diet and some notes on Fasting - with Guide for saatvic foods by his wife, Cynthia. I have also included my recipe for Daal – one of the main proteins in a non-violent diet.
Our attempt in these retreats is to give as rounded as possible a plan for a spiritual family. This is a life-long project and there are many more articles that may be added from time to time to make this compilation more complete.
It is hoped that if not published this year, at least computer printed copies will be available to those interested.
My personal view is that anyone who is interested in raising a child or having any kind of spiritual family should reserve a copy. Please email me or Bhola Shankar Dabral at the ashram, so we may have some idea of how many copies to print.
KHEL NEWS - October 2014
Update from Stomya Persaud, KHEL's Executive Director:
A lot has happened since I got to India about a month ago. KHEL's two September interns, Shalini Persaud and Jared Kirsch, have been hard at work at Lakshmi Devi Academy (LDA), KHEL’s school for under served children in Dehradun, India. Shalini and Jared worked at two medical camps, taught health and hygiene classes to the middle schoolers, played soccer with the kids after school, took the 8th graders on an outing, implemented a Buddy system and have spent many hours in discussion with me regarding their observations. As young adults (both are 23 years old) they are able to get the kids to open up to them in ways that those of us in authority aren't able to do. Their advice and fresh eyes on old (and new) challenges is more than just helpful – it’s essential for KHEL’s continued success. More details on their work coming soon!
LDA is being run by very competent staff and faculty lead by Beni, General Manager, Manju, Headmistress, and Manohar, Community Outreach Coordinator. They don’t need my advice on academics. But, there are other pressing matters that have become apparent in the month I’ve been here: vaccinations, nutrition and mental health. I’ll tell you more about these issues in the coming months as we develop new initiatives to help our kids with problems that aren’t academic but that directly influence their ability to be good students.
I met briefly with the teachers and staff, just to say hello. Mukesh, our music and art teacher, will be getting married in November. Gita worked for KHEL 5 years ago but resigned to stay home with her baby who is now in preschool, so she’s returned to LDA. Everyone looks well and happy, and this is important because these are the dedicated people who look after the KHEL kids every day.
“Nurturing Spirituality in the Family” Conference
to preserve the knowledge and teachings of the ancient lineage of the Himalayan Masters in order to develop and promote spirituality within ourselves, our children, and the world
20th – 25th February 2013
At Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama (SRSG)
How have sadhakas managed to create spiritual families in these modern times? And what guidelines can emerge from mutual exchange and discussion with others?
Join us for five days of learning simple philosophy of living and practical guidelines to develop and cultivate a healthy and happy family life. Topics will include:
· Sattvic Diet: Shifting from a Rajasic diet into a nutritional food regimen that supports a balanced mind and peaceful nature.
· Indian Cuisine and the health benefits of Indian Spices
· The art of joyful living techniques for children: Practical spirituality in raising happy and healthy children
· An Intercultural panel discussion: How to successfully cultivate a spiritual family during modern times
For further information, please contact: email@example.com
Courtesy of Lela Pierce, "Parents who wish to stay in touch with each other and lead their own virtual discussions on any topic can join the new ‘Ahymsin: Yogic Parenting group’ on Facebook." Please see: https://www.facebook.com/groups/346742485366079/
Love and Family Life by Swami Rama and Let the Bud of Life Bloom by Swami Rama. The books are available from The Meditation Center's online bookstore that ships nationally and internationally http://www.themeditationcenter.org/jnana/index.php? In Europe, you can inquire at http://www.yogaineurope.eu/contact/ . In India, inquire at AHYMSIN Publishers http://www.ahymsin.org/main/index.php/Contact-Us/Book-and-DVD-Orders.html. They are also available through Amazon.com.
Educating and Parenting for Peace booklet by Swami Veda Bharati is available through The Meditation Center and at AHYMSIN Publishers. It is also available at Dan’s Digital Bookstore http://dansdigitalbooks.com/products-page/swami-vedas-complete-books
Diet and Nutrition, A Holistic Approach and Transition to Vegetarianism: An Evolutionary Step by Dr. Rudolph Ballentine.
Guest Programmes at SRSG
Individual Spiritual Retreats, Silence Retreats and Group Retreats
Foundational Instructions of the guest programmes:
· To experience some level of calm mind, relaxation, or stillness while at the ashram
· To know how to sit properly and how to meditate
· To know about the “Himalayan Tradition”: foundation, history, and basic theory etc.
· To understand the meaning of “YOGA” and “MEDITATION” fully
· To apply yoga and meditation into daily life.
· To deepen their practice
· To keep the connection via full moon meditations and/or home centers
Individual Spiritual Retreats :
Guests are offered a daily schedule of instruction in meditation, pranayama (breathing practices), relaxation, Hatha Yoga, and Yoga philosophy in accordance with their individual goals. With the welcome interview, the programme is tailored for an individual. Every guest can experience of one day silence retreat through ashram official silence day (every Thursday).
Silence Retreats :
SRSG is the perfect setting for a guided period of silence, whether for three days or for three months.
Silence is not merely an absence of speech. It is a fullness of the mind; the mind filled with the flow of energy from within. For such a silence one needs guidance, because there is a science to practicing silence that many are not aware of. A systematic series of practices is given under the guidance of Swami Veda.
Group Retreats :
The SRSG staff will also help design programs for groups to meet their specific needs. The campus can accommodate up to 100 participants.
Participants in all the programmes follow the daily ashram schedule which begins at 5:00 AM and runs until 9:30 PM. Time for reading, journaling, and reflection is always available.
Classes on the basic yoga practices are regularly scheduled as well as lecture courses for Gurukulam which guests may attend as appropriate. Guests also attend Swami Veda’s classes when he is in residence.
Video recordings of Swami Rama lecture series on topics such Yoga Sutras and Upanishads are featured on a regular basis.
Programmes are available all year; however, since Gurukulam is on holiday from June to August, no regular classes are scheduled.
Daily Ashram Schedulethat includes individual programs—classes to meet needs
04:15 Bell Ring
05:00 Morning Prayer
05:15 Joints & Glands Exercise / Asanas
07:00 Breathing Practices / Nadi-Shodhanam
10:00 Class 1
11:30 Class 2
12:30 Breathing Practices / Nadi-Shodhanam
02:00 Digestive Breathing
04:15 Hatha Yoga
05:30 Guided Relaxation
06:00 Meditation with Swami Veda
06:30 Japa & Breathing Practices
08:00 Night program (Lecture/Satsang)
09:00 Evening Prayer
All campus residents participate in service for the Ashram. Service includes a variety of tasks from meal service and cleaning to transcribing lectures, helping with mailings and so forth. Inquire at the Mandala Office(Reception Office).
Participants live in one of 35 spacious double or triple occupancy guest cottages, each with kitchenette and bathroom with hot shower.
For Fees and other information
Please write to firstname.lastname@example.org
DEPARTMENTAL EMAIL DIRECTORY:
ASSOCIATION OF HIMALAYAN YOGA MEDITATION SOCIETIES INTERNATIONAL (AHYMSIN):
AHYMSIN Introduction Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrxLZw3z24s
SRSG MANDALA RECEPTION AND FRONT OFFICE:
Dr. Manju Talekar, Managing Director of SRSG
email@example.com (Guest information, reservations & bookings: Silvia Baratta)
firstname.lastname@example.org (Accounts & book keeping, D.M.T. Office: Bhupendra)
SWAMI RAMA DHYANA GURUKULAM: email@example.com
Bhola Shankar Dabral, Director
firstname.lastname@example.org (Publications and bookstore: Deepti)
HIMALAYAN YOGA TRADITION - TEACHER TRAINING PROGRAM (HYT-TTP):
Chuck Linke, Director
Carolyn Hodges and Maryon Maass, HYT-TTP Office
Welcome to Swami Veda’s World-Wide Newsletter. Your photos and input are important to us, and we welcome news from any one of SVBs centers around the world. Send photos, and news items to the editor: email@example.com for inclusion in future editions. We hope you enjoy this edition, and we ask for your comments. Your friends may subscribe to this newsletter by filling in the data at www.swamiveda.org - as well as email address changes.