Emptying the mind is the greatest activity. It seems as if you are doing nothing. It seems like escapism and selfishness to those who are egocentric. But only one among millions can do it.
According to the Mundaka Upanishad, the Imperishable Supreme is called the Akshara. Why do we not cling to that indestructible, Imperishable One? What makes us to not meditate upon it? Or when we do sit in meditation, why doesn’t the mind think only of That? The answer is that we are attached to the perishable, to people, situations and things. Our consciousness is so identified with the perishable that it does not lift from that to the Imperishable. This is habitual unconsciousness. The reason so many thoughts come during meditation is because we have created so many karmas and they have left their impression upon our minds. How do we prevent our minds from being occupied with karmas? First: create no more karmas, which create more thoughts. Second: patiently go on letting go of the karmas that are already formed. When your karmas begin to reduce, even though you have not yet realized the Imperishable, you will begin to feel joy. As karmas or samskars—lifetimes of patterns or impressions on the mind—go on reducing, in that proportion joy begins to increase. The mind becomes lighter.
In essence we are Light, in which there is no death. This is not poetry; it is spiritual, scientific and factual. Fearing death has no meaning. Conquering death has no meaning either. Freedom from the very conception of death is true freedom. It is not by conquering nature, disease or death that we attain salvation. Ego, or unconsciousness, has to remain powerful in order to conquer any of these. We have an example of this in the epic, Ramayana. Ravana, the evil emperor of Lanka, had nearly conquered death through his yogic practices but he had inadvertently left a small door open for death to creep in. Indra, the foremost deva in Hindu mythology, knew that Ravana’s immortality would be catastrophic for both heaven and earth; so while Ravana was doing his final ritual for immortality, Indra played a trick.
The ritual had to be completed within a certain number of days and everyone knew Ravana was capable of that. He was a Brahmin, a yogi and a great occultist who had earned the boon of immortality from Lord Shiva by his austerities and meditations in the Himalayas. Ravana arranged the ritual to make himself invincible, sealing off the room and all windows and doors with guards posted all around the palace. But Indra took the form of a fly and hid in a corner. Ravana began his recitation of a certain scripture, which had to flow uninterruptedly throughout the ritual. And at a certain moment that fly, Indra, sat on one word and Ravana’s reading was obstructed. Ravana saw immediately with his third eye that it was Indra, but it was too late. This left the door open for Ravana’s death in battle with Rama, the incarnation of Lord Vishnu, who was born to vanquish this demon.
Conquering anything recoils back on us, always finding our weak point. Therefore I do not suggest trying to conquer nature or death. There is a way to entirely avoid the conception of death. As long as ego thinks it has mastery or victory over things it maintains itself, which is a death trap. At some point in that limited victory, when our strength weakens, whatever has been conquered will react back. Enlightenment or Realization does not require conquering but complete transcendence, beyond the conception of death. When we are conscious, unconsciousness vanishes. We cannot conquer or vanquish darkness; it can be vanquished by Enlightenment, Light, and thatgives us immortality.
Emptying the mind is the greatest activity. It seems as if you are doing nothing. It seems like escapism and selfishness to those who are egocentric. But try it. If it were mere escapism, anyone should be able to do it, but only one among millions can do it. Try to just quiet your mind—in your dreams, your meditations, your work, your life. How many have achieved even that much? Do not try to control or conquer anything, not only in your mind but outside you as well. In Oneness there is nothing to conquer or lose. Simply let go and allow Consciousness or Light to shine. It is self-conquest that makes you victorious—over nobody else but you—and makes you a conscious being. Then the Light shines, which is Imperishable. The body could be made imperishable but even those yogis who have lived for thousands of years have eventually given up the body. There are desires and desires that we can enjoy through the body but even that ends somewhere. What you cannot learn in a hundred years on this planet, you cannot learn in three thousand years either. God knew that a hundred years is enough.
Ultimately it is love for the Lord and the Light that gives you salvation. Those who have love for the Lord will have no problem. He will help. If you want to grow in love of the Imperishable, shed your attachments to the perishable. Do not create or incur more debts or karmas. What we have done already is much more than we can handle. Face these and gradually let them all go. This cleanses the mind and purifies the heart. Then when you concentrate on your chosen ideal, you begin to experience true joy, which leads you to Oneness and immortality. All this is within you. It is not any philosophy that releases us; it is our own opening. It is in letting go, non-resistance and opening that we see rather than merely understand.
All thought-vibrations, whether good or bad, are bondage. Jesus said, “Come ye who are heavy laden and find comfort.” Heavy laden with what? He was talking about the burden of thoughts and desires, the burden of worries, anxieties, fears, doubts, wishful thinking, willfulness, pride—such things make us heavy. There is no system in the world today that can cure the ills of the society completely except what the prophets and great sages have said. The solution is not in knowing much or creating so many techniques and systems. The wisdom of the sages is meant to fulfill and flourish life as a whole, including health, economics, aesthetics, talents and any faculty of the brain. The highest education is to meditate upon the Imperishable. It is not alone by worshiping the Lord that you solve problems but by following the Word in your life.
If we go to God only when we need something, it will not solve our problems, nor will it give us good meditation. It has to be with the love of the Lord, very concrete and tangible. First you have to do everything for Him, not for yourself. He does not pamper egos. Do His will first and then He will fulfill you, even more than you expect. I feel that as long as we are avoiding the main issue of meditating upon the Lord, the Light, the Imperishable One, Krishna, Christ, Buddha, we will not attain salvation. We will remain caught up and trapped in the cobwebs of our minds. There are certainly moments of pleasure but those are fleeting. Life is meant to be a joy but that will not happen by wishful thinking. It has to be by meditating upon the Ultimate with sweet will. Then the mind loses itself and merges into That. Meditation is the key, the only key, to Realization. It leads to Samadhi, Oneness, Superconsciousness.
Do not be ambitious. There is nothing to be ambitious about. When we die, we do not take anything with us, so why crave possessions? Simplicity is a virtue. It is a waste of time and energy to make life complex. Complex life is a drudgery. Make it simple and meditate. You will receive much more than worldly ambitions can bring. Ultimately all people and nations are trying to get the same thing but each wants it “in my way.” It has to be in the Lord’s way. Philosophy is an intellectual pleasure, intellectual gymnastics. Simplicity of heart transcends philosophies. It takes you to innocent joy and keeps your mind on the Lord, on the Light, and that is so attractive that nothing else will ever satisfy you again. That does not mean you are losing anything; you are gaining ten thousand times more. When all discussions and debates end, faith begins. This is not blind faith; it is born out of much thinking, analysis, discrimination, debating and discussing. It is born when we realize that these do not give us the answers we seek.
An unobstructed flow of meditation leads you to the Light. You cannot go on filling your mind with worldly thoughts and also have peace. If we are ambitious about things in this world, when we sit for meditation the mind pours it all out. It is not meditation techniques that help you meditate; it is emptying the mind. Please remember this. By emptying the mind, or at least making it lighter, you will meditate better, whatever the technique. All techniques are good in their good faith. Achieve the Goal first. Keep your mind on one thing. This will show you how to live in the world. Do things as a matter of fact, not unmindfully, and then forget about them. What will you take with you when you go? When you die you take only your mind with you. It follows you everywhere! In your sleep, your dreams, your work, your travels, wherever you may be, your mind is always with you to work upon. It has to be simplified in order to have peace. Joy and complexities do not go together. The simpler we are, the more joyful we are. When you become very simple in mind and heart, you will laugh at all these things that have meaning for you now.
Thoreau said, “The creation is preserved in the wilderness.” This is synonymous with the clearmind. Keep it clean. When God created, it was all good. Mankind created crime, greed, attachment, possessiveness and strife, and then we created committees to redress the ills of society. We are still doing this. Is a complex society the mark of civilization? Or is a simple life the civilized way of living? I feel that simplicity in life builds simplicity of mind. Then I can love my Lord well. If my mind is occupied with so many things, I hardly have time and energy to love God properly. We do not get inspiration to love the Lord when we are caught up in the complexities of life and the tricks of mind. We feel boredom, which is an antonym of inspiration. Boredom is born out of complexities and having too many things. The more things we have—engagements, appointments, entertainments—the more the boredom. Have you ever asked yourself why this is so? In the old days, enjoyments came from people, animals, birds and nature, and they never complained of boredom. They didn’t have TV, movies, fast modes of communication or modern technology. The disease of boredom is more in civilized societies actually. The question is: are we using these things rightly or wrongly? Is our way of living healthy or unhealthy? Are we more civilized with complexities and busyness or would we be better off with simplicity, relaxation and peace?
We can have peace and joy in one day if we simplify our minds. Whether you get rid of your accumulated things or not is immaterial. The mind has to be simplified so that it does not trouble you. I think entertainment is escapism, avoiding the main issue. Or put it differently: entertainment is a pale reflection of the inner joy you are seeking. If your mind is on your ideal, I don’t think you need entertainment. This is a new perspective but contemplate it and you will see the truth of it. Focus on your Goal and see if you don’t get joy.
There is plenty of abundance in the universe. Use the things God has given or that you have earned. At the same time, do not get identified or lost in those things and lose the main issue. The mind has to be simplified so that you can concentrate and meditate upon the Imperishable, which sustains us. That is what we are seeking unconsciously all the time. But when it comes to practicality, somehow the mind gets lost. We get into bickering, position-loving, ego trips and competitiveness. This starts various kinds of philosophy, psychology, psychiatry and so many therapies and treatments. It goes on multiplying. The simple life is a healthy life, where your mind is relaxed.
If you want to become Enlightened, just use things as they are needed. Leave the rest to others. What belongs to the Light or Spirit, give unto That. Once you are relaxed and your mind is simplified, you will see that your capacity is a thousand-fold more. You will employ your energy in a very useful manner, for you and for others, which will do wonders. If you release your consciousness from things and preoccupations, it is a great power. Then your concentration will be inspiring, your work will be inspiring, your living inspiring and your company with anyone inspiring. You will become a Light unto others. So when you gather back your time and energy from misuse and wastage, you are using it in a higher sense. Your energy is more purified and your enjoyments will actually be more satisfying.
I believe in enjoyments but to the extent that they can regenerate, not degenerate. If you come out of enjoyments regenerated, it is good. I believe in this healthy education, that the highest ideal is to meditate. What that can give you in wisdom or knowledge nothing else can. Do your duties and responsibilities willingly, whole-heartedly, not casually. If you do them casually you are keeping karmas pending. One day you will have to do them properly. Put your heart into it but do not get identified with it. This is how to release the mind. Treat others lovingly but do not get possessive or attached. Security is in the True Self and the Lord, not in attachments.
The aim of life is to perfect humanity, and that is your aim. Simplify your heart and meditate upon the Light. Everything else shall follow. Enlightenment is not something that you can understand by asking questions. All other things and ambitions are distractions. Whatever you do, put your full efforts, consciousness and energy into that. The results may not be achieved but then the hand of God comes in. He helps those who help themselves. He does not help lazy ones. It depends upon where you put your efforts, how much energy and time you give unto your Goal and how much unto Caesar. For the rest He will help you, I assure you.
There are two ways to subside thoughts in meditation. One is to choose an ideal such as Light or your Lord and meditate upon That. Patiently go on doing it. Slowly, in the course of years, your thoughts will go on dissolving. Another way is, when thoughts arise, suggest to yourself: let go, let go. This also takes years but gradually it happens. Thoughts are transitory phenomena; they have no reality. They will evaporate like clouds; you do not have to solve every one. In the beginning you have to hold onto one thought in order to dissolve other thoughts. But when only the thought of Light or your Lord remains, that thought dissolves into Realization.
The life we live will produce reactions during meditation. Naturally, they are correlated. Whatever you achieve in your mind during meditation gives you results in your non-meditative times too. If you fail to let go of thoughts during meditation, you are going to fail outside. If you succeed in the meditation, you are going to succeed outside. It is a rehearsal. We call it a practice. Meditation is not a mechanical process. Therefore I am not for techniques only, because techniques do not give salvation. It is your love and devotion that open you to receive. Ultimately the aim is to meditate all the time, not necessarily with closed eyes but in whatever we do. You have to love the Lord to have a proper meditation, then other things will not bother you much. So train your mind to let go of transitory thoughts. This is the way to release your mind.
Reprinted with the kind permission of Truth Consciousness & the Light of Consciousness magazine
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© 2008 by Truth Consciousness. Teaching from the basis of eternal Truth, the message of Swami Amar Jyoti’s Satsangs (Sanskrit: communion with Truth) is one of deep spiritual unity. His way is not to espouse a particular creed but to impart a spiritual way of life. He spent four decades (1961-2001) awakening and uplifting countless souls around the world to God Consciousness and disseminating the timeless Truth underlying all traditions and faiths. Prabhushri Swamiji is the author of several books; over seven hundred of His oral discourses, illuminating the classical path for modern times, are available on CD and audiocassette. This Satsang is edited from Meditation and the Simple Life (I-15). A full catalog of Satsangs by Swami Amar Jyoti in audio format is available at truthconsciousness.org, or call us at 520-743-8821 for a free copy by mail. Please see page 66 of this issue for further information. Photo on Page 3: Swami Amar Jyoti at Jyoti Ashram,Pune, India, 1998.
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