421: Your Soul-Child

421: Your Soul-Child

Go deep, deep under the sea, to where all is silent, invisible and unreachable from the surface world. Rising from the sea floor a mountainous landscape looms, silent, mythical. Hidden half-way up the side of a steep canyon, the mouth of a cave. Deep inside the cave is an illuminated glass dome, housing a wondrous tropical garden of lush plants, delicate fragrance and flittering silent butterflies.

The caretaker and inhabitant of this magical garden is a breathtakingly beautiful child, in whose glowing sweet smile you are enveloped within a single glance. The moment you set eyes on this child, all thoughts and worries evaporate, plans and desires dissipate, your self-consciousness dissolves as you melt under waves of pure love. You do not need to explain or say anything, for all is understood, all is known, all is accepted, all is loved, all is one. You can only smile, wonder and adore. There is light inside and emanating from the child’s eyes, soft, all-seeing, all-knowing, all-forgiving and all-illumining.

Language is superfluous. There is nothing to say and nothing to be said. Your communication is only through smiling, subtle gestures and especially, the light of the eyes. Like the child, you feel yourself weightless, liberated from yourself, relieved of life’s burdens and responsibilities, of all pretence and performance. The child is simplicity, purity, beauty, innocence and charm incarnate.

Implicitly, you are aware this child knows you better than you know yourself, seeing through and beyond everything you try to be, or think you are. Astonished in mute wonder, the being you see reflected in the child’s eyes is more beautiful and perfect than you could ever have imagined yourself to be.

In wordless wonder of breathless humility your true self, your selfless self, recognises, embraces and merges into itself, yourself.

420: Having and Being

420: Having and Being

We seek peace, love, light and bliss.

Why? We yearn for these glowing realities, and are drawn to them as a moth to a flame. We imagine we do not have them, because we do not feel them at this moment. And yet, we know they exist, for we have fleetingly felt and glimpsed them from time to time – so, we search for them.

We search in so many ways. We train, we travel, we study, we explore, we implore, we strive, we fight, we play, we indulge, we abstain, we practise, we beg, we cry, we create, we destroy, we accept, we reject, we acquire, we sacrifice.

For peace, light, love or bliss, some would kill; many would readily die.

And then, we attain a glimpse, an opening, a moment, a murmur, a blossoming or effulgence of peace, light, love or bliss … before, inevitably it fades, subsides, retreats, withers or turns slowly away.

Whatever we grasp, we can drop; whatever we learn, we can forget; whatever we make, can be broken; whatever we find, can be lost. Whatever we have, can be un-had … but what we are, we can never not be.

We seek peace, love, light and bliss as experiences, adventures or possessions, as things that we yearn to have. And so our quest, even when successful, is ever ultimately in vain.

Our search can only be fulfilled when we realise a simple truth: we do not have, and can never have peace, love, light and bliss. We are peace, love, light and bliss; we were never, and can never be otherwise.

Let us give up seeking to have. From henceforth, let us yearn only to be. Behold, we are not only from the Divine and of the Divine: we are the Divine.

419: It’s Always Personal

419: It’s Always Personal

“Yesterday I was clever.
That is why I wanted to change the world.
Today I am wise.
That is why I am changing myself.”

– Sri Chinmoy

The personal embodies the universal. The personal is our window and key, to the universal.

We are the world – collectively, and individually. Everything in the world, is within all, and each of us – all the good and bad, beautiful and ugly, divine and undivine. We are the drops, our world the ocean.

It is asked: what good can my personal meditation do for the world? To which comes the answer: what good can my personal meditation not do for the world?

Every thought, every intention, every action and especially, every meditation of ours, contributes to the sum of our world-consciousness. True, we cannot direct the consciousness of the whole, but we can contribute positively with all our heart and soul, which embody the most powerful force in the universe.

Change can only come from within. If we do nothing to change ourselves within, we will not change without, and our world will not change – that is for sure. If we do change ourselves from within, then we are bound to change without, and our world is changed, however imperceptibly.

Meditation is the simplest, most effective way to bring forth the peace, light, love and power required to change ourselves within. This same peace, light, love and power is within everyone, but dormant. Just as countless candles can be lit from the flame of one candle; to stir this peace, light, love and power into life and action, requires inspiration, and inspiration can only come once these forces are awakened somewhere, inside someone. Let that someone, that one candle, be you.
When you take the universal personally, you become the universal person.

418: For Every Poison, an Antidote

418: For Every Poison, an Antidote

It is said, that for every poisonous plant in the Amazon rainforest, there is a matching plant growing nearby, which yields the antidote to that very poison.

Such is the balance of Nature … and in our spiritual lives.

Imagine the entire Amazon rainforest, is within us. We each embody its immensity and complexity, all its intricate, finely balanced ecosystems, weather patterns, life cycles, and teeming life forms.

Just as we contain every poisonous plant – fear, doubt, anxiety, insecurity, pride, jealousy, frustration, hatred, depression – so, we also contain somewhere nearby, each antidote – love, sympathy, faith, hope, gratitude, humility, enthusiasm, patience, cheerfulness.

It is best to shun all poisonous plants: but to avoid them, we need to know which ones they are, and how to recognise them. And once poisoned, knowing there is an antidote plant somewhere in the forest, is no help when we are dying: we have to know which plant is which, where to find it, and how to use it. This comes from an intimate knowledge of the forest, or in the case of our spiritual life, intimate knowledge of ourself.

The only way to know ourselves well enough to recognise the poison plants, and where their antidotes are to be found and how to apply them, is through meditation, for meditation reveals to us the character and nature of our own mind and heart; how to avoid the poisons of the mind and access our heart’s healing power.

Sure enough, all the poisonous plants are to be found growing in the mind; but like the forest, the powerful antidote plants are in close proximity. The distance from one to the other is not a physical distance; it is the effort of aspiration required to leap from our mind, into our heart.

417: Learning in Silence

417: Learning in Silence

“All real spiritual Masters teach meditation in silence.”
– Sri Chinmoy

This statement baffles the mind. We are used to learning using words, reason and analysis. Our mind sees itself as the seat of perception, the instrument of learning, caretaker of knowledge and curator of wisdom, while outside of itself is only blind ignorance.

Yet meditation calls for a silent mind, from which the mind’s cognitive repertoire of thoughts, words and concepts are banished. To reach silence, we needs must learn the language of silence, which can only be learned, in silence.

Sri Chinmoy continues:

“In school you have a teacher who is teaching you and offering his wisdom-light to you through language. In the spiritual life also, the teacher teaches through language. But the language of the spiritual teacher is meditation. Meditation is the inner language, and the teacher teaches meditation through silence.”
– Sri Chinmoy

But how can the teacher teach, and how can we learn, in silence?

Just look at a baby. The greater part of all we ever learn about life, we learn in our first six months. Does the baby learn with words, thoughts, reasoning? No! A baby learns by observation, imitation, assimilation and application. There is no mind involved, because the baby has not yet developed the mind. Ironically, there is no greater barrier to learning in our entire existence, than our mind.

The most direct route to learning meditation is to be as a baby, and learn from a Master:

“When a genuine spiritual Master meditates, Peace, Light and Bliss descend from above and enter into the sincere seeker. Then automatically he learns how to meditate from within.

“If you want to be under the guidance of a spiritual Master, the Master’s silent gaze will teach you how to meditate.”
– Sri Chinmoy

416: Every Moment, a Golden Opportunity

416: Every Moment, a Golden Opportunity

Standing in a long queue? Waiting around for a delayed flight? Doing some mind-numbing chore, over and again?

Wonderful! A golden opportunity to meditate…

While a rainy day may be useless for a parade, it offers the perfect chance for indoor games. Every situation which we find taxing, tiring or tiresome, can be turned around to our advantage.

A meditator is a traveller and explorer of the inner self: our inner self is our inner self regardless of what is happening to us or around us. Our journey of inner discovery always beckons with new avenues to be explored, new challenges to surmount, new vistas to enjoy. No matter what outer situation we find ourselves in, there is always a meditation technique that is applicable in the moment. In our spiritual life, every moment is a unique gift to be treasured, a golden opportunity for progress and growth.

Of course, not every meditation technique is applicable to every scenario: we cannot sit cross-legged in a moving queue, or start chanting loudly in the library. But no outer situation can take away our heart’s freedom, or our power of imagination; and any circumstance which challenges our mind’s focus, or threatens our control over our breath, is the ideal chance to practice and hone that very skill.

Mantras are endlessly adaptable and always applicable. If you do not know a useful mantra for the moment, create one on the spot, and put it to use right away, most likely in silence.

Hold fast to your life’s goal. Do not allow the mind to engage in negative responses: frustration, annoyance and grievance might all seem justifiable, but they smother our hearts’ sweetness and joy, thwarting our higher purpose. Keep the avenue to your heart always free and clear.

415: Meditating on our Birthday (2)

415: Meditating on our Birthday (2)

“Because you are consciously spiritual,
On each of your birthdays
Your soul comes to you to energise you,
Inspire you and give you additional strength
To go forward in your aspiration-life.”

– Sri Chinmoy

Intuitively, we know our birthdays are special, which is why we celebrate them. If our values are material and social, we celebrate with gifts and indulging in outer pleasures with friends. If our values are spiritual, we will give priority to our source – our soul, and its Source – God, remembering and focusing on the purpose for which our soul took birth in this form at this time.

It is recommended to set aside extra time to meditate on our birthday, and to meditate more often – say, four or five times during the day – to make the most of this rare opportunity to enter into the glow of our soul’s light and flow of our soul’s purpose. This is the time to be grateful for our acceptance of the spiritual life, and rededicate ourselves to our highest goals.

Like the waxing moon, many spiritual seekers feel that the soul may start coming to the fore several days in advance of our birthday, and remain prominent for some days thereafter. If you feel this, please meditate more during these days as well. Like anything in life, the more we value and express gratitude for any blessing, the more we will receive from the opportunity.

So, whatever you may or may not believe about the soul or God or the meaning of life, be sure to accept your birthday –¬ your Soul’s Day – as a sacred occasion, a blessingful opportunity to connect, commune with and embrace your pure and authentic self, and to recommit to your spiritual life, renewing your soul’s promise, your life’s true purpose.

414: Meditating on our Birthday (1)

414: Meditating on our Birthday (1)

From the ordinary perspective, we may consider the time and date of our birth to be a random, pot-luck selection, not signifying anything in particular.

Astrologers believe there is tremendous significance in the time of our birth, that the arrangement of the constellations and cosmic forces at that time, play a defining role in our attributes, personality, potentiality and destiny.

According to the Spiritual Masters, however, the time and date of our birth is determined neither by random chance, nor astrological alignments: it is our soul’s choice. The very purpose of the soul’s acceptance of a human form is to fulfil the soul‘s promise to its own Source – God; to manifest God’s Light and serve God’s creation – humanity. It is our soul, with God’s sanction, which chooses the time of our birth, and the environment into which we will be born, including the location, country, culture, and specifically, our parents and family connections.

While we might imagine our body being born, and accepting a soul to help guide us through life, the opposite is the case: it is our soul which chooses our parents, our physical form, vital, mind and heart.

Our birthday – which is really our Soul’s Day – is therefore of tremendous significance, a wonderful opportunity for us to remember that we are nothing but our soul, to feel and celebrate the presence and purpose of our soul and its Source, the Supreme.

Sri Chinmoy writes:

“The birthday is the anniversary of the day the soul entered into the world, making a very special promise to the Supreme. Especially on our birthday, we have the golden opportunity to renew that promise and offer our surrender and gratitude to the Supreme. The opportunity is there; only we have to avail ourselves of it.”
– Sri Chinmoy

413: Meditating on God’s Feet

413: Meditating on God’s Feet

In all devotional paths, God is approached in a personal form. Any personal form must have all the human attributes, including feet. If God is to be approachable, God has to walk on earth. Earth is our realm, our familiar home. However low we consider ourselves to be, we will always be able to touch God’s Feet, even without daring to raise our eyes any higher. God’s Feet are connected to the entirety of God’s existence. So God’s Feet are our constant reassurance of God’s Presence, Compassion, Blessings and Concern. God’s Feet are our immediate connection, our rendezvous point with God, the meeting place between Heaven and earth, the spiritual and the material, the promise of our future liberation with our present bondage. Unless and until God dissolves the creation, God’s Feet are our solace, protection, salvation, liberation and assurance of our ultimate perfection.

Sri Chinmoy writes:

“When the beginner meditates early in the morning, he should meditate on the Feet of the personal Supreme. Then, along with his own devoted love, he will feel God’s Compassion and Concern. He will say, ‘Here is Someone who is really great, infinitely greater than I. That is why I am touching His Feet with such devotion.’ He will feel that there is some purpose behind what he is doing. By touching the Feet of the Supreme, he is trying to become one with the Supreme. He feels that for him, this is the easiest approach. If someone is very tall, I won’t be able to touch his head. But I can touch his feet. Whether I touch his feet or his head, I can say that I have touched him. But when I touch his feet, immediately I get the feeling of purest joy and devotion.”
– Sri Chinmoy

412: The Banishment of Boredom and Loneliness

412: The Banishment of Boredom and Loneliness

One who meditates or follows a spiritual Path, need never again be bored or lonely.

Boredom and loneliness are both conditions of our mind. When our mind is not actively focused, or is engaged in some repetitive activity, it becomes dull and we say we are bored. Our spiritual heart is ever eager and ever new: when we are in our heart, we are ever flowing, flowering, flying, smiling: there is no room for boredom or loneliness. The first hint of boredom is an alarm bell, a sure sign that we have allowed our consciousness to drift away from our heart, to be captured by the mind’s rigidity and stagnation. Take this alarm seriously, and immediately look for a way to open and expand your heart: remind yourself of seven things you are grateful for; sing a spiritual song; chant a mantra; consciously breathe in peace, love or joy; recall any deeply moving, enchanting, awe-inspiring or thrilling moment; imagine you are a child playing your favourite game; consciously see all the goodness and beauty around you.

Loneliness is a close cousin of boredom; a sense that we are incomplete without the company of others, that derives from the mind’s isolation and lack of connection. When we are in our mind, we can be lonely in a dense crowd, for the mind is its own prison and prisoner; while a full heart can never be lonely, even in a remote cave, for our heart is one with all of divinity.

Though loneliness and boredom both arise from the barrenness of the mind, we can take both as cries from our heart, yearning for space and nourishment. The solution for both is the same: quieten the mind, dive into your heart – boredom and loneliness are banished.

411: Your Personal Oasis

411: Your Personal Oasis

“Are you not tired of living
Inside your mind-desert?
If so, then come and live
In your heart’s aspiration-oasis.”

– Sri Chinmoy

Our heart’s meditation is our own personal oasis: lush, soothing, refreshing, inspiring, encouraging and invigorating.

Too often, our experience of life, outer and inner, resembles an arid desert.

We know that meditation is supposed to cure us of all our worries, problems and anxieties. Yet sometimes our experience of meditation itself seems dry, mechanical and uninspiring, leaving us feeling further frustrated, disappointed and discouraged.

This happens when we meditate in our mind, when we go through the motions of meditation, its techniques and rituals, without really throwing ourselves heart and soul into the practise.

It’s easy to say: “meditate in the heart, don’t meditate in the mind!” – but being in the mind, can be like finding ourselves caught in a high-walled maze of hedges, with no clue how to find our way out.

Gratitude, aspiration, love, humility, selflessness and enthusiasm are ready accomplices, eager to help us escape from our mind-maze. The moment we break free from the mind’s grasp, we find our heart already waiting for us with its joyful embrace. Once our hearts’ floodgates are open, our experience of meditation becomes spontaneous, even without any techniques and rituals.

Birds and animals will always find their way to an oasis in the desert, no matter how tiny, remote or difficult to access. They have an innate sense of its location. Similarly, we must keep our own inner tracking device always connected with the oasis of our heart, so that no matter how lost, tired, thirsty or dispirited we find ourselves in the deserts of life, we are always able to find our way back to the replenishing, nourishing and inspiring oasis of our heart’s meditation.

410: Keep It Practical

410: Keep It Practical

Very few people start practising meditation with the goal of experiencing a blissful meditation. Most enter into meditation with a view to improve one or more aspects of their life. For most of us – at least consciously – our initial motivation is not inner, but outer: we want peace of mind in order to perform better at our study, work or sports; we want to escape from pervading stress and tension, from worries and anxieties; we want control over our thoughts and emotions; we want to feel better about ourselves and experience more fulfilling relationships with others; we want free access to our inner self, mostly to better serve the needs of our outer self.

Yes, we are a soul, a spiritual being, and meditation is our pathway to explore and discover this deeper truth within; but we are a soul living in this world, and for meditation to prove its effectiveness, it must be of benefit in our moment-to-moment reality.

All that time we spend practising meditation techniques in the early morning, has to be put to practical use in the challenging moments of our lives: otherwise, what is its utility? The very purpose of practising any skill, is to improve our performance: in this case, our ‘performance’ is the living of our life.

Certainly, the experience of meditation is peaceful and blissful, illumining and fulfilling in and of itself. But the practical application of meditation – bringing its peace, light, bliss and oneness into the teeming challenges of life, transforming problems into opportunities, obstacles into milestones, setbacks into progress, defeats into triumphs and sorrows into joys – is the truly transformative, miraculous value of meditation.

The purpose of meditation is not to visit Heaven; it is to reveal and manifest Heaven on earth.

What could be more practical?

409: Be Brave, Be Cheerful

409: Be Brave, Be Cheerful

“Be brave, in order to be cheerful.
Be cheerful, in order to be brave.”

– Sri Chinmoy

“Be brave, in order to be cheerful.”

Gravity is not only a phenomenon of Newtonian physics. It is a spiritual law also, that to descend is far easier than to ascend. To rise, requires the effort of conscious aspiration; while to stay still, is to descend. To surrender to the gravity of ego, thoughts and desires is to embrace perpetual descent. Cheerfulness lives in lightness, selflessness, clarity and purity. To attain cheerfulness must be our conscious, determined choice to stand against gravity, one of Nature’s most powerful, pervasive forces. To attain cheerfulness, we must summon the strength to lift the heavy weight of fear, doubt and sorrow; and the courage to rise above our ego-centred petty thoughts and desires. Strength plus courage equals bravery. Bravery casts aside the heaviness of gravity and gloom of selfishness. Bravery naturally rises, expands and illumines; ushering in cheerfulness, as dawn portends the day.

“Be cheerful, in order to be brave.”

Cheerfulness is more than mere contentment or even happiness. Cheerfulness is a solid wave of irresistible strength, momentum and transformative power. The very word “cheerfulness” contains the word “fulness.” When a vessel is full of one thing, there is no room for anything else: when we are cheer-full, when our consciousness is full of cheer, there can be no room for any non-cheer, any doubt, fear, sorrow, regret or anxiety – all the negative qualities which weaken and enfeeble us. Like chasing the clouds away to reveal a clear sky, when doubt, fear and sorrow-clouds are banished by cheerfulness, we attain tremendous clarity, purity and certainty, the very qualities which combine to engender and nourish bravery. Cheerfulness clears the negativity-clouds to reveal our heart’s bravery-sky.