Over the past couple of days, we have looked at different ways of accessing the layers of our mind. We follow a rhythm that starts with directing our attention and awareness to different parts of the body. We then focus on our breath. The combination of these two processes has the effect of slowing down the speed of our thoughts. You may find that you are able to direct your awareness to where you want it to be. This is a rare occurrence in our daily life. We then introduce sounds, mantras. As mantra is the sound body of the Divine. It is a living being. The combination of the syllables within the mantra have a definitive sound vibration. These sound vibrations play with the sound vibrations that create our typical thinking patterns. And because these sounds are of a subtler frequency and of a higher order, they have the effect of slowly transforming the thinking pattern of your mind. This is powerful stuff.
Your mind is like the proverbial operating system of a computer. It is programmed in a certain way. You will find you are pre-programed to behave in a certain habitual manner. And as you go through life, these patterns tend to habituate themselves. So, you tend towards a certain personality. The word persona in Latin means “mask”. Your personality is nothing other than a mask. It is not who you are.
You have heard of the saying, “a leopard can’t change its spots”. This is true to an extent. It appears that your inner nature and characteristics are of a certain design. You have a leaning towards a certain vocational artistic stand point. You maybe of a sensitive nature, or you are may be less sensitive. You are very focused or you are less focused. You have a high threshold and can absorb a lot of angst or your threshold is quite low and you get anxious very quickly.
There are certain tendencies within you. And they tend to reinforce themselves. They do not just disappear. According to Yoga, your mind is nothing other than just sound vibrating at certain frequencies. And your thoughts generally emerge one at a time. But your mind and its emotional makeup has the tendency to link the prevailing thought with the past. Or it projects into an uncertain future, which it obviously cannot predict. So, the mind, being in the present moment, remembers the likes and dislikes from the past, and stitches something called the future, which is just an alternate version of the past. This movie like projection effectively becomes our life. The present moment is lost and we get stuck in the loop of this projection. If we are not aware, these thoughts run like torrents of a cascading river, which you have no control over. This movie played in your mind becomes your life. Your thoughts feel real. Life is like a movie.
Mark Twain said, “I’ve lived through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.” And that’s true of all of us. We overthink our lives.
And ironically, both pleasant and unpleasant experiences cause us anxiety. For example, if something pleasant happens, we worry about it being taken away from us. This means that the quality of the enjoyment is diminished. We have a moment. We are not able to enjoy that moment.
Similarly, when the unpleasant happens; when something we expect does not happen or something we did not expect or want happens, not only do we get upset but we attach to it all our anxieties, all our fears from the past and project them into the future. And we suffer.
If you examine life carefully, you will realize that which has the capacity to give you happiness can also make you sad. Also, the intensity of the sadness is greater than the pleasure derived from the pleasant. The Buddhist’s sometimes describe life as islands of joy in rivers of sadness.
The other irony is that the way we conduct our lives, which is to seek our happiness in places, in people and in things where there is no chance of finding that happiness. We inevitably create a sense of disappointment. The seeds of disappointment lie in our expectations. It’s not wrong to expect. But you must be rational about how life will respond to your expectations. If life is emerging moment by moment and playing itself out in front of you, you should be aware that there is no guarantee that what you expect will come true, and in the same way you expected.
One of the key qualities to cultivate in life is the total acceptance. Expect whatever you want, but accept whatever emerges in your presence. And as you spiritually mature, you will realize that expectation is just a play of the mind. It is not comfortable with living in the moment. Because its very existence lies in its ability to take you away from the moment.
And therefore, it fabricates a series of alternate realities. If you desire something in one of these alternate realities, and you get it, don’t be surprised you are not quite satisfied in the way you had imagined. Perhaps, that’s because what you wanted was achieved at a price you did not expect to pay.
You cannot find lasting happiness from things that don’t have the capacity to give you happiness. A handbag, a car, a job, a girlfriend, a boyfriend, a husband, a wife, a son, a daughter are relationships with your mind. You create an anxiety within you when you desire something. A hand bag for, example; seems a little trivial for our discussion today, but when you desire a hand bag, you create an anxiety or an irritation; you create a sense of longing. You develop an attachment with that idea which creates a sense of anxiety or an irritation in your mind.
The day you secure that handbag, the level of desire, the level of irritation and that level of anxiety subsides because that longing has been satisfied. So that fleeting sense of happiness comes from subsidence of the desire and not from the handbag. You just hold onto the handbag for longer than a day and will understand that the handbag happiness disappears quickly. We can use any example to illustrate the point. A car, a house, a holiday. The arriving is never quite as satisfying as the longing and the imagining what you will get from it.
The mind creates these images that you believe falsely. And it is no surprise that when life presents its answers to you, you are disappointed. It is not quite what it was. That sense of longing, that sense of incompleteness, that sense of lack. I would say that the background noise in our lives is like a river of melancholy, of a flow of sadness. There is a tinge of sadness which runs through our life. That remains.
The scriptures will tell us that trying to find happiness outside of yourselves is a myth. Go ahead and try. There is no harm in trying to be happy in that way. Build yourself the biggest house, in the nicest neighborhood, with the best toys, with the handsomest husband, most beautiful children who go to the best schools and you may find that something is never quite right.
Should you get tired of knocking your head against the wall time and time again, eventually, you will have to investigate the source of these desires themselves.
When you were young, you madly fall in love with the idea of someone. But as we get to know them, you can just as easily fall madly out of love with them quickly.
Why is that? Because the picture that you have created in your mind is then superimposed on someone else. You expected them to meet that standard that but are miserably disappointed when they are unable to do so.
So, what is love? It is not just that passion that we seek in someone else. That passion comes from within you. You create that passion in your mind.
If you are down and you are out and you are lonely and you are broken. You are looking for someone to complete you. An insecure, imbalanced being is seeking completeness from another being who is also looking for balance and is themselves insecure.
There is a balancing yoga posture that we practiced yesterday, where you stand on one leg and take your hands above your head. It’s a pretty hard posture. If you move your gaze away from the point that you have fixed on, you will fall off balance. Now, imagine reaching out to the person practicing the posture next to you and holding their hand. How balanced will you feel? That is the typical way that we look for happiness in our relationships.
The scriptures reassure us that love is a sense of fullness. You are already full of love. That sense of lack that you feel, that is a misunderstanding of the nature of your reality.
We spoke of this yesterday. What is reality? Reality according to the scriptures is that you and the world are not different. In the context of modern science, especially quantum mechanics, we discover that at the essence of things, there is nothing other than seeming aware vibrating space.
Physicists have discovered they are made of the same molecules which are being observed through their microscopes. Atoms, nuclei, protons, electrons etc. are moving all the time. They disappear and appear somewhere completely different every moment. The apparent space between us is just an illusion in our mind.
Living life with the knowledge that “I am my World” is the way. Not easy. Because we appear to be pre-programed to behave in a certain habitual way.
There are two interesting observations on human beings. One is, we see ourselves as the center of our universe. Second, we want to see the value of what we “own” appreciate.
The idea of “me and mine” must be investigated. You must ask yourself what is this “me and mine”? They are nothing other than labels. A child born to me becomes “my child”. Even when you call someone as “yours”, you must remember that it’s just a label.
To discover the oneness in all, you don’t have to go anywhere. It is a process of recognition. Self-discovery, not self-reinvention. You should discover the truth about yourself. And as the scriptures and the masters tell us, the truth lies beyond the mind. The instrument through which you perceive the world, which creates these images, is the very instrument that you need to experiment on.
You should take the time to read about how the brain functions. The brain takes nothingness, emptiness, soundless existence and through the operations of various functions creates the world that we see. Our cognitive makeup drives the nature of our existence. An ant will see this world differently. An elephant will see this world differently. A turtle will see this world very differently.
We see the world based on the limits of our frequency distribution. Like tuning an old transistor radio from one station to another. Your ability to perceive the world is a function of cognitive resonance, your ability to absorb the frequencies that are playing through you.
Through the practice of yoga, you can transform these frequencies. First, the practice of meditation teaches you how to access the layers of your mind. Second, through the sound meditation, you transform the mind’s operating frequencies.
There is a magical science behind this process of self-discovery. The leopard can change its spots. You can become happy in this very life because there is nothing wrong with the world. There is everything wrong with the way you currently perceive the world.
You are not different from your world. You and your world are the same. If you want to understand the world you must understand yourself. That is the profound truth that needs to be understood. The relationship that you need to improve is the one with yourself. The kindness that you seek from the world, you need to give to yourself first. Conditional love is the wrong kind of love.
Love is a sense of fullness. Love is also a sense of expansion. When you truly experience love, you don’t remain a limited entity. You expand such that the two or three or four of you will become one. Love is an expansion. You can love the whole world.
Sure, love yourself. Love your family. Love your children. But try to love the world. Don’t limit your love to a contracted sense of “me and mine”. Also remember that pain is directly proportional to the attachment that to the “me & mine”.
Investigate. Dive deep into the depths of your personality. These are simple truths that exist in day to day existence. You don’t have to come be at Shreyas to be live this way. You must live this wisdom in your daily existence.
Always remember, you are not who you think you are. Who you are, you cannot imagine. The journey of self-discovery is beautiful. It will allow you to experience life completely.