Getting it and Keeping
by M. Govindan Satchidananda
We are engaged, individually and as a group in getting and keeping
Self Realization. There are times, perhaps when engaged in our
practice, or even spontaneously, when the Self evident truth of
the Absolute Reality, "Sat Chit Ananda", absolute Being,
Consciousness, and Bliss dawns upon us. At such times, we center
our consciousness on the subject "I AM"; it shines,
or comes to the foreground, and our experience, whether it be
on the physical, emotional, mental or intellectual planes, fades
into the background, and becomes the object. When we identify
with who we truly are, and not with the phantasmagoria of our
experiences, we are One. There is not even an iota of doubt about
it. Effulgent self awareness, which sees only its Self everywhere.
At such times, there is no gap between where we are and where
we want to be. Desires subside. The mind calms. There is nothing
more to do, to learn, to become. Bliss is.
However, at other times, this Self awareness fades into the background,
as we allow the mind to move in its habitual patterns of identifying
with what it is not: its worries, desires, sense experiences,
and various emotions, and thoughts. We tell ourselves that we
want Self-realization, or God realization, but we are lying to
ourselves, whenever we allow ourselves to identify with the object
of experience and not with consciousness itself. So many persons
become initiated and then wonder, why have I not yet realized
God? They expect that simply by learning to use the tools offered
by yoga, they will realize their aspirations. While the tools
and the aspirations may remain, however faded, what is missing
is the will to apply oneself moment to moment. It is not what
you did last year, or what you intend to do later on that is important
in the field of yoga and Self-realization, but what are you doing
in each moment. You can choose to bring awareness into every act,
into every mundane moment of the day or you can allow your old
habits of distraction, inertia and unconsciousness dominate your
Yogic sadhana is reminding yourself constantly to center and be
aware. To identify with the "I AM", and to see your
experience as a passing show, without identifying with it or becoming
attached to it. Whether it be postures, pranayama, meditation,
mantras or bhakti yoga, or jnana or karma yoga, the purpose is
the same. To remind and to train your conscious to remain pure
and free, until it becomes spontaneous and effortless. Because
of the habits of the mind, it requires effort for a long time.
One should expect failures, but consider them as stepping stones
to success. "If you do not give up, you are bound to attain
the goal one day".
Ultimately, yogic sadhana has as its purpose to know without a
doubt the answer to the following questions. "Who Am I?"
or "Who worries?" or "Who feels this emotion?",
"Who is it that is reacting so?" We will know the answer
when we perceive by the light of consciousness the pure, undisturbed
essence of our being, the "I AM" as distinct from the
thoughts, emotions and experiences Being. This pure Self is met
easily every night during deep sleep. Who does not look forward
to meeting themselves during sleep: it is a universal time of
rejoicing. A deep sleep is so blissful. It is experienced also
in deep meditation or whenever we succeed in centering ourselves
in a posture or at any other time.
So getting and keeping this Self-realization is a matter of making
it our moment to moment priority. Do not procrastinate. Make every
moment in your life count, as though it were your last. Make every
event, however mundane or insignificant, an opportunity to center
and to practice self-awareness. Notice how old habits try to distract
or overwhelm your self-awareness. Monitor your breath: it will
indicate to you when you are no longer present. God is not far
away, it is you who are absent, lost in your dreams. Celebrate
the Presence by being present. Know that there is only One Absolute
Being permeating your whole universe. Be aware and so be in bliss.
Copyright 1999 by Marshall Govindan.
All rights reserved.
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