Getting it and Keeping It

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 life.

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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