Lesson 10 - Living From Spirit - Part 2

Be Realistic About the Role of Meditation 

It is common to imagine that by meditation and spiritual practice our outer situations will improve. Often people take up meditation to improve their outer life. This is a mistake. 

The outer life is as it is because of our behavior and secondarily because of our perception. 

If the outer life is unsatisfactory, trying to meditate it into satisfaction is like trying to cook a meal with your imagination. It is better to take the proper action to cook the meal, rather than leaving it to imagination. 

When we see that our actions in the material world lead to material success, then we can drop the delusion that these things will be unrealistically improved by meditation. 

Believing that action is not required for positive change to occur is another form of psychological immaturity or weakness. I use the word weakness here not as a judgement, but as description of capacity.  For many people it is easier to imagine, hope and believe then it is stand up and make necessary changes.  This is why so many people struggle unnecessarily.  I, of course, understand that some situations are very difficult to transcend and sometimes may even be impossible. However, my experience has shown that we often have a greater capacity to change then we may know, and we should at least try “real hard” before deciding to surrender. 

The better organized our experience in the material world the easier it will be for us to have time to sit in meditation. Our outer life then becomes a positive support for our ability to turn within. 

This is not to say meditation does not assist with our ability to be broadminded and live from a place of greater clarity in the material world.  That is certainly possible and a reasonable belief to have.  We exist as physical beings.  We also exist in ways beyond the physical.  When we can attend to both the physical world as spiritual practice and cultivate effective meditation we experience spiritual growth much quicker.  

This can be likened to relationship between our daily activities and our capacity for sleep.  If we are well-rested and are able to take steps to sleep well, it is likely that our daily activities will be easier to accomplish and with greater enthusiasm and skill.  Similarly, if we do our best each day to accomplish our worthwhile goals, avoid unnecessary drama, exercise and eat well, it is more likely our sleep will be better.   

When we are awake and active we behave in ways that support that level of consciousness.  When it is time to rest and go within, we take actions that support that level of consciousness.  

We then learn to dance between states of consciousness. Once we experience this possibility it becomes easier to recognize the Spirit or Self that is doing the dancing.  When that is realized we become free.  

So you can see Self-realization is not a matter of mastering success in the physical world, or escaping from the physical world into the astral or causal realms. The physical world, the astral realm, the causal realm, heaven, etc., are all realms of experience for the Self.  The free yogi is able to act, behave and experience the states of all realms. The free yogi knows the Self that is the experiencer.  This can be discovered in any realm.  The best place to practice yoga is the realm in which we find ourselves. 

A Note on Self-Sabotage 

Many people take up meditation but then get tired of it.  They then ask questions about how to improve their motivation or how to “want to meditate”.  This usually occurs because one may begin meditation under false pretense. For one reason or another the student may imagine that meditation and spiritual practice is going to do something specific for them.  When this fails to occur, they begin to wonder, why am I even doing this?  The student may not even be aware of this and simply feel that they are failing on their spiritual path.   

It is true, sometimes people are lazy or unmotivated. For Kriya Yogis, laziness and lack of motivation should be resolved before beginning practice.   Some sincere practitioners falter not because they are failing, but because they have an unconscious need that they hope meditation and spiritual practice will fulfill for them.  The correction is to explore the unconscious need.  

Consider a person who overcompensates for their entire life. They become a wealthy lawyer. They drive all the finest cars and can fly anywhere in the world to dine at any fine restaurant.  Yet, at the end of the night they are still empty and unhappy.  They are unhappy because they took a course of action that will not actually address the real issues.   

Many people overcompensate by throwing their heart and soul into religion or spirituality. Yet, they never address the deeper problems that drive them to overcompensate.  Then when their devotion does not result in greater peace and well-being they become frustrated and then may give up what otherwise might have been a very transformational path, spiritually speaking.  

If this has occurred to you, take some time to consider your REAL reasons you began meditating. What did you think meditation and spiritual practice was going to give you?  Better relationships?  Less anxiety?  A cure for long standing depression?  More motivation?  These are very general examples.  The real reason, for you, could be very subtle and varied.  Cures for motivation, depression, anxiety, better relationships, motivation, etc., are rooted in the health of our psychological/emotional bodies.  It is not the true role of meditation to provide this.  Meditation and spiritual practice is for realizing Spirit.  We must take action at the appropriate level with the appropriate tools to cure long-standing conditions.  

If your desire is to sincerely abide in and as Spirit, you will have no trouble persisting through doubt, dry spells, and boredom during meditation.  If you think an experience of Spirit is going to cure long standing conditions, while possible, it is more likely that attending to your health and well-being at the level of need will work much more quickly.  Then you will have the energy and enthusiasm to experience what Kriya Yoga is meant to reveal.      

Your Every Moment is An Opportunity to Affirm Spirit 

Now that we no longer believe that escaping into refined states of consciousness is the ultimate and only solution to our spiritual growth, we can consider your life as Spirit in every moment. Every moment you are alive there is an opportunity. You are the Self/Spirit/Divinity experiencing life. That will never change. You can choose to lose your attention into the ever-changing phenomena of life, or you can choose to abide in Spirit in every moment. 

This sounds easy enough.  It is usually not that easy.  (Although it does become very easy with practice.) 

We practice meditation and spiritual techniques to give us an intensive experience of inner stillness. Once we conclude meditation, in every second thereafter lies a chance to demonstrate our commitment to realizing Spirit.  

As yogis we have freewill. Our freewill lies in the capacity to choose how we relate to every experience that is presented to us. We cannot control all the variables of life. Life is too grand and majestic for that to be possible.  However, as individualized units of Infinite Consciousness, we DO have the capacity to choose in every moment. 

Homework #2 

Commit to remaining alert and curious about how you choose to respond to the situations of your life.  No matter what happens in your life, unless you are stupefied or rendered unconscious you can choose to be: 

Non violent 

Established in Truth 

Free of Greed 

Living as if One with Divinity 

Freedom from Grasping 

With Pure Motives 

From a Place of Contentment 

In a Disciplined Fashion 

With Knowledge 

Surrendered to a Higher Power 

Over the next several days practice yoga as it is encouraged in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, with “vigilant abidance”. This is not to encourage you to be hyper alert or stressed out by judging your behaviors.  Simply remain aware and watchful. Do your best, as soon as you become aware that it is possible, to change your relationship with the present moment by choosing to engage the appropriate Yama or Niyama as it relates to the situation of your life.  

You may fail, or not feel you have the capacity to make the effort. Don’t let that stop you. Try with sincerity. In time the energy will come.  Your skill will improve. You will find that this deepens your meditation practice and your faith. Consistency with this practice will reveal, in time, that you are always living in Spirit. 

Complete and Continue