I had an insight in meditation a few days ago. I’m sure that these flashes must come to you also when your mind is calm and open. I was trying to deepen my concentration, and failing. This is a common hurdle for all meditators: Even Paramhansa Yogananda’s thoughts were “distributed like leaves in a storm” a few minutes before his guru gave him his first experience of cosmic consciousness. It would be time well spent to read or reread that account in Autobiography of a Yogi.
The insight that came was this: I couldn’t control my restless mind at that moment, but there were many things that I could control. I could control whether or not I sat to meditate, and what techniques I would practice. I could also determine, through a little exertion of will power, how long I would sit, and whether I would keep my body still. I could go on, but you get the point: When the goal is difficult or subtle and beyond your control, don’t give up. Do what you can, and don’t worry about the rest. A journey of a thousand miles is made up of millions of small steps. Take the steps that are within your capacity, always stretching yourself a little so that you don’t get complacent.
We are in Delhi now, and this weekend we’re launching a three-day course: “Living the Gita.” With the help of a great support team, we’ve been preparing for nearly a year. This course represents a whole new direction for Ananda, because it is designed to reach a much broader audience: those who want to improve their lives and circumstances, but are not ready to identify themselves as devotees, or even as potential devotees. Yet they do realize that any lasting change will come from inner transformation and deeper understanding.
During one of the days we’ll present a segment called “The Integrated Person.” It’s designed to help people see themselves as complex individuals with a body, mind/emotions, and a soul. If we really want to improve our consciousness, we must work on all levels of our being. There’s a fun little illustrative video clip below.
As you can see, there are four levels: Physical, Energy, Mental/Emotional, and Spiritual. As a rule, changes are easier to make on a grosser level than on more subtle levels. We start with diet, exercise, sleep, and clean living because everyone can see these things. Energy, mind, emotions, and soul are subtler and generally require techniques that bridge us from the obvious to the more subtle. During the course we’ll work with techniques such as pranayama, energization, affirmation, introspection, and visualization. Why? Because we CAN.
Keep working at your goals. There are divine pearls of love and joy hidden deep within each of us. Yes, we must keep diving. But don’t expect to reach the depths on your first dive, or even on your thousandth. If we just keep doing what we can with commitment and sincerity, we will all reach God’s boundless bliss.
View and download your own PDF handout from this course here.