Living Meditation - Whatcom Web Living Meditation 2 LIVING MEDITATION Swami Suryadevananda 'Living Meditation

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  • Living Meditation 2

    LIVING MEDITATION Swami Suryadevananda

    'Living Meditation' is a sequel to the series 'Raja Yoga, A Practical Guide'.

    An Ananda Kutir Publication 2012

    suryadevananda.org

    Creative Commons: This eBook can be downloaded for personal use. It can be shared publically as long as credited. No commercial use. It may not be changed in any way.

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    Dedicated to

    Gurudev Swami Sivananda

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    INTRODUCTION

    The Path

    This series has two segments that flow into each other. This first segment is on the path ahead and four important markers. We start with sharpening the edge and use the field of life to do what needs to be done without the interference of thought. This weakens and exhausts conditioning and it becomes easier to realize our distinctness from thought in a way that lasts beyond the different practices. The inner center of gravity has now shifted from thought to consciousness and conditions are ripe for self-inquiry.

    Some Essentials

    The second segment is on some essentials while on the path, first of all being a hunger for change which has to be one born of direct examination of things as they are and not unfavorable conditions. When the danger is clearly seen as within, consciousness or awareness is roused into action and empowered in an act of self-surrender or vigilance that itself keeps thought from interfering in life. A new way of living ensues as this awareness perceives and acts directly, engaging each situation and disregarding our hidden likes and dislikes. Staying the course a little, one experiences significant lightness within as the content of our mind's burden is thought and it is gradually diffused. Still one knows that danger lurks deeper and now sees clearly that its interference must not happen and one's resolve to stay the course deepens to the degree of relentless perseverance where one is ready to pay any price along the way.

    What follows are very lightly edited transcriptions from the videos recorded between 1 September 2012 and 28 November 2012. I am most thankful to Sivananda-Usha for transcribing and editing the talks.

    Swami Suryadevananda 23 December 2012

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    CONTENTS

    Introduction .................................................................................................................................... 2

    1. Sharpening the Edge .................................................................................................................. 6

    2. Thought and Action .................................................................................................................. 16

    3. Consciousness and Thought ..................................................................................................... 29

    4. Consciousness Realizing Itself .................................................................................................. 40

    5. Real Hunger For Change........................................................................................................... 53

    6. Unceasing Vigilance ................................................................................................................. 64

    7. Relentless Perseverance .......................................................................................................... 78

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    1. SHARPENING THE EDGE

    Greetings…

    We start today with sharpening the edge. Sharpening the edge is preparing the instrument for the journey ahead of total development, and this instrument is our own self.

    Usually when we think of development or cultivation in any way, we think about some level of know-how or expertise. 'I must learn how to do this…'—and you could learn how to play music, or you could learn how to work with computers, or you could learn something else. But learning and development seems to be more concerned with doing, which is the outer part of the circle—and that seems to produce its own tangible results. If I get good at a certain job, there may be a certain kind of income. If I act in a way that is socially pleasing or astute, I may be well recognized and applauded by society. If I do certain things and make it known, that my increase my reputation, and it goes on down the line.

    In the path of yoga also, we have different aspects of our personality that must be developed. You have the physical aspects,… you have the breathing and vital aspects,… you have the mental aspects,… you have the heart, you have the intelligence and intellect, and you have all these. So it is important to develop all of these. But what is important is to develop the inner at the same time so the full circle is addressed. The outer is all of these; the inner, which you can actually call doing—the inner is associated with being—and often this gets neglected. So though we may have expertise either in doing asanas, or doing pranayama, or quoting scriptures, or impressing people with our scholarly knowledge, or ability to sing and chant in a very charming way, it may lack inner development. It may lack character, that is more than moral and ethical and socially pleasing or acceptable. It may lack pure goodness, or natural goodness; and if that is lost, the yoga element is lost.

    So we cultivate a few things, but these things are in the process of time. The body is in the process of time, this mind is in the process of time, this breathing is in the process of time, and the knowledge that I could accumulate of scriptures and learning—that is in the process of time. And the ability to sing in a certain way or chant or play music, or whatever—all of that is in the process of time.

    If all the effort that is made is in the realm of the finite, how is that going to help you at all? You may win an asana—nowadays they have asana contests, so you may win one of those; and you may be able to be a crowd pleaser in different ways, and you may be applauded and even called holy, but how does that help you if natural goodness hasn't started flowering in you?—if the inner being has not started changing and transforming rapidly?

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    So today we would like to talk a little bit about that—total development—which involves the outer as a way to develop the inner; and inner growth, being most important, gets the focus. The outer just happens, because it happens to be the channel, the avenue, or the vista of our development.

    Let us start right with the outer. Total development, or integral development, includes all areas of our personality or being. We have the physical areas; we have the vital areas of our breath; we have the intellect with its knowledge and understanding and things of that kind. We have the heart, and we have so many other parts of our personality—and all of these have to be developed. Often, in yoga or spiritual life—which are the same thing—people approach it with the same attitude they approach their normal life—wanting to do here what suits them best or their personality best. And I hear people saying, 'Well, I'm not much of a book person or a book- knowledge person. I'm all about heart, and I sit here and I just chant and I just do this,… or sing,… I'm a bhakta,… or I'm a devotee'; or, 'The devotee stuff is not for me, and I'm more a person of the mind; you see, I'm refined, and I take to reading and understanding these difficult texts and things like that. I think that's where it's at.' Or another person may come, 'Well, none of those suit me and I like to be doing and getting out there and actually doing things, and so I do asanas and pranayama and that's real stuff and you can see it because it's all about doing, isn't it?'

    So, our likes and dislikes enter our practice. That totally disallows the inner development to happen—matter of fact, not only does it thwart inner development, it brings about inner stagnation. Likes and dislikes are what needs to be guarded against, because that is where the obstructions and understanding lie.

    It is is recommended, therefore, to approach this in a wholistic manner. To be able to put equal attention on integral development, which is development of the entire being or all facets of our personality. You have the physical aspects of your personality: give that some importance; that is what the asanas and pranayamas will do. We get into some of these limbs of yoga a little bit later while closing.

    You've got the heart aspect of it; spend a little bit of time in prayer, in chanting, where the heart reaches to its larger counterpart or its infinite counterpart. It is love for the Absolute, love for the truth, in the truest sense. Then you've got love for understanding, but you're not understanding the scriptures, you're not studying the scriptures. Even the very word swadhyaya, which people often mistake for scriptural study, actually has two components: swa, which is myself, dhyaya, which means dhyanam: to be able to concentrate on myself. Through the scriptures, if you are not looking within, how is it going to help you? See, the scriptures are very much like a mirror: if I shave—and I shave every morning—I look in the mirror, but I shave

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    my own self, I don't shave the mirror. I'm not concerned with the hair in the mirror, the hair is on my face. And so, through the scriptures, if I am not able to examine myself,