The law governing life is unfoldment. Man can acquire inner enlightenment, and satisfy his mind forever, by knowing the supreme Spirit within him, his own Self. There are three ways by which the Self may be known:—the way of action, called Karma Yoga; the way of devotion, called Bkakti Yoga; and the way of knowledge, called Jnana Yoga. Adhyatma Yoga is a synthesis of these three paths.
On the path of Karma Yoga you have to follow a discipline, banish from your heart race hatred, social distinctions and excessive love for worldly objects, and then tranquillize the mind by the time-honoured meditations.
Life must be lived, you cannot afford to let life live you. You have to perform those actions which will render your mind fit for God-vision, and avoid those which draw you away from it.
God-vision means to come within the orbit of the light of Truth or Reality. Light is hot partial, God does not punish, man punishes himself by running away from the Light, through prejudice, ignorance, attachment, anger and want of devotion.
Man’s spiritual purpose is to expand his intellect by proper study, his heart by excluding no one from his sympathy, and then, through mystic and spiritual means, to realise that great Whole, of which he is a part.
Some say: “ I have meditated so long, and have got nothing out of it.” Yet the truth when lived, does yield the desired fruit—peace within and peace without.
Peace does not simply mean—not to be bothered—it is not dependent on propitious circumstances, but on a consciously achieved and harmonious attitude of mind. The Japanese Samurai used to perform the tea ceremony in the thick of the battle, with arrows raining all round.
Self-relaxation in the midst of stress is essential, our emotions must not overpower us. If we devote the inner functions of the mind to outer objects, we weaken its constitution. It has another and more important function, which is its ability to rise from the outer to the inner world, and from the inner to the spiritual world, which is immortal, imperishable and pregnant with bliss* When however the mind desires to burst its fetters, the old instincts assert themselves, in the form of excuses: “ I have tried and have failed.” “ It is born in me.” “ I am not fitted for this.” Brush them aside, get rid of them by that faith without which you cannot even post a letter !
Do we ever pause to think whether our energy is economically and wisely spent ? An element which no money can buy is discharged through our mind when we think and feel, and through our five senses, when we allow them to function. If we indulge in passionate living, in lust, anger, avarice, if we hate anyone, we make a wrong use of our mental energy, and if we go on doing so, we become vitally bankrupt.
Man is not an isolated, individual being. He is connected and interconnected with every being that lives; his joys and sorrows depend on, and affect, countless beings. If a man thinks: “ I am I, and others are others, what have I to do with them ? ” his fall has begun, physically, mentally and spiritually. Let us cultivate our minds in such a way that nobody is a stranger to us, and add to the freedom and well-being of all.
Why is it necessary to control the mind ? In the mind there are two forces: darkness (nescience, ignorance), and light (truth).
The force of light destroys darkness. What is this darkness in the mind ? The sense of personality—“ I am-ness ”,—desire and aversion.
The less importance you give to your personality, the nearer you are to peace, and when you have no aversion, and no enslaving desire for anything or anybody, your mind will cease to be distracted.
Ignorance is destroyed by knowledge; knowledge is of the nature of the Spirit, and it is only to be obtained by control of the mind. By eliminating desire and aversion, curbing the sense of personality, and by saturating the mind with the divine truth, we create conditions which allow the mind to return to its own nature, and this is the only object of mind control.
To “ saturate the mind with the divine truth ” means: to study the Scriptures, to listen with deep faith to the words of wisdom of those who know, and then to train the will to do what is right. By saturating the intellect with spiritual learning, not only will you know what is right, but you will do what is right. Your will is a most important element in your being, it is the motor power of your mind. Without will, intellect is powerless and the desire to create beauty in life will not succeed, therefore discipline and train your will.
Here are a few practical suggestions to enable you to obtain control of your mind and will :—
- Live according to a plan. In the morning before starting the day’s work, sit in a comfortable yet controlled posture, on the floor, or if necessary on a chair. Shut your eyes and tell yourself that you will not open them for ten minutes. Then in a mood of reverence and relaxation (for tension is the enemy of life), silently repeat a name of God—Om, Jesus—or any other name that appeals to you.
- Take a spiritual classic and say: “ I will read a few verses over fifteen times, thinking on their meaning, and whatever happens I will not listen to my mind, if it wishes to wander.”
- Send out rays of love from your heart to cover the whole world. If you cannot imagine this, say: “ My heart is radiating love, which is filling the whole world.”
- Forgive anyone against whom you may have, what is called a “ reasonable grievance.”
Lastly, practise during the day a simple discipline which you impose on yourself, and try to belong to a spiritual community