Artist’s depiction of a man entering a maze, symbolizing the not-easily-navigated paths that we must traverse. Spiritual keys, such as those in this Insight, can guide us through life’s labyrinth. The micro photography on the following pages provide us an example of how something, even a deadly virus, can look entirely different and perhaps beautiful, as our perception and point of reference change. This is true of life’s problems.
• Burdened down by the past?
• Worried about the future?
• Having trouble meditating?
• Angry all the time?
• No time for spiritual practice?
• Experiencing uncontrollable fear?
• Can’t connect with God & the Gods?
• Discouraged by your karma?
• Can’t seem to get things done?
• Do you often ask, “Why me?”
• Feeling vulnerable to psychic forces?
• Not well? Wanting to be healthy?
• Wishing you were happier?
• Can’t tolerate certain people?
• Reacting all the time?
• In your final days of life?
• In conflict with your spouse?
• Can’t control the kids?
• Parents divorcing? Feeling bitter?
• Suffering under money problems?
• Sad that a loved one is dying?
Advice to help friends and family get through 21 common challenges of life
DRAWN FROM THE TEACHINGS OF SATGURU SIVAYA SUBRAMUNIYASWAMI
One of the terms my Gurudeva, Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, uses to describe Hindu practices is tools. In fact, on the European Innersearch in 2001 he stated, “I have given you all the tools, and it is up to you whether you use them or not.” What Gurudeva was stressing is that contained within his core teachings—in his trilogy of Dancing, Living and Merging with Siva—we have a complete collection of tools and techniques to help us progress on the spiritual path. These tools were unfolded by Gurudeva over his fifty-two years of ministry, which began in 1949. He emphasized that there is no need for more tools, more techniques—the important thing is to put into use the ones we already have and not fall into a continual search for new tools and techniques. Worry and unhappiness are two examples of everyday situations that can be solved by using one of Gurudeva’s tools. We know of individuals who worry more about the future because of rising global terrorism, economic uncertainty and climate change. Gurudeva’s remedy for worry is to ask the question, “Am I not all right, right now, right this instant?” And to then answer, “I’m all right, right now.” Keep asking and answering until you strongly feel positive, self-assured and secure. For relieving unhappiness, the time-tested tool is to make others happy. When we focus more on helping others, our happiness increases automatically.
There is not one among our readers who has not confronted most, if not all, of these topics, if not personally then through family, friends and associates. The counsel here is direct and simple, and thus lends itself to sharing with others who may be faced with life’s challenges. If you know someone who could use wise counsel, and out-of-the-box solutions to challenges, cut and paste the relevant tool and send it along to them with your blessings for a trouble-free life. Who knows, you may help someone get through a difficult passage and then have to endure the good karma of your efforts.
The source of this Educational Insight is Gurudeva’s Toolbox for a Spiritual Life, created by the monks of Kauai Aadheenam as the 2005 Mahasamadhi souvenir honoring his legacy of teachings. The entire unedited toolbox can be downloaded here: bit.ly/GurudevaToolbox. Those seeking his complete insights on any of these topics are encouraged to explore the Master Course Trilogy which is online here: bit.ly/MCTrilogy.
SATGURU BODHINATHA VEYLANSWAMI
Burdened by the past?
1 We must live in the now to follow the path to enlightenment. In the lower realms of the mind, where time and space seem very real, we are worried about the past or concerned about the future. These two intermingle and limit conscious awareness. Living in the past or the future obstructs us in this way: the past, by reliving old experiences—mainly the negative ones, for they are vividly remembered—clouds our vision of the future. Living in the future overactivates the intellect, the emotion and the desires. The future is little more than another form of mental fantasy. Past and future are equally unreal and a hindrance to spiritual unfoldment.
A person functioning in the now is in control of his own mind. He is naturally happier, more successful. He is performing every task with his fullest attention, and the rewards are to be seen equally in the quality of his work and the radiance of his face. He cannot be bored with anything he does, however simple or mundane. Everything is interesting, challenging, fulfilling. A person living fully in the now is a content person.
If we look at the past and we look at the future as both a series of dreams, and the only thing that we are concerned with is our immediate reactions and what we carry with us now, we see that the past is there to test us and the future is there to challenge us. We cannot change the past, but we can change how we react to what has happened to us in the past.
Let us not worry about the past ever again. Do not even think about the past. Face everything that comes up in the light of the present, not in the darkness of the past.
Image Don’t dwell on negative past happenings in thought or speech.
Lovingly seek resolution of past misdeeds.
Remember that all that happened to you, even the difficult things, is for a divine purpose and was created by you through the laws of karma.
Write down anything from your past that concerns you and burn the paper.
Worried about the future?
2 Gain the perspective first that it is a wonderful world, that there is nothing wrong in the world at all. Then ask yourself this question: “Am I not all right, right now, right this instant?” And answer, “I’m all right, right now.” Declare that. Then a minute later in another now ask again, “Am I all right, right now?” Just keep asking this one question for the rest of your life, and you will always feel positive, self-assured and fine. This attitude eliminates fear, worry and doubt. I started doing this at the age of seven, and still today I am convinced that I am all right, right now!
By realizing that you are all right this instant, that light of your soul has a chance to shine through the surrounding layers of the mind just a little, enough to calm your future. For your future is made in the present, in the eternal now. The mystic doesn’t go into the future and live emotionally experiences that may or may not happen to him. The mystic remains in the present, right now, using the catalog of the experiences of the past as a planning book for his future.
Every time you abide in the luxury of worry—and the luxury of worry is one luxury you cannot afford—say to yourself, “I’m all right, right now,” and forget about where you are going, forget about where you have been and just be where you are, where your physical body is, in its immediate surroundings. Be free from the past; abide in the present; detach yourself from the future; and live in the eternal now. It is our past that colors and conditions, actually creates, the future. We purge the past in the present, and we fashion the future in the present.
Image Make clear plans for a positive future. Write them down in detail. Review and update them each year.
Image Train yourself to live in the now, and when the mind drifts into worries about the future, bring it back to the moment.
If the mind starts to worry, say to yourself, “I’m all right, right now.” Keep affirming this, and worry will dissipate.
Having trouble meditating?
3 With the spine erect and head balanced at the top of the spine, we are positive, dynamic. Thoughts race through the mind substance, and we are aware of many, many thoughts. Therefore, the next step is to transmute the energies from the intellectual area of the mind so that we move our awareness into an area of the mind which does not think but conceives, looks at the thinking area.
The force of the intellectual area of the mind is controlled and transmuted through the power of a regulated breath. A beginning pranayama is a method of breathing nine counts as we inhale, holding one; nine counts as we exhale, holding one count. This will quickly allow you to become aware of an area of the mind that does not think but is intensely alive, peaceful, blissful, conceives the totality of a concept rather than thinking out the various parts. …Sushumna, the power of the spine, is felt dynamically, and we are then ready to begin meditation. Meditate on awareness as an individual entity flowing through all areas of the mind, as the free citizen of the world travels through each country, each city, not attaching himself anywhere.
When we first start trying to meditate, awareness is flowing through many areas of the mind. It’s like a little ping-pong ball, bouncing around. We must call upon our willpower and learn to hold awareness at attention, focused upon only one thing. We must realize that meditation is the disciplined art of tuning into the deepest and most subtle spiritual energies. It’s not a fad. It’s not a novelty. It’s not something you do because your next-door neighbor does. It is sacred, the most sacred thing you can do on this planet, and it must be approached with great depth and sincerity.
Image Sit up straight, stand up straight, never slump or hold your head down.
Practice simple pranayama, breath control, to harness the mind’s forces.
Eat pure and fresh foods, avoiding processed products.
Bathe before your daily meditation session, which ideally is in the hours before dawn.
Angry all the time?
4 Anger, I have observed, is the most difficult fault for people to overcome, because it comes in so many different forms: pouting, long silences, shouting, yelling, swearing and more. Those who remain prone to anger should not do raja yoga or any form of intensive mantra, japa, or pranayama amplification of the energies into higher chakras—lest that collective energy plummet into the corresponding lower chakras and be vented through fear, anger and jealousy. My satguru instructed, “Do good to all. God is there within you. Don’t kill. Don’t harbor anger.”
There are eight rungs of anger on the “violence ladder:” 1) sneaky anger; 2) the cold shoulder; 3) blaming and shaming; 4) swearing, screaming and yelling; 5)˛demands and threats; 6) chasing and holding; 7) partly controlled violence, and 8) blind rage. Some people are just angry all the time because they live in the lower nature, constantly engaged in mental criticism and arguments.
Anger makes a person cunning in his thinking, and of course the predominant underlying quality of anger is fear. He is always afraid of something. It is generally something that may happen or is going to happen. He is always in conflict with someone. These are the motivating forces of the conscious mind: anger and fear. Most people live in the conscious mind unconsciously.
Anger can eventually be controlled by putting a sum of money—five dollars, for example—in a jar each time one becomes angry and then donating that money to an orphanage. It soon gets too expensive to get angry. However, for devotees who are wealthy, that doesn’t work. For them, I’ve found the penance of fasting for the next meal after they get angry works.
Image Put $5 in a jar each time you get angry, giving it to a charity when the jar is full.
Image If anger arises, skip the next meal to impress your mind.
Image For 31 days in a row, place a flower in front of a photo of someone who hurt or abused you, forgiving them.
Seek penance from your satguru for deep-seated resentments and sufferings that keep anger alive in your nervous system.
No time for spiritual practice?
5 Often seekers who become associated with Hindu sadhana (spiritual effort) go to extremes and proceed with great vigor in an effort to attain results immediately. Sitting two or three hours a day, they wear themselves out and then stop. Here’s a formula for beginners: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, twenty minutes to a half an hour of sadhana at the same time every day; Saturday and Sunday, no sadhana.
Generally people start meditating and do fairly well in the beginning, for their great desire to unfold spiritually propels them within themselves. But when the subconscious mind begins to upheave its layers—as it naturally must for the unfoldment process to continue beyond an elementary stage—meditators become afraid to look at the subconscious patterns of their seemingly not-so-perfect past. To avoid facing themselves, they stop meditating, and the subconscious subsides. The once-meditating seeker returns more fully to the conscious mind and becomes distracted again in order to forget “all those terrible things.” At the time, the remembered past seemed to be terrible because the impressions were strong, magnified by sensitivities awakened through meditation.
For many years thereafter the one-time meditator can be heard to say, “I’d like to meditate, and I do sometimes, but I don’t have time, really, to meditate.” What he is actually saying is, “Most of my time is used up distracting myself so that I won’t have to meditate anymore and won’t have to face my bothersome subconscious. On the path to enlightenment, you have to face everything that has gone into the subconscious, not only in this life, but what has been registered in past lives.
Image Find a time each day that works for you, and faithfully perform your spiritual exercises at that same time. Good daily habits are a powerful force.
Don’t be extreme in your striving. Steady progress is the goal. Expect the process to take years, not months.
Cultivate friends who support your spiritual goals and share satsang with them regularly.
Experiencing uncontrollable fear?
6 What’s the biggest barrier? Fear. Afraid of our secret thoughts, afraid of our secret feelings. What’s the biggest escape from fear? Go to the center, where energy exists, the energy that moves the life through the body. The simplest way is move your spine back and forth. Feel the power that moves that spine back and forth. Feel that energy going out through the physical body. Open your eyes and look at the world again, and you will see it bright and shiny. You’re two-thirds in and one-third out in awareness. You’re balanced. “Be renewed by a change of your mind.” Be renewed by releasing awareness from one area of the vast universe of the mind, drawing it back into its source and releasing it again, sending it to another of the vast areas of the mind. Through experience we mature out of fear into fearlessness, out of anger into love, out of conflict into peace, out of darkness into light and union in God. Don’t be afraid of experience, and don’t be afraid to go through your karma. Go through it with courage.
In Saivism we become strong, we become fearless, through our worship of Siva. Members of the Saiva Samayam, the Saivite religion, do not fear death, for they know about rebirth. Members of the Saiva Samayam do not fear an eternal hell; there is no eternal hell. Members of the Saiva Samayam do not fear their ministers, their priests, swamis or gurus. Members of the Saiva Samayam do not fear God. The lack of fear, therefore, makes you strong. Those who fear God anger easily. They fear their elders. They fear their government. They fear impending disaster, and they fear disease. God is just one item on the long list of things that they fear. They are not on the path of spiritual unfoldment. Only when someone begins to love God is he on the path of spiritual unfoldment.
Image Flood your aura with love and light whenever fear is present.
Overcome fear of death by convincing yourself you are an immortal soul.
Affirm: “I am not my body, mind or emotions. They are but shells of the infinite energy that flows through them all. I am this energy. I am its source.”
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Computer memory chip
Can’t connect with God & the Gods?
7. On this Earth plane the Gods have a special home, and that is the holy temple. It is in the sanctified temple, where regular and proper puja is being performed in a pure way, that the Gods most easily manifest. You can go to a Hindu temple with your mind filled up with worries, you can be in a state of jealousy and anger, and leave the temple wondering what you were disturbed about, completely free from the mental burdens and feeling secure. So great are the divine psychiatrists, the Gods of our religion, who live in the Third World, who come from the Third World to this world where our priests perform the pujas and invoke their presence over the stone image. …The Deities do come in their subtle bodies of light. They hover in and above the stone image and bless the people. If you are psychic and your third eye is open, you can see the God there and have His personal darßana.
In the beginning stages of worship, a Hindu soul may have to wrestle with disbelief in the Gods. He may wonder whether they really exist, especially if his own intuition is obscured by assimilation of Western, existentialist beliefs and attitudes. Yet, he senses their existence, and this sensing brings him back to the temple. He is looking for proof, immersed in the process of coming to know the Gods for himself. He is heartened and assured by hundreds of saints and rishis who have fathomed and found close and enduring relationships with the Gods, and who then extolled their greatness in pages of scripture and chronicle. If you want to get acquainted with the Gods, first get to know Lord Ganesha. Take a picture and look at it. Put a picture of Lord Ganesha in your car or in your kitchen. Get acquainted through sight. Then come to know Him through sound by chanting His names and hymns. … Religion is the connection between the three worlds, and temple worship is how you can get your personal connection with the inner worlds.
Image Create a shrine in your home and make simple offerings to God each day.
Practice seeing God’s light and energy all around you, shining out from the eyes of everyone you meet.
Discouraged by your karma?
8. The wise never blame God, for they know misfortune to be the return of man’s self-created karmas, difficult but necessary experiences for his spiritual evolution. Whenever we are injured or hurt, we understand that our suffering is but the fulfillment of a karma we once initiated, for which our injurer is but the instrument who, when his karma cycles around, will be the injured. If you take responsibility for all that happens to you, then you will have the power to deal with your karma through the grace of Lord Siva. He will give you the intelligence to deal with it as you worship Him in the Siva temple, contact Him within as the Life of your life and find Him in meditation. … The sages say, “Bear your karma cheerfully.” Each time you blame another person for what has happened to you, or cast blame in any way, tell yourself, “This is my karma which I was born to face. I did not come into a physical body just to blame others for what happens to me. I was not born to live in a state of ignorance created by an inability to face my karma. I came here to spiritually unfold, to accept the karmas of this and all my past lives and to deal with them and handle them in a proper and a wonderful way.” Then a sense of strength will come up within you, a sense of independence and peace. Mental arguments will stop. Arrogance will vanish.… The best attitude to hold when you first recognize the existence of karma is to realize that, true, it is a joy or a burden, and to stand straight, carrying that joy or that burden well balanced, seeking at all times not to add to it. Carry your karma cheerfully. Then begin the tedious task of unwinding these multitudinous patterns through performing daily sadhana.
Image Accept all your experiences, good and otherwise, as the result of your own karmas in this and past lives.
Avoid blaming others and instead take responsibility for all that happens to you.
Express gratitude for all that you have in life. Be thankful for the simple blessings that fill each day.
Can’t seem to get things done?
9 When the subconscious mind becomes overloaded in recording all that goes into it from the conscious mind, we experience frustration, anxiety, nervousness, insecurity and neuroses. These are some of the subconscious ailments that are so widespread in the world today.
There comes a time in man’s life when he has to put an end to it all. He sits down. He begins to breathe, to ponder and be aware of only one pleasant thing. As he does this, he becomes dynamic and his will becomes strong. As his breath becomes more and more regulated, his body becomes quiet and the one great faculty of the soul becomes predominant—observation, the first faculty of the unfoldment of the soul.
Everyone has willpower. It is inherent to the makeup of the physical-astral-mental-emotional body. The center of willpower is the manipura chakra, located at the solar plexus. Unlike other energies, the more willpower we use, the more willpower we have to use. Actually, by exerting our willpower, we store up new energy within the manipura chakra. This happens when we work a little harder than we think we can, do a little more than we think we can do. By putting forth that extra effort, we build up a great willpower that we will always have with us, even in our next life, the next and the next. Willpower is free for the using, actually.
Therefore, the more you use your individual willpower in your religious service, in your business life, your personal life, your home life, your temple life, in fulfilling all the yamas and niyamas, the more willpower you have. It is an accumulative, ever-growing bank account.
Image Teach yourself to complete each task you begin, no matter how simple.
Image At the end of each day, just before sleep, close your eyes and go through all the events of the day, one by one.
Do each small task you undertake well, better than expected. Do this regularly for a few months or a few years and you will add to your bank account of confidence and decisiveness.
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Do you often ask, “Why me?”
10 Do you often ask: “Why should this happen to me?” “What did I do to deserve this?” The experience was created and born of your own strength. Any lesser experience would have meant little better than nothing to you because no lesson would have been derived from it.… Each experience that we have is a good experience, because it molds us. It shapes us, just like an artist would mold a piece of clay. From an ugly hunk of clay can emerge a divine being, molded by the artist. In that same way, the experiences of life, even those that boomerang back on us and those we think are terrible, mold us. But they only mold us quickly and benefit us tremendously if we hold our perspective as the inner man, the timeless man, the immortal being. Only in this way can this happen. That’s the attitude, the thoughts we must have, as we go along on the path of enlightenment.…
There is a divine purpose even in the existence of suffering in the world. Suffering cannot be totally avoided. It is a natural part of human life and the impetus for much spiritual growth for the soul. Knowing this, the wise accept suffering from any source, be it hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, famine, wars, disease or inexplicable tragedies. Just as the intense fire of the furnace purifies gold, so does suffering purify the soul to resplendence. So also does suffering offer us the important realization that true happiness and freedom cannot be found in the world, for earthly joy is inextricably bound to sorrow, and worldly freedom to bondage. Having learned this, devotees seek a satguru who teaches them to understand suffering, and brings them into the intentional hardships of sadhana and tapas leading to liberation from the cycles of experience in the realm of duality.
Image Trust what the sages say, that every experience has a useful purpose and will enhance your life in the course of time.
You cannot always control what happens to you, but you can control your reactions.
When bad things happen, turn them around by responding with positive intelligence and creativity.
Work to strengthen your powers of acceptance.
Feeling vulnerable to psychic forces?
11 The auric circle is an energy shell around the aura itself. It acts as a shelter or shield against all forms of psychic influences directed consciously or unconsciously against the individual. Unlike charging the aura with pranic energy through breathing, the auric circle is quickly and easily formed by making a mental image of an egg completely surrounding your aura. The shell should be visualized as a great oval of translucent white light with an opening at the top the size of your head. It is egg-shaped or oval because it fringes the aura as the shell encases an egg. It should be visualized about three to four feet in depth at the widest point, tapering to about two feet at the head and feet. Once you have built up the protective shell around your aura, then it needs only to be renewed from time to time. You can easily do so by extending both arms out in front of you, waist high. Then press the palms of your hands together and visualize energy flowing from your solar plexus into your hands. Once the flow of prana is established, slowly part your hands while feeling the prana emanating from your fingertips. This prana remains in the outer shell of your aura. Move your arms out to the side and then completely around to the back of your body until the fingers and palms touch again. All the time you are doing this, keep sending the prana out into the shell of your aura from your fingertips. In short, this protective, translucent white shell is a spiritual shield which filters out those influences which would be harmful or upsetting to you. Before beginning your prayers or meditations, you should always strengthen this protective shield.
Image Keep your home and clothing fresh and clean.
Avoid lower astral places, entertainments and games.
Chant “Aum” softly or silently when you feel vulnerable to astral influences or entities.
Listen to the mystical inner sound, the high-eee, to strengthen your psychic protection.
Not well? Wanting to be healthy?
12 Many wonder about physical pain, how to keep reminded that we are a spiritual being when we have a period of our life going through physical pain, illness and unhappiness. Well, we must remember one basic thing. We are not our physical body, not our emotions, not our minds nor our intellect. We are the beautiful soul that is shrouded by external mind, or covered up by emotions. We live in a physical body, live in an astral body. The real you is living inside, whatever your physical body is going through, whatever the emotions you are going through or whatever your intellect is dealing with.
Siva’s devotees know wellness is balance. If the imbalance called illness occurs, they apply self-healing, then resort as needed to such arts as ayurveda, acupuncture, chiropractic, allopathy, pranic healing or massage. Siva’s devotees do not indulge in inordinate concerns about food, undue physical worries or extensive personal health studies other than ayurveda. They avoid extreme diets, except under medical supervision.
According to ayurveda, not eating too much is the greatest thing you can do for health if you want a long life, ease in meditation and a balanced, happy mind. That is why, for thousands of years, yogis, sadhus and meditators have eaten moderately. There is almost nothing, apart from smoking and drugs, that hurts the body more than excessive eating, and excessive eating has to be defined in both the amount of food and the quality of food. If you are regularly eating rich, processed, dead foods, then you are not following mitahara, which is moderateness in appetites.
Don’t dwell on physical ailments overmuch. Most resolve themselves naturally.
Follow an ayurvedic diet and lifestyle.
Exercise daily, even if it is only short walks in the neighborhood or garden.
Learn ways of self-healing and apply them promptly, striving to not let illnesses become chronic.
Wishing you were happier?
13 Look in the mirror. You have created your face through your many thoughts that have accumulated through this lifetime. Ask yourself, “Am I happy, or am I looking for others to make me happy?” Allow yourself to be kind; allow yourself to express the qualities, the beautiful qualities, of your soul. Your happiness then will come from within yourself, along with a deep contentment and inner peace and joy. Only a moment of thinking kindly about someone, and making a plan that will enable you to help your fellow man, even just a little bit, will awaken from your soul that deep, inner satisfaction, that depth of security you are really seeking. On the other hand, if you allow your mind to dwell in the realm of critical thinking, in the realm of gossiping, without the thought of helping others, you will feel insecure, unhappy. Nothing that could happen will bring you an inner satisfaction. You will be constantly desirous of acquiring, and that which you do acquire will not be satisfying to you. Why? Because there will be no love in your heart. If you find yourself in that state of mind, turn the energies around and find the quietness within you through being kind, being generous, being helpful. The doing brings its own reward. Only in the accomplishment of being big enough to understand the experiences of life that others go through, being tall enough to overlook the many, many things that you could take issue with and perhaps retaliate for, only in acquiring that depth which comes from your soul, can you truly find inner happiness and peace. Go out into the world this week and let your light shine through your kind thoughts, but let each thought manifest itself in a physical deed of doing something for someone else. Lift their burdens just a little bit and, unknowingly perhaps, you may lift something that is burdening your mind.
Image Express appreciation for others, be specific, tell them why you value them.
Look around you. Find people who need help and help them, even in little ways.
Actively seek the company of friends when you are sad or feel alienated.
Can’t tolerate certain people?
14 Things that you cannot face in yourself you will hate when you see them in someone else. To counteract this, your universal love, the platform for Self Realization, must be awakened into the emotions of the instinctive mind and filter out into the conscious mind. So, as you are meditating and the various aspects of your subconscious come up, face them positively, reprogram them beautifully, and they will settle back into simply a memory pattern, resolved and incapable of disturbing you again. If you see something in someone else you do not like and it is affecting you emotionally, sit down and face it within your own subconscious mind. The sore spot is located there. If you feel someone is doing something that you do not think he should be doing, and this really gets on your nerves, just know that under the right circumstances you may do the same thing, because the tendency to react to it is there in your subconscious. Get into yourself and reprogram that area of your subconscious with good, positive affirmations. Firm up your lifestyle, be more strict with yourself, use your willpower and think positively. Do not allow a weak link in a chain of habit patterns to bar your spiritual unfoldment even for a moment. Sometimes we detect the weak link in our own chain by looking into the lives of other people. For the meditating person, there should not be a single human being whose actions, habits, opinions or conduct lies beyond your ability to love and understand. …With understanding, a great thing happens—your life becomes even, balanced and sublime. The ups and downs within yourself level out, and you find yourself the same in every circumstance, find yourself big enough to overcome and small enough to understand.
Look at your own faults and work to improve them rather than focusing on the faults of others.
Cultivate patience, accepting people for who they are.
If you see something in someone else you do not like and it is affecting you emotionally, sit down and face it within your own subconscious mind. The sore spot is located there.
Reacting all the time?
15 Many people live in a constant state of overlapping reactions. They try to find peace of mind on the outside, externally. Reactions are caused by what we have placed in the subconscious mind that we have not fully understood. Reactions are packed away in the subconscious mind, influencing our everyday life, attracting our successes and failures to us. If you do not understand your reaction to something, wait until it subsides emotionally, so you will not be upset, then try to understand it by writing about it in a quiet moment. Then burn the paper in an inauspicious fire, such as in a garbage can. This vasana daha tantric process releases or detaches the emotion from the memory. This means that the memory of the experience no longer harbors the emotion that was previously attached to it and vibrating twenty-four hours a day. You will still have the memory, but without a reaction or emotional charge attached to it. Sit down and think. Look at your life. Look at the tendencies within your nature which created your habit patterns and which formed your subconscious mind and gave it the foundation for many more of the same old situations. The tendencies will be greater in each succeeding situation unless you apply the brakes of understanding. If you sit down and realize the law of cause and effect and live according to the basic laws of life, you will overcome the reactions within you. You will be able to overcome old reactions by understanding them. Discriminate as to each move you make, each word you say, and decide whether there will be a reaction. If you can see ahead that you will not react, proceed. Dictate to yourself, face yourself, face your mistakes and don’t make them again.
Take a moment to reflect on the negative impact of reactions in your life and resolve to minimize them.
Watch the mind think. In this way you will be detached enough to control your reactions.
When reactions do come, control the breath, for awareness rides on the breath.
In your final days of life?
16 Death, like birth, has been repeated so many times that it is no mystery to the soul. The only problem comes with conflicting beliefs, which produce fear and anxiety about death. This temporary ignorance soon subsides when the failing forces of the physical body reach a certain level. At this point, the superconscious intelligence, the soul itself, is there. We can compare this to restless sleep and deep sleep.
When one knows he is going to depart the physical body, he should first let everybody know that he knows and give relatives security by explaining to them that soon they won’t be seeing him in a physical body anymore.… After everything is settled, all personal possessions disposed of, then he begins meditation and awaits the fruitful hour, trying to exit through the highest chakra of the attainment of this life. Each chakra is a door through which we can depart. The dying should always remember that the place where one will reincarnate is the place that he is thinking about prior to death. So, choose your desires wisely. The last thoughts just before death are the most powerful thoughts in creating the next life. One must also realize that if he and others are aware that he will soon depart, others in the inner worlds also realize he will soon be making his transition and are busy making adjustments and preparations for his arrival.
In preparation for death, one can soften the karmas of future births by making amends with others, settling scores, doing everything to tie up loose ends, seeking the forgiveness of those harmed, to get the mental-emotional matters of this life all worked out.
Tell loved ones you will soon be passing on; make amends and seek forgiveness.
Be the executor of your own will; divest yourself of all belongings, wealth and property.
If in a hospital, return home to make your transition in a peaceful place among loved ones.
Meditate, perform japa and sing religious songs.
In conflict with your spouse?
17 Within each family, the man is predominantly in the pingala force. The woman is predominantly in the ida force. Should the woman become aggressively intellectual and the man become passively physical, then forces in the home are disturbed. The two bicker and argue. Couples never get married with the intent of breaking up. Never. The pranic forces do it. You put two magnets together one way and they attract one another. Turn one around, and they repel each other. The same force that brought the people together, when it is not handled right, makes them pull apart and hate each other. They can’t see eye to eye. Then to make up, they go out to dinner to talk it over—in another frustrating, asuric situation, as far out in the world as they can get—to try to make up. When that doesn’t help, they come home still frustrated. If they went to the nearby temple and worshiped the family Deity together, that would help. They would return home in a different state of mind and discover that their vibration had changed. Why does it help to go to the temple? Because the God is in the temple, the Deity is there to adjust the forces of the inner nerve system, to actually change the forces of mind and emotion.
If a disharmonious situation comes up between husband and wife, they must resolve it before they go to bed, even if they must stay up all night into the light of day. Sleep puts the problem to rest over a period of two or three nights, and it will eventually fade into the memory patterns of forgetfulness over a longer period of time. Having sex does not solve the problem.… Sex and sleep are not solutions to marital disputes.
Allow your spouse to experience life’s natural ups and downs without criticizing him or her.
When disharmony occurs, settle the matter before going to sleep.
Go to the temple, ideally together, so the Deity’s grace may calm your nerve systems and awaken understanding.
Can’t control the kids?
18 There is an old saying: “If you can’t beat them, join them,” and this is wise in certain respects. We are thinking of the young adults who will not follow the traditional family patterns of their well-raised Hindu parents. Admittedly, they can be made to fear their parents and be forced to obey for a time. The problem with such an approach is that it usually ends up with the sons or daughters losing respect for them and leaving home as soon as they are able. Often parents take the authoritarian approach, not realizing there are alternatives, well-proven techniques of a more positive discipline. In actual practice, it is more useful to work with children little by little as they grow and mature.
My advice to parents has always been to stay close to their children, but at the same time give them some space to grow and mature in today’s world. Today’s world is not all that bad. But children must be taught how to live in it—what to be wary of, whom to trust, whom to befriend and marry, how to proceed in business, social life, education, career upscaling, religious life and on into the raising of their own family. So, keep the communication lines open.
True, today’s world has its challenges, its temptations and definite drawbacks, but it is today’s world and the world of tomorrow. We can’t ignore that fact. So, be wise and pass your deeply profound Hindu culture and wisdom along to the children so they can make proper decisions for themselves. This is what they will do anyway, make their own decisions, so they might as well be trained early on how to do it right. Who better to teach them this than their own parents?
Accept that they were born to fulfill their karmas, not yours, and be OK with their choices, even when they differ from your own.
Never govern youth through fear. Never spank, threaten or hit them, nor use harsh words, neglect or abuse them.
Be firm but kind. Children respond well to correction, discipline, talking and being treated like the intelligent beings that they are.
Parents divorcing? Feeling bitter?
19 It’s not easy experiencing the separation and divorce of one’s mom and dad, at any age—six, sixteen or thirty-one. There is a feeling of emptiness; something is lost, never to be regained. The feelings and thoughts of blame grow, they do not diminish, as the years go by. But look at it this way. Any marriage, yours maybe, needs a loving, strong support group that wants to help the young couple, or the older couple, work out their problems rather than avoid them through separation and finally divorce.…Don’t blame your mother and father. If blame is to be cast, blame all those people that surrounded your family who were not alert enough, good souls that they may be, to help diffuse the tension between your parents. Obviously, the support group has failed their marriage. You must admit that failure, lest it drag you down to its own depth. Be part of the solution. Don’t perpetuate the problem. Don’t make them feel guilty. For your own peace of mind, transfer the blame, the hurt feelings, the pain and resentment over to the relatives, the community and national value system. Become an agent of goodwill. Have kind words to say about dad to mom and kind words to say about mom to dad. Resist the impulse to criticize one to the other and cause an even greater separation within the family. They are not to blame. Society is. If you take sides, you are creating bad karma, kukarma, for yourself, to be faced later. So treat each one the same. Don’t make deals, don’t deceive them or keep secrets from them, lest you psychically alienate yourself from the home. Maybe, just maybe, you can help them to understand and reconcile their differences if you follow this advice. You, their child, may be their very best hope.
Love your mother and your father. Keep them as one in your mind. Don’t separate them in your mind. Don’t take sides.
Know that you, their child, are potentially the most effective marriage counselor and the family’s binding force.
Rise above the accepted standards of the nonculture of today, which advise divorce to solve marital problems.
Suffering under money problems?
20 I was asked, “Is borrowing money to finance one’s business in accord with the yama of nonstealing?” There are several kinds of debt that are disallowed by this yama. One is spending beyond your means and accumulating bills you can’t pay. We are reminded of Tirukural verse 478, which says that the way to avoid poverty is to spend within your means: “A small income is no cause for failure, provided expenditures do not exceed it.” Entering into debt is a modern convenience and a modern temptation. But this convenience must be honored within the time allotted. If you need some material possession, and if it will do only good for yourself, your family and your friends, use the power of affirmation and see how quickly your need is manifested through one external channel or another.… Then practice this affirmation: “I will always have sufficient money to meet all my needs.” Repeat it once. Now stop affirming. Remain quiet, know, visualize and then feel how it is to be open to a sufficient flow of money to meet your every need. Get that feeling! It is a secure feeling, not a flamboyant, reckless feeling, not a feeling that now you can go out and have a good time. No, this is a quiet, secure feeling, born of being in a judicious state of mind. … Now resolve to hold yourself open to ways and means by which you will have money to meet your every need for yourself and for your family. Be open to ways in which you can better budget the money you now have. Today you will begin handling the funds you have more judiciously, and soon you will begin attracting abundance from unexpected creative sources. Be open to new ideas, new people, new opportunities, expectant and ready to handle the wealth you have proclaimed as yours.
Treat all your money as God’s money and be a wise steward of it. In doing this, you acknowledge that everything, all of life’s bounty and abundance, comes from God.
Find ways to be frugal. Spending less is easier than earning more.
Live by the adage, “Waste not, want not.”
Sad that a loved one is dying?
21 If a person knows he is terminally ill, that knowledge is a blessing, for he can prepare. He should not hesitate to tell his relatives he is going to die, and that is a wonderful blessing for them, as they can prepare for his great departure. Now all know he has finally arrived at the end of his prarabdha karmas and is going to fly. In turn, family and friends should release him, be happy—he is going to be happy with no physical body—for they know they will be as close to him in his astral and soul body as they were in his physical body. They will visit him every night when they sleep, in the inner worlds, and learn many things from him as to how to prepare for their own great departure, be it sudden or prolonged. Don’t cry; you will make him unhappy. You should be happy for him, because he is going to be happy. It is not a sad occasion. For Hindus, death is a most exalted state, an incredible moment that you spend your whole life preparing for. Birth is the unhappy occasion. Death should be a big party. … The sadness at death comes from Western attitudes. Western thought has to be reversed. Here a child comes into birth. It is sad, because he was all right before he was born. Now his prarabdha karmas are going to start to explode. He has to deal with his past, which he did not have to deal with in the Devaloka. He has a chance to make new karmas. The time of birth is the grave time. When he dies, that means that section of the jyotisha is finished and he can go and have a great rest and be with intelligent people. It is great inside there and difficult out here.
Be open and prepared to talk and make amends, forgive old tensions and conflicts, tie up loose ends, thus helping the person feel complete and free to release this world joyfully.
Spend time with the dying person, singing religious songs and reading from scripture. Be a loving witness to their passage.
When someone dies, take an attitude of joy based on your knowledge of the law of karma and samsara.