Visualize within yourself a lotus. Have you ever seen a lotus flower? I am sure you have. Now visualize this lotus flower centered right within the center of your chest, right within your heart. You have read in the Hindu scriptures that the Self God dwells in the lotus within the heart. Let’s think about that. We all know what the heart is, and we know what happens when the heart stops. Try to mentally feel and see the heart as a lotus flower right within you. Within the center of the lotus, try to see a small light. Doubtless you have read in the Hindu scriptures that the Self God within the heart looks like a brilliant light about the size of your thumb–just a small light. This light we shall call an emanation of your effulgent being. We could also call it your atomic power, the power that motivates, permeates, makes the mind self-luminous. It is dwelling right within. The Self God is deeper than that. The lotus is within the heart, and the Self God dwells deep within that lotus of light.

The subconscious area of the mind consumes many different things. Begin now to think about all the things that you own in your home and all of your personal possessions. The subconscious area of the mind is attached magnetically to each of them. They not only exist in the external world, they also exist, quite alive, within the subconscious area of your mind, along with all the ramifications connected to them. Each item that you own has a story attached to it which, of course, you remember. This story, too, dwells within the subconscious mind and is carried along with you all of the time.

But it is easy to rid yourself of the attachments to material things by going within, once you know how. The light which emanates from the lotus of the heart knows nothing about what the subconscious area of the mind consumes, because the total area of the mind in which we are aware is a composite of many things.

Everyone who functions in external and inner life lives in a slightly different area of the mind and consumes within his conscious and subconscious areas many thousands of concepts. No person is exactly the same as another in this respect. The Self within knows nothing of this, because it exists of itself. Wherever awareness flows through the totality of the mind, the Self is always the same. When individual awareness turns inward, it is possible to contact the light radiations within the lotus of the heart; it then is possible to fully realize Satchidananda. It is useless to think about the Self, because it does not exist in the area of the mind where thoughts are. If you were to think about it, you would only become aware of concepts within the mind, and that would take you away from it. It is also useless to talk about the Self, really, in your efforts to realize it, because when you do, again you take awareness deep into the conceptual area of the mind, which is further away from your real, self-effulgent being.

The first step is to try to feel the subtlety within you. The light within the lotus of the heart comes from someplace, doesn’t it? Let us think about it in this way. Each time you take a breath, you bring yourself a little closer, you turn yourself within just a little bit more and release a little bit of actinic energy emanating from the self-effulgent being residing within your heart. This energy is called life. We say, “This is my life.” If you stop breathing, the life in your body stops. We have to use willpower to control the breath. When we do control the breath, we begin to have an immense control, and awareness begins to become detached from that which it is aware of. This means that we’re consciously conscious of what we are aware of, that we are aware. We control our individual awareness more than we realize when we practice the regulation and control of breath. For instance, as we breathe, pranayama, in on nine counts, hold one, out on nine counts, hold one, we find that we begin to become more alert, more alive. Our awareness is more subtle and refined.

The emanation of the light that wells from within the lotus of the heart is always there, regardless of what you do. You may not be aware of the existence of it, but it does exist. You may not care to realize it, but it still exists. When man does not wish to look for the Self God, it is only because his awareness is busy in other areas of the mind, concerned with desires, and he is on the road to fulfill them. The fulfillment of desires causes reactionary conditions within the subconscious mind itself and clouds vision. This causes what is known as the darkness of the mind. When man wishes and desires to find his true Self, his external desires fall in line with basic religious codes for living, and he then is on the path. He is able to realize the essence of each desire on the path of enlightenment, and is able to sense Reality within himself.

A beautiful practice is to try to sit quietly, visualizing within the lotus within the heart a light, a strong light emanating clearly, a light that is always there. This light is radiating at a higher vibration than any form with which you are familiar. Let us say, if you were to have this light in your hand and were able to use it in the external world, each form you turned it upon would disappear under the vibration of the light itself. That is as powerful as the effulgent light emanating from the Self, the all-pervasive Divinity, which you will see within the lotus of the heart.

The mind, or consciousness, is form with intense vibrations and lesser vibrations, all interrelating. When we are happy and joyous, we are aware of the refined states of consciousness. But when we are not happy or joyous, we are living in the grosser, darker areas of consciousness. We have all lived in the gross area of consciousness, and we have all lived in the happy, joyous areas of consciousness. This is the evolution of man’s individual awareness.

Man, awareness, seeks happiness, and when he finds happiness, he often finds fault with it, and then he becomes aware in unhappy areas of the mind. This gives him the power to seek happiness again. Man finds fault with happiness and begins to look for something better. In looking for something better, he becomes selfish, greedy, unhappy, and finally he attains what he thinks will make him happy. He finds that it does not, and this makes him again unhappy, and he goes on through life like this. That is the cycle of awareness traveling through the instinctive-intellectual areas of the mind. Therefore, when you are unhappy, don’t feel unhappy about it! And when you become happy, know that the pendulum of awareness will eventually swing to its counter side. This is the natural and the normal cycle of awareness.

When you are feeling unhappy and you feel unhappy because you are unhappy, and you feel rather ill all over, sit down and breathe deeply. Try to control your individual awareness and become aware of an area of the mind that is always buoyant and happy. Be gentle with your awareness. Realize that you are not the unhappy area of the mind that you are aware of. Whatever was the cause of your unhappiness doesn’t really matter, because the powerful radiance within the lotus of the heart knows nothing of this unhappy area of the mind. You will be surprised at how quickly your awareness will move from the unhappy area of the mind, seemingly rejuvenate itself and become joyous again at the very thought of the Self God within the lotus of your heart.

There are many things in life which endeavor to keep us away from our true being. These are the cycles of life. We must watch and be careful of these recurring cycles in our life. These joyous and sorrowful occurrences that awareness experiences, sometimes each day, sometimes each week, sometimes each month, are totally dependent upon the positive control that we have of awareness. But then there are greater experiences that have even longer cycles–perhaps a three-year cycle, a five-year cycle, a ten-year cycle or a fifteen-year cycle.

How do you avoid unhappy states of mind? By consciously flowing awareness into the radiance, the light emanating from the self-effulgent being within the lotus of the heart. Direct awareness through controlled breathing. Remembering this basic principle, tell yourself that it is there, and soon you will begin to feel it. You will actually cause to grow within yourself a subtle nerve force that will turn awareness into the inner being so that consciously you can feel the Self God, your Divinity, and its emanation that even now exists within you. In this way you can experience true bliss, true happiness–blissful happiness that does not cycle or fade.

One moment of contact with your inner being that resides within the lotus of the heart, that is always there–one moment will clear up a whole situation in the external area of the mind for you. It will give you clear insight into how you should live your life, how to meet your circumstances, how to avoid whatever you do not want to find yourself involved in as the cycles of your life begin to repeat themselves.

This self-luminous emanation is like a diamond that is filled with light. Think about it in that way. It is filled with light, this diamond that resides within the lotus of your heart. Try to visualize this clearly and precisely as you read. Visualization of inner things is the same as opening an inner door for awareness to flow through to gain the experience that is already there. Visualization helps to pinpoint awareness and hold awareness concentrated in one certain area of the mind and gently move it to another. With this shining diamond constantly within the body, how could you become aware of an unhappy area of the mind? How could you become selfish? How could you hold resentment? How would it be possible for you to dislike another? This diamond within the lotus is within others, too.

How are we going to master awareness so that it does not feel that it is what it is aware of? We have to pull awareness within, to the more refined areas of the mind. This is called going within yourself. You have to temporarily gain enough composure, enough control over awareness, so that in thirty seconds you can pull within yourself and, in a sense, light up because you become a little bit aware of the existence of the inner light. Now, of course, if we are pressured by desires that conflict with basic religious principles, it will be difficult even to become aware of or to even think about the inner light. It’s easy, though, to find the darkness of the mind.

But if desires are flowing in accordance with the proper, basic action-and-reaction patterns of life, and one is living up to what he knows he should be living up to and allows the awareness to flow through unwholesome areas of the mind, he begins to hurt deeply on the inside. That is the so-called conscience hurting, because the light shines through the conscience, too, and makes the conscience self-luminous to us. We cannot see the light, but we can feel it. And when awareness flows into the consciousness of bliss and peace, you won’t hurt anymore on the inside. The nerve system will be filled with a new energy, an actinic energy radiating out of the light from the lotus within the heart. Then you will be happy and joyous until awareness wanders again and brings up other emotional or desire temptations. Then you will hurt again. This is what is meant by the statement “constant striving on the path”–staying mentally healthy so that the conscience does not hurt.

The Self God is within you. The light emanating from your effulgent being is within you, too, within the lotus of your heart. The Self God is. It simply is. We do not have to awaken the light within the lotus of the heart because it is always there, always has been, and always will be. We just have to become aware of it. Then go in and in and in to it until awareness aware only of itself dissolves, and be the Self. Be That.

The subconscious area of the mind is something like the sacred cow of India. It relives what it takes in. The cow will take in grass and chew it, and then she will chew her food all over again at a later time. The subconscious area of the mind does the same thing. You will find yourself aware of reliving your life, or getting back into the same cycle of the same pattern of life that you experienced many years ago. This you want to avoid, naturally. It is easy. Ponder over what you are doing now, how you are living, and then go back and find out within yourself how that compares to a previous time in your life when you were living more or less in the same way. In this way, you will come to know what area of the mind you will become aware in next.

If something good happened to you after a series of events in the past, you can expect something good to happen to you again. If something happened that was not as good or joyous as you would like it to have been, then you can know that you will become aware in this area of the mind in the future. This you can avoid. You have the power to control your cause and effect.