When we look in our life and around the world, however, we see a great deficit in both kindness and patience. Many people exhibit a great deal of both, yet many more spend too much time being unkind and (or) impatient, which drains them of any possibility for positive, uplifting energy. Not only that, it creates unpleasant future karma that could have just as easily been avoided with a little kindness.
It seems like we’ve heard these things since childhood, having nothing to do with sadhana or spiritual progress: Be kind; be patient. I know I was taught these things at an early age. Our parents taught them (but might not have been excellent examples), our churches taught them, our schools taught them, yet somehow the communication seems to have failed miserably. People of all religions recognize in some form the Golden Rule of do unto others as we would have them do unto us. This is not rocket science.
Participants of the Course of Training via email are advised to consider this blog and the comments following each monthly entry as a significant aspect of the course. They have a different perspective of it than most others, as they are used to the language and terminology and certain ways of considering things. Others might have different meanings for the same words or ideas. While the lessons that arrive twice monthly are the core of the process we share together, the blog and Facebook keep us up to date with each other, while allowing participants to communicate among themselves. This is an important part of the process.
You can be a good hermit only after doing extensive spiritual practices and having come a long way in inner development. Otherwise you’ll just be another unhappy hermit. For most of us, our relationships and encounters with one another are the crux of our sadhana. Many are currently in the section of the course titled, ‘Inner Growth Through Relationships,’ and we explore relating to others, in any capacity, quite thoroughly.
Being a hermit allows us to keep whatever samskaras (subconscious impressions or conditioning) we have that limits our experience, perception, and understanding of the Truth. Only when we have to deal with other people do these samskaras come out and reveal themselves. Ask any couple what happened soon after making the commitment, or after a short time of marriage, and find out what ordinarily, although not necessarily, happens.
ALL automatic reactions, for example, are related to samskaras. There is no exception to this. A person free from samskaras has no automatic reactions; only conscious responses in the harmonious flow of the present moment.
Two of the primary samskaras are the tendencies to be unkind or impatient. Those of you who don’t participate in the course can, of course, do what you want, but those of you who are enrolled in the course can add this exercise for this month: watch when you are automatically unkind, for no reason except that something triggered an old reaction. Even a very simple person can be kind simply by determining to do so, with some persistent practice to do so even when it feels difficult or challenging to do so.
Remember, there is no one other than the Self to be unkind to, so we are basically being unkind to our Self and it will return to us through others or some other in particular as karma down the road.
Impatience is simply refusing to enjoy the moment. When you’re driving 4 miles an hour in rush-hour traffic in NYC or LA, that’s the time to do sadhana. Can you be happy then? Can you enjoy life then? Can you remain connected to your inner bliss while the cars slowly, endlessly, crawl ahead in front of you?
It's easy to feel wonderful when we hear the birds chirping and the breeze softly offering the leaves a dance, which sounds so pleasant to us. When there is no challenge, it's very easy to do sadhana. This is because there is nothing to do. Sadhana is best done when it is very difficult to do so.
For at least a month, be kind and be patient. What is there to lose? Make it a conscious intent, and activate willpower to maintain your chosen inner state.
The title of this month’s entry is ‘The Misunderstood Relevance of the Subtle World Here and Now.’ I wrote a Facebook note not long ago about subtle life, the subtle body and subtle realm, and it stimulated several questions. I have collected some of the relevant comments I made then and will expound on them just a little, as is my wont. So, pretend that I am responding to others’ questions, as I am, only I am not including the questions:
Many of the ancient sages remarked that we should live with the awareness that death is following us around, peering over our shoulder. Have you ever dreamed of a person whom you don't know in real life, even though it felt that you were very close in the dream? I think I've had more dreams about such people than people I actually 'know' in this world.
Anyway, when we 'wake up' from sleep while dreaming of such a person, do we cry and get upset and sad because that person 'died' to our waking world and is no longer present? Since they are physically absent, they appear to be unreal. Do we mourn the fact that they are gone from our ‘world’ when we wake up from a dream and suddenly they’re gone? Probably this would seem a little extreme, no matter how much we enjoyed the dream. Even so, I have awakened from dreams and immediate felt like I missed the person or people in the dream, even though I never knew them physically in any way.
However, what if ultimately the dream world, the subtle realm, is actually more real than waking life, which is extremely temporary? In fact, what if the ‘deep sleep’ state is the highest state of all, outside Turiya itself, which pervades and permeates all the other states simultaneously?
There is no 'death' where Consciousness is concerned. It is not affected in the least when souls enter or exit bodies—it has gone on for eons. We come into physical incarnation with the first inhalation, live through a cycle of karma, and then exit this body upon the final exhalation. It is very common. Worldwide, approximately 300,000 people ‘die’ each day. Souls are constantly going back and forth from one realm to the next.
There is ultimately no such thing as 'death.' It is simply a transition to the next realm, which we have all experienced millions of times.
On the physical realm, where only the tip of the iceberg is seen, it seems like someone 'dies' and we miss their physical form, but if we open enough we will see that we are still in contact with them in subtle form. My stepmother, for example, before she left her own body, told me a few years after my father’s death, “I dream of your father every single night of my life, all night long.”
I've experienced the deaths of both my parents and several good friends, many of whom have shared the course with me. My mother died in an auto accident at 43, when I was 21, and that was emotionally very hard for me. We do have to go through these human emotions; we have no choice. To suppress them is even worse.
Never suppress grief. It will lead to much worse problems, including a relentless depression. If we allow ourselves to feel the grief until it’s finished, we free ourselves from years of depression.
If something happened to Kay or to one of my children, it would be very hard for me. It doesn't feel like I could take the death of a child. Yet I've experienced a lot I didn't previously think I could take, and I've only grown stronger from it. I guess that's primarily why we experience what we do. Not, of course, that I anticipate anything like that in my life. I see my children growing more mature, stronger, healthier, wiser, and eventually fulfilled and content, if not already.
We can be in contact in subtle form because, although ultimately we share one Consciousness, we do have different subtle forms just as we currently have different physical bodies. Subtle life goes on a lot longer, and includes a lot of physical dreams (incarnations) each taking up, as far as spiritual growth is concerned, where the last left off.
Seeing a body where the life-force has departed makes it very obvious that the Being, the Identity, the Occupant of the body that we knew and loved is no longer present. All that is left behind is the shell of the form they lived in and dragged around while they were here. Freedom from this physical body is a feeling of unequalled exaltation, a freedom like no other we can experience in this world. Don’t ever feel bad because someone has left this world. Rejoice in their new freedom
As Kabir put it: When I came into this world, I cried, yet those around me laughed. When I left this world, I laughed, yet those around me cried.
The Misunderstood Relevance of the Subtle World Here and Now. The subtle world exists right now, in a range of vibrational frequencies our physical senses can’t pick up. It interpenetrates the physical world. We are also in the subtle body right now; in fact, that is where thoughts and emotions take place, even though there are corresponding vibrations in the brain that scientists can now measure and isolate in one area or the other. The brain, however, is not the origin of mental or emotional activity. It only registers it.
Our time in the physical body is amazingly short. Many insects live only 24 hours. From another perspective, our own life-spans are just as quickly over. We take our first inhalation when we enter the body, and before we know it, we exit on the wings of the final exhalation.
Develop some here/now awareness of the subtle body, as before you know it, you will find yourself focused on the subtle world again, and this physical world as we currently know it will gradually fade away into irrelevance, like a dream you vaguely recall. Love remains; souls we love remain; but one day even our tombstones turn into dust, and no record or memory of us remains anywhere.
There is a great deal more to understand. I highly recommend the lessons of the course, where we deeply explore such topics, along with many others. Thank you for sharing this with me and for joining me here. Lots of love to each of you.
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