July 16, 2019 - Lesson 95
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Sloka 95 from Dancing with Siva
Are There Rites for the Wisdom Years?
Entrance into the elder advisor stage at age 48, the marriage renewal at age 60, and the dawn of renunciation at 72 may be signified by ceremony. Funeral rites, antyeshti, solemnize the transition called death. Aum Namah Sivaya.
Hindu society values and protects its senior members, honoring their experience and heeding their wise advice. Age 48 marks the entrance into the vanaprastha ashrama, celebrated in some communities by special ceremony. At age 60, husband and wife reaffirm marriage vows in a sacred ablution ceremony called shashtyabda purti. Age 72 marks the advent of withdrawal from society, the sannyasa ashrama, sometimes ritually acknowledged but never confused with sannyasa diksha. The antyeshti, or funeral ceremony, is a home sacrament performed by the family, assisted by a priest. Rites include guiding the individual's transition into the higher planes, preparing the body, cremation, bone-gathering, dispersal of ashes, home purification and commemorative ceremonies, shraddha, one week, one month and one year from the day of death, and sometimes longer, according to local custom. Through the antyeshti, the soul is released to the holy feet of Siva. The Vedas counsel, "Attain your prime; then welcome old age, striving by turns in the contest of life. May the Ordainer, maker of good things, be pleased to grant you length of days." Aum Namah Sivaya.
Lesson 95 from Living with Siva
Dealing With Doubt
Not only does the subconscious create barriers in our own minds, it also draws to us the doubts and worries of other people for us to face and resolve. There is such a vast warehouse of negative conditioning against meditation that it is almost useless to begin if we believe any of it at all. We have all heard a few of the fears: "Something terrible must have happened to you as a child if you want to go into that." "You don't love me anymore. That's why you meditate--you're withdrawing." "You're just afraid of society and responsibility. It's an escape from the real world that you can't cope with." "You're going to be poor if you meditate. Everyone who meditates is broke, you know." And so it goes, on and on.
We do have to answer these objections for the subconscious and thus settle all doubts within ourselves. Of course, the results of meditation will themselves convince the subconscious of the benefit of inner sadhana as we bring forth perceptive insights, renewed energy, a happy and balanced life and spiritual attainment. Negative conditioning breaks down as we prove to ourselves according to our own experience that it was wrong. Such conditioning is inhibiting to some and has to be corrected. To counteract it, we can ask ourselves, "Why? What is it all about? How did I attract these problems? Do I still have such doubts in my subconscious, consciously unknown?" We can further ask, "Who has done the conditioning? What was their life like? Were they happy people?" Finally, from our own positive efforts to cognize, we actually remold the subconscious, erase false concepts and become free.
The mind in its apparently endless confusion and desires leads us by novelty from one thing to the next. The reaction to this causes the miseries of the world, and miseries of the world happen inside of people. But occasionally we have to call a halt to the whole thing and get into ourselves. That's the process of meditation. It's an art. It's a faculty we have within ourselves which, when developed, gives a balance and a sense to life. And everyone, whether they know it or not, is searching, trying to find out what life is all about.
So many people tell me, "Oh, I would like to study yoga, but I just don't have the time," "I can't get quiet enough," or "The kids make too much noise," or some excuse like that. They don't realize that you don't become quiet automatically. Becoming quiet is a systematic process. You become quiet systematically. It might take you two weeks of practice before you can sit down and feel that you've made any progress at all, or even feel like sitting down and trying to become quiet. But it's one of those things you eventually have to do. You get up and cook breakfast because you have to eat. You are hungry. And when you become hungry enough to get quiet within yourself, you will do so automatically. You will want to. And then what happens? You will sit down, and your mind will race. Say, "Mind, stop!" and see how fast you can make your mind stop and become quiet. Say, "Emotions, you are mind-controlled," and see how quiet you become.
Sutra 95 of the Nandinatha Sutras
Not Controlling Men Emotionally
Siva's women devotees never become angry with a man, maliciously belittle or verbally abuse him, or use other emotional controls, such as disdain, accusation, crying, or prolonged pouting or silence. Aum Namah Sivaya.
Lesson 95 from Merging with Siva
We Create Our Mind Each Instant
I always try to keep the approach to the study of life and the unfoldment of the inner Self very simple by giving examples of the flower that begins as the little seed and grows into a stem forming a bud. We know nothing of the blossom until the bud opens, and we know little of the bud after it has become a blossom. However, each process within that growth to maturity is an experience for the plant. The seed contains within itself its basic laws of growth. The stem will tell its own story as it grows. The bud contains many experiences and has contained within it a complete story of its own. As the blossom unfolds, it tells a radiant autobiography of beauty.
In the philosophies of the Orient, the inner mind is often depicted as the lotus flower. That is what the mind would look like if you could see the mind. We can look at things on the material plane. The ugly things tell us how ugly the mind can become. When we look at the beautiful creations of nature, we see how lovely the mind can be.
It is up to us to choose how we want to create the mind, conscious and subconscious. I say "how we want to create the mind" because we are creating our mind each instant. There is no past! That dream as it passes before our vision is right now. We call it the past because we say we remember, but as we are remembering, we are recreating what we are remembering in the present. There is no future! That is also a dream or a vision, just like the past, because when we think of the so-called future we are recreating it before our vision right now. Therefore, there is no past, there is no future. Now is the only apparent reality!
Now is the only apparent reality, and it is up to us to decide how we want to create our mind, because we do create our mind each instant. We can make basic decisions. "I would like to be nice to a certain friend of mine. That is the one who has not been too friendly to me lately." This is a basic decision. Go out today and if someone does harm to you, or your friend is not kind to you, show your love by doing something kind for him. It is up to us to decide how to face life, be it "Love your neighbor," or "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth." It is up to us to fathom the reaction we are going to cause in ourselves and others by each of our decisions. Since each decision will bring its own reward, it is up to us to determine whether we want to suffer through a reaction as a result of an action that we have not duly considered in the light of dharmic principles.
Life is a series of decisions. Each instant, as we create the instant, we are creating the decision. We are facing the reaction we caused to come before us, and in facing it with the power of principle we are building the so-called future. So, a man has two paths, and every moment is a moment of judgment. Good judgment comes from concentration--directing the flow of thought. It does not always have to be difficult to choose.