Mind is like a river…

January 31, 2010 § 3 Comments

I have been teaching yoga and meditation for many years. Many sincere students have passed by my eyes, and are later guided by the inner voice of my Consciousness. It is amazing that while a wide variety of individuals come and go, you can witness the unity that exists underneath the cloaks of their bodies!

What do I mean by that? Well, they all are seeking higher truth. It may begin with, “I love yoga, it relaxes me, and I am very happy when I come to my yoga class.” But, as they grow into it, things shift a bit deeper than they had anticipated. They venture into other styles of yoga, or they may explore other options like nutrition or meditation, and eventually you do not get to see them. However, a true spiritual teacher never forgets their beloved students. He or she clearly remembers them, and it is fascinating how it works!

This is what I have been witnessing for many years. A question comes to my mind, “why do they disappear?” For years, you do not see them, you do not hear from them or about them. Maybe, it is as simple as “life happens.” But when you start digging deeper into the realm of possibilities, you start to see the real picture emerging. And sometimes, you just remember them. You remember them, and you pick up your phone and dial their phone number and at the other end, there is that familiar voice, “Hi, how are you? I have been meaning to call you.” And nothing but smile appears on your face, knowing you know why you happened to call them. You get the whole spiel from your student in half an hour’s time.

You hear the common, untold story, and usually it is like this, “I got seriously distracted. A lot of things happened in my life, but I will be back.” They do come back, and then in an appropriate timely manner, they disappear again! Lo, you just had them a few days ago! What happened again, you wonder, and then you shrug it off of your shoulders and attend to the new seeker just emerging from the curtain of Consciousness.

Why, if they were sincere seekers, they were fully committed, yet disappear and re-emerge again just to disappear again? What does actually happen? Is it what we call, “life happens” or is there something else is going on? It is possible. However, in my understanding, the little I may have, it is called “mind” happens and not “life” happens. What do I mean by that? Well, there are distractions on many levels, as you may have read in my previous blog, “Blue Print of a Spiritual Leader” in which my teacher had said: “We must not create a wall between our worldly and spiritual lives. People disorganized in their life search for spiritual wisdom in seclusion; whereas, if organized properly, they can have all the means and resources that are of utmost importance for spiritual enlightenment. The purpose of human life is to make the best use of the resources that nature or God has given us.”

Where exactly is “the wall” created? If you examine sincerely and deeply, you may just discover that the so-called “wall” is created in our minds. We may easily lie about something and think, “Nobody knows about it except me”, and that becomes a “norm” in no time! You may ask, “What is wrong with just doing that? Everyone does that.” Are you sure about that? We constantly learn tricks to hide ourselves from “ourselves” and in no time you see a wall being constructed, everything becomes compartmentalized, and eventually you are completely unaware of who is the real “you”! Am I going too far with this?

My teacher used to say, something like, “Mind is like a river. It continuously flows. Try not to create a dam in this river else you will sustain a disaster.”

These are not the exact words but that is what I remember from hearing them. If you create a dam, eventually water will pile up, surge, and then will run over anything and everything—and in every possible direction. That is how we get tired and feel lonely and then indulge in things, which are nothing but constant obstacles to our growth. Creating a dam, compartmentalizing ourselves from our “own self”, may feel like an automatic phenomenon, but it comes with a heavy price, and we do pay it dearly.

Then you might ask, “What am I to do? I am not even sure I understand everything you say!” Well, it is debatable. However, the way to cure all of that is pretty simple. Do you remember that Walking Yogi’s motto is, “Be Simple, Be Practical and Be Free”? If that is what you wish to be, a Walking Yogi, then simplicity and practicality in every aspect of your life will be more highly commended than not.

Now, what is the solution, you may ask? Many of my students are getting some homework every time I teach—yes they get homework! They get something to go home with and practice. One practice that I have repeatedly reiterated many times is to go home and practice silence for ten minutes per setting per week. Do nothing but observe this phenomenon. There may be myriad thoughts, patterns, images and processes that may emerge; do not react, do not become a critic, do not entertain these thoughts, and do not get distracted, but observe them and then let them go.

If you repeatedly keep on practicing this exercise, it will lead you to introspection and guide you to the deepest realm of unconscious. There are many things you may want to discard and eliminate but then there are pearls of wisdom as well, waiting to be explored. Do you think you can handle that?

Remember, “Mind is like a river.”

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