|AHYMSIN NEWSLETTER, ISSUE - November 2019|
Dear Yoga Mentor, My Question Is…
Sometimes students have written to or asked Swami Veda Bharati, Swami Ritavan Bharati, and other senior teachers in our tradition questions about practice. This is one such “Question and Answer,” or Q&A.
"Uncontrolled thoughts lead to the asylum, but controlled internal dialogue leads to an understanding of the nature of the mind and helps in the path of meditation and contemplation." -Swami Rama, Freedom from the Bondage of Karma (pg 19)
Michael Smith and Stephen Parker (Stoma) have answered this question.
From Michael Smith:
The key phrase here is “internal dialogue.” Swami Rama has written a lot about inner dialogue, which involves an inner conversation, prior to meditation, between thoughts which bubble up in the lower mind and the calm, objective “watcher” of those thoughts. The process of internal dialogue clears the mind of extraneous thoughts so that one’s meditation can go deeper. Thoughts and actions which are intentionally harmful to others would definitely be thoughts of an impure lower mind — the very thoughts which an experienced meditator would neutralize.
Below are some poems by Swami Veda pertaining to internal dialogue:
MY MIND, MY CHILD
Mind, why do you act so like a child? Why do you grab at every toy and gleaming tinsel? Why do you wish to horde all these pebbles and lumps in your pouch and then also burden me with their care? How many of my strings of moonlight pearls, my quiet moments, you have unstrung. How many of my laces of sunlight, my illuminated thoughts, you have unraveled, mind.
Mind, why do you not grow to maturity? You know well that you are of human descent with a saintly destiny and yet you join these beasts of malice and petty violence in their pranks against me. You take all the colours and splash them on yourself, one colour now and another the next moment. What a baby's drawing you have made of yourself and you call that experience, mind.
Mind, choose your colours with care and draw your lines. Here the prayer, there the breath, here the light between your eyebrows, there the celestial sound in the right ear. Mind, come let us sit together today--just me, brother breath and you, and let me give you both a beam of my luminosity. My mind, my child, let me make you beautiful.
MIND AND MEDITATION
An unguided mind is a chariot drawn by untrained horses, ready to throw you by the wayside. Only a mind well restrained will keep to your charted path. A mind without meditation is like a diffuse, scattered light illuminating only a corner. But meditative consciousness is a sharp beam cutting through a thick granite-black darkness.
Your dreams, fantasies, visions and wishes are the clutter from a subconscious corner in which spiders of sense impressions have woven their cobwebs. A meditative mind is like an unclouded sky, full of sunlight, like a candle flame, steady, where there is no breeze. Only such a sky is fit for wings. Only such a flame truly gives light. Only such a mind becomes an instrument of freedom.
Make your choice, then, between confusion and clarity, between clouds and sun, between the pleasant and the good. Say to yourself this day: "I have made my choice, in this life, enlightenment. In this very life, a Christlike stature. The Buddhahood, within my allotted number of breaths."
Brother mind, meditate and help me.
WATCH OVER YOUR MIND
Your mind is your true personality. It shows through all your movements, gestures and words. Your reactions and decisions come from the mind. Every morning you wash your face before you present it to the world. Why not also wash your mind?
The mind is your servant and seeks to favour you who are its master. Watch over the mind and it will cleanse itself; leave it free and it will soil you. Watching the mind constantly is the art of mediation in action. Follow, therefore, four rules of thought and resolve daily:
With this observance of thought you will become lovable if no one loved you before. You will become attractive if no one was attracted to you before. You will become a magnet if you were mere iron before.
I wish you this day a mind you can watch over, a mind you have cleansed, a mind you magnetise with your spiritual energy and I wish all beautiful thought to your mind.
My mind, mirror that you are, you are so befogged I cannot see my face clearly. You open all the windows of senses and run about from one to the other, looking out, bringing in all manner of sight and sounds. You distort their truths to me. Why, mind?
Mind, I gave you this agility as I gave vitality to these breaths, and gleams of perception to the senses, and you lead us round and round from cycle to cycle of ignorance and pain, death and rebirth. Can we not become friends, we who share this house of clay, this body, mind?
Mind, shut those windows and sit still, just a while. Do not agitate these breaths. Let them calm down too. Let me cleanse your face and illuminate your eye of wisdom so I may see my own real face clearly, so together we may step off this whirling wheel into a world of eternal stillness. You have been giving care to all else, out there. Just for a moment now, turn around inward and do listen to me. Can we not be friends, mind? Calm down and be still, brother mind.
DRAW YOURSELF TO YOURSELF
Draw yourself to yourself. Empty your mind of all things from sources outside you and look into your mind for a force that may be entirely yours. A body in meditation is totally relaxed. All muscles are limp, there is no twitching, no movement. The mind has no memories and, therefore, no anxieties. When the mind has no anxieties the breath flows evenly and smoothly. All the hollows of the mind are filled and there are no sharp edges. The brain becomes clear. The thoughts do not arise at random.
That evenness of the mind brings an evenness of emotions, and a quality of equilibrium develops in your personality. That equilibrium may last for a moment or two while in meditation, and initially that is so. But as your meditations prosper they begin to permeate your personality and through all your thoughts, words and physical deeds your natural equilibrium begins to show.
Drain all waters from the Pacific Ocean and fill them with liquid light--these are the unfathomable depths of your mind.
I wish you a dive into the depths of an ocean called consciousness, filled with light.
RAYS OF THE SUPERCONSCIOUS
A strange imperceptible poison in you changes the conscious into subconscious. It distorts your images, pollutes the streams of inspiration, holds court with shadows. Whenever an experience enters through the windows of your senses, the subconscious lurking behind the doors alters your perceptions and you find that the residue of your experience is deposited at the bottom of your mind's lake. It misinterprets lights as shadows and misguides your intuition.
The Superconscious alone can cleanse you and make your waters serene and still. When you meditate let the residue of past actions and experiences lie undisturbed. Let the Superconscious cut through your ego like a razor's edge. Let it flash like lightning on the forest trail you are walking. Do not let the hoot of the subconscious disturb you. Let not its fears come to the surface.I wish for you this day a total loss of your subconscious and of every murky thing that arises from its depths. I wish that the rays of the Superconscious make way into your cave and light up your inner world forever.
From Stephen Parker (Stoma):
Michael’s response is very thorough. I would only add that the more one practices remaining mindfully aware all the time, starting with breath awareness, the less one’s internal dialogue becomes an exercise in projecting selfish needs. Whenever we maintain that our psychological conditioning (including what we consider “me” to be) goes into the background. As a result our action gradually becomes more compassionate, open, accepting and loving (C.O.A.L attributes of mindfulness). These find their ultimate fruition in the Brahma-vihāras, friendliness, compassion, joyful-mindedness and emotional non-reactivity.
The poems from Swami Veda Bharati come from the book The Light of Ten Thousand Suns by Swami Veda Bharati.
If you have a question about spiritual practice, you can use the "Contact the Spiritual Committee" link on the Ahymsin website to ask it.
Previous columns can be read at “Dear Yoga Mentor, My Question Is…”