There's no point in philosophy; there's no point in information. The point that is important is practice. There are very simple things about practice, very, very simple things. All you have to do is think of regularity, frequency, length, depth, and surrender. Nothing else.
Regularity in Meditation
Regularity like your annual doctor's visit. Without regularity you will not benefit. If you meditate one day and then don't meditate for two days, on the fourth day you're starting right from the beginning. The mind is like water, meditation is like ice. To turn the random mind into a meditative mind is like freezing water into ice, giving it a fixed shape, giving it a definite direction, or opening certain channels for the flowing water, or turning a flood into a channel. If you make a few holes in the ground today and then nothing for three, four, or five days, you will have to start all over again. Regularity.
Frequency of Meditation
Frequency, twice a day. Regularity, frequency. Do it regularly, do it frequently. Twice a day. Try to repeat it many times.
Length and Depth of Meditation
Length, you determine according to your time, your inclination, and your physical and mental strength. If you sit for two hours and you don't really meditate and let your mind run around, then you have not spent any time in meditation. But if out of two hours you have spent even two minutes of real intense concentration without a break in your breath, you get somewhere. If for five minutes in the morning and five minutes in the evening out of your entire sitting period, you can sit without a break, you accomplish something. Otherwise nothing!
Surrender in Meditation
Then surrender. That is the most important point, surrender and depth. Depth and surrender. Regularity, depth, and surrender; if you can combine these three you're fine. Surrender means that in meditation you do not compete, not race, not want to accomplish, not want to reach a goal, none of these. Just do it, let it flow. Surrender your body, relax it; surrender your mind, empty it of all thoughts.
The Wealth and Morality of a Sadhaka
You have a wealth. A human being is born with a certain amount of wealth. His wealth is counted not in thousand dollar bills, not in hundred dollar bills, not in dimes or pennies. Your wealth is counted in the number of years, number of months, number of days, number of breaths that you have. And let me tell you this. The number of breaths you spend meditating are well spent; the number of breaths you spend without meditation are being thrown in the garbage. It's like taking your diamonds, taking your pennies, taking your bundles upon bundles of hundred dollar bills and throwing them in the garbage can. So the breaths you use meditatively are the only breaths used properly; the rest is a waste of life.
I have only one definition of morality, and that is to ask of any thought, speech or activity: Will this lead me to self-realization? Will this lead to the vast perfection man is capable of? If you believe in a God, will this lead me to God realization? If it doesn't then it is immoral, it's no use, it's worthless. If eating certain kinds of food in a certain way and in a certain amount will prevent my going towards that goal, then it's immoral. If uttering a word will lead me to the center of my inner silence, it is a moral word, if it will not it's a useless thing, it's a waste. If accomplishing wealth, if gathering money will later on give me time to meditate, then go ahead and gather wealth. Otherwise God knows how many millionaires have been born on this earth but are unremembered. People remember Christ, they don't remember the millionaires of ancient Rome.
Here are a few hints as a matter of advice for those of you who want to change your lifestyle: a schedule for the day, an attitude to carry throughout the day. I believe most of you will not want to practice these things, but it is my duty to give them.
1. Waking Up
Wake up in the morning – unless you are really jarred by the cry of a child, which of course you cannot help – wake up by using your mental alarm, meaning that you go to sleep at night with a relaxation; and at the end of the relaxation as you are falling asleep, concentrate inside your head and your heart center and say, "5:30 A.M.", "Arya, wake me up at 5:30", "John, will you wake me up at 5:30?" Tell that to your name. Your subtle body will wake you up. Set your ordinary outside alarm clock for 5:35 so that if you don't wake up at 5:30 then the external aid is present. But set that alarm before you begin your relaxation exercise for the night.
So at 5:30 wake up. Immediately sit up in your bed – immediately, not lying down turning this way and that way, "I'll wake up in five minutes." Five minutes sometimes lasts for two hours! The moment you allow yourself two minutes, they are easy to stretch into two hours. So don't allow yourselves those extra two minutes or extra five minutes. Your eyes are opened, get up! Tell whoever it is who is sleeping inside you, "Come on, up, sit up."
There are three things you can do:
a. Keep a small mirror under your pillow. When you wake up take out that mirror before you see anything else, before you see anybody else's face, sitting right there on your bed, look at your face, then put the mirror aside. That's one way. When I was a child my first concentration was my face. From the age of four and a half to about the age of eight, for four years my concentration was on my face. First thing in the morning upon waking up, see your face.
b. Open your eyes the way you open your eyes from meditation. The consciousness should be changed very gently. Come out into the world and open your eyes to your hands putting the full concentration of the mind onto your hands. Try this. Close your eyes. Now open your hands like a book and read your hands from left to right, from top to bottom like a book. Concentrate on each part so that you are not seeing anything else but those parts where your eyes are falling like a book. Then breathe gently. Don't think any thoughts. Then put your hands aside.
c. There is a practice called baka-mudra. It is the mudra of simultaneously seeing no evil, hearing no evil, speaking no evil. Try it for three weeks every morning. You take a pillow and get into the baka-mudra position right on your bed. One sits in a sort of squatting position. Cover the ears with the thumbs, slightly pressing the ear flap. The edge of the eyelids are covered with the index fingers (do not press the retina of the eyes). The nostrils are gently pressed together with the middle fingers. Leave the pressure a little loose to keep breathing gently. The other two fingers go over the mouth. Maintain the root lock and the tongue lock. Listen to the interior hum. Every morning sit there for five minutes or so with ears, eyes, and mouth closed and just observe what reaction you get. Don't think of anything else, not even your mantra, unless it really comes into your mind. Be aware of whatever reaction you get, what kinds of sounds, sights, and senses. Maybe nothing will happen. Perhaps you will see diamonds, perhaps you will see lights, perhaps you will see colors, perhaps you will hear some particular pitches of sound, whatever. Be aware.
Now here in the morning people recite some verses. You need not memorize the verses but, closing your eyes, you can have these thoughts.
Pratah smarami hrdi samsphurad atma-tattvam
Sac-cit-sukham parama-hansa -gatim turiyam
Yat-svapna-jagara-sushuptam avaiti nityam
Tad-brahma nishkalam aham na cha bhuta-sanghah.
At dawn do I mediate upon that which shines in the heart as the Self, that Truth, that which is existence-intelligence-happiness, that which is the goal of the great sages, that which is the transcendent reality.
I am that eternal Brahman which is blemishless and which knows the three states of waking, dream, and sleep, and not this aggregate of elements.
There are three or four verses like that. Sitting right on the bed, confirm to yourself your pure nature. Then open your eyes to your hands, that is, your cognitive senses to your active senses. The most active sense of cognition you have is your eyes through which most of your cognitive energy is spent; and the most active tactile sense you have is your hands. You bring your cognitive senses to your active senses and establish that circuit of awareness between the cognitive senses and the active senses.
Your bed should always be a hard bed, not a soft bed. A soft bed is a lazy man's bed and it is a sick man's bed. A soft bed is a rogi's bed not a yogi's bed. A rogi is a soft man, a lazy man, a luxurious man who wants his meditation to come to him when he wants something; and a rogi is a sick man. A soft bed is a sick man's bed; it makes you sick. A hard bed, not a very high pillow, a very soft pillow if you need one. In India for the yogis we have beds which are nothing but wooden boards and sometimes a stone for a pillow. I have slept with a brick under my head for years, just a brick.
3. Personal Hygiene
You get up. Excuse my saying it -- I always manage to give offense to people when I say it -- so I apologize in advance. One thing the western children don't have is proper toilet training. I don't know what kind of toilet training you give to your children. We start giving them that training right from the age of one, we teach them that the first thing they should do in the morning, the first thing upon getting up, is to have a bowel movement. You can't fully wake up without a bowel movement. You still have the previous night's things which will rise like fumes into your head. That's why so many heads are unclear. First thing in the morning is the bowel movement.
Now at your present age it will take you months to form that habit; but it is worth forming. If you have difficulty, drink some water, two or three large glasses of water, and walk briskly in the morning until you form that habit. You will see a very strange, ugly sight in India if you travel in a railway train. People go out into the field, they walk out of their villages, and go out into the fields. Western toilets are the unhealthiest kind of thing you can think of. The right bowel movement comes if you have pressure on the left side of your big intestine. Only the people of the western civilization sit as if they were sitting on a chair. The rest of the whole world sits on two feet and squats, which puts pressure on the correct area; then you have a proper cleansing. People from the East find it very uncomfortable to travel in the West. One of the things I'm homesick for is to have a proper toilet. Even in the cities of India they make a flush toilet but not like western bowls; it is flush with the ground and you have to sit with your feet on it. And there will always be water taps so that after using the toilet people use water to wash. Especially for women it has been proved medically that it is much better that they use less toilet paper and more water.
First thing the bowel movement, then brush the teeth. Now most of Asia does not use toothbrushes; they have only now become popular. In my days they were known only in big cities. The fancy people who were trying to imitate the British were the ones who would use toothbrushes. It is the most inefficient way of cleaning teeth. What we have is certain kinds of green wood about the thickness of your index finger and about the length of your hand from the middle finger down to the root of the wrist or a little longer, but fresh from certain trees, like mango or neem, which have a particular combination of juices in them. Neem is considered the best. Sometimes now in the cities, of course, you can't go and pick them fresh, so these pieces of wood are sold in bundles. What people do is they chew the ends of them. You'll see it throughout the villages every morning, people chewing pieces of wood. It produces saliva, it gives you the action of the gums, gives you an exercise of the teeth, chewing, chewing, chewing. And then they form a brush from the ends of these pieces of wood and use that brush. It's usually used only once and then thrown away. Every morning you find a fresh supply. Those of you who are going to India might bring a little supply here. It has been tested. I can give you the reference of a scientific journal. In 1963 or 1964 there was a world dental conference in Sudan where they tested and found that this was the most effective way. And you don't have all this plaque when you use those things.
Then washing. The upper wash and nasal wash. Those who have not done it should try it. You will find it very, very helpful, very useful.
Take a shower. It is better to bathe in flowing water. This is one thing I find in America, which is missing in Europe. In Europe even in some hotels you don't have a private bath. In England, in London there are 10,000 houses without a bath. The bath in Europe in the Middle Ages was considered the work of Satan. Literally, it was. In the Middle Ages in Europe a bath was considered the work of Satan. When the Crusaders defeated the Moorish Arabs ruling Spain they found many hundreds of baths in the city of Cordoba. And when the Crusaders defeated the Moors the first thing they did was to destroy all those hundreds of baths of the established religion. But here in America there is one good thing: there are showers and flowing water.
When you bathe don't think you are just washing your body. Feel all the sanctity of Mother Water flowing through you. Let that be your daily baptism. Right at bath time you should start chanting. Every human being has a natural instinct to chant in the shower. Use it for creating a meditative mood. We start our meditation in the shower. Rub your body briskly. Massage it. When I was a child and even today everywhere in India if you are traveling through the villages and towns the people are very, very poor but they have a quality of life. Every baby almost from the day he's born gets a daily massage with mustard oil or coconut oil. And there is a trick to massaging the body. Every pore, every joint, every muscle is massaged and mothers always massage the baby before giving it the daily bath. And in what order to massage the body and how to handle which muscle and which joint is not something for which you have to go to massage parlors. Every child gets it from the very beginning. Sometimes I massaged my whole family when I had time. It's an expression of affection and love. You can massage yourself.
There are two things, massaging and blessing the body. These are two different things. Massaging is with the palm of the hand, the side of the hand, tip of the fingers. Blessing is something else. At night sometimes sons and daughters want to express their affection and love for their parents, or they just want to bribe them and get something out of them, or I want my guru to give me something, like the beautiful shawl he has, so I go and I press his feet at night. When he lies down, I press his feet. In the East we don't learn these things by sitting in lectures, we learn by example, we learn by service. What I learn from my guru is if I get to serve him, personally, do something for him, give to him, please him as it were, I get little things, he shares thoughts. That's the only way we get things from our parents, too. Service, loving service.
Anyway, once a week ideally, everybody should get a massage. It's very hard, I know. It's a busy life. But you will feel so much better, the whole family will feel so much better. But if you don't have time to massage before your shower every day, then massage your body in the shower. There are certain cardinal points, certain parts that should be massaged daily.
Touching the body non-sexually is a great thing. But most people touch and gather other people's vibrations into their personality. As a child I had a very, very special training, one which is rare even for India, very, very rare. My father would not let me hang my clothes where they would touch somebody else's clothes, because you don't know where you will pick up what vibrations. Even now I travel around the whole world and I find it very difficult to sleep on other people's beds. Don't you find it so? You enter a room and there is a feel to that room. You sit on a chair and there is an invisible, inexplicable something about the chair. So sanctity of personality should be learned by a person who wants to grow in meditation, who does not want to be affected by other people. The secret of looking at your own face first thing in the morning is the same. We have a saying in India if the day isn't going well, "Whose face did you first see in the morning?" because the first thing you see in the morning leaves a psychic impression on you. So, massage your body in the bath, give it a brisk massage with your fingers, with your towel, awaken every muscle, every pore. Do that.
Then you are ready for your meditation. Somewhere in between you can fit in your hatha, your physical yoga, before the massage or after. When I was a child we would massage and then do our physical hatha yoga and then take a shower and then do our meditation, but there are other orders that sometimes are recommended. You can work according to your own personality. Slowly, then, as you are forming these habits, they will become your aids to meditation. Your mind will be clear, you will sit down feeling nicer, the body will rebel less, the mind will go less here and there.
For your actual meditation your clothing should be loose and all artificial materials, synthetic materials, should be avoided. They stimulate the skin, draw unnecessary attention to your skin and at the same time they close your pores. Your pores can't breathe under these synthetic materials. Cotton, silk, and so on, these are good. Then sit on your meditation seat. Whatever length of time you sit try to use that for the optimum benefit. If you have five minutes try to make those five minutes deep. Don't let this and that come in between.
5. Going about the day
When you have finished your morning meditation and are taking your breakfast concentrate on your meal. Feel every morsel, maintain the silence that has come to you through meditation, maintain it a little half hour more, one hour more. Stretch it, stretch that mood, remain aware of your breathing, remain aware of your mantra.
Then you go out of your house. What I do as a habit is whichever one of my nostrils is active, I put that foot out first. When I sit in my car, again, I look at my hands and draw myself to myself, I draw a mental circle around me. I enclose myself in my own energy, cocooned, so that when I see people, talk to people (especially in my life where I see hundreds of people every day) the only way I can maintain my privacy is mentally. Every day I have to see hundreds of people. I have no privacy in my life. The only way I maintain privacy is by using mental privacy. In the middle of a crowd I can feel it if I want to.
Learn that wherever you are standing, wherever you are sitting, there is no need for you to feel that you are sitting in a crowd. There are people who don't come to meetings, to meditation because they feel uncomfortable in a crowd. Just draw a circle around yourself. Take a little water and sprinkle it around you, make a chalk line as it were. That's your house. Keep your mind within that and you are alone.
Carry your meditative mood from the morning meditation with you, sitting in your car, getting to your office, when you enter your office. In the morning, everybody who came with an irritated mood should change his mood. A lot of people will come to me and say, "I go to my office after my meditation and then there is this thought that suddenly hits me. I want to quit my job." That's no use. Take your peace and give it to the others and then you have meditation. Take a little of that, go out into the world. When the phone rings take up the phone and speak in a manner that conveys the peace and quiet of your mind towards others. You can make the same phone an instrument that is jangling your nerves or you can make that phone an instrument of imparting relaxation to other people who call.
Midday, again, before lunch take a breather, do your channel purification, it takes two minutes, three minutes, four minutes. If somebody laughs at you, you laugh back at them. "Look at these people, they don't even know how to breathe properly."
Evening, come home, do the same thing. Leave the day's accumulations out of your house. When you enter, enter again back into a temple. As it were, change your whole scene, your whole attitude, your whole feeling about things. Whatever you have gathered from the past and the roads of the day, leave them right there at the doorstep and enter barefoot and clean. The feet inside the shoes are always clean. So bring in your clean feet, your clean step.
After dinner in the evening take a contemplative walk. The contemplative walk is something that you do in your room, in your neighorhood, in your backyard, and you sort of imagine an area with two lines drawn. And you take a particular thought and just keep that particular thought in your mind and think about it. It may be an intellectual argument, it may be your mantra, it may be something you've been dreaming, it may be something you're trying to solve. Take that particular thought and walk with it and slowly, slowly become more and more aware of your body, a relaxed body. The thought sticks in your mind, and you come slowly to the thought, and the movement of your body even begins to go slow, your walk becomes slower, slower, and you get engrossed in it, and then you sit down. It creates a mood for the evening. Husband and wife may do it together, brothers and sisters may do it together, the entire family may do it together.
In the evening before meditation take what we call the fivefold bath: wash your feet, wash your face, wash your hands. Feet first. Always to prepare for meditation, to prepare for anything sacred, wash these five limbs: two feet, two hands, and the face. And touch a cool hand of water on the nape of the neck and behind the ears. These are cooling areas that get very hot, very warm; all the tension builds up there. Then sit for your evening meditation. If you do not have time to take a shower, take the fivefold bath.
There should be some time in your day some time after your favorite TV program and before your favorite TV program, preferably after to do your evening meditation. It's very hard to keep this kind of schedule, of course, if you have three children, four children, five children; but even if you can read three lines or three pages of something that's inspiring, something meditative, take the time for that. Somewhere along the line you will find some sentence that will strike a chord with you, that will touch the chords of your heart. You may not find that sentence for years. Yet somewhere along the line you will find a page. Suddenly you will open a page and you will see a line, and there will be an answer to something.
At night lie down flat on your back, do your relaxation, then fall asleep; and your breath will tell you whether you want to sleep on the left side or you want to sleep on the right side. Automatically turn that way.
Remember that These Things Are Available
Now all of this may seem like too many rules and too many regulations. And this has actually happened. People have taken a course from me and then suddenly disappeared. Then after three years I receive a letter, "Dear Panditji, I attended one of your lectures and there were just too many things to follow and I wasn't ready to follow them, so I thought I wouldn't come back. But now I feel ready for it." You can do it that way if you wish. The other way is that having listened to all of this, see how much you can follow easily, then follow that part. Remember that these things are available, that this can be done. If you find these to be too many rules and too many regulations, just do breath awareness. Sit down and do breath awareness. Forget everything else.
And above all, walk with awareness, breathe with awareness, act with awareness. Be emotional, even, with awareness, mindfulness. Smriti it is called. Be aware. Learn to be aware. Learn to be aware of yourself, learn to be aware of your bodily state. "What position am I sitting in? Am I reclining? How is my breath going? What is the position of my forehead?" Are you relaxed so that the wrinkles from the forehead are gone? Learn to observe all parts of your body, your breath, your act, your emotion, your thought.