Observe Thyself: It is illogical for anyone to hope to ascend to Higher Planes of being and of consciousness while retaining hold of his old self, weighed down with this curious inner sleep in which he is habitually cradled and lulled throughout his life.
The Sant Mat Quote of the Week:
From, “The Law of Attention – Nada Yoga and the Way of Inner Vigilance”,
By Edward Salim Michael, Published by Inner Traditions, Rochester, Vermont:
In taking all these important observations into consideration and earnestly reflecting upon them, a sincere seeker cannot fail to see the great need for him to study and get to know himself – a self-study that is extremely necessary, forming another important aspect of his spiritual search and practice that must, from the start, accompany all his other spiritual exercises and meditation. The special knowledge of himself that results from such self-study will also bring with it a particular understanding of life and people that will be of immense value to himself for his maturation and his inner transformation.
Through all that, he will thus come to see how indispensable it is for him to learn to be more conscious of his actions and of how he performs them, so that wherever he goes he will be heedful as to what he brings of himself to his environment and to the people he comes into contact with, for the consequences of which he is incontestably responsible. He will discover that the very effort to become more vigilant in life and accountable for his actions will not only help develop his powers of concentration but will also inevitably give rise to another state of presence – a highly active state of inner presence, and a sensitive way of being and of feeling himself that are not his customary ones.
The seeker also has to muster the will and courage to compel himself to go through the disagreeable trial of repeatedly seeing his various unprofitable leanings and hardened habits with all that they contain in the form of disguised or open unfriendliness, lust, envy, conceit, and so on (which, through long use, have become accepted as normal conditions of existence without ever being put into question), and trying to discern from what aspect of himself they originate, what incites their manifestations – whether they are stimulated only from outside or from within himself as well – and note especially the manner in which he generally heedlessly responds to the surreptitious callings of these avid impulses without reflecting upon the long trail of adverse effects they can leave behind on others afterward and which may lead to still further unknown repercussions somewhere.
He must learn to become attentive to what comes out of his mouth and descry what lies concealed behind all the things he says or repeats mechanically. He must discover what motivates his automatic actions and reactions, his inner lies, contradictions, fears, flatteries, and so on, while at the same time taking the greatest care not to start despising himself, either consciously or unconsciously, for seeing his undesirable traits (a negative attitude that will only impede his transformation). And, needless to repeat, he should also never omit to get to know all that is noble, upright, and pure in him, taking support and fortitude from it in his struggle to rise to the higher realms of his being, so that he will no longer misuse the miraculous gifts of his thinking, feeling, hearing, sight, speech, and all the different parts of his body.
He must remember that it is illogical for anyone to hope to ascend to Higher Planes of being and of consciousness while retaining hold of his old self, weighed down with this curious inner sleep in which he is habitually cradled and lulled throughout his life – a truly dramatic and strange sleep that is the cause of all the misunderstandings and the tragic actions that are indiscriminately committed in the world!
It is necessary again to call to mind that it is impossible for the higher aspect of the seeker’s nature to coexist with his habitual state of being, no more than can day and night exist together; the appearance of the one will ineluctably eclipse the other. When the ordinary side of his being is in the foreground, dominating, then the higher aspect of himself will unavoidably retreat into the background and cease to make its presence felt. And when the higher aspect of himself reigns in the foreground, the ordinary side of his being will inevitably recede into the background and be lost to view, just as the rising of the sun and the coming of the light cannot but chase away the darkness of the night.
If an aspirant has not been moved to feel the significance of and the profound need for this inner awakening, if he has not also seen the great necessity for him to study and know himself better – and thus start striving with all his might and sincerity to become more aware of himself (not only when he is alone but also when he is with others), vigilantly watching over what he brings of himself to people-he may never perceive when, and in what manner, he is answerable for the conditions he creates in the world through the particular way he vibrates in himself, and through what he inflicts on those around him at certain moments.
Every human being carries with him an atmosphere that reflects what he is in himself, impregnating with it the place he habitually lives in and spreading to and permeating his surroundings, either positively or negatively. Whether he is dispersed, tense, agitated, irritated, depressed, or angry, it will unavoidably touch the being of those who come into contact with him, contaminating them and leaving a definite trace in them afterward in some degree or another. This, in its turn, will have an effect on other people also, be it ever so faint.
Emotions are highly contagious. It is possible for just one individual to cause panic among a big crowd, or even excite a whole nation into a state of terrifying frenzy and induce them to commit the most horrible acts of violence. On a much less obvious scale, someone may influence the feelings of another in such a manner as to leave him afterward gay or sad, exalted or disheartened, peaceful or perturbed, without one or the other necessarily realizing what has taken place secretly between them. All this is why it is extremely important for the aspirant carefully to survey himself and be highly circumspect as to what he transmits of himself to the people he lives with and to his environment, the consequences of which will mysteriously come back to him in some form or another, eventually bringing him either contentment or grief.
It is impossible not to be struck with the luminous atmosphere that surrounds Saints and Sages, an atmosphere that they carry with them wherever they go and that extends itself beyond their physical frame, leaving everywhere in the world a positive influence and rich heritage for humanity to imbibe long after they have departed from it. They illuminate their surroundings with the beauty and radiance of their wisdom, and their impressive bearing, unusual intelligence, and immense compassion cannot but deeply touch and elevate all those who come into their path.
The aspirant must come to see how vital it is for his spiritual growth and emancipation to seek at all times to be extremely vigilant and careful about what he does and especially how he does it, so that what he brings of himself to other people will not have a disturbing effect on their being afterward but will, on the contrary, help elevate them and be an example for them that they will unconsciously wish to emulate.
The seeker should also – especially in the beginning, when he is not yet strong enough – be very wary of the sort of places he wants to frequent, as well as the kind of people he allows himself to mix with. For, through the unfavourable atmosphere that may reign in these places, or through what may emanate from the being of these people, he can at such moments receive influences and feelings that may rob him in an instant of the fruit of many days or even weeks of painful spiritual struggles – the loss of which may afterward leave him in a sufficiently disturbed state that it will perhaps take him a very long time to recover, before it becomes possible for him to start again his spiritual practice and meditation with the right inner attitude.
Thus, the aspirant can see how necessary it is for him to have continuously to safeguard the quality of his spiritual work against deterioration until he has gathered enough force to be able to withstand certain outer difficulties without succumbing to them so easily as heretofore – a particular force that will one day make it practicable for him to assist others in their own spiritual quest and strivings. But before anyone can help another in this delicate domain, he must first have acquired discernment and be capable of seeing and hearing rightly – and that is only possible to the degree to which he can maintain in front of another, for some length of time at least, a state of intense inner presence, connected to his Supreme Being, which is the only way by which he can look and listen impartially, rendering the aid he gives effective. The seeker has ultimately to become a living spiritual fire through whose flames other such fires may be kindled. ////////