Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Basic principles of right living

Since a very long time, I have been wondering how should a person, inclined deeply towards spirituality, think, behave and act in life and whether those qualities are present in me or not and if they are not present in me, what is the reason behind it and how can it be rectified.
All this should be understood in the background of Sarvodaya Mission ( http://docs.google.com/Doc?docid=dftvb2vq_22f37c2pfq&hl=en ) and Sarvodaya Sannyasa (http://gopal4mission.wordpress.com/2007/12/21/sarvodaya-sannyasa ) because this is a basic truth that my first conscious thought of life has been the desire to sacrifice all, if that is needed, for the sake of society (at age of 8-9) and that under-current of social consciousness remained ever-present as eternal and sublime music of universal love whereas all else (even spiritual aspirations) has to bow down to that under-current (so strong it has been).
Now, the big question arises – what are those defilements of mind which harm the purity of life (both personal and public life). As per spiritual sages, they can be classified as tamo and rajo gunas (explained here – http://gopal4mission.wordpress.com/category/yoga/thoughtless-awareness-faq/#What-are-the-attributes-of-mind ).
Of course, both gunas are present in all of us. Accepting the fact that only a fully sattwic mind (having no trace of tamo and rajo gunas) can lead a life(both personal and public life) of total purity, the big question arises, what do we mean by a fully sattwic mindhow to achieve it and how to restrain inner impurity till the mind is rendered totally sattwic.
I am sharing my understanding on these vital questions mainly because this is how a person aiming at universal love plus universal consciousness (even if he/she is not totally in the state of universal love plus universal consciousness at this moment) should behave – he/she should egolessly share with others whatever may help others in becoming more peaceful and pure… (this is one of main teachings of Buddha, which unfortunately most spiritual people don’t practice due to fear that it will develop attachment and ego in them, but which anyone inspired by Buddha or Sarvodaya Mission/Sannyasa is bound to practice along with tackling the danger of lurking attachment and ego by evolving awareness rather than by escapism.)
1. What do we mean by a fully sattwic mind?
Ans. A very simple answer – a fully sattwic (same as “a totally pure”) mind is same as the awareness being so high that one is fully aware even in the state of dreamless sleep. This is the state which happens when 5th center (Vishuddhi Chakra) is fully awakened and is a pre-cursor to full enlightenment.
2. How to achieve it?
Ans. One has to go on expanding his/her awareness so that it starts penetrating first dream state (during dream, one will suddenly become aware that it is a dream and then sleep will vanish and one will be inthoughtless awareness) and eventually dreamless state. The way to do that involve multiple dimensions:
  1. Just before sleep, if one practices thoughtless awareness (at least for 30 min. – less than that is too little, isn’t it?), the practice continues at subconscious level even when one falls asleep. This can be easily understood by a simple fact that whatever thought predominates in our mind just before falling asleep, that remains an under-current at subconscious level even when we fall asleep and manifests even in dreams and is often the first thought just after waking up. Now, during thoughtless awareness practice, whenever any thought happens, we use some other thought (like “Who is thinking? or “I am not this thought, I am only its witness.”), so that pattern of thoughts (whenever some thought comes, use some other thought to bring back awareness and eventually become thoughtless) continues even at subconscious level. Its effect happens after sometime (many months/years/lifetimes depending on how fast our awareness evolves) when during dreams, one raises question “Who is seeing this thought? or “I am not this thought”, which results in dream (and sleep) getting broken then and there. One wakes up, but there is no need to open eyes – one should just continue thoughtless practice with close eyes till sleep happens again or actual time to wake up (may be alarm is used for that) occurs. I know only till this how awareness penetrates dream state, because this is recent personal experience and corroborated by Osho, Ramana Maharshi and Upanishads. “How does the awareness penetrates dreamless state?” – the only thing that I know about this is (again from teachings of Osho, Ramana Maharshi and Upanishads), this stage happens spontaneously and gradually (may take few months/years and even lifetimes depending on sincerity of spiritual practice) as a result of evolution from the stage of awareness penetrating dream state. This is the reason, why Buddha, Raman Maharshi, Osho and other sages advised repeatedly to practice thoughtless awareness just before sleep.
  2. If one practices thoughtless awareness technique of “observe the incoming and outgoing breath”, then the awareness penetrates dream state in a different way – during dreams, one suddenly becomes aware of incoming and outgoing breath and that breaks dream (and sleep). But, there is no need to open eyes – one should just continue “observe the breath” practice with close eyes till sleep happens again or actual time to wake up (may be alarm is used for that) occurs. On other spiritual paths also, the same mechanism of awareness penetrating first dream and eventually dreamless sleep happens, but the exact explanatory details are not known to me. If you know it, please let me know and I will put that here.
  3. One should practice thoughtless awareness with closed eyes and in sitting position at least for 30 min daily.
  4. One should always live in present most of the times. Present-moment awareness (which, in its entire purity, is same as thoughtless awareness , because every thought pulls mind into past or future) is the most important key to expansion of awareness.
  5. One should, of course, trying to use body-mind mechanism only for sattwic thoughts, words and deeds, to help the process of expansion of awareness.
3. How to restrain inner impurity till the mind is rendered totally sattwic
Ans. Everyone has to design his /her own way to deal with impurity of mind till it becomes totally sattwic through expansion of awareness. My way is sincerely following below principles titled as “Basic principles of right living” in thoughts, words and deeds (they are given here – http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dftvb2vq_31g5qc67cx ) and listed below:
Basic principles of right living (read with a peaceful and one-pointed mind during meals)
  1. Maximum possible level of continuous, well-planned and whole-hearted labor is the only key to maximum possible success and self-satisfaction, whatever may be the field of endeavor.
  2. Unless one’s awareness level is so high that one is fully aware even in the state of dreamless sleep, one is always within the danger-zone of break of physical celibacy and delusion of  lust, anger, greed, pride, attachment and jealousy. Always keep this fact in mind in order to save yourself from spiritual downfall.
  3. Total (whole-hearted) effort built upon the foundation of total “let go”/non-doership (I am not the doer, I am only a non-judgemental witness of all thoughts, words and deeds of this body-mind mechanism.) is the key to Nishkama Karma Yoga (non-attached action).
  4. Life is always here, and never there. Life is always now, and never then. Indeed, life is always here and now – by not being here and now, we completely miss life. So, enjoy every present moment (always ‘be here and now’/'live in the present moment’) in order to enjoy life.
  5. For gaining peace and purity, thoughtless awareness is the best means. For gaining energy and removing untimely sleep, internal breath-retention is the best means.
  6. In this world, love is a greater truth than truth itself. Always maintain a loving, positive and optimistic attitude towards yourself, others and society at large.
  7. Always learn from others’ views and reactions – they provide vital clues for improving your thinking, behaviour and communication skills. But, never get influenced by any view conceived on the plane of moral weakness or crowd mentality.
  8. Self-unconscious virtue/goodness is beautiful/real, self-conscious virtue/goodness is ugly/false – forget all virtues/goodness you have, all good that you do to others (and society) and forget all ills that others do to you.
  9. We” is beautiful/spiritual, “I” is ugly/unspiritual – always use the language of “we” and always avoid the language of “I” as much as practically possible in every form of communication.
  10. “What is respected and rewarded, gets repeated and promoted.” – this is an absolute law of human psychology. So, always praise and reward good thoughts, words and deeds of other individuals and organizations whole-heartedly whenever occasion for that arises.
  11. Always remember and practice the following with respect to criticism:
    1. Criticism is similar to a poisonous substance – it can easily poison our relationships and create long-lasting, negative image/perception about us and our organization.
    2. Just like some poisonous substance becomes life-saving when administered in a trace amount, in right manner and under right circumstances, similarly criticism, when given in a trace amount, in right manner and under right circumstances, is helpful for the growth and evolution of individuals and organizations.
    3. Criticism should always be given in the form of suggestion rather than condemnation.
    4. Criticism should precede with sincere praise and end with encouraging words and suggestions.
    5. Never criticize harshly or in more than a trace amount, otherwise it hurts the self-esteem of other person, making him/her react, become defensive or demoralized, thus totally defeating the purpose of criticism.
    6. Criticism should always be impersonal (never criticize any person or organization directly) and based on ideas or events rather than persons.
    7. Use the sweetest possible words and the strongest possible arguments for making criticism.
    8. Be open to re-evaluate and even change your own views during the process of criticism – after all, we may be wrong and the other person may be right. Thus, criticism should be considered as a dialogue for mutual benefits rather than one-sided communication for only others’ benefits.
  12. The secret of health for both body and mind is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.
  13. Mind has a harmful tendency to magnify one’s virtues and others’ shortcomings and to diminish one’s shortcomings and others’ virtues due to influence of ego. Always remain aware of this fact in order to develop a balanced and wholesome understanding of yourself and others.
  14. Egolessness is the source of all other virtues.
  15. The most important thing is not to get born into a good society (and family), but to give a good society (and family) before we die.
Feel free to give your comment/feedback in comment section just at bottom of this post.
Love and regards,
Gopal Krishna

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