Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Part 7 - Meditation & Freedom
As science reveals the vastness of the cosmos, meditation reveals the vastness of thought and consciousness; as science perennially seeks new sources of energy, so meditation reveals a fount of creative energy within us; as science seeks to discover new labor-saving, life-saving, health-restoring devices and cures, so meditation reveals the subtle energy of life force which brings health and vitality into everyday life. As science seeks solutions to life’s material problems, so meditation discovers the innate joy of consciousness which is itself the greatest problem solver of them all because it brings unconditional happiness: the pearl of great price which cannot be bought cheaply at Wal-Mart.
Consider, friends, that the cosmos is an inextricable mix of matter and mind; objective and subjective; esoteric and exoteric; seen and unseen. As it has been proven by science that the observer is not separable from the observed, so too is consciousness an integral part of matter.
So, my scientific, skeptical, agnostic, atheistic friends: whether God exists, whether consciousness underlies creation, or whether consciousness persists in the midst of death is not the issue. Your interest in and open mind toward the subject is the issue. God gives us the free will to seek Him or to reject Him. For countless incarnations we can seek fulfillment in outer circumstances and yet will always find disappointment. As this universe has existed for untold billions of years, so have we. As energy can be neither created nor destroyed, so too consciousness! There is no death, only the outer appearance of change. Consciousness and Self-awareness simply IS. Indeed, given the transitory, fleeting appearance and disappearances of atoms, molecules, mountains and stars, Consciousness is the only reality.
We have nothing to fear for in our pure consciousness for we are eternal: not as bodies or egos, but as unique manifestations of Infinite Consciousness. This, admittedly, is a dogma (a precept) but it is one that can be proved, intuitively, step by step, even if, owing to distractions and outer circumstances, it might take more than one lifetime. The proof of pudding is in the eating and the eating is good, for the sincere and focused inquiry produces a more reliable and increasingly stable happiness. The eating is in the discipline of meditation and the art of seeking happiness (aka God). It is a money-back guarantee that meditation, combined with right attitude, right understanding, and right action will bring the greatest happiness possible in this life, bar none!
No saint who has achieved union with the Creator has returned to say, “Ah, what a scam!” By contrast, no single human talent or achievement can so boast. Its votaries invariably and eventually turn away with a yawn and a shrug. Like Ian Fleming said of fame, “At first was fun, but now it’s just ashes, old man, just ashes.” Same for money, pleasure, beauty, fortune and on and on. There’s always a fly somewhere in the soup! Like prostitutes, they are loyal to no one.
After hard experience, we may eventually recognize that self-indulgence and selfishness produce unhappiness and suffering. Then we turn to human virtue and goodness. These are our first, halting steps in the evolution of our consciousness. Most people and most orthodox religions more or less stop here. To go further, one must go on alone. For virtue, while its own reward, cannot satisfy our potential for lasting happiness. Through sincere seeking and studying truth from the wise, we awaken the intuition to see that no matter how virtuous I may be and no matter how satisfying to me my virtuous conduct is, I see that suffering, disease, old age and death still exist. I never know how or when my virtue may slip from my grasp under trying circumstances. Virtue isn’t arbitrary or inconsequential: it is a necessary stepping stone and a foundation for further evolution.
Something more is sought, therefore, as our soul evolves. Better to be agnostic than to embrace yet another unprovable dogma: atheism. Better yet, however, to have the rigor and self-honesty of mind to be open to realities beyond your next meal and to realize that it’s a matter of mind. Who can look up at the stars and ask “What’s for dinner?” Those who do can be excused for dinner, of course, but the rest of us will ask questions of life even if we also, later, eat our dinner. If you are uninterested, I don’t judge you. You judge (or limit) your own potential for happiness. The universe has lots of time. God will wait.
So, wise up, get a real life, and expand your consciousness. As Jesus put it, “The kingdom of heaven is within you.” Discover the truth that shall make your mind free from “dire fears and colossal suffering” (Krishna, the Bhagavad Gita).
For those of you who have followed my ramblings and reflections, I applaud your valor and endurance. It is my prayer that a bit here and a bit there of these reflections will provide some inspiration to readers and, in the process, some tribute to the memory and living spirit of my teacher, Swami Kriyananda and to our guru, Paramhansa Yogananda—a beacon of hope for a better world than that offered to us by the scoffers and skeptics.