My daughter, Gita Matlock, wrote a blog article yesterday that coincides with my thoughts in preparation for my Sunday Service talk tomorrow (June 7, 2015) on the subject, "How Devotees Fall." Gita's article is entitled, "Anguishing Monotony." http://gitagoing.blogspot.com/
Her article might, at first, sound like a "downer" but it's not. She's not capable of doing "downers." (Her dad, she says, does the downer subjects.) Rather, while she states her admiration for human striving and overcoming challenges, she wonders "Is there an end to it?" What would the struggle mean if we were not aware of it being a struggle or if we didn't seek an end to it?
Self-awareness, you see, is inextricably linked with our human experience of striving and seeking. Good, bad, indifferent qualities are, at first, seemingly inseparable from the objects (obstacles and goals) with which they are identified. But, Gita writes, behind all human qualities, even the most admirable ones, is the hidden source of all qualities: Self-awareness and Consciousness. For without self-awareness, the experiences have no meaning or significance. Indeed, from a practical matter (ours, that is!), perhaps no existence at all!
Is it possible, however, to separate awareness from the objects illuminated by it? The yogis say YES! The science of yoga shows us how, by meditation, using mind and breath control, to strip away the objects reflected in the mind of the Seer. Gazing backwards into the mirror of Self-awareness, the "Eye" confronts an "I," which, like a mirror reflecting back onto itself, reveals an infinite Self-awareness.
Thus Self-awareness, stripped of all objects, is unqualified Being, and, being without name, form, definition or condition of any kind, is complete unto itself. It simply IS! It is not, however, by that fact devoid of feeling.
If you sit very still and your thoughts subside into deep silence, there wells up out of the apparent Void a rising tide of silent joy. Discover for your Self, that Self-awareness cannot be permanently stripped of feeling. When Awareness is without focus upon any external object, subtle or gross, then its Consort, Feeling, also becomes pure and without condition. Pure feeling is No-Thing less than Bliss itself.
Thus all the struggle, striving, and strain has for its aim ..... to return to our Source in Bliss!
Is Bliss some weird No-thing in No-place that is separate from time and space? Or, does Bliss permeate creation while it remains untouched by it? As the sea can exist without waves but waves cannot exist without the sea, Bliss is omnipresent, omniscient, and infinite.
When Paramhansa Yogananda, 20th century avatara and yoga master, and author of the spiritual classic and modern scripture, "Autobiography of a Yogi," was asked "What is the end of soul evolution," he replied, "Endlessness."
Though we naturally seek rest from strain and struggle, rest is but the opposite, not the resolution of effort. Ease and effortlessness lies in the center point between the two. But so also does Bliss; so also does Infinity. As an object approaching the speed of light must, by mathematical definition, become infinite in mass, so too pure Consciousness expands toward Infinity as it sheds the limiting, reflecting and reactive light of forms, emotions, memories, and attachments.
Rest, then, in the Self, even if from this Self we expand into the Great Self of God. As Swami Kriyananda, founder of the Ananda worldwide movement of intentional communities and the best known direct disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda put it in his landmark text on meditation, "Awaken to Superconsciousness:"
"The more you seek rest as the consequence of doing, rather than in the process of doing, the more restless you will become. Peace isn’t waiting for you over the next hill. Nor is it something you construct, like a building. It must be a part of the creative process itself.
Learn to be restful, even in the midst of activity, and you will be able to relax better when you sit to meditate. As Paramhansa Yogananda put it, “Be calmly active, and actively calm.”
Joy to you!