Saturday, July 18, 2015

Thy Faith Hath Healed Thee – Law of Success

In the New Testament, the gospel of Luke (Chapter 8), we read of the woman who was healed by simply touching the hem of Jesus’ garment as he walked past. The story tells us that many people were crowding around Jesus, reaching for him, hoping also to be healed or blessed at least in some tangible way.

Jesus stopped suddenly and exclaimed “Who touched me? Power hath gone out of me.” His chief disciple Peter protested, pointing out (the obvious) that there were people all around him and many had touched him!

Was she just lucky, like having a winning lottery ticket? Why did her faith heal her when the “faith” of so many others did not heal them? What makes a “winner?” What is “luck?”

In Swami Kriyananda’s autobiography, “The New Path,” and in many of his lectures, he describes how he intuitively hit upon the law of luck by feeling “lucky!” Wanting to go to Mexico one summer during college, and in this state of serendipity, he caught a ride in a car from Philadelphia to Mexico City—three thousand miles!

No one would ordinarily associate someone down in the dumps with being on a lucky streak, right? Obviously, being lucky means being upbeat and confident: holding a positive expectation. Yet no one likes a boastful person, either. Such shallow ego-centeredness contains the seeds of its own undoing. We know that, too, intuitively.

Thus it was in the story in the New Testament that the woman at last came forward, “trembling” the Bible says, when Jesus demanded that the person who had been healed identify him/herself. Clearly for her to have drawn that healing power she could not have been a wimp! So, by “trembling” (and given the evolution and translation of languages) this must have been a reference to humility.

And, by “humility” we don’t mean the self-deprecating or self-abnegating “Aw shucks, fellas” kind of self-conscious humility. Spiritual humility is “self-forgetful” in the presence of or in the state of divine awareness. A true devotee, as this woman obviously was, she felt God’s presence in the person of Jesus. Besides, we’ve already acknowledged that the “lucky” or “successful” person is upbeat and confident! How else, then, can we make sense of the story and of this person?

In general, we find that one who serves a just or higher (or spiritual) “cause” draws sustenance, strength, courage and confidence from a higher (non-egoic) source. One example of this is the form of calm righteousness exemplified by Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr in the face of persecution and violence. The power that results from self-forgetfulness in the presence of divine consciousness is like a lamp being plugged into the circuit so the current can flow and the light can shine forth.

In our times a “new dispensation” has been given for those seeking to know God. (This term was used by Paramhansa Yogananda, author of “Autobiography of a Yogi.”) Instead of God being distant and even aloof; instead of Jesus Christ being distant in time and space (2,000 years ago in Palestine), it is given to us in our time to know that the divine presence is “within you.” The vehicle for this discovery is meditation. In meditation, we can know God through direct, intuitive perception. "The ever-new joy [of meditation]," Paramhansa Yogananda wrote in his autobiography," is evidence of His existence, convincing to our very atoms." (He then added: together His inner guidance, in times of difficulty, bestowing calm acceptance and confidence.) God can be known in the silence of meditation. 

That silence opens us up to another aspect declared by this new dispensation: super-consciousness. We know of the subconscious and the conscious mind, but there is a higher mind (mind you) from which the other two descend, as it were. 

Subconsciousness is inarticulate and hidden, a mishmash of images. It's "worldview" revolves around the ego; the conscious mind is, well, “conscious:” it seeks to define, defend, affirm or serve the ego incarnate in its vehicle, the physical body. 

But the superconscious mind is beyond the articulation of reason and the senses: it is, in one way, inarticulate because not dependent upon language and reason but super-articulate in that it is intuitive and “sees” reality as a unity, unbounded by body and ego. 

When we are super-conscious we are not “thinking” yet we are super-aware. Just as we can’t be “conscious” in the subconscious state and thus we don’t “control” the subconscious mind in the way we like to believe we command our conscious state, so, too, the superconscious mind isn’t under our conscious control either. 

But unlike the subconscious and because it is super-conscious, it brings to us greater awareness which has the long-term effect of greater self-control and power over objective reality.

Superconsciousness is the source and Being of consciousness. Further, it is an axiom of metaphysics and Vedanta that Consciousness is the Source of creation itself; it is the string that links the beads of all atoms and galaxies, all emotional states and all thoughts and perceptions. From superconsciousness comes true inspiration, healing, vitality and intuition. These gifts flow like "oil from a drum" (silently but powerfully, to quote the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali).

Not surprisingly, therefore, we cannot “own” superconsciousness. Any attempt to use it for ego gratification will, in time, diminish our access to it, for selfishness is "out of tune" with the higher vibrations of superconsciousness. Thus while I’d like to say that the spectrum of superconsciousness begins with the state where random or conscious thoughts have vanished like clouds, revealing the clear blue skies of pure awareness, superconscious states of mind can come upon us anytime, anywhere and in an infinity of forms! Nonetheless: silence of mind is the doorway to superconsciousness.

But because infinity is too large a subject for this article, let us say that superconscious has, as Yogananda taught, eight distinct aspects, like facets of a diamond: peace, wisdom, energy, love, calmness, subtle sound or light, and joy (leading to bliss).

A meditator can hasten the approach of superconscious by “attuning” (by imagination or feeling) himself to one or more of these aspects; or, to that form of divinity to which he is devoted; or, to quote Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, “to any form that inspires him.” Bear in mind that if one uses imagination or feeling it is only a tool. Superconsciousness is not an imaginary or emotional state.

It helps, however, for the meditator to clear the mind using whatever meditation technique(s) are his and then to consciously strive (often in conjunction with breath control or focusing on currents of subtle energy (“prana”)) towards stilling all thoughts and holding his awareness, love, feeling, or intention up to the Superconscious Mind. It is through this door that the divine grace of guidance, inspiration and self-transformation via ego transcendence pour.

Let every meditation bring you at least moment of pure stillness. As Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita, ”Even a little of this practice will save you from fear and suffering.” Are not the qualities of calmness, confidence, and positive attitude the antithesis of fear?

In superconscious attunement, therefore, lies victory!

Jai Guru!

Nayaswami Hriman