Saturday, March 26, 2016

Easter : Who was Jesus? Who am I?

The grand story of the resurrection of Jesus Christ is ripe with spiritual lessons for all times and for everyone. I would like to share some thoughts that, while lacking in interesting history, or great moral lessons, or deep philosophical or Vedantic insights, are more personal to daily life and applicable to most, if not all of us.

Let me start by saying that in my many years of studying and sharing the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda on the subject of the Bible, including the life and teachings of Jesus, I have found the story of Jesus' conversation with his close disciples asking them the question, "Who do men say I am" to be among the most fascinating and fruitful of contemplation.

I have long and often stated that the question of "Who is Jesus Christ?" is nothing less than the question "Who am I?" One of the first modern Indian gurus whose teachings captivated me (before I even had heard of Yogananda) was Ramana Maharshi who was famous for teaching the technique of self-inquiry: "Who am I?" We all know the counsel inscribed on the temple in Delphi, Greece, "Know Thyself!"

In my sixty-five years of life I have come gradually to see that the greatest challenge to happiness faced by most sincere and intelligent people, including devotees, is self-doubt. Comparing oneself to other like-minded, sincere, energetic, creative, talented and intelligent people is far more often a cause of discouragement than it is for inspiration or gratitude.

Yogananda said that inferiority complex is simply the opposite of superiority complex. Each is a side of the coin of ego. He defined "ego" as the "Soul (mis)identified with the body." So while I will focus more on self-doubt than braggadocio, understand that the latter is simply a smokescreen for the former (and vice versa).

Dwelling on what others (may) think of you, or what perhaps someone has said to you (in criticism), or how you were snubbed or ignored occupies far too great amount of time and angst to prove productive or useful introspectively. Such musings rarely prompt positive changes in one's life. Instead it is like nursing a wound or favoring an injured limb. It becomes a habit. We all know someone who takes this tact to the point of becoming paranoid but far from reaching that stage of delusion, most of us surely find nothing redeeming from the exercise.

On the other hand, just as physical pain is there to warn us to stop doing something injurious, so guilt exists to prod us to make changes in our life. How often, however, I have observed that those who dwell habitually on guilt fail to make any changes because they imagine that by dwelling morosely upon their guilt they have exorcised their need for further recompense.

Jesus' resurrection showed his power over death itself. Spiritual or psychological paralysis, if not spiritual death, can occur by our habitual indulgence in self-doubt, unworthiness, and temptation to give up.

Yet is "self=love" the answer? Should we actively bolster our self-esteem by self-praise or boasting? Obviously not. Yet it is true that we can't really and truly love another person (what to mention love God), until we love ourselves. By "love ourselves" I mean until we have some degree of self-acceptance and contentment (including inner strength and calm confidence or faith), our self-doubt will eat like a cancer on any balanced attempt to love another. I say 'balanced' in contrast to co-dependent love.

I have seen self-doubt gnaw at a devotee's faith until the devotee leaves the spiritual path all together.

The solution to what I call our "existential" unhappiness is, as always, "God alone." Let me explain.

First: by "existential" I mean, by way of example, a person who seemingly has everything that most people would desire but is not happy. You don't know why, but there it is. This person might even be clinically depressed. In any case, definitely unsatisfied: but for no obvious reason(s). This can be a general state of affairs or related to a specific aspect, talent, or gift that he has. Take a successful artist or businessman. Such has the makings of what most others in his field would want for themselves. Yet, even in his success, he remains discontent; unsure of himself; unhappy.

The saints and masters are the only ones who show us how to find true happiness. Success in no other human endeavor consistently yields the Holy Grail of human happiness.

"Naughty or good, Divine Mother, I am yours!" Paramhansa Yogananda once wrote. When we see ourselves, our combination of successes and failures, talents and shortcomings, as a tiny piece of the great cosmic wheel of life and all things that we do as our efforts to seek the Holy Grail, we can better forgive and accept ourselves as "doing the best we can."

We should try, indeed, to do the best we can. We have to be sincere in that. But having done so, we "offer it up" as my dear, now departed, mother would counsel her children long ago. Living in the presence of divinity in human form (our form; the guru's form; the form of all others), we find it easier to resurrect our soul's memory from the intensity of the marketplace of buyers and sellers, flatterers, sycophants, and self=styled enemies.

Swami Kriyananda, founder of the worldwide work of Ananda, and direct disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda, was my teacher, too. In his counsels and in his writings, e.g., the book "Sadhu Beware," he speaks about dealing with the inevitable (or merely perceived) criticism that everyone receives. ("No good deed goes unpunished" is a modern saying.) Among other things, he counseled to ask oneself if the criticism is deserved. If so, try to change yourself for the better. If it is not, then let it go; forget it. Most people are wrong most of the time, anyway.

Swami Sri Yukteswar counseled his disciple Paramhansa Yogananda to say, "Maybe you're right." And, then leave at that so far as one's response to criticism goes.

Meditation is the most efficient and fastest way to resurrect our identification with our eternal, changeless and ever perfect soul and to gradually dissolve our identification with the body and personality. For in this world of praise one day and blame another there is no end to the cycle. After all, they crucified Jesus Christ, didn't they; and he was blameless! So you and I, far from blameless or perfect, are naturally ripe candidates for censure.

"I am a child of eternity. I am ageless; I am deathless. I am the changeless Spirit at the heart of all change."

Be thou then, too, the resurrected Christ consciousness of your soul. Even-minded and happy should be our guide and our banner of victory over the death-infected ego.

Happy Easter!

Swami Hrimananda

Friday, March 25, 2016

Good Friday, March 25, 2016 : Redemptive Value of Unearned Suffering

Throughout history, humanity and its spiritual (and political) leaders have recognized the value of group acts of fasting, mortification, purification and forgiveness. Even in America, since revolutionary times, Presidents have called for such acts in times of war or other need.

In India, since ancient times, the redemptive power of purification through acts of discipline and mortification are recognized and widely accepted. Known as yagya, such acts historically acquired a complex ritualistic form in addition to personal acts of prayer, meditation, and purification through fasting and other means.

Both Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. acknowledged the need and redemptive power of accepting suffering, in effect, taking on karma, for its transformative power not only upon oneself but upon others: indeed, others who deem themselves even your enemies.

We express this principle in our own and more positive way in today's culture. We speak in terms of an investment, like borrowing money to go to college or investing in a new but promising venture. But money, though abstract, is traceable in its cause and effect, whereas the good karma of purification is far, far more subtle. Sticking to a healthy diet; the benefits of regular exercise; the long-term value of conscious and respectful relationships: these are simple but accepted examples of the value of delayed gratification for personal benefit. But in these common examples the beneficiary is principally oneself and the benefit is primarily material in nature.

Today is Good Friday, the day we commemorate the suffering and death of Jesus Christ on the cross. The sacrifice Jesus submitted to by his death on the cross fits well into this precept of the power of unearned suffering which has been universally recognized by humanity since ancient times. It is not clear how the transference of karma actually operates. In his famous life story, Autobiography of a Yogi, Paramhansa Yogananda describes (at various places in the book) the power of a saint to take on karma. He himself did so in the latter years of his life for the benefit of his disciples.

For us, it is generally disadvised to pray to take on another's karma. Not only is the technique not revealed except to those more highly advanced, but the sanction to take on karma must come from God. Nonetheless, we commonly pray for the well being, health and healing of others and, to varying degrees, believe in the efficacy of prayer. (Don't go looking for trouble: "sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof" is how Jesus put it.)

So while we may not know the details of the transference, we intuitively hold fast to its potential and its value. Obviously, Jesus' suffering did not change world history to the degree that all sinning suddenly stopped or that the effects of all sin have been erased. Just as obviously, therefore, Jesus' dying "for our sins" must be understood in a more specific and defined sense.

It takes a subtler consciousness to intuit the connection between souls; the power of thought and intention; and the channels that can be created by the laser-like direction of life force energy. In general, modern minds are neither subtle, nor focused, nor convinced therefore of their own power. We deem our thoughts, for example, to be private and without impact upon others. In a higher age, long into the future, humanity more generally will acquire these latent mental powers. Most of us, do, however, experience these connections from time to time though we might not make special note of the incident(s).

Tales from ancient India are filled with examples of how a person goes off to the Himalayas to meditate for twelve or more years in order to acquire the power (called a "boon") granted by a divine source (a deity or saint) to accomplish some worthy (or even unworthy) goal.

Imagine if the people of a nation, such as America, or India or any nation, came together in prayer, fasting, and other forms of self-sacrifice for the benefit and welfare of some noble goal or in asking forgiveness for its own errors! Unfortunately in today's consciousness only lip service would be paid to such a call and not likely would sufficient numbers gather sincerely to do so.

Our leaders have forgotten this principle in their efforts to win elections and secure the power for their own agendas. Gone seems to be the understanding of compromise, when each side gives up something they hold dear in order that a greater good can be achieved.

The glory and triumph of the resurrection of Jesus is inextricably linked to his sacrifice on the cross. Even professed Christians tend to miss the connection, viewing his resurrection, as is common, as simply a miracle or grace of God. To advance spiritually and to help others spiritually requires sacrifice. This is known as tapasya in Sanskrit and in the tradition of India and the practice of yoga. Energy begets energy and energy directed towards a goal generates magnetism to enlist a greater power which is the ultimate key to success.

As we celebrate Easter, then, let us not forget that life asks of us self-offering into a higher purpose than ego gratification. This is the universal law of life (one form offering itself into another) from which comes the sunshine (the sun burning its fuel up), the rain (the clouds dispense their water), and perpetuation of life itself. Soldiers sacrifice their lives for their country; parents sacrifice for their children; inventors sacrifice to create new and useful products; devotees pray for others; the masters come into the world, voluntarily taking on the suffering inherent in human life, to uplift souls who are ready and receptive. On and on the eternal wheel of birth, life, and death.

We were not born for our own gratification but to offer ourselves, like Jesus, onto the cross of dharma, for the good of our soul and for the good of others. My dearly departed mother counseled her children at times of pain or discomfort, to "offer it up." This is the hidden message of Easter: the light from the East comes to those who offer themselves up for a greater good: the bliss of the universal Christ consciousness that resides at the heart of every atom.

Happy Easter and blessings to you,

Nayaswami Hriman

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Dying to Learn How to Die

Most of the readers of this blog know Nayaswami Tushti Conti who, after a battle with cancer, has passed on from this world just a few days ago.

One of the interesting aspects of her process was the understandable desire on her part to "die consciously." It is axiomatic in the tradition of yoga, and presumably all spiritual traditions, that to die peacefully with "God on your lips" is something of the gold standard for the death of a devotee.

Yes, it's true that a liberated master is said to exit his body consciously, knowing even the time and the hour beforehand, but in these thoughts that I wish to share, I'm not referencing that state of consciousness. Only the lesser goal of exiting in peace and with conscious, devotional awareness.

I have no pretense to offer any deep insights into the process of dying but certainly this hope of dying consciously spurs thoughts and reflections in the minds of the devotee-friends of Tushti.

No experienced hospice care giver; no experienced midwife or obstetrician; no thoughtful observer of life itself is unaware of the simple fact that each death, each birth, and each life is unique and personal. It is not reasonable, therefore, to burden one's expectations of death with a judgment of "good" or "bad" or holy or profane based solely on the incidents and attributes of a particular person's dying.

Take the daily example of "falling" to sleep. One simply CANNOT WILL oneself to sleep. To "fall" asleep, you have to let go; relax! Dying must surely have a similar aspect: not in every and all cases of natural death but the basic stages of resistance and final acceptance or surrender are fairly easily imagined and readily observed with even some modest amount of deathbed experience.

We, as devotees, must consider the importance of accepting not just the time but the circumstances of our death. We cannot say what karma of our own might be released by end of life suffering if accepted with faith and equanimity. Naturally we would all like to have a peace-filled, joy infused passing, with friends at our side, and angels and masters above! But whether or not we are granted this grace, we should not judge ourselves or others by its yardstick.

It is also axiomatic that one's thought at death importantly affects one's journey "northward" into the astral realm and, just as importantly, one's next incarnation (if any). The thought of God, and self-offering without reservation into the light, can propel one past mountains of past (bad) karma, or so it is said. (Krishna so states in the Bhagavad Gita and similarly in the Tibetan Book of the Dead and numerous other traditions.) [So, too, as we "fall" asleep our last thought can impact our sleep, our dreams, and the state in which we reawaken in the morning!]

I very much like this thought-at-death "escape clause;" in fact, I have a lot riding on it. Unfortunately I have this nagging thought that "as I have lived, so shall I die!" If one has had no God-remembrance in his daily life, why would it suddenly appear at death: the moment of extreme renunciation of attachment to the body, to loved ones, to fears, attachments, unfulfilled desires, regrets and so much more?

Yet, I think it's one of those "both-and" kind of things. I can picture, for example, a person who truly loves God but has had many challenges in life: addictive habits, for example; or extremely poor health; then, at death, this person makes a heroic effort to surrender to the love of God. At such a moment perhaps all the karma, all the challenges evaporate in this moment of supreme surrender to the light.

As the life force withdraws from the organs and tissues and breath begins to fade, the "I" is beginning to "shrink" as the life force is squeezed, as it were, into the the narrow passageways of the astral body. We do this in a partial way each night as we "fall" asleep and rest in the lower energy centers (the chakras) of the spine. This is in part how and why our senses shut off and are generally unaware or untouched by outer lights, sounds, and so on.

Deprived of the day-to-day and lifetime identification with the body, the senses, passing thoughts, memories and desires, the "I" seems to fall asleep; to wink out, like a light bulb being shut off. Thus it is that many people at death appear or in fact do fall asleep and fade away, seemingly unconscious. That seeming fact however is also illusive; hearing, being the last sense to fade away, gives to the apparently unconscious dying person a link to his or her surroundings such that, he may not be able to visibly respond or react to what is being around him, he may nonetheless be affected, emotionally or otherwise.

Reports of a last minute rush of wakefulness, even when otherwise heavily sedated, is not uncommon: whether immediately before death or within hours or the last day. Thus it is a back and forth between wakefulness and a kind of sleep. There is no end to the iterations and symptoms that can be observed in dying persons when surveying a large sampling of deaths.

Paramhansa Yogananda wrote that the sojourn between earthly incarnations is marked mostly by a kind of sleep state: not unlike what we experience each night. Deprived of a physical body, with its brain, organs and nervous system (including senses) the average person is not capable of retaining consciousness in the prolonged sleep of death. It's like those who can climb Mt. Everest without oxygen. Few can do it. Deprived of oxygen of breath, most people go unconscious (actually, "sub" conscious).

But there are others who live more directly and more frequently in a state of expanded awareness, living, in effect, on the direct current of the intelligent life force that makes life in a human body possible to begin with. Deep meditators who effectively control their breath and heart rate, slowing it down not into the state of subconscious sleep but into an intense state of heightened awareness, will more likely enter back into that state during the dying process. Those whose lives on earth were lived more in the brain and higher centers (say, from the heart upwards), people such as devotees, saints, meditators, inventors, composers, scientists, mathematicians, humanitarians, and the like, are also more likely to remain conscious of the astral realm.

So as we slip towards losing our breath and our heart beat and are being "squeezed" into the astral tunnel from which we came into the body (at conception), it either appears or is in fact most people's experience to go subconscious. I suspect that one can no more by will power alone remain in the conscious, wakeful state during the final stage of dying than one can do so when falling asleep. [As the baby being born is squeezed and pushed through the mother's birth canal, so we, being reborn on the astral plane at physical death, are squeezed in the upward direction through the birth canal of the astral spine.]

The difference however is that, whether by divine grace, good karma, and/or actual life experience, it is possible, I believe and have been given to understand, to exit the body more, rather than less, consciously. But the "more" is not the day-to-day conscious mind and consciousness of the personality version of "I," it is, I am certain, the higher mind of superconsciousness, stripped of attributes but intensely aware with undertones (or overtones) of joy, peace, energy, the astral sounds or inner light, etc. No doubt, as we are taught, there are some who do so in the presence of or guidance of God, guru, etc. Again I say: there is no one set pattern or experience for everyone.

This "squeezing" is like squeezing the water flowing in a hose; by temporarily limiting the diameter of the flow, the flow shoots out with greater force. In an analagous manner, it is commonly reported that upon exiting the body and entering the astral realm, one enters into the "light at the end of the (astral) tunnel [of the spine]." There one is greeted by loved ones; by one's guru; by an angel; etc. There is a moment where a life review takes place and we see the significance of events that perhaps we didn't really notice. We receive a kind of report card. It is not judgmental, it is, in a spiritual sense, simply a review and a report. Perhaps it is a moment to resolve to do better in the future.

How long after that intense experience wherein we have a heightened experience do we retain consciousness is dependent, then, upon the factors described above. Most people, fall asleep for a much needed rest after a long or difficult life, or suffering in old age, regrets, disappointments and so on. Since this topic is worthy of a book, I can only go so far in a blog article.

Mostly my point is to offer reassurance that each of us must face our final exam as best we can with courage, faith, joy and gratitude. We need not concern ourselves for the ideally "perfect" ending. Let us live in the light rather than hope it is there in the end. It will be there one way or the other if we have lived it day to day.

As for our friend, Tushti, we know she is well and in joy. Her life was lived in that consciousness and her dying confirmed it.

Blessings to you and may we each approach life's Final Exam ready to succeed!

Nayaswami Hriman

PS A further consideration is "What of "Me" survives past death?" Maybe some other time.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Here Today; Gone to Maui!

There's nothing like being a tourist to view life as a play, actors entering the stage and the exiting, to be seen no more!

Ah, indeed....paradise....Hawaii is no place for serious thought.......seriously?

Every time something deep comes into my mind, a mango or papaya intervenes, or the sound of crashing surf across the street reminds me of the waves I am missing!

Well, we've enjoyed our brief time here, though time stands still when there's nothing going on and no appointments to meet, or decisions to be made!

It's interesting how we humans, parading in our swim suits and beach attire, are SO self-conscious of appearances when, in fact, being far from home and away on vacation, no body will remember you or care. The few who notice have no comment and what judgment they render is silent and fleeting!

If one were at home, at a pool, spa, or lake, and being around friends, the self-consciousness would grow in leaps and bounds, but why should it? advantage of being "mature" is the ease and conviction with which one simply doesn't care to imagine what others might think or see!

Seeing all these people parading by I wonder what stories are there to tell! Imagine how much their stories differ from their outward appearances!

I think it is good that one takes a break from routine and from familiar surroundings and people. It is good for the soul to be unknown and to shed the "clothes" of self-definitions and the expectations and opinions of friends in order to be "naked" before our soul and our God.

We've had a lovely time here on Maui and are thankful for the friends who have made it possible to take this break from a very intense schedule.

The politics of America faded, thankfully, from view, and so have many other things, yet, not everything. There are existential issues that no one can dismiss.

A dear friend, for example, has been in transition from this world, fading daily, but not quite gone and not quite there. The pall of death, its meaning and its finality, weigh upon the waves as I ride them joyfully toward the shore. It's not sadness for her departure, nor yet for any sense of my own loss, but rather the question lingers, "Will I be as present and joy filled as she when my time comes?" The sense of impermanence of life, indeed it's lingering meaningless, hovers like a dark cloud.

Not that I have a particular investment in meaninglessness, it's just, rather, the question of WHAT exactly is MOST meaningful? What parts are important and what parts are NOT!

When in my mid-twenties I traveled to Europe and Asia for over a year, I remember flying back to America and praying that I not get caught up in the littleness of life (again). Well, I've learned that it's not the details that are the problem; it's our attachment and identification with them. After all, it's no small detail when one is hungry or thirsty! It can become pretty important then.

Why can't I just take a vacation? A vacation is NOT a vacation from issues; it's a break to put them in perspective. If you don't plan or take a vacation, you are avoiding your issues!

I am deeply grateful for the grace of a true Guru, for the practice of kriya yoga, true friends and the privilege of spiritual service. All of these bring the parade of life's potential meaninglessness into clear and beautiful focus.

Joy to you and welcome home to me!


Sunday, March 6, 2016

Taming the Monkey Mind – Part 3 – Monkey Business!

It’s important to get along with your pet monkey. It’s also important to establish that you, the Self, are the alpha of your one-monkey troop. So, now it's time to teach your monkey some meditation tricks. It’s no use berating him (or “her,” but “him” sounds better). No, we have to demonstrate that our Self is a true and inspired leader. More on this soon, but, first:

“A word from our Sponsor,” Emperor Soul (Sole):

No amount of meditation tricks is going to trick your monkey into believing you want him to lie still unless YOU really do. There is, you see, something else needed and it's not a trick. It has to be real. You will be surprised by what I have to say.

Simply put: you have to WANT to be still. Yes, I actually wrote that. You object by saying, “Well, heck, that’s what meditation is all about and of course I want to meditate!” Paramhansa Yogananda may have responded to someone who said just that when he wrote: “The soul LOVES to meditate but the ego HATES to meditate.” 

You can trick your monkey but you cannot trick your Self. Very few meditators have reached the point, sustainably and consistently, where they have no inner resistance to meditating and do so consistently. 

Moreover, none of them are reading this article because what few of these exist don’t need to. You might argue by saying it’s your monkey that HATES to meditate and you wouldn’t be wrong, but there’s something deeper than mere habit that resists meditation, too.

It’s called many things but most commonly we call it the EGO. Yes, the monkey is part of the ego, but mostly the monkey is active, reactive, and restless, a product of necessity, survival, and habit. But there is something deeper and more still; it is dark, like the subconscious — meaning very difficult to “see” — because always “behind you” yet always there. If and when it decides you are more than a meditator and are, in fact, a serious devotee and disciple seeking Self-realization through ego-transcendence, it will put up a fight that will make the monkey seem like a pet. 

It is, in effect, the master of the monkey. This series of blog-articles are about the monkey, not the monkey’s master. That’s not an article; that’s a scripture; and more than a scripture; that’s the “greatest story ever told.”

For now, however, let me say this about that: the secret to achieving stillness in meditation is that you must truly and sincerely, and with energy, WANT to be still. Whether your incentive finds expression in philosophical or intellectual terms, devotional feeling, or by sheer will power (or, most likely, some combination of all three), it must be there for you to have the power, the patience, and, in time, the skill to train your monkey to become a pet monkey.

This is why you should never be very far from having a quiver of arrows handy that enumerate the many important and inspiring reasons WHY you want to meditate. When the monkey is acting out whether by mere habit, by stress or circumstantially-driven emotions, or the influence of its master ego, you, the peaceful soul-warrior, must reach behind you and draw from your quiver several peace-dipped arrows, one by one, reason after reason (powered by determination and ignited by inspiration) to anesthetize the monkey.

Because if “you” don’t really want to meditate, the monkey’s going to stay on top. Every day, therefore, you must stay in touch with the peace of meditation or any other aspect of the benefit(s) of meditation that inspire you to want to meditate as soon as you get up, or as often as you can.

OK, our sponsor (the soul) has spoken. 

Now, back to our subject: meditation techniques to train your monkey.
   1.       Begin every meditation (if needed) with an examination of conscience (an old Catholic term, I believe). What’s bothering me right now? What’s on my mind? Acknowledge this and promise it that you’ll come back to it after meditation. Write it down if you must.
   2.       Otherwise, start every meditation in your heart. Take whatever time you need to settle and harmonize the feelings of the heart in the direction of peace, calmness or devotion: that, “Aaah, I have come home! Good to see You again, old Friend!”
   3.       Assuming the monkey needs some petting, you should have in your routine no less than two pranayams (breathing techniques). Use them with consecutive breaths to energize and relax first the body; then the heart and finally the mind. (I do this in the kumbhak (holding phase) of sequential breath cycles by filling first the body with breath, energy, prana; then holding it behind the heart; and then finally in the mind, clearing out the fog of restless thought so the sunshine and blue skies of mental clarity break through.
   4.       Then, stepping away from controlling (yama) the breath, slip into merely observing and “watching” (niyama) the breath. Do so with keen, focused, and calmly engaged interest. (I am not giving a technique per se, but the “bhav” or feeling with which to observe the breath with whatever technique you’ve been taught.) You might imagine your breath as an old friend. He’s been with you since your birth, remember? Imagine you are sitting together on the couch, intent upon one another but not necessarily talking; enjoying each other’s silent company, like real friends do.
   5.       If you do speak, do so with each other in a simple way. Use a mantra or affirmation with each breath.

   6.       If thoughts enter the room, like a waiter eager to ask you “Is everything all right” just as you are in the middle of an important sentence, then consider this response:
a.      Observe the thought passing through.
b.      Observe your reaction to the thought.
c.      Notice that the two (thought vs reaction) are two, separate things (not one thing)
d.      Discard or dissolve the reaction;
e.      Notice the thought vanishes.
f.       Enter (however briefly) space-mind (the space where the mind resides—devoid or waiting for the next thought).
g.      Gradually expand the time and depth of your resting in space-mind-time.
h.      Enjoy Being there.
i.       Or, if you're not ready for space-mind-time, then go back to your conversation with the breath.

Well, it’s been nice BEING with you. When you are finished, tap on your pet monkey’s shoulder and say, “It’s time to get back to work!” Smile at him: he’s your friend, too.

Joy to you and yours,

Nayaswami Hriman