Monday, August 19, 2019

Q&A with Ramana Maharshi

from Timeless in Time

Q1. What are the marks of a real teacher, sadguru?

A. Steady abidance in the Self, looking at all with an equal eye, unshakable courage at all times, in all places and circumstances, etc.

Q2. What are the marks of an earnest disciple?

A. An intense longing for the removal of sorrow and attainment of joy.

Q3. What are the marks of the guru’s grace?

A. It is beyond words or thoughts.

Q4. Is the state of “being still” a state involving effort or is it effortless?

A. it is not an efiortless state. All mundane activities which are ordinarily called effort are performed with the aid of a portion of the mind and with frequent breaks. But the act of communion with the Self, or remaining still inwardly, is intense activity which is performed with the entire mind and without break.

Q5. What is meditation?

A. It is abiding as one’s Self without swerving in any way from one’s real nature and without feeling that one is meditating.

Q6. What are the rules of conduct which an aspirant (sadhaka) should follow?

A. Moderation in food, moderation in sleep, and moderation in speech.

Q7. How long should one practice?

A. Until the mind attains, efiortlessly, its natural state of freedom from concepts. That is, till the sense of “I” and “mine” no longer exist.

Q8. If everything happens according to karma, how is one to overcome the obstacles to meditation?

A. Karma concerns only the out-turned mind and not the in-turned mind.

more here


Monday, August 12, 2019

The Secret to Happiness

"Renounce your mind. Stop believing its stories."

-Jim Gilman

Read more here.


Monday, August 05, 2019

The Eternal Witness

Meditation without Seed by Sri Dharma Mittra

You remain unconcerned. Don’t try to stop your mind. Just keep observing your thoughts; coming, staying, and going. Noises outside – ignore it. It is just the ears busy with the objects of the senses. Keep your eyes almost closed, the gaze at the tip of the nose. Leave the breath by itself. Leave the mind now, by itself.

Imagine that you are established in the Eternal Now. So everything is passing away. Everything is subject to time, passing away. Except for you – this Eternal Witness.
We are the witness of the body and mind’s activities………………………

That is the highest kind of meditation. You remain unconcerned. Thoughts enter your mind.; they may change your feelings. Your breath may change. But you still remain unconcerned. I forgot to mention; you feel your breath change, you feel the rest. But that’s the body and mind and the senses. Who is watching all that? If you keep doing this every day very soon you will observe this peaceful being behind all this noise, not affected by noise or thoughts or feeling. Then you are so happy. You realize something.

But you have to practice. And watch your diet. If you eat meat and all this stuff you’re never going to get there. You may keep the mozzarella in moderation. Once a week a little bit. Then your mind becomes clear.

After then after you realize that, you start watching your body, moving here moving there, angry, going to work, going to yoga class, doing meditation. You will begin to notice this witness, always not participating. That’s the goal. That is always established in this eternal present. That’s the goal. To remain in this moment. Only this moment exists. If you start to worry about Knowledge now, you start getting depressed – maybe you’re trying to see something else happening. Be always in this eternal moment. The future do not exist yet. The past? It don’t exist. You can use this only to remember a few days back (laughs) and rest. You are always there – this eternal…and then constant practice you have no notions of day and night any more. They disappear. It’s just like a shadow passing. Then you lose the notions of time.

Well, in order to do that you have to practice and practice and practice.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Q & A with Annamalai Swami

Excerpted from Annamalai Swami: Final Talks

Annamalai Swami: "Bhagavan [Ramana Maharshi] watched me very closely in the years that I served him in the ashram. One time I went to the Mother’s temple where many people were talking about worldly matters.

"Bhagavan called me back, saying, ‘Why should you go to that crowd? Don’t go to crowded places. If you move with the crowd, their vasanas will infect you.’

"Bhagavan always encouraged me to live a solitary life and not mix with other people. That was the path he picked for me. Other people got different advice that was equally good for them. But while he actively discouraged me from socializing, he also discouraged me from sitting quietly and meditating during the years that I was working in the ashram. In this period of my life, if Bhagavan saw me sitting with my eyes closed he would call out to me and give me some work to do.

"On one of these occasions he told me, ‘Don’t sit and meditate. It will be enough if you don’t forget that you are the Self. Keep this in your mind all the time while you are working. This sadhana will be enough for you. The real sadhana is not to forget the Self. It is not sitting quietly with one’s eyes closed. You are always the Self. Just don’t forget it.’

"Bhagavan’s way does not create a war between the mind and the body. He does not make people sit down and fight the mind with closed eyes. Usually, when you sit in meditation, you are struggling to achieve something, fighting to gain control over the mind. Bhagavan did not advise us to engage in this kind of fight. He told us that there is no need to engage in a war against the mind, because mind does not have any real, fundamental existence. This mind, he said, is nothing but a shadow. He advised me to be continuously aware of the Self while I did the ordinary things of everyday life, and in my case, this was enough.

"If you understand the Self and be that Self, everything will appear to you as your own Self. No problems will ever come to you while you have this vision. Because you are all and all is the Self, choices about liking or disliking will not arise. If you put on green-tinted glasses, everything you see will appear to be green. If you adopt the vision of the Self, everything that is seen will be Self and Self alone.

"So these were Bhagavan’s teachings for me: ‘If you want to understand the Self, no formal sadhana is required. You are always the Self. Be aware of the Self while you are working. Convince yourself that you are the Self, and not the body or the mind, and always avoid the thought, "I am not the Self”.

"'Avoid thoughts that limit you, thoughts that make you believe that you are not the Self.'

"I once asked Bhagavan: ‘You are at the top of the hill. You have reached the summit of spiritual life, whereas I am still at the bottom of the hill. Please help me to reach the summit.’

"Bhagavan answered, ‘It will be enough if you give up the thought, "I am at the bottom of the hill”. If you can do this, there will be no difference between us. It is just your thoughts that are convincing you that I am at the top and you are at the bottom. If you can give up this difference, you will be fine.’

"'Don‘t adopt attitudes such as these that automatically assume that you are limited or inferior in any way.'

"On another occasion I asked Bhagavan: ‘Nowadays, many people are crossing big oceans by plane in very short periods of time. I would like Bhagavan to find us a good device, a jnana airplane that can speedily transport us all to moksha.’

"This time Bhagavan replied, ‘We are both travelling in a jnana airplane, but you don’t understand this.’

"In his answers to me Bhagavan would never let me fall into the false belief that I was separate or different from him, or that I was a person with a mind and a body who needed to do something to reach some exalted spiritual state. Whenever I asked him questions that were based on assumptions such as these, he would show me the error that was implicit in the question and gently point me back to the truth, the Self. He would never allow me to entertain wrong ideas."

Question: "What other questions did Swamiji ask during his early days at Ramanasramam?"

Annamalai Swami: "When I first came to Bhagavan I used to ask questions about liberation. What is bondage? What is freedom? And so on.

"Muruganar, who was sitting next to me on one of these occasions, laughed and said, ‘This boy doesn’t even know what liberation is and what bondage is’.

"I think he was amused by the innocence of my enquiries. After I began serving Bhagavan, I listened very attentively to all the philosophical explanations that he gave. I also talked to Chadwick and other devotees about various aspects of Vedanta. I gradually absorbed the teachings until a point came where I could say that I had a good working knowledge of Bhagavan’s teachings and the various other systems that were being discussed in his presence.

"In one of his later songs Muruganar wrote about Bhagavan, ‘You make wise people of those who come to you in an ignorant state. This is the grace of Ramana.’

"I always felt that this was a reference to me.

"It wasn’t easy in the beginning. When I first came to the ashram, I was so forgetful I rarely remembered anything that Bhagavan said. Because I was so forgetful, I used to keep a paper and pencil and write down whatever Bhagavan was saying. I felt that my forgetfulness was a hindrance to absorbing Bhagavan’s teachings, so one day I approached him and said, ‘Bhagavan, my memory is very bad. Could you please bless me with a good one.’ Bhagavan looked into my eyes for a few minutes without saying anything. From that day on my memory became very clear and sharp, so much so, I gave up carrying my pencil and paper."


Monday, July 22, 2019

Lal Ded

I was passionate,
filled with longing,
I searched
far and wide.

But the day
that the Truthful One
found me,
I was at home.

-Lal Ded

More here

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Sunrise Practice at the Lakefront Sat 8/17

Saturday, August 17, 5:30-7am

27 Sun Salutations + Sunrise Meditation + Gayatri Mantra + Vegan Treat
Lake Michigan at Lawrence Avenue (4800N)
$20 or pay-what-you-can

We'll meet before 5 a.m. at the lakefront near a grove of trees just north (left) of Lawrence Avenue – where there is free parking and easy access via bicycle and public transport. We'll do sun salutations on grass (not sand) and chant the Gayatri Mantra as the sun rises; then we'll finish our asana practice. All levels; rest as needed. Please bring your own mat and plan to arrive 10 minutes early so you can get settled before we begin at 5am sharp. Please note that there is no bathroom facility at this site. Details and registration here.