Still the mind and see the light

(published in The Speaking Tree column, The Times of India October 19, 2006)

Stillness of mind is necessary for us to realise who we really are. “Be still and know that I am God”, says Psalm 46:10, a clear advice in the Bible by the Lord to meditate.

When a stone is dropped into a pond of water, it creates ripples, which prevent a person from seeing his own reflection in the pond.

It is only when the ripples subside and the water is still that you can see your own reflection. Our consciousness is like the pond; if thoughts enter into our mind, they create ripples in our consciousness and these ripples prevent us from seeing our own self in the pond of our consciousness.

Stubborn thoughts need to be stopped if true knowledge of Self is to be gained. This must happen smoothly. A thought is like a fire, which is fuelled by attention.

By not paying attention to a stubborn thought, it can be made to pass through the mind unattended. Do not try to wrestle with your unwanted thoughts. Wrestling with them is giving attention to them.

A person can only truly concentrate on one thing at a time. Focusing on our own breath is a good way to divert attention away from stray thoughts.

Breathe in deeply through your nose and while breathing in, pay attention to your breath. Hold the breath inside you for just a few seconds, maybe five or six seconds, and exhale slowly paying attention to your breath as you exhale.

This technique will relax you as well as help in stilling the mind. After repeating this exercise about 10 times, say the word, ‘Om’, ‘Amen’ or ‘Amin’ — depending on your choice, they basically all refer to the creative word of God — three times.

Now focus your attention to the point between the eyebrows about one inch above the eyebrow level. This is the centre of Christ Consciousness, which is called the Kutastha Centre by Paramahansa Yogananda.

In the Bible this place is mentioned by Christ when he says in Matthew 6:22: “The light of the body is the eye: If therefore thy eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light”.

The idea is to concentrate on this point without thinking or allowing thoughts to enter the mind. True meditation is the complete stillness of mind.

Though thinking about God is a good thing and can be helpful in raising the levels of positive energy around you, while meditating try not to think of anything — not even God. Remember what the Bible says, “Be still and know that I am God”.

Knowing something does not come by thinking about it, but by realising and experiencing it. When the mind is stilled completely and concentration and attention is at the Kutastha Centre, then gradually, the veil separating your own awareness from cosmic awareness is pierced.

A feeling of complete relaxation and tranquillity is soon followed by joyous bliss that is all-pervading. When the eye is single — the single eye of intuition or the Kutastha Centre becomes the focus of attention — then the body shall be full of light.

When the attention is focused like a magnifying glass at the Kutastha Centre, the eye of intuition will see the divine light of God and the body shall be bathed by the Divine and Glorious light.

It is a wonderful feeling to still the mind and see your own true blissful self in the reflection of your own pond of consciousness. Seek God within you now.

He seeks and saves the lost

(published in Inner Voice column, page 15, Hindustan Times, March 22, 2005)

Like every human being, many times I have ‘fallen short of the glory of God’ and have repeatedly asked for His forgiveness. Such times I have always felt distanced from Him.

After succumbing to temptation, we often feel cut off from His Holy Presence. We feel sapped of our energy and strength. The positive vibration of God’s Holy Presence is substituted with the negative vibration of guilt and loneliness.

Fear not if you have sinned, for so has everybody else. Had we not sinned, we would not be here on earth in the first place. Everyone else on this planet has sinned and therefore is born.

A passage in the Bible talks about Zacchaeus a publican, who because of his short stature climbed a tree to watch Jesus pass by.

When Jesus saw him, he called him down and said that he would stay with him that night.

Those around Jesus wondered why he wished to stay in the house of a sinner. Jesus replied, “The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

It is God’s wish to seek and save that which was lost.

He often sends us little hints that He is there to show us the way and that he is there to forgive us. The hints we send us are manifested in various ways.

We must all have experienced it. You open a holy book and your eyes fall on a verse that seems tailor made for your particular needs at that moment.

You are driving home from work and you are confused about something or worried and your eyes fall upon a road sign or a sticker on the back of a car and there comes the flash! You understand that God is trying to communicate with you! It is a joyful feeling — “For He is come to seek and save that which was lost!”