Drowning in Religious Distractions, Ignoring the Living Ones, Not Finding the Path, by James Bean
His disciples said to him: “Twenty-four prophets spoke in Israel, and they all spoke through you!” He said to them: “You have passed over Him who is living in front of your eyes, and have spoken of the dead!” (Saying 52, Gospel of Thomas)
“Seek to see Him who is living, while you are living; rather than to die and to seek to see Him only when you can no longer see Him.” (Saying 59, Gospel of Thomas)
Minds held captive by religious or other esoteric traditions keep looking backwards in time, to past masters, or prophets no longer with us, and ignore those Living Ones with us now here in the living present. Without the Living Teacher, there is no real student or classroom, the secrets of meditation are not successfully communicated, and nothing much gets done during this life in terms of spiritual progress. The Living Path remains a Path not taken, a road not traveled upon.
The same need that brought great souls into the world during past centuries is still with us. There are Living Masters in the world today. The reality and not the illusion of having a Guru, begins here, with this openness to the possibility of Living Ones Now.
“When we receive initiation from a Saint, practice Naam Simran to retrace our consciousness from toes to a spot behind the eyes [Third Eye Center], only then something is accomplished.” (Baba Kehar Singh)
“So long as a spirit does not rise above the body-consciousness, it remains a stranger to the spiritual realms beyond”. (Rumi)
This mystic-poem by Tulsi Sahib of Hathras, India beautifully reflects upon the inward journey of the soul back to God:
Within this body
breathes the secret essence.
Within this body
beats the heart of the Vedas.
Within this body
shines the entire Universe,
so the saints say.
Hermits, ascetics, celibates –
all are lost
in endless guises.
Seers and sages perfectly parrot
the scriptures and holy books,
blinded by knowledge.
Despite their perfect practice,
they discover no destination.
Only the saints
who know the body’s heart
have attained the Ultimate, O Tulsi.
Realize this, and you’ve found your freedom
(while teachers trapped in tradition
know only the mirage
in the mirror).
A Living Master is a Light in Your Darkness, and Light Leading to More Light
“As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a Light of meaning in the darkness of mere being.” (Carl Jung) That’s very close to the definition of Guru according to Hinduism: “one who takes the darkness away”, or is, in other words, a “Light-giver”. The role of the genuine spiritual Master is to escort us into Heavenly Realms so we may have our own experience of the divine and see for ourselves the beauty that up to now has remained hidden.
When we sit for meditation and gaze into the darkness with eyes closed, we’re encountering the world of “within”, opening up to the possibility of seeing via the Third Eye, also known as the Wisdom Eye. This is the Portal or Door to the Kingdom of the Heavens that are inside. This is what Rumi and the Masters are attempting to show us. For those taught the methods of meditation practice by a qualified living teacher and spiritual guide, we soon will discover that the darkness is no longer dark. There is a pinpoint of light, and an inner sky, inner stars, moons, suns, many colors, dark voids, and tunnels that go into the Light.
As the saying goes, “When the student is ready, the teacher shall appear.” A living teacher, being fully acquainted with the ‘landscape’ of Inner Space, is able to impart to initiate-candidates valuable guidance on how to safely make the journey of ascension to the Inner Regions during meditation. This kind of spiritual transmission and the details of meditation practice are not found in books, old scriptures of the past, and are not for sale, but are given freely.
We also will discover during extended periods of meditation that there is Sound coming from beyond the silence. “When I am silent, I fall into the place where everything is Music,” says Rumi. “Bring the sky beneath your feet and listen to Celestial Music everywhere.” (Rumi) Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche has a great description of the Inner Sound in his book, Mind Beyond Death: “It is easiest to hear this Sound when it is quiet, particularly at nighttime. Once you have identified this Sound, then you place your awareness on it without wavering. Resting your mind in the Sound, you continue to listen, going further and further into the Sound itself.”
Some Living Words From Swami Vyasanand
“A serious seeker has to prepare a fertile ground within his or her inner Self. The prerogative of God-realization and attainment of the vision of the Divine only belongs to the atman (inner Self) or consciousness within the body. However, it is not possible to accomplish this while engrossed in the distractions of the mind and the body. It is only possible by freeing us of these distractions while living in the body. To liberate us from the sensory distractions is not an easy task. However, it can be achieved with the grace of the Satguru (true teacher). For this, a practitioner must be determined, morally upright, and follow the instruction of the Guru. Without these, it is impossible to obtain the grace of the Guru. The practitioner can only diligently perform sadhana (literally, exertion to attain an objective, meditation, spiritual practice), but only the grace of the Guru yields success in the endeavor.
“To attain the due rewards of sadhana it is important to follow the Gurus’ instruction vigilantly and steadfastly. Resolve means: not wavering from the path in any situation…
“It is important that a student should cultivate these qualities. Without the grace of the teacher, progress on the spiritual path and attainment of the Divine is not possible.
“A seeker should pay attention to five factors:
1. Receive the teachings of the Guru with great attentiveness.
2. After listening to the teaching, learn the esoteric techniques (diksha, initiation) from the Guru for treading the spiritual path.
3. Make a diligent effort to succeed in the tests presented by the Guru.
4. Joyfully endure the trials and obstacles on this arduous path.
5. Cultivate patience and perseverance.
“Just as a traveler withstands the pains of the journey and calmly endures the delays of the train and discomforts of the railway station, in the same manner, the spiritual traveler on the Divine path, although not seeing the Divine for many years, does not waiver from the path. Rather, the seeker endures the delay, and keeping faith in the Guru’s words, enthusiastically waits for the moment of Divine realization.
“Infinite knowledge is like an ocean with unlimited water. The ocean makes its water available to anyone who wishes to draw from it. However, the person who wants to draw water from the ocean is only limited by the capacity of his vessel for carrying the water. It is not the fault of the ocean if humans are limited in their capacity to draw water. Those who have bigger vessels have the capacity to carry the most water. In the same way, humans vary in their capacities to draw from the Divine Ocean of knowledge. In the words of Sant Maharshi Mehi: ‘All the Sants are said to be impartial and are equally compassionate toward all beings and their grace showers like the rain, equally on everyone. Nevertheless, just as the flowing rainwater gathers only in the deep hollow places, the grace of Saints gathers in the hearts of those disciples whose hearts are emptied from worldly distractions and whose devotion is deep. They are ready to receive the grace of the Guru.’” (Swami Vyasanand, from his recently published book, The Inward Journey of the Soul)