Your Path to Knowing and Being Your Own Self

Mati Gilbert

By Mati Gilbert & Swami Nirmalananda

I held myself back from totally connecting with anyone and anything for most of my life.  Sure, I joined programs and interacted with family, friends, and others, but I wasn’t really committed.  I always held out a piece of me that was just for me.  It was my way of keeping some control over my life and me.  I couldn’t completely surrender to anything.  Then I received a mantra.  How things began to change for me!

There are two types of mantra, mundane and divine.  Mundane mantras are ordinary words you use on yourself.  Divine mantras are spiritual, putting you on the path to finding, knowing and being your Divine Self.  Divine mantras are given by a qualified teacher, one who is authorized by an enlightened Master, who was authorized by their Master, etc.  The lineage goes back to ancient times, with practices and teachings been passed down through the generations, even bringing the teachings to modern-day America.  They came all the way to me and can be passed down to you as well.

Cittam mantra.h – Shiva Sutras 2.1
Mind is mantra.

The translator, Jaidev Singh, describes how to use mantra, “…the performer of the mantra should identify himself with the deity invoked in the mantra, if it is to succeed.”

Swami Nirmalananda

Swami Nirmalananda explains, “Mind is made of words.  Whatever your mind is saying to you, that is what you are becoming.  You can choose mantras that tear you down or mantras that build you up.  You can repeat mantras for worldly happiness and success, or you can get an enlivened mantra from a Master, a Divine mantra that will give you your Self.  You choose.”

When you use your mind to repeat the Divine mantra, your mind itself becomes the mantra, vibrating with the mystical power of consciousness.  What an extraordinary mind!  What an amazing mind!  Your mind becomes aware of the Divine Truth that you are Shiva.

For your mantra to work most powerfully, you must say it with love and devotion.  Swamiji says, “Think of it this way:  your mind obsesses on things that are important to you.  When your mind returns to something again and again, you are devoted to it, even if it is painful.  Your repetition proves your devotion.  Now apply that ability to a Divine mantra, and see what it will give you.”

The mantra is the tool for you to become Self-Realized.  When you repeat your mantra, understand that you as the speaker, the mantra and your goal of realizing your own Divinity are all the same.  The mantra vibrates with the mystical reality of your own Divinity, so your mind begins to vibrate with that same energy, giving you the experience of your Self.

The mantra makes you understand your true nature, which is pure Consciousness.  You realize who you really are.  You begin to experience and understand that you are Shiva.  Mantra cannot work at full power if you see the mantra and you as being separate.

Several years ago, Swami Nirmalananda gave me an enlivened mantra.  Filled with Grace, it put me on the path of Self-Realization in this lifetime.  However, making progress is up to me.  I have to use it.  And it is more powerful when I remember that I am the mantra.

Even knowing about this, my mundane mind doesn’t want me to lose my sense of control.  But the amazing thing is that my Divine mantra becomes stronger each day.  The more I say mantra, the more my mind becomes the mantra.  We truly are one and the same.

You get to choose.  Are your mundane mantras working for you?  You need a Divine mantra to begin to know your inner Divinity, to put you on the path of enlightenment.  I know the path I want to take.  What about you?

Honoring the Divine Human, by Swami Nirmalananda

Today is the full moon dedicated to the Guru, per India’s ancient tradition.  Guru Purnima is the day that the flow of grace is fullest, most easily accessible and most powerful.  Grace is the power of revelation, giving you the highest, the knowing of your own Divinity.

The world honors astronauts, celebrities, athletes, billionaires, and winners of the Nobel Peace Prize, yet most people focus on taking care of their family, taking care of their body, and living a long, happy healthy life.  All of these are great things, if they are what you want to do.  Whatever you do, when you breathe the last breaths in this life, hopefully you have your nearest and dearest around you.  If I were one of them, I’d ask you, “Did you do what you came here to do?”  What will you say?

Yoga says, if you don’t attain the highest in this lifetime, you get another chance.  You can come back and do this as many times as it takes you.  The fact that you are now alive means that you didn’t make it last time, so you had to repeat the grade.  Will you make it all the way this time?  Say, “Yes.”  Please say, “Yes.”  The world needs more enlightened beings!  Of course, if you decide to undertake this Divine Mission, you have some work to do.  It’s inner work, for your Divinity is hidden within you.

Who and what will you be when you become Self Realized?  Is it going to change your life?  The short answer is yes and no.  The change is an inner change, making you free from fear, free from self-doubt, free from enmity, full of joy and love, overflowing with compassion and the impulse to give to others.  But you can still live in the same place, do the same things and share your life with the same people.  They probably won’t notice a change in you, as you would have been changing all along.  You’ve been getting lighter, happier, more clear-headed, more practical as well as more creative and insightful.  Yoga’s practices guarantee this.

Plus, you cannot really tell anyone that you’re enlightened.  It’s a Catch 22.  If you announce that you’re enlightened, you take on the persona of being enlightened, which makes you trapped in a persona, thus not enlightened.  So, it’s a Divine Secret.  Only those who are appointed to uplift others are openly recognized and acknowledged as Self-Realized Beings.

I lived and studied with such a Master for almost seven years.  There’s nothing else like it!  Whatever you think enlightenment looks like, actually seeing it in person is a different thing.  For me, it was like comparing Cinderella at the ball to the reality of getting married.  It’s earthy.  It’s real.  Gurus are not phonies.  Seeing the Divine in action, being human, is going to shatter your concepts.  They need shattering.

Think of it this way:  when you become Self-Realized, will you still eat?  You will still have a body, so you’ll eat, drink, sweat, excrete, speak, walk, talk, sleep and maybe even snore.  You’ll still have to take care of your body, for as long as you have one.  That’s the point!  To be free while in the midst of life, to be consciousness-incarnate, embodied consciousness.

To bring the best of yourself into every action, every relationship, every breath of your life — you always wanted to be this way.  To shine with the inner light that you know is there, this is your future.  To blossom into the fullness of your innermost essence is the reason you took birth.  To be and to share the Divine in the mundane, what a way to live!  Can you see the possibility for yourself?  Is this something you can grow into?

But you deny the very same possibility to others by denying that someone other than you could have made it.  You debunk the whole idea of a Guru, when that’s really the only person who can help you get enlightened.  You cannot learn to play the flute from someone who’s never played, nor from a book.  Even if the book was written by a flautist, you cannot learn to play from a book.

If you want success in the business world, you get a mentor.  You want one who has been successful in their career, not one who hides in the back office.  If you want to attain enlightenment, you need to look for an enlightened being.  My Guru told us, “The way you become enlightened in this lifetime is to spend enough time with an enlightened being.”  What is “enough time?”  Probably it’s more than you have already spent, unless you are already enlightened and were keeping it a secret.

Every religion was founded by such a person, a Divine Human.  They were so inspiring, uplifting and transforming that people were attracted to them.  When Siddhartha Gautama became the Buddha, he could not stay in one place for long; so many people came that the area ran out of food within a few days.  Some kings closed their borders to the Buddha because his travel through their kingdom would bankrupt it.

Yoga focuses on living Divinity, embodied consciousness.  While the Roman Catholic church doesn’t recognize saints until they’ve been dead for decades or centuries, there were people who knew them.  Their testimony is what makes the church able to determine that “that person had been a saint when they were alive.”  But the people who knew them got to spend time with these Divine Beings.  What about you, wouldn’t you like to know one?

Today is the day we honor the Guru.  Yoga wouldn’t be so popular in the USA if Gurus hadn’t brought it to us from India.  Even if you think it’s merely an exercise or healing system, it came from Gurus.  It’s time to honor the source.

I owe everything to my Baba.  I live in ever-growing gratitude and perpetual service to Him and to all whom He sends to me.

OM svaroopa svasvabhavah namo namah

Who Are You?

By Mangala Allen

Swami Muktananda says, “You are purer than the pure, never manifold, you are indivisible consciousness. Unborn, unchanging, all pervasive… You are a mountain of joy.”

This is probably not how you experience yourself.  Muktananda is describing that, at the core of your being, you are Beingness-itself.  Experiencing and living in your core essence is the purpose of all yoga practices. Beyond the athleticism of most yoga styles, its purpose is to give you glimpses of your own Self. When you use yoga to turn your awareness inward, and develop your ability to explore who you are, you experience your Divinty more easily and for longer periods of time.

Yoga includes: breathing practices, poses, chanting, study, rituals, self-inquiry, mantra repetition and meditation. Swami Nirmalananda says, “Meditation is the ultimate practice, according to yoga’s sages.  All the other practices are to make it easier for you to meditate and to deepen your inner experience of your own Self.”

Your Self is the One Self, for there is only One Reality.  The One is being everything, One Self is being all selves. We are not simply a bunch of humans gathered together inside Consciousness. Each of us is Consciousness. You are Consciousness.  You are the One.  Consciousness is being you and being all of us, all at the same time.

The energy that exists everywhere and pervades everything everywhere is the energy that is being everything. Yoga calls this energy “Shakti.”  About this energy, Baba Muktananda tells us, “The most important thing to know about it is that it lies in the center of a person’s body.” He was a Shaktipat master, who could awaken your inner Shakti, just as Swami Nirmalananda is.  Once this energy is awakened within you, the mystery blossoms forth in your meditation.  Baba describes it: “You too can find the Shakti if you meditate.”

All of yoga’s other practices improve your ability to sit in quietude so you can experience your essential Self. The breathing practice I do, Ujjayi Pranayama, is also an important practice in Svaroopa® Yoga, one that draws me toward meditation. The poses I have learned and teach decompress my spine and make it easier for the Shakti to rise within.

Chanting’s vibrations pervade my being and carry me deeper inside. Repeating mantra is the vehicle that takes me to my Self when I am meditating, and keeps me based in my Self when I am not meditating. All of these practices work together to provide peace in my heart and mind, enhancing my life.

Looking outward, I have a deeper appreciation and gratitude for all that surrounds me. I am learning to accept life’s challenges, to experience them with greater clarity and focus as I rise to meet them. My relationships benefit as I become less reactionary. I am no longer on the roller coaster of ups and downs I once knew so well. This is because on the inside I am finding out who I really am.

“Purer than the pure, never manifold, you are indivisible consciousness. Unborn, unchanging, all pervasive… You are a mountain of joy.”
– Swami Muktananda

OM svaroopa svasvabhava namo namah

To your Inherent Divinity again and again I bow.

Who Am I?

By Niranjan Matanich

Change has always been hard for me. As topsy turvy as my life has been, I would expect that I would deal with change a little easier, but actually it’s made it even harder. I almost always expect the worse when things change. I want things to stay the same because it gives me a sense of security. The unknown is scary so I want things to stay the same.

I was recently surprised to find that my reaction to change and fear of the unknown has changed a little. The company I work for recently sold. Our CEO retired and we were bought out by a bigger company. I was surprised that I didn’t have a strong reaction to it. In fact I observed my mind trying to create scenarios that would incite fear but the thoughts wouldn’t stick. It’s not the most pleasant metaphor, but it was like my mind was dry heaving.

Why am I having a different experience? I attribute this to the years of spiritual practices that I have done. I do not base my sense of self in my external world like I once did. My sense of self is not dependent on my external world.

If your whole sense of self is based on your job and you lose that job, it’s terrifying. You are faced with the question “Who am I if I’m not this job?” This happens with relationships and a multitude of other things in life that you base your sense of self on. To avoid this fear of facing not knowing who you are, you try to create continuity in life. Same job, same friends, same TV programs, etc. In this way you avoid answering the question, “Who Am I?”

Swami Nirmalanda says:

You try to create continuity because you are hoping for a sense of safety to come from the outside, so the internal levels of panic will subside and your crazy mind will quiet. The true sense of continuity comes from the innermost essence of your being, the Self.

The external world is always changing. Basing your sense of self on the external world is sure to create fear and anxiety.

Who you really are is unchanging. You are the Self, the one Consciousness that has become all things. Your own Self is never changing.

So, how do you base yourself in the Self?  Hear the teachings of a master like Swami Nirmalananda, hear the teachings and follow the practices that are given. It’s not theoretical. When you do the practices like mantra repetition, meditation and studying sacred texts you will begin to experience yourself as the Self. The more these impressions are imprinted in your mind, the more you will base yourself in the Self. When you live your life from those deeper dimensions you will not be devastated when your external life changes. I can tell you from experience that it works.

No Beginning — No End

By Yogeshwari Fountain

Recently I went mattress shopping.  If ever there were a place where we fixate on the finite, especially the body, it’s here.  “I used to be 6 feet,” the middle-aged salesmen told me.  He added, “You don’t want to know how many inches I’ve lost.” I replied, “When I was younger, I could sleep on anything!” It’s true that your body ages, but your essence of Beingness is changeless.

You have no beginning and no end.  Your essence is what yoga calls the Changeless Self, the source of the universe and that which pervades it and beyond.  The Self underlies your ordinary sense of self, so you rarely perceive it.  No matter what is going on in your life, your ups and downs, there’s more to you than you can ever imagine.  The ancient yogic sage, Shankaracharya describes your deeper dimension:

“Aatmaan is birthless and deathless.  It neither grows nor decays.  It is unchangeable, eternal.  It does not dissolve when your body dissolves.  Aatmaan is that which has become the universe and exists beyond the universe.  The nature of Aatmaan is pure consciousness.”  — Vivekachudamani

Aatmaan is a Sanskrit name for your Divine Self.  The one Supreme Reality, when experienced on the outside, is usually called God, in Sanskrit — Brahman.  Shen you look within, to your interior Realty, that same Supreme Reality is named “Aatmaan,” Self.  They are the One Reality, the same even in their different locations.

Your body and mind are limited, but the formlessness of your Inner Essence, Aatmaan, is eternal and never decays.  Your Self sustains you, bringing your mind and senses into existence: making your eyes able to see, your ears hear, your tongue taste and your mind think.  Aatmaan is being you and everyone and everything that exists, the One Self seeing through all eyes.  It’s time to think of yourself as an infinite being, as Teilhard de Chardin said, having a human experience.

Your energetic template solidified into a mind and body in order for you to be born.  Just as ice is the solid form of water, yet is still water, you are still the Consciousness from which you came, yet in a denser form.  While Aatmaan is your own Self, Aatmaan was not born when you were born.  Aatmaan is being all that exists in form and beyond form, while being you.  It’s a lot to take in, because your mind is an instrument of limitation.  Swami Nirmalananda explains:

It is Aatmann that reveals Aatmaan within you.  Mind cannot see Aatmaan, anymore than an ant can see the rising sun.  Any idea your mind has of it — Aatmaan is greater.  Much greater.

My mind says, “Now, wait a minute.  I was born to my parents in a certain place and at a certain time, and I am going to die at a time and place someday!” Yes, absolutely true.  And still, you have always been more than your physical birth.  There is more to you than your mind.

Somewhere deep inside, you already know your own Aatmaan.  Intellectual understanding, as great as it is, can only take you so far.  To experience your inherent Greatness, you can turn to one who lives in this inner knowing of Aatmaan all the time.  Who can better help you get there than someone who lives there?

The Guru of my yoga lineage, Swami Nirmalananda, gives me the direct experience of my infinite Self, over and over again.  She taught me how to meditate, and even how to stick with it, which opens up everything for me: my body, mind and more.  What you are seeking is already inside you.  If you meditate every day you will discover the Inner Reality you have always been, Aatmaan, the infinity of your own Divinity.

Om Svaroopa Svasvabhavah Namo Namah.

To your inherent divinity, again and again, I bow.

You are THAT

By Mangala Allen

In the beginning, was THAT. THAT was all there was, for THAT is existence itself. Everything that exists comes from THAT. There is nothing other than THAT.

In the tradition of Kashmiri Shaivism, we call THAT by a more personal name, Shiva. Shiva has no beginning and has no end. Shiva is all-pervasive; Shiva permeates everyone and everything. There is nothing that exists that is not Shiva.

Another name for Shiva is Consciousness. Yoga says, Consciousness or Shiva is THAT which existed before the Big Bang.  Shiva is indeed what banged.

Shiva moved within Shiva. This movement, energy, created the Big Bang. Ever since the Big Bang, energy is being everything that exists. Everything is made of the same stuff. The whole universe is made of the same energy. This energy, contracting into matter, creates everything — including you. You are made of Consciousness itself. You are THAT.

Swami Muktananda tells us, “Within the human heart dwells a shimmering effulgence, whose brilliance surpasses even that of the sun. This inner Consciousness is the same as that which creates and animates the entire universe.”

Life raises many questions like, “Who am I?” “Where did I come from?” and “Why am I here?” Fortunately, yoga addresses these mysteries. As Consciousness contracted to become you, the process obscured your ability to know your own true nature. Your very nature is Divine. As a human being, you have the capacity to discover the light of your own Divinity.

Photo from Pixabay

Your Light, your Presence, your Beingness is hidden from you. You long to find your Self; yoga says you are here to discover who you really are. There is a way to uncover your inner light so it can shine through you and light up the world. There is a path to knowing your own Divinity.  This path is well traveled by many before you. Knowledge has been passed through the generations, from teacher to student, from ancient times to the present day. There is a teacher who will help you find your way.

My Guru, Swami Nirmalananda says, “You are that light, that presence, that beingness. You are that which the ancient yogis called “THAT”.

She is teaching me that everything lies within me. She is revealing my Self to me. She guides my ability to become aware of the subtleties within me, as well as to strengthen my ability to perceive them. She helps me explore my own existence.

In the beginning it was scary. I was not sure what I might find. Once I understood she was uncovering the layers of who I thought I was, and revealing my inner light to me, the fear began falling away. Following the guidance of my Guru, I continue to explore. I leave old habits behind and develop practices to reveal my inner light to myself and to the world. With the help of such a Guru we can all discover the reality within us and know we are THAT.

OM svaroopa svasvabhava namo namah

To your Inherent Divinity again and again I bow.

Five Cosmic Actions

By Mati Gilbert

The One Reality existed before this world existed, brought it into existence, pervades it, being it and exists beyond it.  Yoga calls the One by the name, Shiva.  Shiva performs five cosmic actions:

  1. creation
  2. maintenance
  3. destruction
  4. concealment
  5. revelation.

You perform all these same actions in more limited ways, for you are Shiva, though you don’t fully know your own Divinity.  Not yet, anyway.

I can see this at work in my life.  For most of my adult life, I lived in apartments or condominiums where outside work was handled by others.  I did not have to do anything.  It was just done.   Then I bought a stand-alone house.  Something always needed to be done outside.

I had to maintain the garden area.  I created it by planting flowers; maintained it by applying fertilizer and mulch; destroyed the weeds that were continually trying to take over; and concealed any of my failures by planting new flowers.  I was so pleased with my garden.  It was not the biggest nor the best, but it was mine.  What an accomplishment!  I was proud.

You may have created a child, nurtured it, had the baby vaccinated to destroy diseases, and concealed any human imperfections from others.  And you take credit in your child’s accomplishments.  How often have you heard a parent say “My son/daughter did this/earned that,” all the while patting themselves on the back.

In both these examples, the revelation is missing.  Yet it is the important part in the mystical science of yoga.  Who takes credit for all those things?  The I, the individual, took credit.  It is human nature for individuals to take credit because your mind is firmly settled in the “me-me-me” scenario.

Pratyabhijnahrdayam 13:  Tat parij~nyaane chittam antarmukhee-bhaavena cetana padaa-dhyaarohaat citi.h

Acquiring full knowledge of the five actions, the mind turns within, rises to the plane of pure consciousness and becomes consciousness.  — rendered by Swami Nirmalananda

Your mind is important; how you use it is of paramount importance.  While you are an individual, you are so much more.  Your inner essence is pure consciousness.  Shiva becomes everything, including you and including your mind.

  1. Shiva created the world, including you.
  2. Shiva sustains you by making your heart beat, your breath move and propelling you through your life.
  3. Shiva dissolves your limitations by ending what limits you, whether you’re ready or resisting.
  4. Shiva conceals your Divinity within you.
  5. Shiva reveals who you really are.

I thought “I” was creating my garden.  The mother thinks she made her child.  Both are true.  However, where was that impulse coming from, to propel you into the creation of the garden or the child?  Shiva!  Shiva is working through you all the time, the deeper dimension of your own Self, hidden within, yet making it all work.

Swami Nirmalananda says, “Shiva is the source of your creativity.  Shiva gives you the love and stamina to raise a child or do anything else of importance.  Shiva propels you to end what has outlived its time.  Shiva hides in you by being you, and Shiva is revealed within you — as you.  This is the Guru’s task, showing you who you really are.”

How?  Through Grace. Yoga specializes in Grace, the great gift of yoga’s Masters, the revelation of your own Divinity.  Grace gives you the Self-Knowingness, your own Shiva-ness, so you can leave the “me-me-me” behind.  While you are still an individual, simultaneously you are so much more.  You are Shiva!

Mantra Gives You Your Self

By Niranjan Matanich

Normally, where does your mind lead you? Does your mind lead you to identify with your inherent divinity? Most people find their mind keeps them spinning in the mundane world, sometimes giving pleasure and sometimes creating misery and pain.

When you focus your mind on mantra, you experience something else. What you experience isn’t fleeting and it doesn’t end in misery. You experience your Self, your own never-ending and unchanging essence. Your Self is the inner source from which joy, love and bliss arise. Mantra gives you that experience quickly.

I received a mantra from my Guru almost 20 years ago. I wasn’t really sure what a Guru is or what a mantra is, but I recognized the power of the mantra quickly because I couldn’t stop thinking of it. I was drawn to it.

The mantra given by a Shaktipat Guru is the direct route to experiencing your Self. Your real Self, not the self you normally identify with. Like thinking you are your body, or you are your thoughts, or you are your job and any of the other multitudes of selves that you identify yourself as being. Your real Self is beyond all of those roles you play in this world. The mantra that given by a Shaktipat Guru will give you an experience of your Self.

I forget about this from time to time. I am typically overly serious, tending towards dark moods. Sometimes I get so far into those moods that I forget about mantra. Recently I had not been focusing on mantra, and had begun to slip into my darker state of mind.  It was making me really depressed and withdrawn.

Then I remembered my mantra. I made a decision to repeat it out loud for 15 minutes and see what happens. Immediately I could feel a deeper sense of Self coming from a deeper dimension of my being. It was powerful and tangible, the difference I felt right away.  It was still powerful the next morning — I was present, I was cheerful and I was even smiling! It’s truly miraculous. The mantra is the super highway to the Self. But you have to repeat the mantra to find what is hidden in it.

This is explained in the yoga texts:

Cittam mantra.h — Shiva Sutras 2:1

By intensive awareness of one’s identity with the Highest Reality enshrined in a mantra and thus becoming identical with that Reality, the mind itself becomes mantra. — Jaidev Singh

The sutra spells it out.  The highest Reality (the Self, your Self) is enshrined in the mantra given by a Master.  After receiving the mantra, you find what’s enshrined by repeating it; it’s like unwrapping a gift to see what’s inside. Once you find what’s enshrined in the mantra, you know yourself as the Self.  Beyond that, the sutra promises your mind itself will become mantra, a major upgrade.

Swami Nirmalananda says, “To gain yoga’s promise, simply do what the sages tell you to do.  For your mind to become mantra, simply repeat mantra enough times that your mind vibrates at a higher frequency.  How many times is enough?  It is different for every person, but it exceeds the number of times you review your worries.  Which will serve you better, repeating your worries or repeating mantra?”

The average person thinks around 65,000 thoughts a day, with most of those thoughts creating your worldly identities. Yet you can repeat mantra silently for the classical 108 times in only 1 minute. How many repetitions before you become identified with the Self that is enshrined in the mantra? I don’t have the answer for you but I can guarantee you won’t regret finding it out for yourself.

Swami Nirmalananda Saraswati is a Shaktipat Guru, who can give you a mantra that reveals your Self to you.  It works because of the blessings of the Masters in her lineage, each of whom found the Self by using the mantra.  The experience of Self is enshrined in the mantra.  Because of that, you will also be able to find what’s inside you, deeper within, beyond your mind.  You are more than you think you are.

OM svaroopa svasvabhavah namo namah

To your Inherent Divinity again and again I bow.

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The Four States of Awareness

by Mati (Sandy) Gilbert

I love waking up in the morning, before the alarm goes off, wanting to lie still and stay quiet.  To luxuriate in that cozy experience, not wanting it to end, not fully awake but not asleep either…  I always called it my “La La Land” time, when I experience inner contentment and bliss.

This is beyond the three states of awareness that everyone recognizes, which are waking, dreaming, and deep sleep.

When you are awake, you are thinking, moving, talking, and doing things.  Even when you are just sitting there or doing nothing and are aware of it, you are awake.

You dream every night.  Some you remember.  I used to write mystery novels in my dreams and I was the all the characters.  All the while, I was aware that I was dreaming the story.  Mystery novels were what I liked to read at that time.

In deep sleep, your body and mind are inactive and relaxed. You are unconscious.

However, there is a 4th state.  It is called “turiya,” which is translated as “the fourth state.”  A sutra explains: “Turiya should fill all three states, not just the beginning and the end of each.”   — Shiva Sutra 3.23 (translated by Swami Nirmalananda Saraswati)

It’s easy to find turiya — when you wake up and then fall back asleep, but are not fully asleep, as well as at the beginning and end of every dream.  Even when you are awake, this deeper state of consciousness is just below the surface of your awareness, just behind the part of your mind that you usually look at.

Turiya is pure bliss, the bliss of the Self, which is your own Divine Essence.  Meditation is the direct route to this bliss; the purpose of meditation is to find your own Self and keep you there, even with your eyes open.

Swami Nirmalananda describes it this way, “While in Turiya, your mind can be busy or quiet.  Your normal thoughts and worries don’t disturb your inner depths.   The sages describe it like the waves on the surface of the ocean, that don’t affect the mountains, valleys and creatures that live in the depths.  Meditation is your opportunity to dive deep for an inner experience, but its true goal is that you live from that deep and centered level of your own Beingness .”

This sutra promises you can live in the constant experience of consciousness, the transcendental bliss of your own Divine Essence, whether waking, dreaming or sleeping.  You attain this goal through meditation, through manta repetition, and through cultivating consciousness while in the midst of life.

Currently, I read fewer mystery novels and read more works of the yogic masters.  Since I started meditating regularly, I write fewer novels in my dreams as well.

Turiya, to me, is all encompassing.  The inner depth is there, when I am dreaming and in deep sleep.  I appreciate it most during my waking hours.  Turiya hovers in the background of my mind and being, and keeps me on an even keel during my day-to-day activities.  What a way to live!

OM svaroopa svasvabhavah namo namah

To your Inherent Divinity again and again I bow.

 

Wanting What the World Cannot Give

By Niranjan Matanich

Why do I feel such a deep sense of dissatisfaction? My life is great, my needs are met. I have extra resources so I can do the things I want. I have many people that I care about in my life. Yet, I have an underlying dissatisfaction.

This feeling keeps me looking for something to make me feel satisfied, usually it’s some material thing. But you know what, that new Judas Priest record didn’t do it. Neither did the new seat on my motorcycle. Turns out binging on donuts isn’t it either.

On some level, I know that material items aren’t going to fill the void I feel. Having just the right kind of relationship isn’t going to do it either. In fact, nothing in this whole world is going to fill that inner void. Maybe you’ve experienced some of this dissatisfaction, too.

This underlying dissatisfaction is a deep yearning. A deep yearning to know who you are. The yearning is there to direct you to look inward to find that you are the Self.  You are the one Consciousness that has manifested this whole universe and beyond but, through the process of creation, you have forgotten your Self. The yearning is Consciousness, your own Self arising within, calling you to your Self. Without this yearning, you never have any impulse to look beyond the outer world.  You don’t discover your own Divinity.

This yearning will lead you to a Guru who can awaken your Kundalini, the dormant energy coiled at the base of your spine. This energy animates your body; it’s the energy that has manifested this entire world. When Kundalini is awakened, you turn within and become aware of your inner Self. The goal of this awakening is to become established in the knowing of your own Self.  This is described in a pivotal sutra:

Udyamo bhairava.h — Shiva Sutras 1.5

Swami Muktananda defines it this way. “When the Guru’s Grace is received, one’s Shakti is unfolded… meditation comes spontaneously… The seeker turns within. Awareness of the inner Self begins to throb all the time within him. To stay in this awareness is the right effort for the seeker.”

Once your receive this awakening, the right effort is to stay in this awareness — of your own Self. When you are feeling that yearning, rather than trying to avoid it by indulging in material things, you choose to meditate or repeat the mantra your Guru gave you.

Making that choice becomes easier after you’ve received the Guru’s Grace because you know what the yearning is. And you know what to do to when you are feeling it. It’s true, sometimes I still forget and think the answer is in the new thing. Sometimes you’ll forget, but the Guru’s Grace ALWAYS leads you back to your own Self!

OM svaroopa svasvabhavah namo namah

To your Inherent Divinity again and again I bow.