Enjoying our practices

From our e-book “We are Here to Celebrate”

Our practice must be enjoyable and therefore, we rest when we are feeling tired. We should not push ourselves too hard on our Saddhana. We must remember not to turn our spiritual practice into a chore. Playing with our children can also be a spiritual practice if we do it with mindfulness.

However, we must not be lazy as well. There must be a balance between effort and rest. If we push ourselves too hard, the practice will not be enjoyable and there will not be progress. However, if we do not practice much, our progress will be minimal. Balance is
the key.

people running

We must also remove the competitive spirit from our practice.  Rudra Shivananda wrote, “There is no attainment for those who compete on how well they can hold a physical posture or how long they can hold their breath or how long they can hold their meditation without moving; only pain and suffering. Practice has to be performed for practice sake without attachment or desire in order to reach higher consciousness and any competitiveness with others or even with one-self, serves to strengthen the ego.”[1]

Once I prayed to Babaji and asked him how I can feel happiness constantly. In a dream, I heard a strong voice saying to me, your happiness will increase with your Saddhana. The best barometer to gauge if we are practicing correctly is to observe our state of mind after practicing the techniques for a period of time. If there is an improvement in our awareness and we understand ourselves better, then the practice is suitable and benefiting us. However, this may be easier said than done because the improvements may be gradual and not noticeable. It is only after a year or so when we think back about our state of mind then, can we see a noticeable difference.

When the ego gets involved in our spiritual practice, we start to have expectations. We expect to have out of this world experiences. We expect the Spiritual Masters to recognise us. We expect others to respect us. These expectations will take the joy out of our spiritual practices and take us away from the very objective of our practices; which is to be happy in the present moment. Babaji, if at anytime our pride gets the better of us and affects our spiritual practice, please remind us of the ultimate goal. May we always be humble in our hearts and not be overcome by pride.

When practicing, we put in the best effort and leave the rest to the Divine. Spiritual progress must not be made into a goal. Trying to achieve Siddhis or psychic powers is the work of the ego. I say that because it is an attachment to an imagined future happiness and this is reflective of how the ego works. We think when I have this and that experiences, we will be happy. Anything that is based on the past and future is the work of the ego.

When we achieve something, the feeling of pride will bring us one step backwards. Being attached to our spiritual progress will only strengthen our egos if we see ourselves as an ‘advanced spiritual person’.

Attachment to the idea of being ‘spiritual’ can also bind us to the world of duality. It is like walking 98% of the way only to be lost again. It is not worth it. Remember what we are after, inner peace and bliss; not recognition or respect. If someone ridicules our spiritual beliefs, we should be able to enjoy the joke as well. He may be right and the Divine may have sent him to shake off the last belief that has been binding us from true freedom.

Let us not bring this sense of competitiveness or self-importance into our practice. What is important is that we bring ourselves happiness and peace in the present moment. When we meditate, we enjoy the awareness and peace that comes with it and we are happy whether or not we have any fantastic visions or similar experiences. Our practices
are targeted at increasing our self-awareness which leads to understanding of the Self and the delusions that we identify with. We peel away these delusions layer by layer until reality or pure consciousness is revealed.

yogiraj-gurunath-siddhanOnce while watching a Kriya Yoga Siddha, Yogiraj Gurunath Siddhanath, on Youtube, I noticed that some rude comments were made about him. That got me very upset. Then I asked my self how the Master would react if he saw this. He would probably laugh! Then I tried to understand why I got angry. I got angry because I identified with the Kriya Yoga practices and I have been ‘personalising’ it. Then, I realised that my ego has gotten involved.

 

[1] ‘Olympics and Self-Realization”, August Journal, by Rudra Shivananda (www.rudrashivananda.com)

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