"Our way of practice is looking closely at things and making them clear. We're persistent and constant, yet not rushed or hurried. neither are we too slow. It's a matter of gradually feeling our way and bringing it together." Ajahn Chah
Chapter 6 of the Bhagavad Gita gives an accounting of faithful Arjuna in regard to persistent and constant practice. It is a beautiful account of the "feeling" into our way, of moving through our hearts and its inclinations to find our way to union, or yoga, in essence becoming a yogi.
In bringing "it together" we are faced with the journey of union of finding our soulfulness and divine connection while still living liberated and free in the world. In spiritual terms, the togetherness is not just the soul of ourselves but the oversoul that connects us to the joys and sorrows of all beings (stanza 32), in essence it is the deep compassionate study of finding the liberation of our own hearts while feeling for the hearts of others who are connected to us.
Arjuna is overcome by this task of calming the mind and being able to find tranquility is likened to "restraining the wind" (stanza 34). Krishna, answers by encouraging Arjuna that it is possible. That through study, through practice, through inquiry, through faith, it is possible for Arjuna to have control over his mind so that he is neither self-absorbed nor so overcome by the challenges of living that he loses his joy. Arjuna, a heartfelt devotee, answers by saying he has tried and is still struggling to find this equanimity that is promised. He asks, what is to become of him and begs that his doubt be dispelled (stanza 39)
Krishna assures Arjuna that if one "strives" to subdue the mind they will find success. Other translations render this account "those who struggle," "those who practice," "those who learn to let go of attachment" to barriers, beliefs, actions that prevent love and faith from manifesting fully, that these ones will prevail.
There is assurance of success that is promised to those willing to meditate with their heart's intentions, to adjust their mental attitude and "transcend" or "become self-realized" by seeking the spiritual, that these ones would successfully know profound truth and experience ultimate faith. In turn, they would experience the tranquility of one in union with God, experience yoga, in essence, become a yogi.
While I reviewed this account, I could not help but recall to mind the account of another faithful man, recorded in a different spiritual ancient text. The account is one of a man born second in a family, to whom the first born would be blessed and whose lineage would prosper for all time. This man, Jacob, not only transcended his birth and received the birthright, but also devoted his life to receiving more blessings for his lineage.
His heartfelt desire to live in a blessed state is evident in an account recorded about his old age and an occasion when he "grappled" with an angel. The account is recorded in Genesis 32: 24-29 where it describes him" grappling until the dawn ascended." At this time, when the angel asks what it is he wants, Jacobs says, "I am not going to let go until you first bless me." A cross reference to the account at Hosea 12: 3, 4 describes this "grappling, this fight, this struggle, this wrestling" as having taken place with his "dynamic energy. He contended." and "he wept that he might implore favor."
The accounting of him "facing, taking on, asserting, affirming, begging and beseeching" the angel was once a story that moved me because of the heart condition of this man to find his light, to receive grace, to bless not only himself but his whole lineage. At times I could imagine this account describing him wrestling, as him grabbing hold of various addictions, thought patterns, and self-doubts and wrestling them to the ground, looking them in the face and blessing them, transforming them into light, and surrendering them instead to a life of blessings.
This man named Jacob came to be known as the nation of Israel and became a symbol of spiritual Israel, or those who live in and enjoy a deep spiritual relationship as blessed children of God. This accounting of him is powerfully connected to the heart condition and mental attitude that is required to have a deep relationship with the light that dwells inside of ourselves. It is the removing of all barriers and obstacles to our truest purest highest natures that are governed by our God selves, rather than our selfish desire and pursuits. It is Yogananda's Eternal Quest; It is Jesus' transifiguration; it is Arjuna's victory; It is the Native American's steady flame in a sheltered place.
It is an irresistible draw to spirituality and the force of good in the world, regardless of backgrounds or belief systems. It is the finding of the true essence of being, the willingness to be purified, to unify our thought patterns and desires with a higher consciousness form and a moving towards Divinity in order to know from a place of love and devotion, from a place of joy and liberation, from a place of celebration and awakening that a higher state of being in the world with more fulfilling purpose than our own alone is possible.
We can free ourselves and those who come after us from suffering by elevating life itself. By letting go of attachments to lower forms of consciousness that create patterns that influence choices that lead to suffering, although perhaps temporary bliss. It is the revealing of sacred things in devoted practice and mindful life as meditation experience that leads to realization, that liberates the heart from the past and sinks us into the perfection of the present with all faith, all heart, all confidence that we are love and that we are loved.
That if we will devote ourselves to study, to inquiry, to meditation, so we can see the ways we can get out of our own way, we will be blessed, liberated from the causes of our perceived limitations, and elevated into a perfect manifestation of the divine working through us and in us everyday, in simple moments, with people deserving of the highest form of reflection: We are inherently valuable and have within us the means with which to change, not only ourselves and our own life, but the lives of those around us, i.e. the whole world, but we have to want it with our whole hearts and be willing to devote our minds and bodies to the practice of it and know, the struggle, is worth it.
Healer, Spiritual Advisor, Yogini, Mentor