Welcome to everyone, and especially to new subscribers!
Another serving of mental, spiritual and metaphysical
nourishment for your pleasure. If you have any suggestions
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can benefit too!
What grief or attachment can there be for a realized soul – a man
of wisdom – when all the animate and inanimate objects of the
world have become his self, when he sees oneness everywhere?
I’ve been busy these past few weeks creating a nice little book
out of all the past articles from this ezine. The good news is
it’s available for YOU for free. Details are in the “What’s New”
It’s been an interesting year of change for me. The Mystic
Visions website. The ezine. The Discussion Group. Living in a new
country. Turning 40. And now, my first little book! Maybe there
are many things I might have done better this year. I’m sure
there are. However, when I look back this year, so much exciting
change has happened. Breaking away from the routine of daily life
is so hard. Most of us live in a rut most of the time.
So do take a look at next year and try to think what you can do
to make your dreams and goals come a little bit closer. It’s so
vital that you try. I hope this ezine will do its bit to help.
May I wish you a very Happy Christmas & and Successful Joyful New
Warm Blessings From,
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Why do we fail to do the good that we know we should? Why do we fall below our own standards? Why do we try so hard to make progress in life and yet have little to really show for it? In Yoga philosophy, the term AVIDYA is used to describe the condition that causes this tendency within us. It literally means “incorrect comprehension”; better known as ignorance. According to yoga teachings it is deeply rooted in our being through repeated habit. We know that any behavior, when repeated often enough, becomes almost instinctive. This is true to such an extent that we can even believe such actions to be outside of our conscious control. The misuse of this “anchoring procedure” is the foundation of avidya. Examples include unjustified angry reactions to other people, chronic dependencies like alcohol or drugs, or self-sabotage just when we are about to make a life-changing breakthrough in some important area. The subtle thing about avidya is that it hides itself. It only ever manifests as something else. Its symptoms are everywhere, but the cause itself remains concealed. We see it as “life”, or the other person’s fault, or some recurring self-destructive habit we can’t control. The source itself remains concealed. Avidya is like a deeply rooted tree with four thick branches. The first branch is called ASMITA, or ego. This is the part of us that seeks its own interests. It considers itself better than others, is bruised when it does not get its own way, and generally causes us to identify with this earthly body and the life it is living. It has no wider perspective than that. The second branch is called RAGA and is best translated as Desire or Attachment. This is the part that constantly wants what it does not have. It desires what it does not really need and seeks to accumulate merely for the sake of it. It makes us unsatisfied and causes us to continually compare ourselves unfavorably with others. If we are wealthy, we are unhappy because somebody else is wealthier still. And so on…… The third branch is called DVESA or Refusal. This is like the recoil response. Whatever negative experiences we have had in life make us afraid of repeating them again in case the same result occurs. It can make us reject people, situations and possibilities that just might cause us pain again. In one person, it may be the fear of forming relationships with the opposite sex. In another, it may be a fear of public speaking as a result of negative childhood experiences. The fourth and last branch on the tree of Avidya is called ABHINIVESA or Fear. These are specifically fears that are NOT caused by previous experience. For example, we may fear change, or growing old, or that we may lose everything we worked so hard to earn. In other words, things we may never have experienced before. Avidya, in all its subtle forms, works within us constantly to root us in our habitual ways and make improvement difficult or impossible. The more we indulge Avidya, the stronger it becomes. Eventually, we feel that we are no longer the doer of these things; they simply happen to us. A person can attract one disastrous relationship after another, or continually experience uncontrollable rage under certain stimuli, and feel that it is nothing directly to do with them. It is just bad luck. The person fails to see that there is only one person responsible for everything that happens! So what can we do? If Avidya obscures and clouds, it clearly must be obscuring SOMETHING. Yoga philosophy calls this something PURUSA. In the West, we know it as the “Higher Self” or “Silent Observer”; the true divine spirit that lies within each of us. The task therefore, is to bring Purusa out and live from it moment by moment. By doing this, we minimise the effects of the four forms of Avidya. A Spiritual Master is one who has completely uprooted the tree of Avidya forever and sees things as they really are. Thus, one of the names for the Buddha is “The Awakened One”. How do we increasingly live from Purusa – the highest within us? The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali suggest three methods. The first is actual practise of Yoga – both the physical postures and the breathing exercises. If this is something you feel comfortable with, it is definitely worth considering. There are many physical and mental benefits to be gained from a regular practise of Yoga, no matter how simple. However, be sure to consult your doctor before even contemplating such a regime, especially if you are over 40 and have never done it before. Yoga should only ever be learned in the beginning from a live teacher. Books are helpful as a supplement but should never replace live tuition. Regular Yoga does progressively diminish the force of Avidya in our lives. The second method is through self-examination. Regular contemplation of our actions and habitual thought patterns will awaken us to take increasing responsibility for our lives. Meditation is one excellent method that can help. So too can keeping a Journal of our progress. Activities like these can break the habitual stimulus-response cycle , and place that moment of choice back in between the two. In other words, instead of responding automatically as we usually do, we can choose in that moment to act differently. We become increasingly conscious and responsible, instead of remaining creatures of habit. The third method is to create a certain detachment to the actions of our life, and almost become an external observer. Rather than being an active participant, taking our hopes and dreams terribly seriously, we become more like an actor in a play, playing the part the best we can. This form of spiritual detachment does not mean we under-perform in life in any way. It merely means that we become more detached and objective about the movement of our lives; less elated when things go right and less distraught when disaster occurs. In this way the ego, and indeed all aspects of Avidya, are progressively weakened. In truth, all three methods work best together. However, one or other approach can prove immensely beneficial. For most of us, Avidya will remain to some extent throughout our lives. However, the more we can live from the true spirit within, the Purusa, the more authentically we live our lives. We relate to others better, make better decisions, and the hold of ignorance upon our lives gradually diminishes. We become the best person we can possibly be and thereby benefit the world. Surely that is the goal of life ?
Copyright Asoka Selvarajah 2000. All Rights Reserved.
Resources that can help:
The Heart Of Yoga by K.V. Desikachar. Excellent book that
focuses primarily upon the philosophy of Yoga. Also includes the
Yoga Sutras of Patanjali – THE Yoga sacred text.
by Odete Martins Bigote. Published By First Books Library.
As Odete Bigote herself says, this book is about remembrance and
forgiveness. It is about rediscovering the Self, and using the
classroom of life with all its varied lessons to establish Love
increasingly powerfully in your life.
The authoress draws upon her deep knowledge of spiritual
traditions, from The Course In Miracles right through to the
Hindu Upanishads, to give us a rich medley of inspiring thoughts
and lessons to contemplate. The book also draws extensively upon
Odete Bigote’s live workshops, and the practical emphasis is very
evident. Numerous real-life stories and conversations abound, and
profound subjects are expressed in a warm and human fashion. The
book’s style is accessible and conversational throughout. It
invites the reader to ponder, wonder and speculate.
Topics presented include Meditation, the Origin of Evil, Healing,
how to turn enemies into friends, the Course In Miracles, and
more. Particularly special are the book’s spiritual
contemplations upon the findings of modern Science. Odete
displays a thorough knowledge of the scientific content she
discusses, and skillfully interweaves this with metaphysical
thoughts on spirituality and the Soul. She takes us into exciting
realms of possibility in our lives. Thoroughly recommended.
We often hear of small actions that can make a dramatic impact on
our lives. Here are ten such things which, if done with
determination, will produce a revolution for you physically,
mentally, emotionally, spiritually and financially!
1. Drink Pure Water
Our bodies are 70% water. Drinking impure water is responsible
for many illnesses commonly attributed to other causes.
Therefore, you should seriously consider installing a quality
water filtration or distillation system.
In addition, most people go through life dehydrated. Simply
drinking when you are thirsty is not enough. Moreover, tea and
coffee actually dehydrate the body even further thereby making
the problem worse still. Dehydration also leads to many serious
illnesses. You need to drink at least 8-12 glasses of clear water
every day, and preferably more.
2. Regular Exercise
Exercise can slow down, and even partially reverse, the aging
process. You will suffer from fewer illnesses and have far more
energy to enjoy all day long. Best of all, exercise is something
you can take up and benefit from at any age. Yoga is excellent
because it tones your inner organs as well as gently stretching
and strengthening your muscles. Even simply walking for 15-20
minutes every day could be extremely beneficial. Consult your
doctor regarding your current state of health and advice on
suitable forms of exercise for you.
Regular meditators often have a biological age 10-20 years
younger than their chronological age! You will also be far more
centered all day, more aware of your emotions, and far better
able to cope with any challenge life can throw at you.
Simply sitting in a quiet place alone, closing your eyes, and
following the passage of your breath as it moves in and out is a
superb meditation. However, you can easily find others that can
benefit and enrich your life deeply. Meditation will make you a
kinder, gentler, and more patient person. It will help you to
appreciate life more.
Grudges take up brain capacity and prevent us from performing at
our very best. What we focus our minds upon grows; this is true
of hatred too. Therefore, it is impossible to truly achieve great
things for ourselves when we have a lot of our energetic capacity
tied up in negativity.
Remember that forgiveness is primarily for YOU. It free up your
energy tremendously. So forgive all grudges, no matter how old
they may be, and seek reconciliation. If you find this hard,
begin with the easiest ones first. Then gradually work up to the
5. Clutter Clearance
If you want to let new opportunities into your life, you have to
make room for them. Clear out the past – things you cling to that
no longer serve any purpose, but which hold you back. This can be
cupboards, the cellar, old clothes, old relationships, and
outmoded ways of thinking. By holding on tenaciously to the past,
we fail to make room for the future.
So look in your closets and get rid of things you have not used
for over a year or two. Review relationships in your life and see
which ones are taking you where you want to go and which ones are
holding you down. Clear your desk. Clear your computer. Then let
fresh air flow into your life!
6. Clear All Financial Debt & Invest
If owing nobody a cent is just a dream for you, start working
today to make that dream a reality. Save 10% of your income each
month to be applied towards reducing and clearing your debts.
Financial debt is one of the biggest causes of worry ever. Yet
almost anyone can save 10% of their income if they put their
minds to it. Do it consistently to learn the habit, and soon
you’ll be saving 20%. Once you’ve applied this to your debts, and
have NO debts at all, you can’t imagine how free you will feel!
Almost everything we want in life will be obtained through other
people. Moreover, relationships skills are amongst the most
important and most desired in life. They easily more than make up
for deficiencies in other areas of expertise. People who get on
well with others rise faster than those who are merely good at
their jobs. They are the last people to be fired; if they are,
they find it extremely easy to pick up a great job elsewhere.
Hence, it is vital to learn to relate excellently to others. If
you are not good in this area, all your other efforts could go
for nothing. Therefore, study hard in his subject and apply the
lessons you learn. Become excellent at relating to people.
Have clear, specific, written goals with deadlines for their
achievement in every area of your life – physical, mental,
emotional, physical, career, etc. People who do are FAR more
successful. People who don’t are like ships adrift on the seas. A
person without clear specific goals is like a ship cast adrift on
the ocean without a captain or crew. The chances of it arriving
anywhere specific are minimal. Yet most people live their lives
like that. Make it your goal to have specific written goals in
every area of your life and review them every day.
9. Daily Planning
For maximum productivity, plan each day in advance with a
scheduler. Use a “To Do” list to plan what you need to get done.
Prioritize these tasks in order of importance. You can rank
urgent tasks as “A”. Important, but not urgent, tasks as “B”.
Nice to do but neither urgent nor important activities as “C”.
Unimportant tasks as “D”. Work on the category “A” tasks first
until you have them all done and then work on the category “B”
tasks. Delegate or throw out category “D” activities.
Develop the habit of accounting for every half hour of your time.
This is what many highly successful people do.
A life worth living is a life worth recording. Keep a private
journal where you can record events, your reactions to them, how
you feel about situations, what you are learning. Keeping a
journal awakens your intuition and deepens your contact with
Copyright 2000, Asoka Selvarajah. All Rights Reserved.
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