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Vol. 37

Teachings of Shri Mahayogi:

Special Satsangha in Taiwan: Day Two

The Reason for Being Born and the Cause of Karma

Realization of the Truth

The True Self and the False Self

The Mind’s Thoughts and Dreams

The Sanctity of Existence

The Steps to Eliminate Ignorance and Reach Satori

The Four Approaches of Yoga and Their Actual Application

Testimonies from Actual Practitioners

Application of the Practice of Shaucha: Purification of the Mind
by Priya, Sept. 2017

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Teachings of Shri Mahayogi:

Special Satsangha in Taiwan: Day Two

Translation of Satsangha
Joyful Living, May 12, 2017

The second day of the Special Satsangha is being held in the space where Prasadini and her group of dedicated practitioners regularly hold the Asana and Meditation class. It’s a simple yet comfortable space, bright and clean with white walls.

The morning sun is shining brightly. Shri Mahayogi’s orange platform is lit by the sunlight entering through the window.

Even though the event is being held mid-day on a Friday, about forty participants have gathered. For more than half of the participants, this will be their very first time meeting with Shri Mahayogi. Everyone has arrived early, and they are all eagerly waiting for Shri Mahayogi’s arrival, quietly looking at their notes in preparation, or closing their eyes to meditate while they wait.

Suddenly the clouds cover the sky, and shortly thereafter Shri Mahayogi arrives, lightly coming up the stairs and entering the space.

The Reason for Being Born and the Cause of Karma

(After Prasadini greets Shri Mahayogi and all the attendees, Ms. May proactively starts by asking the first question, just like yesterday.)

Ms. May: Are all the things that we experience predetermined from the time we’re born to the time we die? If they are all already predetermined, then how should I direct my efforts? If I change my beliefs or my state of mind, will the predetermination change? If I choose something different, then will the results change?

MASTER: Everyone has reasons or causes for their birth. Those causes are the karma from one’s past lives. So, then how is the content of one’s karma determined, or in other words, what exactly is determined? Mainly there are three things. First is the circumstances under which you are born. There is a reason why you were born here in Taiwan. Second is one’s longevity, or lifespan. Third is the experiencing of fortune or misfortune in one’s life. These are the main things that are predetermined. Therefore, the various events and matters that you experience within this life come about in order for you to experience either happiness or unhappiness. Everyone must be seeking happiness. Nevertheless, the happiness that one is able to taste in this world, such as wealth, beauty, and knowledge, has a limit. And another thing is that the more you have, the more you suffer from the painful thoughts of not wanting to lose these things. Due to these thoughts, one’s karma may increase toward the next life. As long as there is a cause—karma—whether it’s happiness or unhappiness, everything in life will end up in suffering as a result. That is because one does not know the Truth.

The cause of karma is desire and attachment towards the wrong things. This world is not eternal, and yet one wishes it would last forever. One cannot attain happiness from the material objects that one gains, yet one inevitably attaches to them. What creates these wrong attachments and desires is ignorance. In order to break free from all suffering, it is necessary to get rid of ignorance and conform yourself to fit the Truth, and to establish a strong foundation in the Truth. Then, as you study the Truth and practice little by little, the mind transforms. Even if there are predetermined things due to karma, the content of these things will come to be altered. Therefore, the answer to all of your questions is that the best solution is to study the Truth and put the practice of Yoga into action.

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Realization of the Truth

Ms. Jia Qi: In class, I often hear the word “Truth,” but Truth cannot be understood by the intellect, right? I think it is something that you sense with your heart. But, I’m not sure if my heart is really sensing the Truth or not. Should I just not think about that question too much?

MASTER: One way of perfecting Yoga, in other words, of realizing the Truth, is discrimination. Discrimination is to hear the teaching of the Truth and confront the mind’s own thoughts and understandings with it in order to verify whether these thoughts and understandings have any contradiction to the Truth or not. If the heart feels something from the words of Truth, then take this seriously, and try to understand it. If the mind docilely accepts it, that’s good, but if the thoughts in the mind contradict it, then put both sides on a balancing scale. In opportunities such as these, [when we come together for Satsangha,] confirm whether the thoughts in your mind are the Truth or not, or confirm this through the scriptures—or by asking senior disciples, which is also a good way to do that.

The Truth is not something abstract. It is the only Reality, it is absolute perfect Freedom, and it is perfect Bliss. Therefore, seek it earnestly and with utmost seriousness. Actually, It is already within you. The mind may be obstructing It a bit. If you remove these obstacles swiftly, then the Truth that is already within you, emerges.

Ms. Jing Ting: When we have to make important choices in life, how should we decide? How do we resolve our worries about money?

MASTER: When you encounter various crossroads in your life, each time you should think and proceed forward towards what you think to be the best path. Even then, at times things may not go well. Then, think again about what the best path will be when you come across that crossroads the next time. (Frankly) Life is just like that. You have to make choices constantly. As for financial issues, you should understand and accept that as long as you can survive and sustain a basic life, then that will be sufficient. It is unnecessary to have attachment, such as that of striving to become very rich.

Ms. Jing Jun: Would you teach us what real Yoga is?

MASTER: Yoga is to realize the Truth, and to be in that state. And, it also indicates the learning and practicing of disciplines that take one to that Realization.

To attain Satori, Enlightenment, that is to say, to realize the Truth, requires an invincible will and a strong body. For this purpose, Yoga asana exists in order to make the body healthy and comfortable; and then [through that] one practices controlling the breath, and [through that] one practices controlling the mind. The most important thing is to receive the words of Truth from a Guru. That is Yoga.

Mr. Wei Hang: Realized beings often seem to be men. Why is that?

MASTER: (laughing) No, that is not necessarily so.

Mr. Wei Hang: In most stories I’ve heard about saints, they were almost all men.

MASTER: Yes, indeed, if you look at history, there are slightly more historical records of male saints, but there are many female saints as well. (smiles)

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The True Self and the False Self

Jessica: I am a rational type of person. Particularly since I’ve been learning Yoga, and also taking classes here as well, my mind has become calmer, and I think that I’m able to give better advice to my friends now. Shri Mahayogi teaches us to find the true Self. Through talking to or discussing with others about various things, I have come to think that the ultimate conclusion is that we must find the true Self, yet I don’t have the answer to that. I told my friend that she should inquire into her own true Self, but then she told me that that’s a scary thing to do, and then asked me not to talk about it since she doesn’t really want to know what her true Self is. So, when a conversation goes like this, most of the time the issue ends up being unresolved. How can I speak to a person about the true Self?

MASTER: The truly strange thing in this world is that nobody seems to know what “I” is. Everyone refers to himself or herself as “I” in first person. However, [when one does that] that “I” only indicates a situation or a circumstance. But, situations and circumstances change constantly. One moment you are a child, then you become an adult, you become a boyfriend or girlfriend, you become a parent if a child is born, then you age and become a grandpa or grandma. Yet, the “I” should not have changed. What changed was only the circumstance. On the other hand, what you thought of as the “I” in these situations was an illusion, [it was] the ego-consciousness in the mind. That is the false, incorrect self. Therefore, Yoga teaches that one must seek what the true Self is.

The true Self is just like light. Light itself does not assert that it itself is light. (Everyone laughs.) The mind covers this light on top and obstructs it. The mind sees the world due to the effects of the light, which is the essence. At this time, if the mind simply sees the world as it is reflected in the light, then there is no issue, but the mind has various pain-bearing obstacles such as likes and dislikes. So, it sees the world through these colored glasses. If you can understand this mechanism, then you’ll be able to give appropriate advice to your friend. If you can look at things as they are without making judgements, without attachment or obsessions, then you will be more at ease.

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The Mind’s Thoughts and Dreams

Ms. Mei Yin: We’re all born, get sick, age, and then die—I understand that this is life. But when a family member is nearing the time of death, what should I do?

MASTER: Everyone reincarnates. The family member who is departing is also continuing the journey to their next incarnation. We wish for them to have a happy next life. But [remember], real happiness comes not from desires, but from the Truth. Therefore, when you are next to someone who is about to depart, please think of God or Buddha. Then, they will be able to depart on a good journey.

Priya: Should the one who is departing also think of this in their mind?

MASTER: Yes, ideally, if possible.

Paul: What is the essence of God or Buddha? Is what I think of God or Buddha real? Or is it just my imagination?

MASTER: God or Buddha, until you experience That, are merely what your mind imagines. However, [thinking of] God or Buddha can expand the purity within your mind. They have the power to lessen the dirt in the mind, just by thinking of them.

Ms. Jing Jun: Does Shri Mahayogi sleep well every day?

MASTER: (laughs) Yes. I sleep every day.

Ms. Jing Jun: Do you dream?

MASTER: I don’t dream much.

Ms. Jing Jun: As far back as I remember, since I was born I have been dreaming. But I no longer want to dream. What should I do?

MASTER: Dreams come from the subconscious mind. The mind records experiences that happened during the day, just like [images are recorded onto] film. The mind creates corresponding thoughts based on the strength or weakness of these impressions; when you are experiencing joy, the mind creates joyful dreams, and when you are scared, the mind creates scary dreams. If you don’t want to be affected by these dreams, then it is best to make your mind transparent. The task of making the mind transparent is exactly what Yoga is. As I said earlier, the Truth is like light. It leaves an impression just like that of transparency upon the mind, therefore you will not have dreams.

Ms. Jing Jun: (shedding tears, seemingly in extreme pain) I have never seen a good dream before. I always feel pain. Sometimes, it’s so painful that I can’t do anything, and because of that I cannot help but to withdraw into myself and shelter myself at home. I have a ten-year old child, and I have to take care of my child. But if I didn’t have a child, I would even want to disappear from the world. I don’t know what to do. At times, I can’t even leave the house.

MASTER: Indeed, life is suffering. However, that too you can change. There is a cause to suffering, and as I said earlier, the cause is ignorance. So, if you get rid of ignorance, and once the mind only holds onto the Truth, you will no longer have nightmares.

Ms. Jing Jun: Then I will try.

MASTER: (smiles) Yes. Please try it.

Ms. Jing Jun: My sister brought me here today. She probably couldn’t bear to see me like this. I think she was thinking of how I might be able to solve my problem.

MASTER: Perform the tasks for your child and for your family simply, as duties. And direct your mind always towards the Truth or God. If it’s possible, participate in Prasadini’s class, which would be a huge help.

(Shri Mahayogi gently gazes upon her. After having held onto such distress, she now seems to have been given a great peace of mind and gradually begins to regain her composure. The space fills with more and more sacred prana.)

(The rain, which started without anyone noticing, begins to get stronger.)

Betty: Because there are so many things I want to do, I am always very busy, and the mind complains. I wish I could do more Yoga, but as I work, I lose the power of motivation. What can I do?

MASTER: Well, there is a teaching of Yoga called contentment. It means to be content with everything as it is. If you start wanting this or that, it will go on forever. So, a concrete teaching for you is to continue to learn Yoga intently from now on. Regarding your thoughts toward your wants, it would be good if you continued to practice Yoga, controlling the thoughts you have towards your wants so that they are in moderation.

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The Sanctity of Existence

(As if emboldened by Jing Jun’s questions and how she expressed her true feelings, a man confesses to something he has been struggling with internally for many years.)

Mr. Z: When I was in elementary school, I became aware that I like others of the same sex. It wasn’t by my choice, but it was already like that by the time I became aware of it. I then felt that many things in life were already predetermined, so I have neither been able to have a proactive attitude towards life, nor have I been able to come face to face with myself. I’ve been asking God why I can’t be a normal heterosexual person. I can’t even tell my family about it. May I ask the Master to offer some words for this passive nature of life?

MASTER: There are many ways of expressing love in this world, so you don’t need to criticize yourself about it. What is more important is the fact that you exist here and now. (With a stronger tone) You are not existing here with someone else, but you stand here alone. What is the real significance of that existence? You yourself are a sacred and precious existence. The essence, the true nature of “I” is, as I said earlier, like light, It is Eternal Existence. It is never born and it will never die. It is an Immortal Existence. You can call it the Soul or you can call it God. That is your Self. Cherish only That. (Gently) Other things can remain the way they are.

(Having received encouragement from Shri Mahayogi, he lightly nods, bashfully. Everyone is moved by this scene.)

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The Steps to Eliminate Ignorance and Reach Satori

Mr. Zhao Yuan: This world is filled with ever-changing and erroneous things. I truly want to seek the Truth, but various incidents such as wars and cases of murder happen in this world, and as we see these incidents, I, and many others too, are affected by them. What can I do?

MASTER: Exactly, this world is filled with suffering and sadness. Shakyamuni Buddha, his first teaching was—everything is suffering; the cause of suffering is karma as well as attachment to desires; and the root cause of these is ignorance.

And he taught that on the other hand, there is a state of Truth, Nirvana; and in order to reach It, one must learn the Truth, and practice in such a way [as he taught].

Mr. Zhao Yuan: If all of humanity studied Yoga, would the world become better?

MASTER: That’s exactly right. However, [remember that] even this world is made up of individuals. So at least for those of us here today, let each and every one of us realize Yoga.

(Immediately several people nod as if in agreement.)

Mr. Zhi Cheng: Satori means to find the true Self, correct?


Mr. Zhi Cheng: Are there several steps to eliminating ignorance? When we were children, we didn’t know anything. But then we go to school and study there little by little. For instance, when I learned about water, I recognized that water is water; that’s the first step. Then in high school, I learned that water is H2O, and I was happy to learn that. And I got even happier as I learned that there are three states of water, like air and ice. Up until this point, I have been able to study various things at different steps, and I am satisfied with that. Does that mean I’ve seen the light? Or is this a part of the process of ceaseless inquiry that comes before I reach the true light? I found this light, but I also understand that light is made up of photons.

MASTER: The light I mentioned earlier is an analogy. If there is no light, then there is only darkness, so neither the mind nor the world will emerge. The true identity of light is consciousness. It is the Consciousness that only witnesses, or it is the Consciousness that only knows. That is why the analogy is about light.

Now, let’s move onto the next question regarding steps. Our original essence is that Pure Consciousness, and it is the Absolute, Immortal Existence. However, through the Consciousness that is likened to light here, the mind emerges, and asserts its ego as “myself” and “me.” Furthermore, as one perceives the world through this mind one tries to gain happiness. That is ignorance.

There are four pillars that define ignorance. To wish for permanence, even though the world is constantly changing, impermanent and never stays the same. To think that you can get happiness through various experiential phenomena in this world. To think that the ego is the self. To wish for perfection in the mind and body, even if they are neither perfect nor pure. From these four causes, various desires are born. Then, the attachments towards these desires get even bigger. The result of this is suffering. In order to eliminate suffering, one must eliminate attachment to desires, and eliminate ignorance. Once ignorance is gone, then the Existence, which is the Truth itself, emerges—and that realization of Truth is called Satori. That is completion.

So, if the path to perfection is expressed step-by-step, there are roughly four steps. The first step is when, upon hearing the teaching of Truth, one feels the struggle between the teaching of the Truth and the mind. The second is the step in which one disciplines oneself to correct the various thoughts that the mind has been cultivating through its own ignorance, and practices to conform oneself to the Truth through action. The third is the step in which one’s spiritual discipline and the learning [that has been acquired through it] have deepened, and the ignorance within the mind is gradually being eliminated. So, in the second step, the conflict will disappear in such a way that the attachment toward desire will be gone. In the third step, ignorance, which is the cause of creating desire itself, is gradually eliminated. In the fourth step, ignorance is completely eradicated and only the Truth is realized. How fast one can reach the fourth step depends on one’s level of commitment.

Ms. Yu Ting: Is the Existence of Truth, or our true Essence, Love itself?

MASTER: Yes, exactly.

Ms. Yu Ting: What is selfless love?

MASTER: It is to act for the happiness of others.

Lily: Whether you are male or female, there should be no difference in the true Self, right? For example, I was born female but how do I make the best of the various conditions that I am born into? If I am going to cut my hair today, how should I choose if it should be long or short? The true Self does not have gender, but I am female now. How should I look or dress?

MASTER: It can be anything (laughing).

Lily: Not just the looks, but when we have to choose something, how should we go about it?

MASTER: Just conscientiously think about each matter, and choose accordingly. It’s incorrect to choose based on what you want others to think of you. Find the beauty that is unique to you. (Everyone laughs as they see her being bashful with joy.)

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The Four Approaches of Yoga and Their Actual Application

Mr. Priya: When there is a bad situation, I feel that I can contribute something to create a positive effect or make a difference through my actions. But when I intervene in that kind of situation, I sometimes get hurt or feel pain. Then, in that moment, violent thoughts arise in the mind. How should I handle this?

MASTER: In order to resolve all suffering, it is best to practice Yoga. Of course, what Yoga means here is to learn the Truth and realize the Truth. In Yoga, there are four characteristic approaches. The first is, as soon as you are born, to see through the fact that this world is an illusion and awaken into the true Self, called Atman. The next is to think of God with pure thoughts, and become one with God. The third is to renounce the ego and to devote yourself to selfless service simply for the sake others. The fourth is, during the time that the mind is still imperfect, to learn the Truth and continue to practice disciplines simultaneously. These disciplines include regulating the body through asana, controlling the breath, and controlling the mind through meditation. The word, Truth, is abstract, but that is your true Self, and it is the Existence called God. And the essence of this universe and all of creation, is That. [There is] only That! Nothing other than That exists! Nevertheless, there are various creatures with various faces living in this world. Truly, it would be really wonderful if all of these creatures were to be happy. If you see ones who are suffering or sad, then get close to their hearts and help them somehow. In these moments, simply attend to them devotedly. (With a smile) That is all you need to do. Then you’ll be fine.

Ms. Kai Li: I am currently ill and have many food allergies. At first, my allergies weren’t so bad, but the more I controlled what I ate, the worse it became. Is this a battle between my true Self and the ego?

MASTER: That is not relevant. If your body has some conditions of illness, or allergy, you do want to improve your body’s condition. Of course, there is a philosophy here [in Taiwan]: eating healthy prevents and cures disease (food is medicine). However, nowadays there are so many new kinds of food that have been created and that are on the market, and there are many toxic foods too. So be aware and only eat medicine, since this body is maintained by food, eating is inevitable. And I recommend practicing asana diligently.

Ms. Kai Li: I went to an asana class the other day, but my body became so exhausted and it got even worse. But actually, the class I took was somewhere else. When I went to Prasadini’s class, I did not feel that way afterwards.

MASTER: Yes. This class is safe. For over forty years I myself, in Japan, New York, and elsewhere, have instructed asana to various people. I have seen many cases like yours. Everyone has gotten 100% better. So, renew your practice of asana in Prasadini’s asana class. Then, if you keep learning the Truth, you will heal quickly. It would be ideal if you can take the next step to meditate.

Ms. Kai Li: When I took Prasadini’s class, I meditated on the Buddha. While meditating, it became black in front of my eyes. What does that mean?

MASTER: It doesn’t mean anything much. Rather than taking that into consideration, meditate on your ideal form, pick the form you like—it can be a painting, a sculpture or a photo, anything is fine—and then meditate on it as your ideal form.

Ms. Mei Li: I fall asleep every time I meditate.

MASTER: (laughing) According to a recent scientific study, the condition of the brain waves in meditation and in sleep are similar and it is an alpha rhythm. But in sleep, the mind dives into dreams, whereas in meditation, the mind dives into the object of concentration.

Ms. Jia Hui: When meditating, I hear voices in my mind saying, I must do this and do that. Should I believe in this voice?

MASTER: Was that my voice? (Shri Mahayogi and everyone laugh.) If you feel that that voice is something divine, then that’s fine.

Ms. Jia Hui: So, it means that if the voice comes from stability rather than chaos, then I can believe it, correct?

MASTER: Yes. It is intuitive.

Ms. May: Is it possible for people with severe mental illness or dementia to know the Truth using their minds?

MASTER: It would be difficult.

Ms. May: Are they not able to seek It in this lifetime?

MASTER: Unfortunately, not. However, they may not come across struggles like typical people. That is their saving grace.

Ms. Jing Wen: When practicing asana, and also when relating to others in daily life, because I tend to tense up right away, I suddenly disperse my strength or put forth resistance—in both mind and body. How can I use my strength accurately?

MASTER: This too depends on how you train [yourself] and it is certainly possible for you to be able to eventually use it correctly. Your habit is something that has been created over a long period of time. That is why [if you would like to change it], then the task now is to create a new, positive habit. It may not resolve right away, but it should get better gradually [if you continuously train yourself to practice that new habit]. Continue to practice Yoga diligently.

Prasadini: Let’s end today’s questions here. Shri Mahayogi, thank you so very much for today. Tomorrow we will have another opportunity for Satsangha, so we’re looking forward to that.

MASTER: Tomorrow and the day after tomorrow will be good opportunities again. Looking forward to it. Thank you very much for today.

In this world, everyone has anxiety and doubts about life. Shri Mahayogi accepted them all and gently consoled everyone’s minds. The participants’ hearts were deeply touched by Shri Mahayogi’s immeasurable love and compassion.

The rain, which at one point was very heavy, gradually stopped. As the outside world was washed and cleansed by the pouring rain, everyone’s minds must have been even more purified by the words and blessings of the Holy Being.

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Testimonies from Actual Practitioners:


Application of the Practice of Shaucha: Purification of the Mind

Translation of an article by Priya
September 2017 Kyoto, Japan

Last year, when my fellow Yoga practitioners gathered to talk about yama and niyama (abstinences and observances), we decided to pick one of the precepts, and actually put it into practice in daily life. I chose shaucha.

Shaucha means to purify the body and the mind, and to maintain them clean and pure. As for maintaining the purity of the body, since I’ve been eating mostly vegetarian foods, and the amount I eat has been reduced, and since I’ve been practicing asana every day as much as I can, I thought it would be fine to continue practicing this part in this way. So then, I turned my focus towards the purification of the mind.

But then, how can I purify the mind?

“Our mind’s world is neither eternal nor perfect. The mind of each individual is different. In addition, even if it’s the same person, the mind of that person is not the same as it was three years ago, or even one year ago. Or even as you yourself were yesterday. The mind is the same as this world—it is something that is constantly ever-changing.”

—Satguru Shri Mahayogi Paramahansa

When we observe our mind, we’ll notice that it is extremely restless. Various thoughts arise in the mind, and the mind reacts to various incidents. In general, we think that these thoughts and emotions represent ourselves, but is that really so? Actually, I feel like these thoughts and emotions are labels, and that we stick them to our bodies, binding our own selves.

I think that if we want to purify our mind, then we have to seriously confront the weed-like thoughts that are thickly growing there and calm the mind, then, peel off the labels and remove the false idea of the self. Yet, it is so difficult to prevent the generation of thoughts with conscious intent alone. So, I made up my mind to use actual actions to replace my old patterns.

First, when facing the tasks in front of me, if I noticed that there was a feeling of dislike or urge to run away, then I determined to do the opposite by proactively acting upon them.

There are so many opportunities to practice this in daily life. For example, the women’s bathroom at my workplace is often dirty. Every time I used to see a dirty stall, I would accuse the nameless perpetrator, or immediately move to a cleaner stall. In order to change that pattern, if I entered a dirty stall, instead of moving to another stall, I made the one I was in cleaner. As I practiced in this way, the complaints arising within my mind lessened, and gradually I was able to clean the toilet simply and without having any reactions. I stopped wasting my energy on complaining, and through that, the mind became surprisingly light.

I applied the same method to my daily practice of asana. During a particular period of time, the excuses seemed to gush forth as if coming from a spring—I’m tired today, I’m not feeling well, I’m feeling sick…it was endless. In the beginning, I used to complain to my roommate. But after I kept complaining to her for several days, I started to think, “Even if I complain, I still have to do it anyway, and not only that, there is no merit whatsoever in complaining. It’s a waste of time to complain.” After that, no matter what excuses showed up in my mind, I closed my mouth and went to stand on the mat to practice asana. After doing this for several days, the mind got to where it didn’t continue to blabber that much, and it started to quiet down more swiftly.

It is cool to be able to say, “remove the false idea of the self,” but actually putting that into action is extremely difficult. I’m shy, I’m afraid of roaches, I like to read books, I am not good at athletics… I have habitually made mountains of various beliefs and ideas about myself for decades. At first, it’s not that simple to even notice their existence, let alone remove them. However!! Even the thought, “It’s too difficult for me” is a false idea of the self! The mind is so cunning, we have to be careful not to let ourselves be twisted by it. Even if what I can do is only a small part each time, it’s fine! Even if I fail, that’s fine! Don’t give up!! This is what I tell myself…or rather, I encourage myself in this way.

If the old habitual thoughts were too strong, and I was too strongly affected by them, I tried to ignore these thoughts at once, and concentrate completely on what was in front of me.

In Taiwan, we practice kirtan once a month. Usually, Prasadini’s friend plays the drum, but because sometimes he cannot make it, at these times, I play the drum instead. These experiences became a great opportunity to practice this discipline.

Actually, I had never played the drum before, so I learned a simple drumming method from him. I practiced many times and the day of the kirtan went without a hitch. However, in September, I encountered an unprecedented level of challenge. We, the staff, had to learn a new song for this monthly practice session that people attend, but due to the staff being very busy, it was difficult to match up our schedules, so the only time we could rehearse before the day of the monthly session was a week before the actual session. At that rehearsal session, I learned from the drummer a more complex way to drum for the new song. I couldn’t play well, so as I felt the pressure of time building up, I shouted within my mind, “This is too difficult, impossible!” and “I just can’t do it!” I wanted to run away from it, but of course, I could not run away… So I told myself, “Discomfort will not lead to a solution. The current situation demands that I have to play the drum well. Rather than letting my mind go to ‘I can’t’ and allow myself to be distracted by this thought, why not focus on the drum itself? Let me focus on the drum itself.” Then, I concentrated on the drum as if my life depended on it. Then, the voice in my mind disappeared without me noticing, and… Aha! I realized that the thought of ‘I can’t’ is actually a weakness in and of itself. That little experience of overcoming ‘I can’t,’ became a source of power that has supported me since then.

To resist one’s own mind, is neither fun nor comfortable. Honestly, it is often painful. But, when you notice that you are no longer fettered by something, then that sense of freedom is something that is indescribably beautiful. It is as if you had escaped a small, dark dungeon, had run as far away as you could throughout the dark night, then climbed to a high place, and as you breathed in fresh air, your head began to calm down, and then gradually, the Eastern sky became brighter, and you began to see the view below, how tiny the dungeon was, and you feel how large the world is! Maybe I’m exaggerating, but that’s really how it felt.

I no longer want to be bound by the mind. I want true Freedom—so then, I must purify my own mind. Even if the progress is slow, or even if I fail, that’s fine. What is important is, whilst having belief, to continue to make effort simply and quietly.

I will continue to forge ahead with my discipline and practice!


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