The Path to Awakening
Success Comes to those who Persevere
Even with the current Virtual Reality game technology that uses headsets to create a VR environment, players can become so involved in the game that they think their VR character is real, or that the VR environment that they find themselves in is real, at least for a time.
Over the next decade, as Virtual Reality games become more and more realistic and more and more immersive, game players will have to be extra careful not to become so identified with the VR character they are playing in the game that they forget who they really are, i.e. the player outside the game or VR character within the game.
In the Virtual Reality game of creation, we, the players, have put on VR body-suits and have entered and become immersed in the simulated VR environment of a localized portion of the universe. This VR game of creation is much, much more sophisticated and technically advanced than today’s VR technologies. As such, it is not surprising that most of us players, the gods existing outside of the VR simulated game environment, have been fooled into thinking that the body-forms are our real identity and the simulated universe of frozen light is real. It all appears so realistic. “I-am-the-body” is what we all think. The cosmic hypnosis of maya and avidya is very powerful. Even mystics who have recovered their god-consciousness have to be careful that they do not slip back into ego-consciousness and become “mixed up” with the VR game of creation again. It is that powerful.
But we are not these body-forms. They are merely the forms we “put on” to enter and play in the simulated game of creation. We are gods – infinite, immortal, indescribably joyful. We are Spirit.
Most humans have become so identified with these human forms that they have much trouble even entertaining the idea that they are gods. But some intuitively know and are seeking ways to recover their god-consciousness and escape from the VR game that we have all become trapped in. Ultimately, each one of us must eventually escape. Many have already done so. Some have done so and have re-entered the game to help the rest of us.
Many Paths Lead Home
For those ready to start the process of escaping from the game, there are various paths that can be followed. These paths have been developed since ancient times by those who have already escaped and have come back to help.
It is the intent herein to merely highlight some of the key elements of these paths. For those ready to follow such a path, there is a plethora of information available, particularly in today’s Internet world. Of course, a word of caution is always necessary, and that is that while the Internet has untold reams of valuable information, it also contains some misinformation and false information. Discrimination, intuition and due diligence will lead you in the right direction.
The primary objective of all paths is to undo man’s false identification with his VR character, i.e. the body-suit, and thereby re-awaken one’s awareness of his true self, i.e. the god playing the game outside of the VR simulated universe. To achieve this goal, the ego-consciousness that thinks “I-am-the-body” must be brought under control. As this is done, one’s god-consciousness, which has always been with you, can rise above the constant thoughts and tumultuous noise of the ego-mind and make itself known. As one becomes more and more aware of one’s long-suppressed god-consciousness, it is a natural progression to awaken more and more to one’s true nature as a god. Ultimately, at some point, each one of us finally fully awakens to our true immortal nature and realizes that the body-form is just a vehicle by which we play in the simulated universe.
As science now tells us, the body is 99.9999999% empty space, essentially a temporary form made of frozen light. The immortal god-consciousness of Spirit is one’s true self. Once we have finally re-gained this awareness, we have achieved what has been called enlightenment; awakening; Self-realization; liberation; nirvana; union with God, etc.
One often hears of two main paths to follow on the journey to enlightenment; the path of wisdom (jnana) that is followed by a jnani and the path of devotion (bhakti) that is followed by a bhakta. The path of wisdom, i.e. learning the truth about reality, is appealing to many. The path of devotion is difficult in the beginning, as one has not developed a relationship as yet with Spirit. As time goes on, bhakti becomes easier. As one progresses along the path, it is inevitable that elements of both jnana and bhakti becomes part of one’s search.
A word on devotion may be in order. Some may picture devotion as “praising the Lord” which seems to be the practice of some religious organizations. Do you actually think that the Supreme Being is looking for “praise” from the individualized extensions of Itself? Should god praise God? Devotion is primarily focusing on Spirit so that one’s latent god-conscious self can rise above the din of the ego-mind. As one’s god-consciousness grows, there is a natural bond of love that develops between the god and the God, so that bhakti evolves into a form of supreme love that far transcends the love that we typically know on the human scale.
‘Some hold exclusively to the eternal truth of unity, declaring their single and only identity to be ‘the One’; these are the jnanis (or “knowers”). Others, acknowledging the apparent duality between themselves and God, worship the One as other than themselves, as the Exemplar of which they are mere images. These are the bhaktas (or “lovers”). And both are perfectly correct and valid pathways to the realization of God … The jnani says, “I am That”; the bhakta says, “O Lord, Thou alone art!” And both arrive at the selfsame realization of the Real.” ~ Swami Abhayananda
“My own temperament is principally devotional. It was disconcerting at first to find that my guru, saturated with jnana but seemingly dry of bhakti, expressed himself only in terms of cold spiritual mathematics. But as I tuned myself to his nature, I discovered no diminution but rather increase in my devotional approach to God. A self-realized master is fully able to guide his various disciples along natural lines of their essential bias.” ~ P. Yogananda
“Jnana must be united with bhakti.” ~ Papa Ramdas
One of the principle paths to awakening is the yoga path. I have a particular bias towards this path, as it is one on which I travel. Many people associate the word yoga with various forms of physical exercises and postures, i.e. Hatha Yoga. That is but a small part of yoga. Yoga consists of scientific techniques aimed at achieving divine realization. It is a universal path – open to everyone, of all ages, cultures, religions or no religions, etc. There are several varieties of yoga;
Jnana Yoga – path of wisdom, i.e. trying to control the ego-mind and awaken the god-consciousness through learning the truth about our existence.
Bhakti Yoga – path of devotion, i.e. trying to awaken one’s natural state as a god.
Hatha Yoga – exercises and postures to increase the life current in the body, so that the body is healthy and ready to practice higher forms of yoga.
Karma Yoga – path of action, by which one tries to control the ego-consciousness by undertaking all actions without any attachment to personal gain.
Raja Yoga – the highest “royal” path, which employs elements of all other paths as well as scientific meditation techniques designed to attain full god-consciousness, i.e. samadhi, or cosmic consciousness.
It is Raja Yoga, the inner path to Self-realization, that is favoured by those intent on achieving their goal in the shortest amount of time.
“With wise discernment the guru guided his followers into the paths of Bhakti (devotion), Karma (action), Jnana (wisdom), or Raja (royal or complete) Yogas, according to each man's natural tendencies.” ~ P. Yogananda
“The universal appeal of yoga is thus its approach to God through a daily usable scientific method, rather than through a devotional fervor that, for the ordinary man, is beyond his emotional scope.” ~ P. Yogananda
“Through psychophysical techniques of yoga one can regain mastery of his mind, stilling the restless thought vibrations of human consciousness and entering the ecstasy of God-consciousness.” ~ P. Yogananda
“When the five senses and the mind are still, and the reasoning intellect rests in silence, then begins the highest path. This calm steadiness of the senses is called yoga.” ~ from Katha Upanishad
“In the ordinary man energy goes out through the senses, thoughts and feelings. The usually out-going life force is turned ‘inward’ through a special technique, and the inner-directed energy and consciousness slowly ascend the spinal ladder, passing through six ‘Chakras’ (centres) and, finally, as the seventh chakra is touched, man casts off his limitations and realizes his divinity. He is filled with bliss and sense of omnipresence. He, who realizes this bliss and sense, unites with God and knows this truth.” ~ Monika Rani
“That is the purpose and goal of Yoga – to regain the lost paradise of soul consciousness by which man knows that he is, and ever has been, one with Spirit.”
~ Monika Rani
“The pure Consciousness that alone finally remains is God. This is Liberation. To be constantly centered on one's own all-perfect pure Self is the acme of yoga, wisdom, and all other forms of spiritual practice.” ~ Ramana Maharshi
“The wisdom path [Jnana Yoga] is long, dry, and hard. The [Raja] Yoga way is short, easy, and strewn with perceptions of ever new bliss. Wisdom is not as impelling a force as divine bliss!” ~ P. Yogananda
“The Lord Himself here extols the royal path of yoga as the highest of all spiritual paths.” ~ P. Yogananda
“The Master-Rishis, who, for thousands of years, gave the world its most valuable heritage - the science of Yoga.” ~ Ramana Maharshi
“A yogi engages himself in a definite, step-by-step procedure by which the body and mind are disciplined, and the soul liberated … Yoga is a method for restraining the natural turbulence of thoughts, which otherwise impartially prevent all men, of all lands, from glimpsing their true nature of Spirit.”
~ P. Yogananda
“Yoga promises undreamed-of possibilities … makes possible intuitions that transcend consciousness." ~ Dr. Carl Jung
“Raja Yoga, specifically Kriya Yoga, is the quintessence of all yoga paths, the path especially favored by royal sages and great yogis in ancient India.”
~ P. Yogananda
“Kriya, controlling the mind directly through the life force, is the easiest, most effective, and most scientific avenue of approach to the Infinite. In contrast to the slow, uncertain "bullock cart" theological path to God, Kriya may justly be called the "airplane" route.” ~ P. Yogananda
“The advanced yogi, withholding all his mind, will, and feeling from false identification with bodily desires, uniting his mind with superconscious forces in the spinal shrines, thus lives in this world as God hath planned, not impelled by impulses from the past nor by new witlessnesses of fresh human motivations. Such a yogi receives fulfillment of his Supreme Desire, safe in the final haven of inexhaustibly blissful Spirit.” ~ P. Yogananda
There is much commonality amongst the various paths to awakening. Some of the common elements include the following;
Each of these elements is briefly considered below.
It is an Inner Journey
“They are looking outside for scraps of pleasure or fulfillment, for validation, security, or love, while they have a treasure within that not only includes all those things but is infinitely greater than anything the world can offer.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
“One cannot know God by means of the mind. One can but turn the mind inwards and merge it in God.” ~ Ramana Maharshi
“O traveler, if you are in search of That
Don’t look outside,
Look inside yourself and seek That.”
“His disciples asked him, ‘When will the kingdom come?’ Jesus said, ‘... Indeed, what you look forward to has already come, but you do not recognize it.’ The Pharisees asked him, ‘When will the kingdom of God come?’ He said, ‘… the kingdom of God is [experienced] within you.’” ~ Swami Abhayananda
"I went round the streets and squares of the city of this world seeking Thee, and I found Thee not, because in vain I sought without for Him who was within myself.” ~ Saint Augustine
It is an inner journey. Over and over, the mystics tell us that our true nature as immortal gods is to be experienced within ourselves. What we see manifested without is the simulated universe and the simulated body-forms that we are using as vehicles to function in this playground of the universe. We can never find our real selves there - “in vain I sought without for Him who was within.”
As we shall see shortly, the means by which we undertake this inner voyage is meditation, going far into the profound silence and stillness that reside deep within our consciousness.
‘A beggar had been sitting by the side of a road for over thirty years. One day a stranger walked by. “Spare some change?” mumbled the beggar, mechanically holding out his old baseball cap. “I have nothing to give you,” said the stranger. Then he asked: “What’s that you are sitting on?” “Nothing,” replied the beggar. “Just an old box. I have been sitting on it for as long as I can remember.” “Ever looked inside?” asked the stranger. “No,” said the beggar. “What’s the point? There’s nothing in there.” “Have a look inside,” insisted the stranger. The beggar managed to pry open the lid. With astonishment, disbelief, and elation, he saw that the box was filled with gold. I am that stranger who has nothing to give you and who is telling you to look inside. Not inside any box, as in the parable, but somewhere even closer: inside yourself.’ ~ as told by Eckhart Tolle
“Remember, the entrance door to the sanctuary is inside you.” ~ Rumi
“’Seek within - know Thyself’ these secret and sublime hints come to us wafted on the breath of Rishis through the dust of ages.” ~ Papa Ramdas
“Do not make it complicated for yourself. Simply return to what you were by letting go of everything else. By not reacting to the world. By diving deep within … where the true reality awaits you. You are a divine being.” ~ Robert Adams
“Because your outlook has been turned outwards, it has lost sight of the Self and your vision is external. The Self is not found in external objects. Turn your gaze around and plunge within.” ~ Ramana Maharshi
“A travel of one single inch within is better than a trip round the globe.” ~ Baba Sawan Singh
Then wilt thou … possess
A Paradise within thee.” ~ John Milton, from Paradise Lost
“Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” ~ Dr. Carl Jung
“An individualized soul is able to look within, examine itself, and ‘see’ its Origin, its higher Self.” ~ Swami Abhayananda
“Renunciation is always in the mind, not in going to forests or solitary places, or giving up one's duties. The main thing is to see that the mind does not turn outward but inward.” ~ Ramana Maharshi
“When the mind has gone in, it tastes sweetness such as it has never before tasted in worldly objects.” ~ Baba Sawan Singh
“Look within, thou art the Buddha.” ~ Buddha
The Need to Control the Ego Mind
In order to recover our native god-nature, we must bring the ego-mind under control. Some may say that there is nothing wrong with their ego-mind, it is working well and there is no need to do anything about it. If that is your current view, then you likely have never tried to exercise much control over how you think, how to focus your thoughts in one area, how to enter the inner world of silence and stillness, how to gain control over negative emotions such as fear, anxiety, anger, etc. If you have, you will know not only how difficult it is to gain control but also how little say you often have in how you feel and think. In many cases, the ego-mind runs you, you do not run the ego-mind.
“Somewhere in this process you will come face-to-face with the sudden and shocking realization that you are completely crazy. Your mind is a shrieking gibbering madhouse on wheels barrelling pell-mell down the hill utterly out of control and hopeless. No problem. You are not crazier than you were yesterday. It has always been this way and you just never noticed. You are also no crazier than everybody else around you. The only real difference is that you have confronted the situation they have not.” ~ Henepola Gunaratana
The contemporary mystic Eckhart Tolle has characterized this ego-mind very well;
“Thinking, or more precisely identification with thinking, gives rise to and maintains the ego, which, in our Western society in particular, is out of control. It believes it is real and tries hard to maintain its supremacy. Negative states of mind, such as anger, resentment, fear, envy, and jealousy, are products of the ego.”
“The mind is a superb instrument if used rightly. Used wrongly, however, it becomes very destructive. To put it more accurately, it is not so much that you use your mind wrongly - you usually don't use it at all. It uses you. This is the disease. You believe that you are your mind. This is the delusion. The instrument has taken you over.”
“You have probably come across "mad" people in the street incessantly talking or muttering to themselves. Well, that's not much different from what you and all other "normal" people do, except that you don't do it out loud. The voice comments, speculates, judges, compares, complains, likes, dislikes, and so on. The voice isn't necessarily relevant to the situation you find yourself in at the time; it may be reliving the recent or distant past or rehearsing or imagining possible future situations.”
“The compulsive thinker, which means almost everyone, lives in a state of apparent separateness, in an insanely complex world of continuous problems and conflict.”
“Not to be able to stop thinking is a dreadful affliction, but we don't realize this because almost everybody is suffering from it, so it is considered normal. This incessant mental noise prevents you from finding that realm of inner stillness that is inseparable from Being.”
Being able to exercise some control over the ego-mind would, no doubt, make our “human” lives much easier and more enjoyable. However, even more importantly, controlling the ego-mind is an absolute necessity in order to recover our true nature of god-consciousness. It is not possible to awaken the memory of our long forgotten immortal, indescribably joyful god-nature while the ego-mind is constantly spinning out its endless stream of thoughts and emotions.
As we shall see shortly, one of the most powerful tools for gaining control is meditation.
“You are pure Consciousness, the witness of all experiences. Your real nature is joy. Cease this very moment to identify yourself with the ego. You are the Self, the infinite Being, the pure, unchanging Consciousness, which pervades everything. Your nature is bliss and your glory is without stain. Because you identify yourself with the ego, you are tied to birth and death. Your bondage has no other cause.” ~ Shankara
“Know that you are not this restless mind, but that you are the immortal, all blissful, and changeless Spirit.” ~Papa Ramdas
“Self Realization is not however a state which is foreign to you, which is far from you, and which has to be reached by you. You are always in that state. You forget it, and identify yourself with the mind and its creation. To cease to identify yourself with the mind is all that is required.” ~ Ramana Maharshi
"When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be." ~ Lao Tzu
“When this I shall die, then shall I know who am I.” ~ P. Yogananda
“One who conquers himself is greater than another who conquers a thousand times a thousand men on the battlefield.” ~ Buddha
“The last laps of all paths are the same - surrender of the ego.” ~ Ramana Maharshi
“It's only when there is complete surrender to the now, to what is, that liberation is possible…… the willingness to let go is surrender.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
“But how is this to be accomplished? Let all else go.” ~ Plotinus
“The only worthwhile accomplishments are not those we achieve outwardly but the victories we win over ourselves.” ~ P. Yogananda
“You have to begin to identify with the Real Self. You have to begin to let go of all the false beliefs, conceptions, dogmas and be yourself. Be the Self you've always been. Be the Buddha. Be Krishna. You have that quality deep within you. Wake up. Do not let calamity rule you any longer.” ~ Robert Adams
“When the mind ceases to think, the world vanishes, and there is bliss indescribable. When the mind begins to think, immediately the world reappears, and there is suffering.” ~ Sivananda, from Bliss Divine
“The ego consciousness is transmuted into the inconceivable bliss of the Spirit.”
~ P. Yogananda
“You have, on the other hand, to get rid of your ignorance which makes you think that you are other than Bliss. For whom is this ignorance? It is to the ego …… Then the ego is lost and Bliss remains over. It is eternal.” ~ Ramana Maharshi
“The realm of Being, which had been obscured by the mind, then opens up. Suddenly, a great stillness arises within you, an unfathomable sense of peace. And within that peace, there is great joy. And within that joy, there is love. And at the innermost core, there is the sacred, the immeasurable, That which cannot be named.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
“We must pass through the long and arduous process of disengaging our minds from the old familiar urgings and cravings that were so much a part of our evolving consciousness in past incarnations, in order to free our Consciousness to know Itself as the Unlimited, the Transcendent, the Ever-Free.” ~ Swami Abhayananda
“One must first discipline and control one's own mind. If a man can control his own mind he will find the way to enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him.” ~ Buddha
Past the brazen footsteps of the silence
You breathe in, you breathe out
You breathe in, you breathe out
You breath in, you breathe out
You breathe in, you breathe out
And you're high on your high-flyin’ cloud
Wrapped up in your magic shroud as ecstasy surrounds you
This time it's found you
~ Van Morrison, from the song Beside You
“Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.” ~ Kahlil Gibran
"The best shelter is in the silence of your soul. If you can develop that silence, nothing in the world can touch you – nothing in the world. And you can say, having which, no other gain becomes greater. Then you can stand unshaken amidst the crash of breaking worlds." ~ P. Yogananda
“It is raining and you can hear the pattern of the drops. You can hear it with your ears, or you can hear it out of that deep silence. If you hear it with complete silence of the mind, then the beauty of it is such that cannot be put into words.” ~ Jiddu Krishnamurti
“It’s only in humans that intelligence, in its limited expression as the human mind, is very noisy. The far greater intelligence that is at work within yourself operates in silence.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
“The only way you will ever awaken is through the silence … simple silence, letting go. Letting go of all thoughts, all the hurts, all the dogmas and concepts.” ~ Robert Adams
“True silence really means going deep within yourself to that place … where you transcend time and space.” ~ Robert Adams
“What need is there to take any action? Only profound silence, that is all.”
~ Kuo Hsian
“A quiet mind is all you need.” ~ Nisargadatta Maharaj
“You must seek Him in the temple of silence.” ~ P. Yogananda
“All that we need do is to keep quiet.” ~ Ramana Maharshi
“The highest teaching in the world is silence. There is nothing higher than this.”
~ Robert Adams
As mentioned many times, the ego-mind is constantly, compulsively creating thoughts and emotions. Thought after thought, mostly re-playing events of the past or worrying about possible scenarios of future events. Constant chatter. Incessant mental noise.
Over and over and over again, the mystics advise us to enter the realm of silence deep within our consciousness. In deep silence, the ego-mind is finally at rest. The ego-mind becomes dormant. The long-suppressed god-consciousness can at last arise and make its presence felt. When we awaken to our original god nature, then we know our true selves; our indescribably blissful and immortal selves.
Once again, meditation is the tool to enable us to reach this unfathomed realm of silence that exists deep within our consciousness; the profound silence that leads to realization, bliss and enlightenment.
“Be in silence, and you will come upon God within yourself.” ~ Saint Teresa of Avila
“There was within me a stillness of silence, and I heard the blessedness whereby I knew my real self.” ~ Allogenes
“Let us be silent, that we may hear the whisper of God.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
“When the mind and body are both quieted … the devotee quickly advances toward the joyous state of Spirit.” ~ P. Yogananda
“Come into the silence of solitude and the vibration there will talk to you with the voice of God.” ~ P. Yogananda
“In the devotee’s silence God’s silence ceases.” ~ P. Yogananda
“In that still silence where all thought vibration has ceased ... God, the Self, is found.” ~ Swami Abhayananda
“Rest in that quietude, that solitary joyfulness - without thought, without movement, aware only of your own infinite presence.” ~ Swami Abhayananda
“The Self … can be attained only through silence of the mind.” ~ Ramana Maharshi
“The fastest way to realization [of your divine nature] is to keep quiet.” ~ Robert Adams
“Stop the noise and you will hear His voice in the silence.” ~ Rumi
“There is something beyond our mind which abides in silence within our mind … When the mind is silent … then one knows the joy of Eternity.” ~ from the Maitri Upanishad
“Only when the mind is tranquil … only then, in that tranquility, in that silence, can reality come into being. It is only then that there can be bliss.” ~ Jiddu Krishnamurti
“By daily stilling my thoughts, I could win release from the delusive conviction that my body was a mass of flesh and bones, traversing the hard soil of matter.”
~ P. Yogananda
“All the texts say that in order to gain release one should render the mind quiescent; therefore their conclusive teaching is that the mind should be rendered quiescent; once this has been understood there is no need for endless reading.” ~ Ramana Maharshi
“In that moment of acute awareness, the mind has become still. That is the state of consciousness that is free of thought, and that is the most precious thing that could ever happen to you. Some people experience it accidentally in a moment of danger, beauty, physical exhaustion. We now realize that we can consciously choose to enter that state.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
“To understand the immeasurable, the mind must be extraordinarily quiet, still.”
~ Jiddu Krishnamurti
I said to my soul, be still, and wait...So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.” ~ T.S. Eliot
“Being is the eternal, ever-present One Life … Being is not only beyond but also deep within every form as its innermost invisible and indestructible essence. This means that it is accessible to you now as your own deepest self, your true nature. But don't seek to grasp it with your mind. Don't try to understand it. You can know it only when the mind is still.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
“The soul, seeking God, scans the inner darkness, as though to discover another, as though awaiting something external to itself to make its presence known. But as the concentration focuses within, the mind becomes stilled, and suddenly the seeking soul awakes. No external has made its appearance; it is the soul itself, no longer soul, which knows itself to be the All, the One. Like a wave seeking the ocean, the seeker discovers that it is, itself, what it sought. … the one God.” ~ Swami Abhayananda
“Whatever method you use is fine. But by all means do something to still the mind. The secret is to quiet the mind. Your real nature is self-realization. When the mind is stilled, you just return to your real nature.” ~ Robert Adams
“When the mind of the sage is calm, it becomes the mirror of the universe wherein he can see everything.” ~ Chuang Tzu
“All spiritual disciplines are done with a view to still the mind. The perfectly still mind is Universal Spirit.” ~ Papa Ramdas
“To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders.” ~ Lao Tzu
"Be still. Stillness reveals the secrets of eternity." ~ Lao Tzu
‘"Be still, and know that I am God" … encouragement to still the mind, and know, not as an intellectual understanding but as a direct realization, that the "I am" that is your essential self … is God.’ ~ Peter Russell (scientist, psychologist, futurist, b1946)
‘The Bible says, “Be still and know that I am God”. Stillness is the sole requisite for the realization of the Self as God.”’ ~ Ramana Maharshi
Similar to silence, the mystics all advise us to be still, i.e. to have the mind attain a profound state of stillness. The words silence and stillness are very similar when used in the context of controlling the incessant mental noise of the ego mind. As such, below are the same comments that were used earlier with regards to silence but with the word stillness now added.
Over and over and over again, the mystics advise us to enter the realm of silence and stillness deep within our consciousness; not just an outer silence and stillness of the body-form but a profoundly deep inner silence and stillness. In deep silence and stillness, the ego-mind is finally at rest. The ego-mind becomes dormant. The long-suppressed god-consciousness can at last arise and make its presence felt. When we awaken to our original god nature, then we know our true selves; our indescribably blissful and immortal selves.
As we have noted earlier, we are gods playing in the Virtual Reality game of the universe as body-forms. We have become so engrossed in the game that we have forgotten our true nature as gods, individualized extensions of Spirit. We now think that these body-forms, which are merely the characters we take on while in the game, are our true selves. It's like playing one of today's VR games in which we are pretending to be a fighter pilot. At first, we act as the fighter pilot but we still know our real existence as the player outside of the game. And then, the VR game becomes so realistic that we gradually come to believe that we actually are the fighter pilot and we forget our true selves as the player existing outside of the game. ( "the games will become indistinguishable from reality." ~ Elon Musk). But if the VR game is put on pause, the fighter pilot becomes still and there is no motion in the game. Everything has gone silent. During that pause period, you would remember your true self as the player outside the game and you would laugh at how you were fooled into thinking that you were the fighter pilot.
Similarly, when we go into deep stillness and silence in the VR game of the universe that we are currently playing in, the body-form becomes silent and still and the ego-consciousness subsides. During that "pause" period, we remember our true nature as the sublime and blissful gods existing outside of this game environment of the universe. We laugh at how we were fooled into thinking that we are these body-forms.
What is deep silence and stillness? Perhaps you have been in a kayak or a canoe alone on a lake in the early morning mist. Everything is silent and still. The surface of the lake is like glass. The mist is not moving. The leaves on the shoreline trees are not stirring. Not a breeze. The rest of the world is not yet awake. It is perfectly silent and still. You are in another world. Or perhaps you have gone skiing on a trail in the mountain woods. Once again, it is early morning and you are the only one on the trail. Nothing is moving, except for the soft falling of snowflakes. You stand for a moment in stillness. It is so silent that you can actually hear the falling of the snowflakes. You can just stand motionless and enter another world. The vast realm of silence and stillness that you can reach within your own mind as you sit in a room in meditation is much deeper than that.
Once again, meditation is the tool to enable us to reach this unfathomed realm of silence and stillness that exists deep within our consciousness; the profound silence and stillness that leads to realization, bliss and enlightenment.
“The perfect stillness of the night was thrilled by a more solemn silence. The darkness held a presence that was all the more felt because it was not seen. I could not any more have doubted that HE was there than that I was. Indeed, I felt myself to be, if possible, the less real of the two.” ~ William James
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quite still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” ~ Franz Kafka
“Supreme joy thereby comes to the yogi whose heart is stilled … for he becomes one with Brahman.” ~ Bhagavad Gita
“In the moment your mind becomes still, the Bliss of pure being arises and fills you from within.” ~ Patanjali
“Bliss will reveal itself if one is still.” ~ Ramana Maharshi
“[By] stilling the restless thought vibrations of human consciousness [one may enter] the ecstasy of God-consciousness.” ~ P. Yogananda
Meditation has been mentioned a number of times as a most powerful technique in controlling the ego-mind and re-awakening our native state as gods. It is not the intent herein to describe specific meditation techniques, but merely to introduce the topic.
The benefits of meditation are highlighted in the following words of the mystics;
“The lost paradise is quickly regained through divine meditation.” ~ Sri Yukteswar
“Some sort of a magical device comes into operation with meditation, and other practices, to land the practitioner into otherwise inaccessible spiritual realms.”
~ Gopi Krishna
“Meditate. Dive deep into the recesses of your heart. You will have awareness of a Reality, very different from empirical reality, a timeless, spaceless, changeless Reality. You will feel and experience that whatever is outside of this only true Reality is mere appearance, is Maya, is a dream.” ~ Sivananda
“Mystical prayer [meditation] ..... is a supernatural intercourse between the soul and the Divine ….. an inarticulate communion, a wordless rapture, a silent gazing upon God. The mystics have exhausted all the resources of all tongues in their efforts to tell us of the rewards which await those who will undertake this most sublime and difficult of arts.” ~ Evelyn Underhill
“This is the only way ... to explain existence, to overcome sadness and grievances, to banish death and misery, to find the right path, to realize Nirvana - it is correct meditation.” ~ Buddha
“Meditation is listening to the Divine within.” ~ Edgar Cayce
“Even he with the worst of karma who ceaselessly meditates on Me quickly loses the effects of his past bad actions. Becoming a high-souled being, he soon attains perennial peace.” ~ Krishna, from the Bhagavad Gita
“When a wise man has withdrawn his mind from all things without, and when his spirit has peacefully left all inner sensations, let him rest in peace, free from the movement of will and desire … then one knows the joy of Eternity.” ~ from the Maitri Upanishad
“The Bliss of the Self can manifest only in a mind rendered subtle and steady by assiduous meditation. He who experiences that Bliss is liberated even while still alive.” ~ Ramana Maharshi
“Meditation can take whatever form most appeals to you. See what helps you to keep out all other thoughts and adopt that for your meditation.” ~ Ramana Maharshi
“Meditation is one of the most extraordinary things, and if you do not know what it is you are like the blind man in a world of bright colour, shadows and moving light. It is not an intellectual affair, but when the heart enters into the mind, the mind has quite a different quality: it is really, then, limitless, not only in its capacity to think, to act efficiently, but also in its sense of living in a vast space where you are part of everything.” ~ Jiddu Krishnamurti
“Why are we such tortured human beings, with tears in our eyes and false laughter on our lips? If you could walk alone among those hills or in the woods or along the long, white, bleached sands, in that solitude you would know what meditation is. The ecstasy of solitude.” ~ Jiddu Krishnamurti
“The more powerful and original a mind, the more it will incline towards the religion of solitude.” ~ Aldous Huxley
“The moment in deep meditation that they forget their self-created mortal consciousness, they immediately become divine.” ~ P. Yogananda
“A master bestows the divine experience of cosmic consciousness when his disciple, by meditation, has strengthened his mind to a degree where the vast vistas would not overwhelm him.… Sri Yukteswar taught me how to summon the blessed experience at will, and also how to transmit it to others if their intuitive channels were developed.” ~ P. Yogananda
“If a devotee meditates intensely for at least short periods every day, and has longer periods of three or four hours of deep meditation once or twice a week, he will … know the interiorized state of communion in which his soul ‘talks’ to God and receives His responses, not with the utterances of any human language, but through wordless intuitional exchanges.” ~ P. Yogananda
“After the field of consciousness has been well sown with the seeds of deep meditation, they will produce the mystic trees of Omnipresence, bearing fruits of undying happiness.” ~ P. Yogananda
“Our true Identity … can be experienced in deep meditation. It occurs when the mind becomes entirely pure and still and merges into that universal Consciousness. Then, one becomes aware, ‘I am everything; … I am Consciousness and Bliss.’ Such a state is not just imaginary; it is not just a theory. Many people have experienced such a state. It is the experience of that which underlies all of the great philosophies and religions of the world.” ~ Swami Abhayananda
“There are other times, when you become quiet, and your breathing becomes shallow and soft, and you taste something of the certainty of your eternal and limitless Selfhood. Then you rest in that quietude, that solitary joyfulness - without thought, without movement, aware only of your own infinite presence. This is meditation, a glorious practice.” ~ Swami Abhayananda
“It is here, in your meditations and prayers, that you will find your rest, your invigoration, your inspiration, your solace, your strength, your greatest joy. And it will carry over into all your life and all your relationships and all your activities in the world.” ~ Swami Abhayananda
“A mind focused on a mantra, a single word-symbol of God, is a mind reduced to one-pointedness. It is just such fervent single-mindedness, which is capable of supplanting the normally scattered flow of worldly thoughts, leaving in its stead a calm and focused awareness, empty of thought, full of peace and bliss. And because it is so simple and so effective a method of emptying the mind of its contents, and directing the flow of awareness inward upon itself, it is one which has been highly recommended by numerous sages and saints from all variety of religious traditions over the centuries.” ~ Swami Abhayananda
“Throughout the ages, many different methods of meditation have been recommended, yet in nearly every mystical tradition certain basic elements are invariably prescribed: (1) a beneficial posture, such as the “lotus posture” (2) a gaze fixed on the object of concentration; and (3) an inner attention upon a single word or phrase (mantram) … The posture allows the freest flow of the body’s subtle energy-current, helping to lift the consciousness to a plane above the body and mind; and the focusing of the gaze, and concentration upon a mantram, displaces the play of thoughts and allows the awareness to be reassigned to the witnessing Self.” ~ Swami Abhayananda
“In every mystical tradition, the means to the realization of Reality is the same; it is an inturning of the mind in search of its root, its source; we call this process “meditation.” In India, the Sanskrit word for meditation is dhyana; in China, it is ch’an, and in Japan, it is zen. Ch’an, or Zen, then, is nothing but the practice of meditation toward the attainment of enlightenment.” ~ Swami Abhayananda
The Need for Spiritual Guides
Yogananda said that there are three requisites for liberation; the yogi’s personal efforts in meditation and other actions constitute 25%; the guru’s efforts and blessings are another 25%; and the remaining 50% is the grace of God. All three are essential for attaining liberation.
The mystics say that the spell of cosmic hypnosis, i.e. maya and avidya, is so strong that one cannot remove the spell on one’s own. We have become so identified with our false self (the Virtual Reality character and body-form) and the illusory world (the simulated world of the VR game that we are in) that we cannot escape this world on our own. A guide is required.
So each of us has a guide that is responsible for helping us get out of the delusion. Most do not know who their guide is, but the guide knows you. As one advances along the road to awakening, you eventually become acquainted with your guide. We can have many teachers that can help us along the way, but only one spiritual guide who takes on the responsibility for our enlightenment.
This topic will be addressed in the What’s New section.
Success Comes to those who Persevere
“Yogis have described having a spherically expanding universal vision and a state of indescribable rapture. … Paramahansa Yogananda, in his book Autobiography of a Yogi, describes this experience as realization of ever new joy. Self-realization is not easy to achieve and requires spiritual practice, sometimes over multiple life times. One of the biggest reasons for this difficulty is that the thirst of the soul for material existence is not sated. Though realization is by far the greatest prize and the culmination of achievement, it is elusive.” ~ Wikipedia
Questioner: “Why can't I remember always that I am not the body?”
Ramana Maharshi: "Because you haven't had enough of it," he smiled.
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” ~ Lao-Tzu
“Enlightenment must come little by little, otherwise it would overwhelm.” ~ Idries Shah
“Understand this if nothing else: spiritual freedom and oneness with the Tao are not randomly bestowed gifts, but the rewards of conscious self-transformation and self-evolution.” ~ Lao-Tzu
“Endurance is one of the most difficult disciplines, but it is to the one who endures that the final victory comes.” ~ Buddha
“To awaken to the Divine Truth requires great energy and dynamic will power. We cannot awaken from the cosmic dream by wishful thinking.” ~ P. Yogananda
“I know the path: it is straight and narrow. It is like the edge of a sword. I rejoice to walk on it. I weep when I slip. God’s word is: “He who strives never perishes.” I have implicit faith in that promise. Though, therefore, from my weakness I fail a thousand times, I shall not lose faith.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi
“To revert the flow of the will from worldly to spiritual objectives ... is not easy. The mind is totally deluded by the amazing and wonderful appearance spread out before it; and, unaware that it is all its own projection, it reaches out eagerly for satisfaction and pleasure from the ephemeral and empty mirage.” ~ Swami Abhayananda
“It’s all a show, a deception. Your urges scream and bluster at you; they cajole; they coax; they threaten; but they really carry no stick at all. You give in out of habit. You give in because you never really bother to look beyond the threat. It is all empty back there … look within and watch the stuff coming up - restlessness, anxiety, impatience, pain - just watch it come up and don’t get involved. Much to your surprise, it will simply go away. It rises, it passes away. As simple as that. There is another word for self-discipline. It is patience.” ~ Henepola Gunaratana
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I - I took the one least traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” ~ Robert Frost
“Through constant practice, the much-desired Self-Realisation or Mukti is said at long last to have been achieved – the ‘I-am-the-body’ illusion has broken forever.”
~ Ramana Maharshi
“Divine Grace is essential for Realization. But this Grace is vouchsafed only to him who is a true devotee or a yogi, who had striven hard and ceaselessly for freedom.”
~ Ramana Maharshi
“So long as the mind has not developed the capacity to throw away, at will, the impressions of this world, it cannot sit inside, disconnected from this world, nor can it have access to the inner world. But it has the capacity to do so and it has to be trained. It is a slow affair, requires patience, perseverance, and faith.” ~ Baba Sawan Singh
“If it were an easy affair (to control one's mind), Guru Nanak would not have sat on pebbles for twelve years. Christ would not have spent nineteen years in the Tibetan hills and Soami Ji himself would not have contemplated in a solitary, dark, back room for seventeen years.” ~ Baba Sawan Singh
As noted in the quotations above, enlightenment does not come easily. Overcoming the ego-consciousness and awakening the god-consciousness is a tough battle. We have become so identified with the Virtual Reality character and its body-suit after playing in the simulated VR game of the universe for so long, it is very difficult to overcome the notion that “I-am-the-body”. We just cannot cognize that our true self resides outside the game.
However, it can be done. It has already been done by many. It is the destiny of all us of to do so. Success is inevitable. And the most powerful tool in achieving this success is perseverance. Never give up. To those who continuously strive, in spite of what seems to be little progress in taming the ego-mind, the goal will come.
Anyone who has tried to meditate knows only too well how powerful the ego-mind can be. In fact, until one tries to meditate for the first time, one probably does not realize just how out of control the ego-mind can be. If one tries to sit still and focus on a single thought, inevitably the body will refuse to be still and the mind will think of anything and everything except the chosen thought. It seems impossible.
However, to those who persevere, gradually the body can learn to sit still for hours without restlessness, quite a improvement over the five minutes that the body allowed you in the beginning. As well, the endless thoughts of the ego-mind, re-playing past events and pre-playing future events, gradually allows some space for the focused attention on a mantra or other meditation technique. It can be done. It has been done. And the rewards are an ecstasy beyond anything this world has to offer; an escape from the game that we have been so long trapped in; and the enlightenment of knowing our immortal nature as gods.
It is encouraging to note that even spiritual giants have had to deal with the challenge of wandering thoughts while meditating in their formative years. In his Autobiography of a Yogi, Yogananda relates the story of the first time his guru enabled him to enter cosmic consciousness. As a young man, Yogananda (then called Mukunda) had been trying to meditate in his guru’s ashram but found that his “laudable purpose was unshared by disobedient thoughts. They scattered like birds before the hunter.” His guru twice summoned him from another room but Yogananda did not respond. After the third summon, Yogananda called out in protest, "Sir, I am meditating," to which his guru responded, "I know how you are meditating, with your mind distributed like leaves in a storm! Come here to me." Once together, his guru gently struck Yogananda’s chest above the heart and said, "Your heart's desire shall be fulfilled." The young Mukunda entered the blissful state of cosmic consciousness.
Some people think enlightenment is unattainable, so why bother trying. It only comes to advanced souls, not regular people. But this is not so. The highest attainment of mankind is available to everyone and must eventually come to all.
“Forget the past. The vanished lives of all men are dark with many shames. Human conduct is ever unreliable until man is anchored in the Divine. Everything in the future will improve if you are making a spiritual effort now.” ~ Sri Yukteswar
“Don’t be carried away by the notion that it is given only to particular persons to scale the heights. What others have done and can do, you also can achieve.” ~ Papa Ramdas
Yogananda once told the story of a 93-year old woman who discovered a recording of one of Yogananda’s poems. For three years, she played the recording over and over again. She attained enlightenment. She had shown no spiritual inclination for the first 93 years of her life. Of course, we must presume that she had done much spiritual work in her previous lifetimes and it was just a quirk of karma that she did nothing in the first 93 years of her last life. How much has each of us done in our past lives? Perhaps we have similarly done much work and we don’t know it as yet.
Along the same line, there have been several cases where mystics have attained “spontaneous enlightenment” that seemed to occur without any effort on their part. Ramana Maharshi and Eckhart Tolle are two fairly recent examples. It is clear from the many quotations provided herein by Ramana Maharshi, that he would acknowledge that he had done the work in previous lifetimes, e.g.
“One cannot reach [supreme bliss consciousness] without effort, the effort of deliberate meditation. All the age-old vasanas (inherent tendencies) turn the mind outwards to external objects. All such thoughts have to be given up and the mind turned inwards and that, for most people, requires effort. Of course, every teacher and every book tells the aspirant to keep quiet, but it is not easy to do so. That is why all this effort is necessary. Even if we find somebody who has achieved this supreme state of stillness, you may take it that the necessary effort had already been made in a previous life.” ~ Ramana Maharshi
As a final thought, it would be remiss to suggest that effort alone will bring enlightenment. The final conferring of enlightenment is a gift of Spirit that is given to each of his individualized selves, i.e. the god-souls, at a time of His own choosing. Yogananda has said that enlightenment depends 25% on the individual’s efforts; 25% on the intercession of one’s spiritual guide on one’s behalf; and 50% on the grace of Spirit. Having said that, when one of Yogananda’s disciples implored Yogananda to ask for God’s blessing on his behalf, Yogananda replied that both his and God’s blessing were already there - what was missing was the disciple’s own efforts.
More quotations on Success Comes to those who Persevere are shown on the left.