Recently I had a long-ranging conversation with a friend about the world situation. I told him that sometimes I get so worked up about the multiple tragedies unfolding around the world, that no matter how much I meditate during the day, I’ll still wake up in the middle of the night from nightmares. Sometimes I’ll even cry out in my sleep. I told him that I’ve come to the conclusion that absorbing the news isn’t that great for my consciousness. It’s better for me to block it out, if I can.
It doesn’t mean I don’t care! It’s just the time I spend on the news, on lamenting over human stupidity, is time I could have spent on my spiritual life. But that time is now lost. Every second I spend thinking about civilizational collapse in this or that part of the world, is time I will not be able to give to God.
Also, I weep for the victims. How can I not? Sometimes I even weep in public, although this is an act of emotional demonstration that I don’t think fits in with our spiritual path. But when I become enraged or saddened by the all the violence and death, what happens is that I lose my poise and balance. I forget that there is a deeper Will that permeates this earth-creation. We may not see it, or even feel it in operation, but this universe is definitely governed by a benevolent force. I believe this. When I cry and weep and lament, what happens is that I become another victim. God has enough direct victims to take care of. I can’t serve God if I’m miserable. He doesn’t need more victims. He needs people who can maintain their composure and equanimity, so that they can act in a calm and considered manner. These are the people who will solve world-problems.
He then segued into another issue altogether. He asked me, hypothetically, if I ever got the chance to talk to a most inspired young seeker, and the wanted to know one exercise for concentration, one exercise for meditation and one exercise for contemplation, what would I tell him? This would be my only chance to interact with this soulful new disciple.
I told my friend, that my favorite concentration exercise from Guru involves a little japa. I would recommend to this seeker that he just repeat, countless times “I am the heart, I am the heart, I am the heart.” Then, after some time, when he felt his consciousness had entered into his heart, he could say: “I am the soul, I am the soul, I am the soul.” I recalled how Guru said that when Sri Ramakrishna would touch seekers and send them into trance and samadhi, it was for a few hours. So, just by repeating, “I am the soul, I am the soul, I am the soul” we can connect with the real seeker in us, the aspiring soul.
As for meditation, I said that the seeker could try to meditate on the ocean, and then, after some time, he can just imagine that he is that ocean, that his entire existence is composed of thousands and millions of drops. Feel that the drop and the ocean cannot be separated. Remember that Guru always said that another name for water is life, and that another name for life is God.
For contemplation, I would tell the seeker to imagine his highest, most intimate moment with Guru, his sweetest or most profound inner experience with the Master. Guru told Pradhan once that people send in their letters of interest or their photographs and they think that is how they became accepted as disciples. But Pradhan told me that Guru said, with a smile on his face, “But I have a third Eye!” Guru said that, with his third eye, he was calling his disciples towards him long before they became aware of him on the outer plane. Guru also said that, through his third eye, he adjusted the life circumstances of his disciples so that it would be possible for them to come into contact with Guru. In my case, I feel that it was no accident that I got rejected from my first-choice college, and had to go to a less-prestigious school, which was, however, much closer to Guru’s home in New York, and where I was easily able to meditate in the homes of some nearby disciples! So, in imagining the first time we became aware of Guru, we can enter into that experience, and feel our oneness with Guru’s dynamic Compassion, that made our spiritual life possible in the first place. This might be a good first step in climbing the lofty contemplation-mountain, which is a state of ecstatic oneness with God.
I definitely go high and deep when I talk to other disciples.