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Gravitas - staying present

Gravitas means to stay present in your presence. It is also your aura of energy and your actual energy. It is the energy that I am, the energy that I project and the energy with which I make things happen. As I turn inwards, I'm able to know what's going on inside and as a result, I'm able to feel the energy that I have within my own being and as I begin to know that, I'm also able to start projecting that. This is the energy with which I then begin to interact.

To stay in the present means to connect with my own inner energy and be occupied with this energy of my inner dignity. Of course, the question always arises that if I'm turning my attention inwards, is that being self centred and egotistic, but no, turning inwards and connecting with who I truly am is actually the only way to come to a state of reality. Ego is artificial, and it breaks down when I'm confronting situations that are challenging. When I'm in a state of turning inwards, I recognise my inner strength, the energy of my own original nature and my true state of being.

If I just connect on an external and material level, I then have no idea what's going on inside. By spending time in silence, taking time out for myself, and reflecting I'm able to come to experience the original purest state of my own inner being. When connected with that energy, I can be present here and that presence is also then of benefit to myself and for everyone else around me.

Think about a bulb, a spotlight or a laser beam. When the laser beam is focused then so much can happen because that energy is completely focused. If that energy were scattered then you wouldn't accomplish the same results. The same thing is true for the Self - if I don't know who I am and I'm not connected with my own inner being, then the scattered energy is not productive. Turning inwards enables me to cleanse all the different aspects of my inner world, and then I'm able to focus that energy and make it work most effectively.

Being in the here and now, in the present moment means not to be distracted by the things of the past and not worried about the things of the future; absolutely focused in this moment, here where I am.

MIND

Gravitas means to stay present in your presence. It is also your aura of energy and your actual energy. It is the energy that I am, the energy that I project and the energy with which I make things happen. As I turn inwards, I'm able to know what's going on inside and as a result, I'm able to feel the energy that I have within my own being and as I begin to know that, I'm also able to start projecting that. This is the energy with which I then begin to interact.

To stay in the present means to connect with my own inner energy and be occupied with this energy of my inner dignity. Of course, the question always arises that if I'm turning my attention inwards, is that being self centred and egotistic, but no, turning inwards and connecting with who I truly am is actually the only way to come to a state of reality. Ego is artificial, and it breaks down when I'm confronting situations that are challenging. When I'm in a state of turning inwards, I recognise my inner strength, the energy of my own original nature and my true state of being.

If I just connect on an external and material level, I then have no idea what's going on inside. By spending time in silence, taking time out for myself, and reflecting I'm able to come to experience the original purest state of my own inner being. When connected with that energy, I can be present here and that presence is also then of benefit to myself and for everyone else around me.

Think about a bulb, a spotlight or a laser beam. When the laser beam is focused then so much can happen because that energy is completely focused. If that energy were scattered then you wouldn't accomplish the same results. The same thing is true for the Self - if I don't know who I am and I'm not connected with my own inner being, then the scattered energy is not productive. Turning inwards enables me to cleanse all the different aspects of my inner world, and then I'm able to focus that energy and make it work most effectively.

Being in the here and now, in the present moment means not to be distracted by the things of the past and not worried about the things of the future; absolutely focused in this moment, here where I am.

MIND

On the one side, there is the power and the beauty of the mind where it's able to do so much in many different directions. Yet, on the other side, the mind can also be its own downfall, where it's scattered in many different directions and I don't make very effective use of that energy. In one moment I'm thinking about one thing and in a split second I'm thinking about a dozen other things, but it means that actually nothing gets done. Yet this amazing power, if I were to focus it, then with this focus I could accomplish a great deal.

It is important to have a sense of history, yet we also have to come to a state where there is no history. It's important to have history to be able to put things into context and then make use of that information but it's different to get stuck in history. The same thing applies to the human mind, here I am today and what is it that brings me here. On the one hand, there's a history that's connected with where I am today which I'm aware of but I'm not stuck in it. Yet on the other hand, it could be that I'm not focused in the present and I'm still stuck in the past, which isn't useful at all because I'm not able to make use of both the present and the opportunity that the present offers.

With the energy of my thoughts, there is also the energy of my heart, inside the soul. The location of the soul is behind the forehead, not on the skin, but just in front of the brain. Everything that I am and everything that I feel is actually happening in the soul and then the effect of that is making things happen through the physical form. When I feel fear, it's not actually in the physical heart that I feel the fear but the experience of fear is within the soul. Whatever goes on within the spiritual being, the impact of that, in a very powerful and tangible way, is within the physical form, within the physiology. When talking about the heart, I'm referring to the experience and the emotions I experience. So my energy is not just the energy of my mind but it's also the energy of my feelings and my emotions. The heart is also the energy that includes the capacity of understanding something.

Another aspect of this energy is my conscience. The way in which my conscience works, is also very much part of my energy field. When my energy level feels very low, whether for myself or in others, it means that the mind isn't working effectively. It means that the energy of the heart, the feelings and the emotions inside aren't so clean and powerful. It's also connected with the conscience and where the conscience is not as active and alert as it could be, it's then in a phase where it's not energised and not as alive. Another aspect of my energy field is all the memories that I carry within myself. One other aspect is attitude. The attitude I carry is also very much part of my energy field.

You'll see that the potential for the mind is to be lively, light, clear, easy and flexible but it's not so often that it works that way. Most times it seems to get into a rut and it goes round and round in the same thought pattern and it feels heavy. Even if I know what it means to be light, somehow I'm not able to stimulate it and bring my mind to a state of lightness.

In terms of my heart, my feelings and emotions, we have a glimpse from time to time when the heart is loving, generous, broad and big. But to be able to experience that feeling at any moment, I need to choose to have a heart that is filled with grace, love and generosity. Most often we are at a stage where the heart is a little bit dry, where it's shrunk a bit. The heart then tends to get knotted up and instead of being generous, knowing that there is enough and everything available for all of us to share, the heart gets a little bit closed and narrow and feelings of jealousy and competition arise.

MEMORIES

No matter how painful a life anyone has had, there have been moments of joy, moments of beauty, moments of truth. I was in South Africa a little while ago, and had the chance to visit Robin Island. This is where Mandela & a host of other people were locked up for decades. The interesting thing about Robin Island is that people who were prisoners are now the guards who take visitors around to the Island and what they're talking about is from their own heart, their own experience, from their memories. Our guide took us to a limestone quarry where Mandela and others were brought to hack away at the limestone under a really hot bitter sun beating down. There really wasn't a need for what they were doing with the limestone but it was a way to occupy people. Whatever were the mechanics of that situation, the interesting thing was what this man was sharing, that it was in that place that the constitution of South Africa, the new democracy was discussed. This was where they had the opportunity to talk together while the guards were sitting comfortably in their vehicles far away because there was nowhere where these people could potentially talk and so they were totally secure at a physical level. It was here that the revolution began, where new ideas and philosophies were being shared and generated. As he was sharing this story, there was no trace of any pain or anguish. His memory was like a light that was shining and all these years later as he was talking about this place, what he remembered were the most intense discussions, talking about a better world, a world of justice and a world of equality. The contrast of the physical circumstance and the ideas that these people were sharing, gave you an insight into the power of the human spirit and the hope that prevails in human beings even when externally there appears to be nothing at all. Some people would say 'we didn't even have warm clothes. When it got bitterly cold, we didn't even have socks, we just had sandles,' and there were photographs of all sorts of indignities that were being imposed on them. However, that wasn't his memory, his memory was of the amazing power that was generated, the creativity that happened at that moment.

And so, let me look at my memory and see what it is that I hold within my memory track. Is it the things of sorrow that I hang onto and if I do what's going to be my energy level? If I let go of those, I can then emerge the memories of beauty and joy, the power and the creativity and the experiences I've had that are there within the soul. At a moment when things seem to be a little bit hopeless, I can tap into that memory and allow this power to transcend the limitations of the present moment. The energy level that's contained within my memory track is incredible.

COSCIENCE

We've come to a state of conscience where it's almost not alive. Where I feel that 'It doesn't matter if this or that happens - anything goes' or when I can't really say if something is wrong or right, where I say 'Who knows what the truth is anyway.' We've allowed ourselves to be influenced by negativity to the extent where we've accepted that it really doesn't matter at all. Of course the reality is that it does. Our thoughts matter, our words matter, our actions have a tremendous impact and yet when we say it really doesn't matter, the energy level becomes really low - it's almost non-existent.

The state where I'm allowing my energy to rise and my conscience to be awake and alert is when I make sure that the conscience is doing the job it's meant to. The conscience is there to filter, to discard all the rubbish and allow only that which is true, right, noble and uplifting to pass through and come into my life. The filter either has holes or it's a bit clogged up. So we need to do a bit of a repair job so that it starts functioning again and is able to actually serve me. If I allow my conscience to come into a state of cleanliness and awareness again, then this is the energy that is going to move me in the right direction. It's also the energy that's going to influence others around me. If I say 'Oh it really doesn't matter - its ok, never mind' then what's going to happen to others around me? That's going to be the vibration that will influence others and the burden of that negativity is on my head. My point is that the burden of the impact I've had on others, i.e. if I've moved others away from the direction of truth, the burden of that also comes on me. On the other side, if there has been upliftment, if I've been moving in the right direction, if that influence is able to spread around, the blessings of that also comes to me. There are always two sides to any picture. If I make sure that I'm keeping my conscience clear, powerful and I'm able to understand what needs to happen, then the energy of that is going to be of benefit to me and to others around me too.

ATTITUDE

Attitude. The attitude I have today is a product of all my experiences of the past; however, my attitude might not necessarily be the right indicator of what's happening at the present moment. Have you ever walked into a situation where you've carried your past attitude and in fact you've discovered that the situation is quite different now. The attitude that you brought with yourself should have been left outside. Whatever happened before was at that time and it's not necessarily what's happening today.

The process of cleansing my attitude is something that needs to be happening not on a year to year basis but on a daily basis. Everyday we change, yet so often we don't realise this and we bring the old attitudes into our relationships. My attitude has to be fresh and clean, so that I'm able to let go of whatever it is that I was coloured by the past. With a fresh and an open attitude, it's possible for a new connection and a deeper connection to develop. The cleaner and purer, the attitude, the more positive it is and the closer it is to truth and goodness. The more it's been influenced by negativity then the heavier I become. If the state I'm in isn't a very happy condition then that's the influence I will spread around me.

HEART

Let's explore the heart and the feelings we go through. There are experiences that we've had that have left us filled with pain and sorrow. The question is do I want to hang on to feelings of pain and sorrow or do I want to do something about healing them and transforming them so that my heart today can be whole, strong and not fragile? The pain that I have carried from the past has not only left wounds that have not been healed but it's like any part of your physical body, if there's a wound it's extremely fragile and open to all kinds of infections and so it needs extra protection. When the wound is healed then there's strength there and its less open to further problems. Where the state of my heart is weak and fragile because I'm still carrying wounds of the past, any little thing that happens I'm liable to be hurt even more. The healing process isn't going to work if there are already wounds that haven't healed but more pain will be accumulated.

The general tendency when there is this pain inside is to try to point fingers and say it's because of this, this and that, and yet the reality is that maybe it happened to be you but it could have easily not been you. Wherever it is I am, I am open to all the influences - karma, destiny, drama, synchronicity, time, and chance. While I'm still pointing the finger out there and blaming you then I'm going to continue accumulating pain inside and there's never going to be the possibility of healing. So, the first step has to be a realisation that it's something going on inside that I need to sort out and so I stop pointing the finger out there and at least the process of healing can start to happen.

Maybe there's another method that you've been able to discover but the method that I know of, is the method to be able to link with God. When we think about God, it has all sorts of images that come into our mind, but think about God as a being of light. This being of light is the source of love, compassion, truth and mercy. I can connect with God and take that love and compassion but I can also connect with God and draw strength, power and courage. God is the Absolute, the perfect being and so there are the feminine and the masculine qualities. Think of God as the Supreme, the Highest and I'm thinking about the Supreme Mother and the qualities of a Mother who truly has unconditional love, non-judgemental love, love that is absolutely filled with compassion and care. It's the love that's able to heal the soul, that cannot come from a human source but it's a love that can come to us from the Divine. When I've come to know myself as a spiritual being, a being of light and I connect to the Supreme, it's in this spiritual connection that God's love, the love of the Supreme Mother is able to reach me. .

Experiment with this idea, try it out for yourself, and see how you get on. It's this experience of the loving Mother, the compassionate Mother that enables the soul to let go of the past. Through this healing process, the soul is able to become whole and complete again. As the heart becomes stronger, the things that are happening around me won't trouble me, instead I'll be able to deal with them much more easily. The capacity to tolerate and to be able to accommodate increases. Where the heart is fragile, I can't deal with them, I react and in that reaction there's more troubles that are created.

When I'm carrying bad feelings, it's not possible to forgive. Where God has taken care of my own feelings, it's not me who is forgiving others. I'm not the one that they have to be accountable to, but God is the one who forgives. Their account is with God, it's not with me and I can then let go. In letting go of my feelings of bitterness, I'm cleansing myself, healing myself and this is what I need to do for my own state of well-being. Letting go doesn't mean that there is injustice as justice will have its own course.

Where I've been able to forgive, my heart becomes lighter, cleaner, stronger and healthier. It's possible that today I can't love them, and that's ok, at least when I've let go of bad feelings then I am in a state in which I can actually say 'Ok whatever needs to happen for them is what will happen for them - it is good'. I can begin to have good feelings, feelings of giving benefit to others and as the process of cleansing begins inside, I can maintain my own inner dignity. When my mind is clean, pure and positive, I'm able to maintain value for myself. Where my mind is negative, I feel worthless and it doesn't matter how capable I am or how powerful I could be, my negativity at that moment destroys all value for myself. I can have respect for myself when my mind is clean and powerful. I can also have thoughts of benefit for myself. My heart is clean and in that state there are thoughts of giving benefit to others and respect for others. When I am in a stage of respect for the self and respect for others then only can I think good of others.

If I have bad thoughts and bad feelings for myself then how can I possibly have good thoughts and good feelings for others? So what is respect for others? It's not something superficial in which I'm just shaking your hand or taking off my hat to you but it has to be something that comes from within. Having respect for others is really having good feelings, good thoughts for them, thoughts that can uplift and support them. It's not expressed in words, it's what's going on inside and the vibration I'm omitting and the energy I'm radiating.

INTELLECT

When my intellect is just mundane and I'm not looking at what's going on inside my heart, my mind or in my conscience. I feel bogged down. An example would be when I start the day thinking about all the jobs I have to do and my head just gets bogged down with all those things that are unimportant but which need doing. Instead if I start the day thinking about truth and beauty, my original state of being, the relationship with God and my relationship with others, on a level which isn't just work it's then filled with greater significance and meaning. I can spend just 10 minutes letting my intellect focus on those things and the intellect will then be filled with power and great energy. Then it is easy to bring the intellect back into the work that I have to do and my work is going to go much more smoothly than it would otherwise. If I choose to let the intellect just stay here, I will get so caught up in all the minute detail that I won't have a clear picture of all that I actually need to do. Furthermore, I will get stuck in all the little bits and pieces and what would only have taken me 20 minutes takes and hour to do. An intellect that steps above the mundane, is connected with the divine and focused on the awareness of the eternal self, then there is clear understanding of all the other things I have to do. It works very effectively when through the day I make sure the intellect doesn't get bogged down and I'm able to step back for a moment and just practice this awareness of the Higher Being. I am able to connect with that and draw that power and strength.

In summary there are two things: on the one hand where I spend time looking inside my inner world, sorting things out; and secondly where I connect with the Divine so that I'm able to draw the love, the power, the truth, the compassion from the Divine and fill that within myself.


Questions from the audience:

Q: Why does the soul choose either a female body or a masculine body?

A: I don't know that it's a conscious choice that the soul has, more I would see it as a choice that's determined through karma. The word karma literally means action but it also means the sequence of action and reaction and cause and effect. I personally believe that I, the soul, have had more than one life and so at the end of this particular life whatever is my karmic account that will determine my next birth. My karmic account is also then connected with gender, location, parents, gender, health, intelligence etc. It's the karma story which is very interesting - there's the whole idea of women and second class citizen - its a very fascinating story - its very much a settling of karma that has to happen at some point along the line.

Q: For me, I see the Supreme Being as having all qualities both male and female and so it's not a question of gender but thinking about the highest qualities that are there within that being and also that which we aspire to within ourselves?

A: Yes, it's true that in this awareness of I, the soul, I'm actually beyond gender, not thinking of the female body but the soul and it's original qualities. It's when we come into the human level, we talk about the feminine or masculine principle so the same applies to the Supreme Being, the Absolute. The Supreme Being is the One who has all the positive attributes contained within itself and is the source of all attributes. When I think of that Being as my Mother or Father it's then possible for there to be a much more personal intimate relationship. It's a way of making that connection with God a little bit easier; however, for some it's not easier because memories of human mothers and fathers can be a bit painful. It just can make it much easier to understand when I think about God, not just as Mother and Father but as the Supreme Teacher, the Friend, the Guide, the Beloved. All that the human soul needs, I can turn to the Supreme and the Supreme is the reservoir of all of these attributes and so when making that connection I'm able to draw those qualities. You absolutely correctly said that these are the things that the human soul aspires to and that connection is to be able to draw these qualities and move toward our own state of perfection. We use the word 'Yoga', meaning 'Union' but we also use the word Raja Yoga - Raja meaning the highest, the sovereign Yoga. Raja Yoga is that by which I'm able to reach my own highest state.

Q: Is God an individual experience? Is God within us and not out there above us?

A: I'd like to invite you to take the introductory course that we offer at Inner Space in which the subject of soul and the subject of God is taken up. My understanding is that God is a unique personality as I am a unique eternal being. God is eternal and not within but I can actually have a relationship with God and so it's quite a distinct separate concept to what is being suggested. I don't want to attempt to try and explain it in three minutes as it wouldn't be doing justice to the subject. I understand that there is this difference of belief. One belief says that God is all round present, everywhere in all of us and there are the different ways we express this idea and it's a very strong belief that we hold in our hearts, one that my own tradition also has propounded. However, my understanding and my experience today is different and it is that God is a being quite distinct, with a personality and with whom I make contact and develop a relationship. I'd like you to take the time to understand more about this idea and not rush or try to explain something now. If I could keep that on hold and suggest that you take the course at Inner Space which is free of charge and so it's not a commercial sale. All our courses, lectures and everything we do is free and so you'd be very welcome to come and find out so that you hear the concept and then on that basis you can experiment with that and see what feels right for you.

Q: Can you explore further this concept of letting go and the need for control is so much the cause of stress and anxiety and so often, it's when we let go that things actually come back to us?

A: Thank you, because you're introducing another aspect of the letting go story. What I was referring to more was letting go of the past - the frustration and bitterness that I hold in my heart because of a lack of forgiveness and so this important but also the desire to control and trust is equally important.
Trust is an important factor, in that if I do what I know is right then the right things are going to happen. The reality is that I can't control other people, they're not going to do what I tell them to do and that's a fact that they will probably do the opposite. I also can't control situations. The only thing I can control is what's going on inside and so what i need to do in here is to manage myself so that which is the best within, is that which is being expressed and experienced. What is the highest state of my mind? What is the highest state of my heart and my feelings? If I manage to do that within myself and so control in that way and manage that then the results are going to be right. It's a reality where there's a situation that I think has to be like this, maybe actually is not the right thing at all and where I'm then able to say ok whatever needs to happen will happen. Letting go doesn't mean that I let go and just sit back, it's letting go of the negativity, letting go of that which is gross and coming to that which is the purest and the highest. Then the right energy is flowing and the right things begin to happen.

Q: What can we do about bad memories?

A: The recording that is there within, is a combination of both good and bad but my choices i.e. what is it that I emerge on the screen of my mind, this I can choose. For example my parents left the place that they were living in which was Sindh, Pakistan today as refugees and they came to India with nothing. My Father was sharing with me something a little while ago how he could hold onto the memory of the suffering that it was so awful and there could still be anguish and pain. Instead though he chose to look back at the scene and what he was remembering was the companionship of the whole family and extended family that left together. The situation is either a very ugly one or the same situation can be a very different one. The memory that he was sharing with me was the comradry, companionship and friendship of the group of people that left together and their journey together to safety. So it's our choice what memory we emerge.

by Sister Jayanti

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