Personality – Part 1

In common parlance when one says that Dr. Tagore has a good personality, he means that Dr. Tagore has a strong, stalwart, tall figure, a beautiful complexion, a fine nose, sharp and lustrous eyes, broad chest, a muscular body, symmetrical limbs, curly hair and so on. That which distinguishes one man from another is personality. In reality, personality is something more than this. It includes a man’s character, intelligence, noble qualities, moral conduct, intellectual attainments, certain striking faculties, special traits or characteristics, sweet powerful voice, etc. All these things put together constitute the personality of Mr. So and so. The sum total of all these things makes up the personality of a man. Mere physical characteristics cannot make up the personality.

What you call an umbrella is really a long stick plus a black cloth and some thin iron pieces. Similarly, what you call ‘personality’ is really the external physical body, plus brain and the nervous system and the mind which has its seat in the brain.

If one man is able to influence many people, we say that such and such a man has a magnetic personality. A full-blown Yogi or Jnani is the greatest personality in the world. He may be of a small stature. He may be ugly also. He may be clad in rags. And yet he is a mighty personality, a great Mahatma. People flock to him in thousands and pay homage to him. A man who has attained ethical perfection by the continued practice of right conduct or Yama and Niyama has also got a magnetic personality. He can influence millions. But he is inferior to a Jnani or a Yogi who has got full knowledge of the Self.

Dr. Samuel Johnson had an awkward figure, a pot belly and unsymmetrical limbs. But he was the greatest personality of the age. He was neither a Yogi nor a Jnani. But he had intellectual attainments. He was a great essayist. He had good command of the English language. He was famous for his bombastic style. It was called Johnsonian English. Just hear some of his lines: “Will you be kind enough to allow my digits into your odoriferous concavity and extract therefrom some of the pulverised atoms which, ascending my nasal promontory, cause a great titillation of all my olfactory nerves?”

Rich people also have some personality. This is due to the ‘Money-power’. They may be licentious. Money has its own share in the making up of the personality of man. It infuses in him a sort of colouring. The charitable nature may cover up their licentious nature and may send some fragrance abroad. People flock to them. Lord Jesus says: “Charity covereth a multitude of sins.”

Character gives a strong personality to man. People respect a man who has a good character. Moral people command respect everywhere. He who is honest, sincere, truthful, kind and liberal-hearted always commands respect and influence at the hands of people. Sattvic virtues make a man divine. He who speaks truth and practices Brahmacharya becomes a great and dynamic personality. Even if he speaks a word, there is power in it and people are magnetized  Character-building is of paramount importance if a man wants to develop his personality.

Reference

Mind – Its Mysteries and Control by Sri Swami Sivananda

Hints to Aspirants

Aspirants to Yoga are classified into three degrees: (1) Arurukshu, one who is attempting to climb the steps of Yoga, (2) Yunjana, one who is busily engaged in the practice of Yoga and (3) Yogarudha, one who has already reached the height of Yoga.

Inner Purity

Aspirants are very eager for realization  But, when that realization actually comes, they begin to tremble, to quiver. They cannot bear the illuminating blaze of God. They are so puny, impure and weak that they cannot face the mighty brilliance and divine splendor  They have not prepared the vessel to hold on the Divine Light. Mark how Arjuna trembled with fear at the huge cosmic vision of Virat and prayed to Lord Krishna to show him again the usual form with four hands which represents harmony, perfection, power and wisdom.

It is difficult to speak about Brahman. It is still more difficult to understand. It is yet still more difficult to practise spiritual Sadhana. This corresponds to the Gita’s teaching, Chapter II-29:

“”As marvellous one regardeth Him, as marvellous one speaketh thereof, as marvellous one heareth thereof; yet, having heard, none indeed understood.””

It demands a subtle, pure, clear mind, determined will, patience, perseverance and Utsaha (cheerfulness) for the realization of Brahman.

Moral Strength and Courage

A spiritual aspirant will have to face boldly misrepresentation, calumny and misunderstanding. That has always been the lot of those who tried to raise themselves above their fellows. Moral strength and courage are necessary to meet that and to enable that man to maintain his position and what he thinks right, whatever those around him may think or say or do. People will despise and persecute you. You will have to stand boldly on your moral footing to live for your own convictions. As aspirant who has outgrown the rules of society should act according to the dictates of his pure conscience and pure reason. Then alone he can grow spiritually.

When anyone rises to fame and power, enemies come in by themselves. Even Sri Sankaracharya had many enemies. Even Sannyasins who live in forests have enemies. Jealous and petty-minded men create various sorts of mischief against people who are prosperous and famous. Have Sakshi-Bhava (feeling of witness) and rise above the idea of friend or foe. Become an Udasina (indifferent man). Develop the power of endurance. Bear insult, injury with a cool mind. Then only you can be happy in this world.

There are as many spiritual practices as there are individual minds. What suits one mind may not suit another. Raja Yoga will be easy for one mind, while Jnana Yoga will be easy for another. One form of Tapas may suit one mind. A different kind of Tapas will suit another.

The most impious of men can, by earnestly devoting himself to God, reach the highest Bliss. “Even if the most sinful worship Me, with undivided heart, he too must be accounted righteous, for he hath rightly resolved” (Gita, IX-30). “”—Know thou for certain that My devotee perisheth not”” (Gita, IX-31). What reason, then, is there for despair? Therefore, be up and doing. God will surely crown your efforts with success. Even the vilest of us shall obtain Moksha.

Reference

Mind – Its Mysteries and Control by Sri Swami Sivananda

Necessity for a Guru

“Learn thou this by prostration, by investigation and by service. The wise, the seers of the essence of things, will instruct thee in wisdom.” (Gita, IV-34)

Guru or a spiritual preceptor is necessary for aspirants. Some do the practice for some years, independently. Later on, they feel acutely the necessity for a Guru. They come across some obstacles on the way. They do not know how to proceed and how to obviate these impediments. Then they begin to search for a master. This particularly happens in Yogic practice.

It is the duty of the Guru to set each of his disciples upon that path of spiritual development which is best suited to the Chela, one on one path, one on another, according to the Guru’s insight into the innate tendency of each.

Isvara is Guru of Gurus. He removes the veil of ignorance and blesses the ignorant Jivas (embodied Souls). The aspirant should regard his immediate Guru in the physical form as an incarnation of that Guru of Gurus and should have equal devotion to him also. Guru in the physical form is the main source and embodiment of all good and happiness that can accrue to the Chela. The disciple should realize the supreme necessity of obeying the Guru’s commands and behests and keeping his faith in him unsullied and staunch. Lay bare to your Guru the secrets of your heart; and the more you do so, the greater the sympathy, which means an accession of strength to you in the struggle against sin and temptation.

Transmission of Spiritual Power

Just as you can give an orange to a man and take it back, so also spiritual power can be transmitted by one to another and taken back also. This method of transmitting spiritual power is termed Sakti-Sanchara. Like birds, fish and tortoise, the transmitting of spiritual power can be done by the Guru through touch or sight or willing, and thinking. The transmitter sometimes enters the astral body of the student and elevates his mind through his power. The operator makes the subject sit in front of him and asks him to close his eyes and then transmits his spiritual power. The subject feels the electric current actually passing from Muladhara Chakra higher up to the neck and top of the head. He does various Hatha Yogic Kriyas, Asanas, Pranayama, Bandhas, Mudras, etc., by himself without any instruction, through inspiration. Here Prakriti (Nature) works herself. The student must not restrain his Iccha-Sakti (Power of Desire). He must act according to the inner light. The mind is highly elevated. The moment the aspirant closes his eyes, meditation comes by itself. Through Sakti-Sanchara, Kundalini is awakened by the grace of the Guru in the disciple.

A spiritual teacher actually transmits his spiritual power to his disciple. A certain spiritual vibration of the Satguru is actually transferred to the mind of the disciple. Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa actually transmitted his spiritual power to Swami Vivekananda. Lord Jesus did the same to his disciples. This is Master’s spiritual touch. A disciple of Samartha Ramdas transmitted his power to that dancing girl’s daughter who was very passionate towards him. The disciple gazed at her and gave her Samadhi. Her passion vanished. She became very religious and spiritual. Mukund Rai, a Maharashtra saint, put the Badshah in Samadhi.

By the Guru’s Grace, the devotee attains the eight-stepped Yoga (Ashtanga Yoga); by the Grace of Lord Siva, he attains perfection in Yoga which is eternal.

Reference

Mind – Its Mysteries and Control by Sri Swami Sivananda

7 States of Consciousness – Part 3

5. Deep Sleep State (Continued…)

Making samskaras (impressions) are mere memories: Then, having lost their power (or reduced it substantially), the deep habit patterns, or Samskaras (M of OM), can no longer bind one to what would otherwise automatically drive actions, speech, and thoughts. Now, those deep impressions have become mere memories with little or no power. It is like a rope that before could bind, but that has now been burned. Though maybe still having the shape of a rope, it has lost its ability to bind. (This process is definitely not one of psychological suppression or repression.)

Deep Sleep

Gaining direct access to the samskaras: There are a variety of techniques that professional and lay people use at the Waking level to indirectly affect changes in these deep impressions. Some of these can be very useful to spiritual aspirants in their journey. However, the Yogis want direct access to these deep impressions so that they can choose their own deep habit patterns. In this way, the Yogi gradually becomes a master over the Samskaras leading to his or her own thoughts, speech, and actions.

Burning away the colorings: For the Yogi, this is a process of dealing with the roots of habits directly, through Yoga Meditation, Contemplation, and Yoga Nidra. While the Yogi definitely cultivates the creation of new habit patterns, it is not merely pasting on another layer of habits on the top of the old, whereby one is left with inner conflict between the old and the new habits or Samskaras (that can play out unconsciously into actions and speech, as well as inner turmoil). The Yogi wants to attenuate and then burn away the coloring’s of fears, aversions, attractions, egoism, and spiritual ignorance.

Microcosm and macrocosm of Deep Sleep: These personal latent impressions or Samskaras are the microcosm, while the macrocosm is the Causal plane from which creation of the entire Subtle and Gross (A of OM Mantra) universe emerges. This is why it is called the “Causal” realm or level of reality (M of OM Mantra). Those with great access to this level are sometimes revered, although even this attainment is short of the Self-realization that comes with the realization of Turiya, the Absolute Reality (Silent aspect of OM Mantra). The Yogis suggest that the aspirant turn away even from the allurement of the offer of such creative powers, and instead walk in the pursuit of the Highest Realization.

Three types of awareness with “M”: In the practice of remembering the AUM, when awareness is on “M,” you cultivate and train yourself to have awareness of:

  • the Deep Sleep state,
  • the Subconscious (latent, dormant, inactive, storage) aspects of mind (from where the impetus for Karma, or actions springs forth), and
  • the Causal realm, out of which arises the Subtle and Gross universe (they are all at the same level).

The awareness of these three operating at the same level of reality is allowed to become clearer through practice over time.

6. Samadhi / Deep Absorption

Beyond Waking, Dreaming, and Deep Sleep: Beyond, or below Waking, Dreaming, and Deep Sleep (the A, U, and M of OM Mantra) is the state of deep absorption, that is the stage to which one’s Meditation practice next leads. It is called Samadhi.

Samadhi

Many types of Samadhi: There are many forms of Samadhi. An even cursory review of the texts will reveal dozens of different types. Mostly, these differences have to do with the nature of the object on which one was meditating before dropping into the state of Samadhi with that object.

Meditation on Gross or Subtle: The Object on which one is meditating (and then enters Samadhi) may be Gross or Subtle. A simple example will help. If one is internally meditating on the image of a red rose, that object is a Gross object. Meditation may shift away from the red flower to the red color alone, the “redness”. However, even that is still a Gross object of sorts. However, if attention shifts to light itself, or to the ability to see light, those are subtler. If attention shifts deeper to the observer who is doing the observing, or to the blissful feeling that comes from the absorption, then these are still subtler. However, in any case there is still an “object,” although that object may be extremely subtle. Similarly, Meditation on a spiritual or religious object will also move through levels of experience, from Gross to Subtle, to Subtler, and to Subtle-most (the A, U, and M of OM). Eventually the inward shifting of attention reveals the essence of the object of Meditation and Samadhi.

Observer, observing, and observed merge into one: In Meditation on an object, whether Gross or Subtle, there are three parts: 1) An Observer, 2) A Process of Observing, and 3) The Object being observed. With Samadhi, it is as if these three parts collapse into only one. There is no longer an observer observing the observed; rather, there seems to be only the object. It is as if the observer and the process of observing have become absorbed into the object, such that object is the only thing left.

Samadhi with, or without form: There are two general categories of Samadhi. One is Samadhi “with form” or “with object” (of which there are many types of gross or subtle objects, and thus many types of Samadhi). During Meditation, attention was directed towards this form or object, and in Samadhi, the attention becomes absorbed into that form or object. The other category is Samadhi “without form” or “without object,” in which there is attention that is not directed towards any form or object (since it is without any object or form, there is not the diversity of types of Samadhi, as is the case with Samadhi on form or object). In both categories of Samadhi, the attention stance is similar. The difference is that in the case of objectless or formless Samadhi, there is no object. The stance of attention is still there, but the object is not. It is somewhat as if during Samadhi with form, one had simply forgotten the object, and thus came into objectless Samadhi.

Cultivating Practice and Non-attachment: For one who does not get trapped by the activity of the Gross world, the Subtle realm, or even the stirrings of the formless Causal level, then the state of absorption called Samadhi is within reach. Attaining Samadhi rests on two foundation principles, Practice and Non-Attachment, Abhyasa and Vairagya.

7. Turiya / Consciousness / Absolute

Silence represents the permeating consciousness: After the “A,” the “U,” and the “M” of the OM there is Silence that is representative of the consciousness that permeates, and is all of the other levels. The name of this level of consciousness is Turiya. Turiya means “the fourth”: Turiya literally means “the fourth,” and represents that consciousness which permeates, observes, and is the other three levels. To call Turiya a “level” is not really accurate, since it is always, in fact, witness of, and at one with, the other states.

Turiya

Standing on the roof of the building: From the vantage point of Turiya, one sees the entire panorama of the play of the levels of consciousness. It has been likened to standing on the roof of a three floor building, where the first three floors are the Waking, Dreaming, and Deep Sleep states (Gross, Subtle, Causal levels) . From those levels, you can only look out a window, whereas from the roof you can see it all.

Merging into stillness and silence: Many sages, teachers, and traditions have pointed out that eventually all light, sound and mantras lead to Stillness and Silence. By understanding the meaning of AUM and OM Mantra, and the levels of consciousness that it represents, it becomes much easier to see how it is that light, sound and mantras truly do merge back into the Stillness and Silence from which they arose.

The meaning of AUM is revealed: The masters, sages, teachers, and traditions have also pointed out that to really understand this, one must do the practices and go to the Stillness and Silence oneself, wherein the meaning of AUM is revealed.

wavesocean

Distinction between Samadhi and Turiya: There is a fine distinction between Samadhi and Turiya. Samadhi is a dualistic style of attention, while Turiya in non-dualistic, leading one to the experience “I am That,” or Self-realization. There are many objects on which one can practice Yoga Meditation and enter Samadhi, and there are Gross, Subtle, and Subtler levels of objects in which one might attain Samadhi, as well as objectless Samadhi. However, Turiya brings one to Self-realization that, “I am a Wave in the Ocean of Bliss; I and the Ocean are One; I am Ocean; I am That”.

Reference

Yogic Conscious Deep Sleep by Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati at http://www.swamij.com/yoga-nidra.htm

7 States of Consciousness – Part 2

3. Dreaming State (Continued…)

The highest therapy: Gradually, the intensity of the coloring attenuates, eventually allowing the thought pattern to remain in latent, seed form (until it is dispensed with entirely). It is because of this process of attenuating that the Yogi says that Yoga Meditation is the highest of all therapies. The coloring gradually attenuates…

coloring

Taijasa is not the “spiritual” realm: This level of Taijasa (U of OM) has often been confused as being the “spiritual” realm, failing to note that it is only the second of four levels of consciousness in AUM (or third of the seven). If one is not familiar with this, it can seem that there are only two realms (a Gross and Spiritual) with a Transition between them. One can easily get caught in a trap of pursuing the actions, beings, and objects of the Subtle realm, not recognizing that they are merely a level to move through, not a place to go and stay. Journeys in these subtle realms are no more useful in the journey of Self-realization than journeys to a thousand cities in our external world, though some such journeying is sometimes needed so as to learn the lesson that the journeying is not needed. The article Realization Beyond the Gross and Subtle describes how it can seem that there are only two levels of Gross and Subtler.

Seeking the Subtle is a distraction: Patanjali, author of Yoga science describes many siddhis (powers) that come to the Yogi through practices. Some say that the Yogi is seeking these powers intentionally. However, Patanjali actually mentions these on the foundation of Non-Attachment (Vairagya) and Discrimination (Viveka), such that the seeker will abandon these powers when they come (Yoga Sutra 3.38). In other words, seeking of the breadth of the Subtle realm is a distraction on the journey to enlightenment; with Discriminative Wisdom and Non-Attachment, one is better off to let go of these allurements.

Witnessing and going beyond: At the same time that the Yogi observes and lets go of the Subtle realm, there is also a beauty in witnessing as one moves forward in the journey. We can surely enjoy the scenery along the way, though it may be best, the Yogis remind us, to move on to the Realization of the Absolute, which is not subject to death, decay, or decomposition.

Awareness of the transition: In the practice of remembering the OM Mantra, one allows the awareness and feeling associated with the “A” to transition into the awareness and feeling associated with the “U”.

Three types of awareness with “U”: In the practice of remembering the AUM, when awareness is on “U” of the OM, you cultivate and train yourself to have a simultaneous awareness of:

  • the Dreaming state,
  • the Unconscious processing level of the mind, and
  • the Subtle realm of the universe (Dreaming, Unconscious, and Subtle are all at the same level).

The awareness of these three operating at the same level of reality is allowed to become clearer through practice over time.

4. Aladani / Transition State

Transition between Dreaming and Deep Sleep: There is a transition stage between Dreaming (U of OM) and Deep Sleep (M of OM) states. The name of this transition stage of consciousness is Aladani. Aladani does not just refer to the personal experience between Dreaming and Deep Sleep. Rather, it is the name of that transition level of consciousness itself.

Aladani

This transition is not normally experienced consciously: This is a state that one normally does not experience consciously. This state is very subtle. It is a transition, but is the transition whereby the latent, formless facts or impressions start to stir, and end up taking form in the Unconscious mind, that part normally only accessed when one is having dreams while in the Dream state of sleep. One may sometimes consciously experience the transition between Dreaming and Waking, either while in bed at sleeping time or at Meditation time. This might be experienced as very beautiful or very horrifying, depending on the nature of the thought patterns. However, the transition at Aladani is very different from the Waking to Dreaming transition.

Thoughts in their formless form: Here, in the Aladani transition, the thought patterns that are in their unmanifest, formless, latent form start to stir. This is literally the beginnings of the enlivening of latent Samskaras, the source of our Karma (the word Karma literally means “actions”). It is a process that one is not normally conscious of. Once again, it is very important to note that this is not the same as the process whereby Unconscious active mental process springs forward through Unmani into the Waking or Conscious state; this is happening at a deeper level.

Beyond the Gross and Subtle: As attractive as the Gross and Subtle realm can be, these levels beyond Taijasa (the Dream State or Subtle realm) can be even more alluring and distracting. As one touches on this transition phase from which the Subtle realm and Subtle thoughts are born, one starts to see the way in which both the subtle and material realm are manifested and can be manipulated.

Aladani and Aladin’s lamp: Notice the similarity between the names of the level of consciousness called Aladani and the story of Aladin’s lamp, wherein there was a genie. The genie was in latent form, but by rubbing the lamp, a transition process begins whereby the genie comes forth to fulfill any wishes. Between the stage of the genie being inside the lamp, and being fully formed, the transition of the genie is that of smoke that changes and solidifies into form.

Moving past this transition level: For one truly on the path of Self-realization, this is a level to be acknowledged and moved past, allowing the stirrings to fall back to rest so that the Absolute can be experienced.

5. Deep Sleep State

“M” represents Deep Sleep: The Deep Sleep state of consciousness is represented by the “M” of the AUM. The name of this level of consciousness is Prajna. Prajna does not just mean Deep Sleep. Rather, it is the name of that level of consciousness in which one experiences Deep Sleep.

Deep Sleep

Impressions are stored in their latent form: The Deep Sleep state is the level where deep impressions are stored in their latent form. It contains the roots of our habit patterns, the Samskaras that are the driving force behind Karma (actions). Those wants, wishes, desires, attractions, and aversions that play themselves out in dreams, or turn into actions and speech in the external world have their root in this level of consciousness. Those impressions are like seeds, lying there waiting for water and fertilizer to awaken them, so they may grow in the fields of Dreaming or Waking.

Prajna is supreme knowledge: “Pra” means “Supreme” and “Jna” comes from “Jnana,” which means “Knowledge”. Thus, Prajna is the level of consciousness that is of Supreme Knowledge. How odd it is, that the domain of Deep Sleep, where there seems to be nothing going on, is called the place of Supreme Knowledge.

Prior to the creation of thoughts and emotions: However, Prajna is the place, the level that is deeper than, or prior to the creation of thoughts and emotions, whether in the Dream level or the Waking level.

Prior to the manifestation of Gross and Subtle: It is also the domain that is deeper than, or prior to creation or manifestation of the objects and activities within both the Subtle and Gross realms. (The phrase “prior to” is not meaning in the sense of time. Rather, it is that out of which the next thing emerges. A metaphor sometimes used is the way that a pot comes out of clay. Here, the clay is always there. Out of the clay emerges the pot, and although the clay never goes away, the pot will go away, and merge back into the clay from which it came.)

Reference

Yogic Conscious Deep Sleep by Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati at http://www.swamij.com/yoga-nidra.htm

7 States of Consciousness – Part 1

We will explore each of the seven levels of consciousness mapped out in OM in detail this week. As you go through the levels of the OM described below, it is best to remember that the key levels for practice are awareness of the four levels of consciousness related to “A,” “U,” “M,” and the fourth level of Silence.

1. Waking State

“A” represents Waking: The Waking state of consciousness is represented by the “A” of the AUM. The name of this level of consciousness is Vaishvaanara. The Waking state is experienced by the individual person. In the Waking state of consciousness there are actions, speech, and thoughts of which we are “consciously” aware. The unconscious processes in the deeper levels are also there, but just not normally noticed.

Waking

Microcosm and macrocosm of Waking: If the individual person is the microcosm, then the whole of the manifest universe is the macrocosm. The “A” of AUM represents not only the individual Waking state of consciousness, but also the entire Gross realm. The individual state of Waking consciousness and the Gross realm are all operating at the same level of consciousness (both are “in the world”).

The “A” bursts forth: When using AUM as a mantra, notice how the “A” bursts forth in an instant (whether said aloud, or thought of internally). You could say “Aaaaaaa…,” in a drawn out way, but the “A” itself has a very brief, instantaneous bursting forth quality to it. The sound arises quickly, in a flash, from out of the silence. When using the OM Mantra, whether aloud or internally, it is useful to allow yourself to be aware of this bursting forth quality of thoughts, images, or impressions. All of these arise in a moment from the Subtler place within.

Three types of awareness with “A”: In the practice of remembering the AUM, when awareness is on “A” of the OM, you cultivate and train yourself to have a simultaneous awareness of:

  • the Waking state,
  • the Conscious level of mental and emotional processing, and
  • the Gross realm of the universe.

The awareness of these three operating at the same level of reality is allowed to become clearer through practice over time.

Observing the “A” come forward: To observe the way the “A” comes forward when remembering the OM is to observe the way our whole process of thoughts, actions, and speech arises. This can be extremely useful to understand.

2. Unmani / Transition State

Transition between Waking and Dreaming: There is a transition stage between Waking (A of OM) and Dreaming (U of OM) states (or between Conscious and Unconscious states). The name of this transition stage of consciousness is Unmani. Unmani does not just refer to the personal experience between Waking and Dreaming. Rather, it is the name of that transition level of consciousness itself.

Unmani

We have all experienced this transition: We have all experienced this pleasant transition at times when about to awaken after a good sleep, and possibly when we are “day dreaming”. In this state, you have left the Dreaming world, but have not yet fully come into the Waking, or external world. You might be lying there pleasantly, not remembering your name, who you are, where you are, and not really caring about these things. But you are also not asleep having any dreams.

Increasing awareness of the transitions: When using the OM for Yoga Meditation and Contemplation, the focus is mostly on the three states of Waking, Dreaming, and Sleep, which are also called the Gross, Subtle, and Causal. However, as it is practiced, there also will be a natural, increasing awareness of the transition phases as well. It will become clearer how it is that conscious thoughts, speech, and actions are transitioning from their underlying, mostly unconscious thought and emotional processes.

Don’t confuse this transition with Meditation: This very pleasant state is often confused with Meditation. Meditation is done in the Waking state, in which one is full awake and alert. Then, gradually the veil is opened to allow the deeper states or levels to come forward into the Conscious, Waking state of awareness.

3. Dreaming State

“U” represents Dreaming: The Dreaming state of consciousness is represented by the “U” of the AUM. The name of this level of consciousness is Taijasa. Taijasa does not just mean dreaming. Rather, it is the name of that level of consciousness in which dreaming occurs.

Dreaming

Mind working out its desires: The Dreaming state is a level where the mind can work out its unfulfilled wants, wishes, desires, attractions, and aversions not allowed to play out in the external world. Both Yogis and psychologists speak of this as a useful process.

Uncoloring thought patterns: However, the Yogi will go further in dealing with the underlying deep impressions (Samskaras) that lead to actions (Karmas). The Yogi wants to turn those colored thought patterns uncolored thought patterns so that they no longer need to arise and cause disturbance, whether causing that disturbance in the Waking or Dreaming states of consciousness. It is for this reason that the Yogi gradually and naturally needs less sleep; there are fewer colored unconscious thought patterns needing to play out.

Microcosm and macrocosm of Dreaming: The counterpart of the personal Dream world is the entire Subtle, psychic, occult, or astral plane of reality. One is the microcosm, while the other is the macrocosm.

Lifting the veil: As one progresses in Yoga Meditation, opening to the Unconscious begins. One stays in the Waking state, but gradually lifts the veil, opens the curtain, so that the Unconscious begins to come forward. What comes is that which was normally only accessible in the Dreaming state.

Intentionally letting the thoughts come: It is in this field of observation that the Yogi does the Meditation of remaining one-pointed by letting go of the thought patterns arising. “Let them come, and let them go,” is the message the Yogi says to the mind, as Non-Attachment (Vairagya) becomes a reality, not just an act done in the external world.

 Reference

Yogic Conscious Deep Sleep by Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati at http://www.swamij.com/yoga-nidra.htm

Ocean of Consciousness!

AUM

One of the profound insights that one begins to get is the way in which 1) the levels of personal consciousness, 2) the stages of the mental process, and 3) the levels of the universe parallel one another. One comes to see that these three are functioning at the same levels of reality, which are none other than the levels of consciousness themselves. It is approximately like this:

Waking = Conscious = Gross = Vaishvaanara (A of OM Mantra)
Dreaming = Unconscious = Subtle = Taijasa (U of OM Mantra)
Deep Sleep = Subconscious = Causal = Prajna (M of OM Mantra)
Turiya = Consciousness Itself, permeating and being All (Silence of OM Mantra)

States of Consciousness

One of the other elegant and awesome insights is the way in which our own personality, mental and emotional processes operate:

Latent impressions begin to stir: We come to see, in direct experience of Yoga Meditation and Contemplation, how it is that there are latent impressions in the deep unconscious (the place of Deep Sleep), and how it is that consciousness drifts over these latent impressions, causing them to stir from the Causal level.

These impressions arise into internal action: Then we see the way these impressions then arise into action internally in the Unconscious (the Active Unconscious associated with unseen mental processes and the Dreaming Sleep level), forming many invisible thought processes, normally only experienced in dreams (this is similar to what psychology calls “primary process”).

These stirrings come forward into the conscious: Then we see the intriguing way in which those stirrings in the Unconscious (U of OM) come forward into the Conscious, Waking state of reality (A of OM), along with the way in which the indriyas, the senses (jnanendriyas of smelling, tasting, seeing, touching, and hearing) and means of expression (karmendriyas of eliminating, procreating, moving, grasping, and speaking) come into play so as to relate to the external world.

We can observe the four functions of mind: We come to see how the four functions of mind interact within these levels (A, U, and M of OM), including Manas (sensory-motor mind), Chitta (storehouse of impressions), Ahamkara (I-maker or ego), and Buddhi (which knows, decides, judges, and discriminates).

Seeing all the levels permeated by consciousness: Most importantly, we come to see the way in which all of these levels are both permeated by, and are the manifestation of consciousness itself:

In Waking state (A of OM Mantra), there is consciousness.
In Dreaming state (U of OM Mantra) there is consciousness.
In Deep Sleep (M of OM Mantra), there is consciousness.
In active thinking (A of OM Mantra), there is consciousness.
In unconscious process (U of OM Mantra), there is consciousness.
In the latent storehouse (M of OM Mantra), there is consciousness.

Who we really are, is the consciousness itself: We come to see that who we really are, is the consciousness itself, not the forms which arise. We declare with conviction, what the sages have said all along, “I am not my thoughts! I am That I Am!

Ocean of Consciousness

Consciousness at three levels: That reality or presence of existence itself, that is in the three levels of bed of the river, flow of the river, and surface of the river.

  • Subconscious: Our Subconscious wants, wishes, desires, attractions, and aversions (samskaras) are like those stones that form the bed of the river (M of OM)
  • Unconscious: When consciousness moves across them, they come to life in the the flow of the Unconscious (U of OM), like the flow of the river, and
  • Conscious: Some burst forth into the Conscious mind (A of OM), resulting in actions, speech, and conscious thoughts, like the action on the surface of the river.

Going beyond the three levels: Through practice, one gradually attains the ability to go beyond, or deeper than the various levels and thinking processes, to the direct experience of the source of the consciousness, symbolized by the Silence after the “A,” “U,” “M,” of the OM.

The practice begins simply, is practiced sincerely and faithfully, and expands over time, with ever-increasing insights about the underlying truths contained in, and suggested by the OM. Meditation on OM (AUM) as an object of concentration, and Contemplation on its meaning work together in guiding one towards Self-realization.

Reference: Yogic Conscious Deep Sleep by Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati at http://www.swamij.com/yoga-nidra.htm