Finding God in ourselves

This is not the true God – it’s an imagination, a projection


The Upanishad was telling us, ‘This is God and not what the people worship’. God is somewhere remote.  In our school Bibles, when I was a boy, He might have been right up there.  He used to simply issue impossible commands and then be furious when we didn’t succeed in obeying them. This is not the true God – it’s an imagination, a projection. We’re expected to find the presence of God vividly in ourselves. There’s something which doesn’t move, which doesn’t die. Everything’s dying in us. The body is dying, changing and dying; the thoughts rise and they die. All our hopes and aspirations die; the disappointments too, die.  Everything passes, dying.  But the Gita says, “There is the one Lord standing in all the beings, the undying and the dying.”

The Upanishad says, “Search here in our own selves – not the self, the body and mind as we know them – the edge of the mind. And then to look beyond, to be aware of something beyond. They’re saying these are not vague ideas.  It’s not pleasant dreams of meditation, but it’s something definite. When you study archery, you shoot at a target, and you miss, as they say, 99 times.  But then you get one in the bull’s eye, in the centre. Now the 99 misses and the bull’s eye in the centre form one unit.  You have to miss a lot of times before you can reliably put one in the middle.

In the same way with meditation, try to find this point.  Settle the mind down, and then look, so to say, beyond the mind, beyond the moving.  We shall fail and fail and fail, but that doesn’t mean we’re failures. The one who’s trying archery is missing the target – at the beginning he completely misses the target; but it’s not that he’s a failure. This is part of the process of learning, of landing one in the bull’s eye. In the same way with meditation, to be aware: today was only 10% successful or only 20% successful. My life has become very disturbed and the last two or three minutes of meditation began to calm down.  Some days it’s 70% or 80% successful.

What happens if it is successful? They’re telling us, there is a breath from the Divine, so to speak.  Our lives begin to change.  Things that I’ve been frightened of, I begin to find I’m not so frightened of them – not that I’m screwing myself up to do them, but somehow they’re not quite so frightening as they were. Things that were too difficult, I find they’re not so difficult. Things that were too disturbing, things that were too boring – you to begin to find there’s a light which lights these things.  We can see them without being upset and disturbed by them, without being excited by them, without being distressed by them – to see it like a panorama.  Then because we see it clearly – not mixed up with the anticipation, “What’s going to happen now?” – we can meet them in an inspired way, as it’s called. We feel that the thoughts come up of themselves, they can’t be stopped.  But then the teacher says to us, “No, you’re supporting all the thoughts.” You think, “No, I’m not.  A lot of them I could do without. I don’t have to keep worrying about these things.”

I heard this both in the east and the west, the western example was this. It was a Golf Championship, and they’d drawn and there was a play-off the next day.  One of them sat up with his friends playing cards.  One or two of the friends said, “Look, don’t you think you want to get some sleep. It’s getting late, it’s after midnight.  The other champion, he went to bed early.” The first one said, “Yes, he went to bed early, but he’s not asleep. He went to bed early but there would be a rush of thoughts.” We think we can’t control those thoughts, but the teacher tells us, “Yes, you can. You create them.” I say, “No, I can’t control them. I wish I could control them. I wish I could do without them. I’m not supporting them.”  He said, “Yes, you are.” “No, I’m not – they come up of themselves.”

Well, the modern example is direct debit. I order something on a regular basis and now I can arrange that the appropriate amount of money is simply taken from my bank account. The thing arrives, the goods arrive, it seems to be of themselves. I don’t pay any money out. It seems as though they’re coming free of themselves. Only at the end of the month or the quarter of the year, then the direct debit account comes in and I find tremendous stuff. Now, in the same way, we are supporting with our vital energy the thoughts, the worries, the anticipations, the triumphs, the hatreds. We’re not aware of that because it’s direct debit.  In actual fact, we’re paying in vitality but we’re not aware we’re paying it. By practising, we can become aware and when we become aware, we can cease to support the thoughts.

Now, this is a modification that was used in the far east by the Japanese sword-masters. They were men who fought a lot of duels to the death, and they developed this practice: “Half shut your eyes now. Imagine you’re on a hilltop.  Feel you’re sitting on a seat on a hilltop with a clear view to the horizon.  There are no trees sticking up.  It’s like if you were on the downs and it’s just stretching out. You’re sitting there under the blue sky. In your lap, you’ve got a cloth full of little pebbles. Now, you sit there calmly. When a thought comes up, you wrap it around one of the little pebbles mentally and you throw it – throw the thought and the pebble away and it rolls away down the hill. Then another thought comes up. Pick up the pebble and throw that away. Not wanted.

Another thought comes up, an argument I had yesterday. “I could have said…” – throw it and the pebble. Another thought comes up. “What’s going to happen?” Throw it. Another one comes up. “Well, that was a good…!” Throw it. Then the thoughts will become fewer and finally, they become very few. You’re sitting on the seat calmly under the blue sky with no thoughts, awareness. Clear awareness.  Now, if you’d like to try:  you’re sitting on a hilltop, in your lap is a cloth with a lot of little round pebbles. A thought comes up, pick up the thought or the pebble so to speak, and just throw it away. Not wanted. Another thought comes up, throw it. Another thought comes up, throw it. Now if you’d like to just try it for a little bit.

Now we can say, “Well, I can feel the changes take place, physical changes take place when these meditations are pursued. More important are the changes in the vitality and the mental changes. Basically, it’s a search to go beyond. If we begin on these lines our life begins to get a sense of purpose. It begins to become directed and then it begins to become integrated. Those who can drop the unnecessary thoughts in ordinary life will find their lives flow much more easily.

There are inner lines to situations and they can sometimes find an inner line. The inner line comes to them from beyond the mind so to speak. It’s not thought out, but it comes to them by the same sort of inspiration that some artists and some scientists feel.  Concentration is first made but when there is facility in the practice then the thoughts can be dropped, largely dropped, and all the unnecessary thoughts begin to fall away. Then the movement becomes much more efficient.

One example, for instance, is something that happened to my teacher. He told us about it. He was a Brahman. One of the duties of a Brahman is to bring some spiritual consolation at least to those who are unfavourably placed due to their karma. He occasionally visited a lunatic asylum to talk to some of those inmates who were calm enough to be able to talk to. This place had a building and a field at the back with a small lake in it.  On this occasion, the place was being cleaned by the guards so all the residents were in the garden. Some were shouting, some were muttering, some were dancing, some were sitting brooding.

[He went in alone] because the guards were all busy and they knew him. So he spoke to two or three of them; and then one of them said, “Oh, Shastri. He’s a good fella. Let’s drown him in the lake.”

Talks in this series are:

1. Bringing the mind to steadiness

2. Making our thoughts fewer 

3. Finding God in ourselves

4. Our thoughts become controlled

The full talk is The direction of the quest

© Trevor Leggett


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