Practise calm endurance
Actions themselves are dedicated to God
In the extreme form, the actions themselves are dedicated to God. This is somebody living a life entirely for religious ends – for instance a Jesuit Father. If you go to his room, he’s got a crucifix on the wall, he’s got a book, and he’s got a spare robe. He may be a learned professor, who gives very highly appreciated lectures, and takes retreats and so on all over the world. But he tells you, “I own three things. That crucifix is mine, the book is mine, and the spare robe is mine. Everything else belongs to the Order. The Order sees if I need food, and supplies the food and if it doesn’t supply the food, I don’t have food.” This is a life which is apart from the world. Though again, as he said to me, “I have access to some of the best libraries in the world. If I have a query, I can write back to Louvain, and have it answered by some of the best experts in the world, whether it’s on biology or medicine or theology.”
But the Kriya Yoga is for people who have jobs and responsibilities in the world – and the first one is Tapas. This doesn’t mean creating tortures and then enduring them. It means to practice calm endurance of the changes of everyday life, and this is not so easy. It’s not so easy. If somebody slaps me on the face, it doesn’t really hurt, but it’s, “Why the hell should I put up with that?” And now I go on thinking about that, on and on. Hours, days, weeks, years.
If you go in for rough sports when you’re young, they lead sometimes to injuries, which can be painful, and the treatment for which is painful. I had to undergo one of those. I told my teacher it was very severe pain, and I couldn’t control my mind. He said to me, “And now?” I said, “It’s fine – I’m not in pain now.” He said, “Well, already that is a considerable advance. There are many people who, after suffering a pain like that, go on suffering it, and thinking about it, for a very long time, before they recover. So to recover quickly is already an advance.” Then he said, “You can’t expect that, at an earlier stage of the training, you can achieve the same control as somebody at a later stage of training.”
The essence of it is, then; it doesn’t mean that if I’m sitting in a draught, not to shut the window. But it does mean that if I’ve got to sit in a draught, not to keep thinking of it on and on and on – instead to practise calmness, not to grit, but to practise calmness. Our teacher told us to practise in the small things. It’s easy to think, “Oh yes, calmness. Yes, practise calmness.” – and then, “Oh, I’ve only been given one lump of sugar in my tea, and I always have two!” It sounds ridiculous, but these are the sort of things that happen. You know, ‘I must have this, I must have that.’ – and we become upset. Sometimes we should be able to throw away the routines.
Well, this is the first one, then; Tapas. It leads to a meditation state and one of the means to Tapas is this line of light. We’re saying ‘light’. It’s not a visualisation, merely; it’s an actual feeling – something as vivid as we now feel the body. We locate these points – we just touch here (between the eyebrows), pinch sometimes or just touch there; then touch below the navel point. Between those two there’s a string of light. We feel these two points and then we feel this column of light between them. If you would like to try, sitting in a balanced way, touch the finger between the eyebrows. To make it easier, bring the finger down the middle line of the body; over the nose, over the lips, over the throat, down the centre line of the body, pressing lightly, to just below the navel, and then give a tiny dig there. Use that after-sensation to feel that line of light. OM.
This is one of the basic practices; Tapas. This will help us to retain calm, and when we lose our calm, in the events of everyday life, to recover it more quickly. It’s a valuable practice. Now we just extend it a little bit by writing your name with your finger, writing your name in the air, in block capitals. Touch here (between the eyebrows), come down the middle with a line of light and hold that sensation there, that central line. Now write your name in block capitals, but without losing the centre line of the body. Now feel you’re polishing a window with two panes of glass – two bits of glass, and two cloths. Keep the centre line of the body – keep the centre line of the body. Now imagine you just want to push something, say it’s a table on wheels or something. Just give it a little push, but now keep the centre line of the body, and make it a little push. The centre line of the body will move just a little bit forward. Try again.
In these ways, when hoovering the floor (we’ve got a Hoover now; wonderful. It used to have to be down on the knees, and we’d get arthritis on the knees. Wonderful Hoover. But we’ve forgotten all about that.) keep the centre line of the body. When it’s lost, bring it back again, return to it. Generally we do this with great enthusiasm for a couple of weeks. “Yes, I’m going to try.” Then after a couple of weeks, you think, “Oh, for God’s sake, not that again.” You have to go through that – it happens with everything. People take up everything with great enthusiasm. It happens with absolutely everything – pressure has to be brought. You get these cycles of interest, then you get a trough. If you get through that trough, the next interest is greater; another trough, and the next interest is greater. So we have to persist through it. This is one of the basic practices, Tapas – to endure the changes. “I’ve got a nasty cold.” – disturbances, bring it back. Just try one more – disturbances, bring the mind back. The central line – bring the mind back to the centre line. This is the first practice, Tapas.
© Trevor Leggett
Titles in this series are:
Part 1: Change of Consciousness
Part 2: Practice calm endurance
Part 3: Study of ones own self, Svadhyaya