By meditating on the old texts, what inspiration will it gives us in the ordinary affairs of life, in the smallest things? It will give us an instant creative reaction. We can take a very simple case. Confucius is the sage we know of in China, but his greatest follower was Mencius, probably an even greater sage. When Mencius was a very little boy, his mother, who was a God-realised and illumined woman, took on his education (the father had died) and she arranged to send him to a school. She was a weaver of embroidery and as with many weavers, they have jobs which they do to order and then they have one long job. This is a major artistic creation that’s going to take some time, and they work on that when they don’t have some immediate order on hand.
She took him to the school for the first day and left him there and came back to the house. It was a fine summer day, so she took this major work of beautiful embroidery, on which she was just starting – she had done a little bit with most beautiful colours and design – and was working in the garden. She looked up and at the gate she saw the little boy. He was about five. He didn’t like the school and had come back. She picked up a knife and she slashed the embroidery. She looked at him and said, “I have done the same as you have.” This beautiful embroidery she had just begun, she slashed. “I’ve done the same as you have.” So he turned round and went back to school. He became the greatest scholar of his generation and one of the greatest sages in Chinese history.
This was a tiny thing – a woman who was a weaver had made a small action, but this profoundly affected the whole history of China. These are examples, and our teacher said there are many; and there will be many such inspirations in daily life for the people who practise meditation. Then, just reading, “Restraint of the mind, and then absorption of the mind, is called seedless samādhi. First restraint then transformation of the mind into light; then absorption of this individual light into the cosmic spiritual light. This is a vision in which man sees reality as it is. A man follows the discipline and reduces himself to nothing and out of that nothing arises a new vision called seedless samādhi.” He says, he’s not in this state of withdrawal all the time, but when he comes out, in every action it will be expressed.
There’s a traditional story of a saint who through various heavenly reasons was to be given the gift of proclaimed wisdom; that’s to say, not simply wisdom that the man himself has but that he proclaims to the whole world. As the heavenly messenger comes with this blessing, he meets another heavenly messenger who is observing and worshipping this saint. He says, “I’ve come to give him the gift of proclaimed wisdom.” And the second heavenly messenger says, “Oh, that’s going to be rather difficult, because the people round here are such terrible slanderers and gossipers that the saint has taken a vow of complete silence.” So the messenger says, “Well, he has to have it. He’s got to have the gift of proclaimed wisdom.” So the blessing is conferred without the saint knowing it, but he never speaks.
Well, in that small town, there’s a man on whom troubles and worries and anxieties and vicious slanders and attacks pour in a torrent, and he feels that he’s going to break down under the shock of this. One day there’s a monsoon rain, and the water comes down like an absolute wall and everybody huddles under little shelters – they get wet just the same but they feel somehow it helps. This man is among them and he sees the saint who, has to visit someone, walking down the centre of this street through this torrent of water. He’s walking quite calmly. He knows he will get completely wet, but he’s not at all bothered. He walks calmly along. He passes him, and that makes a vivid image in the mind of that man overwhelmed by anxieties. That picture is always with him of that man walking through this torrent of water, quite unperturbed, quite calmly. After a time, he finds something in himself – he’s walking through this torrent of anxieties and attacks and difficulties – walking calmly. He has this inner calm he finds springing up from that vision.
Then the town is near a desert and when the wind blows from a certain direction you get an absolute wall of sand that comes, and it gets all over everything. It gets into all the little petals of the flowers, in every little crevice and it takes quite a time to clear it out. Well, there’s another man, and he has an enormous job to do, one of those jobs that’s going to take years and years. It’s enormously important, but it goes on and on and it becomes totally exhausting. You work hard for a week or two and it has made hardly any difference; there’s still almost an infinite amount to be done. Then you stop working and despair – there’s no difference, you’re still in the middle of it. You start working again, and there’s no difference – and finally most people, they crack up, they can’t keep going. However much you do, there’s still all that, so much more, it’s made practically no difference.
Well, there’s been a sandstorm, and he happens to be passing the little house and garden of the saint. He sees that he’s got a little tray and a little brush and he’s sweeping the leaves of the bushes, free of the sand. He looks and he thinks, “It’s going to take him weeks like that. How can he do it?” He looks at the next house, and there’s a little boy playing with the sand. He’s piling it up and when it gets too high the castle collapses and he laughs. He’s enjoying the patterns that the sand makes. He looks back at the saint who’s sweeping, and he sees that he’s enjoying the patterns that the sand is making. He goes back to his job and then he’s able to find enjoyment in the little piece that he’s doing, without thinking of all the rest at all. He’s able to enjoy each piece as he does it, and he’s able in the end to complete it.
These are examples of an inspiration which isn’t consciously given. The saint never thought, “I’m going to teach people this,” or “I’m going to show people that.” It came from him unconsciously as proclaimed wisdom. Our teacher gave examples of this. He was impressed when he saw Swami Rama Tirtha cleaning his pen. He said he cleaned it with as much gentleness and love as if he’d been cleaning the finger of a little child. Swami Rama was unconscious that he was being watched, but this made an impression on those who were (near him). This is an example of yogic inspiration.
Question “There seems to be a great emphasis on the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of man, but isn’t man also a social being, isn’t he in this world to function in that dimension?
TPL That was one of the points from the last story – that his presence does affect the people of the world. Takowan, the monk who had the inspiration about Japanese diet has affected the health of the whole nation.
TPL This is a meditation on the light of inspiration. The aim is to sit quiet and then bring the nerves to passivity by breathing deeply a few times, feeling the breath on the inbreath and then relaxing on the outbreath. Bring the body into a state of balance. If you’d like to try, a few deep breaths.
Then the meditation itself – “We meditate on the light of God. May His splendour illumine our minds.” Our teacher said, this is throwing open the calmed mind to the light of the Lord.