My main teachings are to discipline yourself, to pray, to study, to meditate
By my planning and by my reason and by my efforts, I can think of some very good things to do, but very often they go wrong and I don’t know why. They’re not in accord with what is loosely called the cosmic plan. God has a purpose. By entering into these states we can come into conformity with that purpose and then the patterns of the contribution which is going to be made through the meditator will begin to become apparent. It’s not necessarily that some picture appears or a voice says, “Do this and do that.” – but they will find that they are beginning to do things without a stress and they’re beginning to do things naturally and that things will become fruitful. It’s not done with a lot of internal friction. It’s as though there is an inspiration coming up. There is a calm flow of energy coming up, of which he’s not necessarily fully aware. He’s not thinking, “I’m inspired. This is wonderful.” – but he finds the body and mind are moving in this direction and that it’s fruitful. “By their fruits you will know them,” said Jesus. The actions are not necessarily the ones that my reason will tell me, “This will probably be the best thing to do.”
There are people, you can go and meet them – they don’t say a word or they hardly say a word or perhaps they just say, “Good morning” – but you sit with them for a few minutes and then you go away. They don’t say anything and you think, “Well, I’ve wasted my time there.” But when you get home, you find that something one has been afraid of doing, or too lazy to do or too confused to do, begins to become clear, “The thing I was afraid of, now I’m able to do it without a lot of friction, without screwing myself up when I must.” – but it begins to happen naturally. The planning, “But supposing that happened, well then I could… Yes, but then that might happen.” – that begins to go away, as if a way was opening up. He comes into touch with the cosmic purpose, the patterns of what he or she has to do. It may not be something dramatic. It may be, again, simply to sit there and somebody else will come and when they go away they’ll have received an inner strength.
This is one of his main teachings – you will see he gave there, “My main teachings are to discipline yourself, to pray, to study, to meditate.” This one would come mostly under prayer, to concentrate on a symbol of God and then he will receive that inspiration. We see where that comes under the main teaching, but we also see that it will affect our discipline. It will enable us naturally to discipline ourselves without having to fight all the time and win precarious victories, and then the next day not be able to carry them on. Again, if we go to page 49, there’s something deeper.
Reading: “If you are animated by goodwill towards every creature, if you are not harassed by desires for pleasure and comfort, if you open your being to Rama, the ruler of the inner world hidden in you, you will see visions of truth and beauty and you will realise how futile are your efforts for pleasure in the world of relativity.”
This is an important point on discipline. ‘I won’t in fact be able to give up things unless there is something better.’ – one can’t simply say, “No,” to oneself, unless there is something better. What he is saying is that through meditation you can have visions of God, of one of the forms of God. Then, in comparison with that, the efforts to get advantage in the world and petty pleasures in the world will become trivial. This is the only way, in fact, that one will be able to control oneself. As the Gita says, “If you control your actions but you sit thinking, “Oh God, I’d like to do this.” that’s not the way for self-control. Only when he sees the Supreme will his longing cease. Otherwise there’ll always be something inside which is crying, the voice from the cellar as it’s been called, crying, “Let me out, let me out, let me out.” But when he sees the Supreme, the longing, the hankering will cease. These are things which we’re told. We may believe them or not believe them, but they rest on experiment. It’s nice to think, “Oh there’s a cosmic purpose and everything will turn out alright, it is all for the best.” And then it doesn’t seem to be, and we think, “Well, probably in the long run.” As the Archbishop of Canterbury said, “God has got infinite ages.” And you think, “Well we haven’t!”
In some schools – this is not true of Vedanta, or not altogether true of Vedanta – it is said that, in fact, one won’t do anything, won’t practice, until one has a tragedy. The first chapter of the Gita is called Vishada Yoga, which is the yoga of, not exactly despair but, desperation. He’s caught in a situation – I believe it’s called ‘catch 22’ where, whichever way you do it, it will turn out badly. He’s desperate. Well in one of the schools it says until you’re desperate actually you won’t do a thing. However, that’s not the view in Yoga. Even a little of this Yoga frees one from great fear – to do some, to practice meditation and to begin to become familiar with the idea of sitting regularly in a posture, producing the inner relaxation and then concentrating on the symbol of God. If we become familiar with that then when the crisis comes we shall be able to intensify it. One teacher said, “When the ship is sinking, it’s too late to start to learn to swim. You should have done that long ago.” In the same way, when the crisis is upon us, it’s probably too late to begin Yoga.
The thing is to begin now, while the circumstances are relatively good, while the water is relatively calm. Then, if necessary or when it becomes necessary, we can intensify the practice until we come into touch, momentarily at least, with one of these impulses from the beyond. It’s experimental. It’s not a question of entering meditation and thinking, “Oh, I felt so exhausted after that.” It’s something definite. We must experience immortality now. We can believe, “Yes, immortality after death.” and then somebody says, “Well, they don’t come back and tell you, do they?”
© Trevor Leggett
Formerly “The Cosmic Plan”
Talks in this series are:
Part 1: Mysticism of the heart
Part 2: Study the nature of yourself
Part 3: The cosmic plan
Part 5: Mediate on the form of the lord
Part 6: Slip out of the mind cage
Part 7: Honesty and Religious practice