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The ABC's of Spiritual Success

The ABC's of Spiritual Success

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Practical advice on how to remedy the loss of awareness within meditation.
Practical advice on how to remedy the loss of awareness within meditation.

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Published by: Swami Sadasivananda on Oct 17, 2013
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Two Divine manifestations guiding us – Through Whispers within our Higher Minds and Hearts Telling us that success lies within the attainment of 
- Awareness 
- Blessing (Grace) 
- Concentration 
Sri Anandamayi Ma Sri Ramana Maharshi
QUESTION: It has been said that the Name invokes the Named, and His homeis within the heart. In my meditation I lose the “thread” of awareness of God’sName. How does one remedy the “loss of awareness” of the actual sound(
of the Name of God while performing mantra japa, though stillretaining awareness of the breath?
If proper concentration on the MOVEMENT and LENGTH of the breath isfocused, the absence of awareness of the Name of God, or purely “
”, will beacutely felt and remembrance will ensue. Concentration on the length of the breathentails awareness of the beginning, middle and end of each inhalation and exhalation.
 Nama japa
, which most commonly includes an even number of sylables, is mosteffectively linked to the breath evenly. If this maxim is properly applied, the middle point of each breath actually marks the point of shifting from one syllable to the next.For instance, with the proper intonation of “Om”, equal matric value (length of intonation) is given to the “ooo” sound as well as the “mmm” sound. The exactmiddle of the incoming or outgoing breath marks the point where the change fromthe first to the second sound occurs. This same practice applies to any of the various
(Divine Names) used within meditation, i.e. Rama, Siva, Krishna, Jesus,
 2Allah or Buddha (Buddho in
). There are various two-syllable
usedwithin Jewish meditation, but according their tradition they are not written down.Respecting that ancient custom, they are not written herein. Though this harmonizedmovement of sound and breath takes time to develop until it becomes a habit, whenthis stage does occur, the practice also becomes natural. Thus, when forgetfulness of the aksara (sound) of “Om” does happen, we feel an acute unnatural feeling whilecrossing over the middle point of each breath. This should create a sense of dis-ease,which will cause remembrance of “Om” to again activate within our mentalmovement. The positive aspect of this process is that upon recognition of theabsence of the
, some degree of “
” will be experienced – even possibly a feeling of being “out of touch” with the Divine Presence beinginvoked. This could also be experienced as being “out of breath”. This
isthe beginning of the needful intensity of longing for God -
As inhuman relationships, the deepest sincerity of love is developed most profoundlythrough the “despair of temporary separation”. This is an active movement of thegrace of God. God pushes us through our remembrance; God pulls us through our forgetfulness.
The process of spiritual transformation, once activated, works through theinstinctual aspect of our personality. Habits, especially derived from
areextremely difficult to change merely by an act of will. But on the instinctual level,habits can and must be dismantled. There are two main areas to concentrate on andwork within. First is to break the instinctual urge to procrastinate, to delay, or even todo two or more things at once! This habit fosters leaving things undone, which seepsright into our spiritual practice. Here, though we have begun to adopt a routine of spiritual practice that fosters and promotes a continuous flow of thoughts towardscompleteness, through the procrastinating habit in external worldly affairs, we infectthe potential achievements of our higher mind and heart with a negative directionalflow of a
character. The most significant obstacle man faces within the practice of religious life is a
discontinuous mind 
. For most, especially without proper guidance, this is an insurmountable obstacle.Regardless of this obstacle, vanquishing this enemy from within heralds in asupremely important level of advancement. Prayer and meditation are the keyfactors. For when we pray; we speak and God listens. When we meditate; Godspeaks and we listen.God speaks to us, in a diffused way, through our instincts. This is God’sresponse to our prayers. We have become sunk within the restraining confinementsof the base intellectual mind; separated from the intuitional realm (
) where God converses freely with us. Thus, the only way, the only avenue that
 3is “open” for our real Self to positively influence a mind in which sufficientmeditation, reflection or enquiry is absent, is through our instincts.If we meditate with constant regularity and deeply enough, we can in time perceive God speaking to us even outside of our meditation.The counter forces to this are the
that manifest as habits and character traits. They cannot speak, but only vibrate; doing so with enormous power! They donot entice us, we fall victim to them only through mutual vibratory attraction. If our minds are “tuned” through unskillful (discontinuous) awareness, then we “pick up”on the bad vibration and initiate action towards satisfying the desire that is at theheart of the vasana. If we are skillfully tuned, through right attention, i.e. meditation,reflection or enquiry, japa, prayers, breath awareness, worship and specifically thePractice of the Presence of God, the
vibratory rate (power) is slowlydiminished to the eventual point of destruction.If we are properly tuned through our active
, then the intuitional mind perceives God’s guiding advice from within. His voice becomes audible. We haveall, at one time or another experienced the surety and possibly the thrill of thisconcrete “human” contact that the Divine is making with us. The lower aspect of our mind immediately attempts to trivialize, and thus minimize, the wonder and supremesignificance of these revelations by “suggestions” that they are merely “hunches”.God’s voice, though emanating from within the highest levels of our mind, resonateswithin the heart. The age-old enemy, the ego, makes further attempts to blind us tothe reality of these mystical movements through both distracting thoughts and evenactual bodily feelings that cover the truth. Though when in truth God is actuallyguiding our way through life, the mind diverts our perception of this by suggestingthat it is only “ a gut feeling”; “I know in my gut that such and such is right!” Thereis a fragment of truth to this lie from the lower mind. But as always, our mind, by itsvery nature, goes too far and too fast! Being in a state of panic, the ego knows thatwe will not believe that such advents of Grace emanate from the mind, and the lastthing it wants is for us to perceive that these are, in truth, movements of the heart. Soour ego throws out the idea that we are having a “gut feeling”. This is a safe place for the ego to deposit this intuitional guiding Hand of God. Safe indeed, for the human“gut” is a veritable fortress for the ego.
QUESTION: Is it true that through my mediation my mind is developingclarity?
Without doubt, correct meditation, effectively (repeatedly) applied, doesaccentuate focus. By definition, clear and unobstructed focus does instill clarity of mind. Within the preliminary stages of a spiritual adepts practice, utilizing theancient methods of Sanatana Dharma (the Eternal Religion), the most effectivemeans of this mental development is achieved though the recitation of the Gayatri

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