So that your own heart
Will grow. […]
Because this is a food
Our starving world
Because that is the purest
Notes on the Satsang with Sahajananda
The following notes are offered to support your understanding of the satsang Sahajananda presented on April 13, 2020. Note that this is not a transcript and should not be seen as an alternative to viewing the satsang itself (available here). If you don’t watch the satsang, you will likely miss the context for the ideas presented here and will therefore not grasp their subtleties. And, as importantly, you will miss Sahaja’s transmission. The word satsang comes from the Sanskrit words sat (“truth”) and sangha (“association”) and refers to “associating with truth,” or “being in the company of the wise.” By being in Sahaja’s company via watching the video of the satsang, you will be receiving the teachings directly from him and you may understand them on a deeper level.
- Advice for the time of coronavirus. Being Values
- Inner revolution: Ways of pointing to Pure Awareness. How to stabilize ourselves in the Heart. The fire of the Heart.
- A simple yogic practice for dealing with fears and cultivating fearlessness.
- Self-reflective practices for increasing awareness.
INDEX OF TECHNIQUES
- What Essential Values Resonate Deeply Within You?
- The Practice of the Sacred Fire or the Heart on Fire
- Abhaya Mudra—The Gesture for Removing Fear
- What Are Your Motivating Values?
- The Practice of Gratitude
Develop an Inner Willingness to Wake Up—An Intention without an Object
- Following Gandhi’s model of an inner non-violent revolution, which means: It is not about fighting or blaming our emotions or the tendencies of the mind. It is not even about controlling “with our own will,” but embracing them in Self-awareness—this is the very paradigm of a non-violent inner revolution. Otherwise, it would be a civil war inside ourselves, inside our mind…
- The importance of centeredness: Vietnamese Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh: “When the crowded Vietnamese refugee boats met with storms or pirates, if everyone panicked all would be lost. But if even one person on the boat remained calm and centered, it was enough. It showed the way for everyone to survive.” This can be understood in a broader sense. Somebody awake, who is not lost in life, can inspire others to awaken—Jesus, Buddha, Ramana, Parsifal. We can all do this…
Light the Fire of Awareness
- This is how the “bumpers”—those spiritual anesthetics—are gradually eliminated. We need a purification of the subconscious. Shaking ourselves out from inertia. Conscious shocks—Me Here, Now.
“Set your life on fire.
Seek those who fan your flames.”
- What can fan your fire?—people, circumstances, inner values that open your Soul and bring this passion.
- See this fire as the longing of your soul, as an agent for waking up. Its source is the depth of the Heart. An Open Heart has enthusiasm (from the Greek “en-theos,” “God within”), which means it always has this fire.
- Often, we want to change, but the need for change becomes irrelevant. We no longer have the power to act consciously when the fire of enthusiasm, when this connection with the depths of our being, the Heart, diminishes.
- Observe how this pure intention (Iccha Shakti) awakens like a pure fire from a lucid Heart.
- Tapas, from the Sanskrit root tap, “to give off heat,” “to shine” (like the sun). Tapas is often used to mean “self-control” or “cultivation of willpower.”
- Tapas is a means of purification, a burning or setting on fire so that a process of refinement is generated (not only in the physical body but predominantly in the mental and emotional bodies).
- The fire of tapas is an essential power of redemption, of waking up.
Why we would need this fire now?
The Current Situation
- Has been compared by some with war, with people playing different roles:
- Now some are on the front line—people who struggle and try to survive, people who die, and medical staff—a lot of sacrifices, frustration (for lack of many things, but also for lack of inner clarity, for being overwhelmed)
- “Essential workers” still laboring in at-risk areas
- The majority are staying home. Complaining, overwhelmed by the fear of not having enough toilet paper. When we are this kind of frivolous human beings, don’t we need a shock?
- We are all in the same kind of war, even though the majority are fighting in pajamas in bed, and the frontline is Netflix.
- As in a mirror, the abnormal, alienation tends to become normal… Not only in such times…
“For practical purposes, we have agreed that ‘sanity’ consists in sharing the hallucinations of our neighbors.”
- Why not remain in fear? Buddha would answer because this is ignorance, and it will lead to suffering. It is a mechanical way of life.
- Imagine a film scenario in which an experiment is done. A civilization from another planet would want human beings acting like robots, easily manipulated, obeying their orders, no matter what, controlling them completely. How would this be possible?
- By cutting the connection with their heart, with the intimacy of their being (this would be the cause).
- Thus, their core values become meaningless (this would be the effect). “Core” comes from the Latin “cor,” evolved in French as Coeur, or Spanish, Corazón, Heart.
Abraham Maslow (known mostly for the Hierarchy of Human Needs—a pyramid starting from physiological, then safety needs, etc. and ending in Self-Actualization—the need to fulfill our potential). He also spoke of what he called B-Values (Being Values). He was contemplating: What feeds the human soul?
Practice: What Essential Values Resonate Deeply Within You?
You can ask yourself and meditate on what essential values resonate deeply within you. It is important to find such answers because that is what keeps you in connection with the Heart and prevents you from becoming a totally manipulated human being.
- Maslow never got to finish a definitive list of Being Values, but a partial list may be seen in the graphic to the right. (For example: Beauty, Goodness, Simplicity, Playfulness, Spontaneity, Truth, etc. If I stick to Truth, I won’t become a robot.)
- This is why fear can lead to slavery, sleepiness of awareness, because is not a Being Value, is not a direct radiance of the Heart. Indeed, from a higher perspective, fear, like everything else, is also an expression of that ultimate Pure Consciousness (the Spiritual Heart), but it is an indirect expression, via the constricting ego, while simplicity is a direct expression of Pure Consciousness (not being affected by the ego).
- In reality, it is not only that such values are feeding the soul, but that the awakened Heart is also feeding them. So, it’s like breathing in a radiating heart. (A reality expressed also by Bhakti, which literally means “mutual Love.”)
- A quality life is cultivated when it opens the Heart more and brings us in tune with the B-values (Self-Actualization).
- Then, in the next step, the B-values point to Pure Being.
- The materialist would say: “When you are starving, you don’t need poetry.” First, we (most of the Western world) are not starving right now, this would be just a fearful projection to support instinctual thinking. Second, even in such situations, I am saying—“I need poetry”—more than ever. Because it supports me tremendously in dealing with challenges. But, this is a matter of a Trust.
- This is surrender—You surrender the basic needs to such higher Being Values—and then even deeper, to the Spiritual Heart, to Being freed from any attribute. And this is awakening…
- We are falsely focusing on and obsess about need values, which are at the bottom of the pyramid representing the hierarchy of human needs. I say “falsely” because now most of us are just in anticipation of fear, it is not real. It is just “what if”?
- We focus on need values when we totally identify with a body-mind condition. (Remember the importance of Self-Inquiry for realizing who we really are.)
- Some would say, yes, but if you would starve or your child would die of starvation you would be acting differently. Not necessarily. Would Ramana or Buddha do so? Example of Thich Nhat Hanh—the question about being the last Buddhist—would he kill to preserve Buddhism?
- This is what St. Francis of Assisi did in the conflict with his father. Or Mirabai—renouncing the title and properties of a princess for the love of Krishna. Being a wandering ascetic felt better than being a princess. Buddha, Gorakshanath did the same… Countless examples…
- Artists who sometimes have sacrificed their relationships, their well-being, and even their health or lives in order to express Beauty and Truth. An inner calling more powerful than instinctual needs. There is lasting gratitude for them when tasting the honey of the artistic expressions left behind.
- Even in dealing with painful emotions—trauma with meaning is much easier to heal than trauma that seems meaningless. Finding meaning in our wounds is not just about consolation or personal healing. It is a way of surrendering to and being guided by the Spiritual Heart.
- Thus, we realize that the cultivation of Beauty, Truthfulness, Unconditional Love, Being Values is not just a hobby or an option, but a duty as conscious human beings—a part of this inner revolution.
- The cultivation of Beauty, Love is our sacred task for the freedom of our souls… We have a sacred task to Love, to be truthful… In the same spirit, in Hridaya Yoga we speak about the cultivation of 14 Spiritual Attitudes.
The Spiritual Heart Doesn’t Ask for Adepts—It Asks for Lovers
- Our primary duty in moments like this, in solitude or in daily life, is not to identify with our old patterns, compulsions and pay obsessive attention to our personal desires and subconscious tendencies, but to honor the Heart.
- When emotions feel overwhelming, realize that they indeed may be way too powerful for a personal fight. Only by surrendering to the infinite power of the Heart, Grace is there. The healing of our wounds happens in such space. Then, we realize that we are not just the shallow layer of basic needs, but that Stillness… And then, we can, as Rumi said, “feel joy in the heart when sorrow appears.”
- We are fully responsible for our Self-awareness. This space of the Heart is a gentle loving fire that burns our obsessive fears and desires. That is where we can withdraw ourselves every day. This is a practice for daily life, for more and more moments.
The Practice of the Sacred Fire or the Heart on Fire
- Start in a meditation position with the back straight and the eyes closed. Relax the body and mind.
- Visualize a Sacred Fire in your Heart as a very source and expression of Truth and Love (of all the Being Values).
- Welcome this fire. Feel a friendship with it, deep intimacy. If fear of fire arises, melt even that fear in this loving fire.
- Visualize it radiating like a sun, as the source of all life and light.
- Love this fire.
- If it is too abstract to feel love for fire, you can visualize Ramana (or Jesus, or your Lover, whoever makes you come alive) blazing inside that fire, shining brightly in that flame.
- This fire radiates an intense longing for you as You. It gives wisdom, steadiness, nourishment—it is a nourishing fire.
- It is your steadiness, trust… in which relative limiting values, impermanence are dissolving.
- It is stability in fluidity—it embraces and burns all fears, limitations.
- Now, shift from just visualizing to being that fire—a quiet, steady, courageous presence, flowing, flexible, bringing every situation, emotion, thought into the essential light of awareness.
- Open the eyes, and let that fire continue to glow, to shine there, even with the eyes open—it is happening now—the fire of your aliveness.
The touch of this fire strengthens your soul, nourishing courage and all the Being Values. (The Rosicrucian tradition has a similar practice, known as the Rose and the Cross—symbols of Beauty and Love, together.)
How can this commitment to awareness be applied in daily life? Not just through yoga and meditation practice as formal ways to cut through illusion.
Example: Consciously assuming a prolonged quarantine and restricted food. It is not about suffering, but about being aware, present… About nourishing this fire of awareness, of compassion for those who suffer and are really in need.
Abhaya Mudra—The Gesture for Removing Fear
“I said, O Love
I am frightened,
but it’s not you.
Love said to me,
there is nothing that is not me.
Abhaya mudra—the “gesture of fearlessness.” In Sanskrit, abhaya means “fearlessness” and mudra, “seal” or “gesture.” It is a gesture of reassurance and safety that dispels fear and accords divine protection and bliss. It also represents protection, peace, benevolence, being depicted in many Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, and Sikh images.
- Keeping the back straight, bring the awareness in the Heart.
- Put the right hand on the chest for a few seconds, then
- Hold the right hand upright, with the palm facing outwards.
Shiva Nataraja is represented with his second right hand in abhaya mudra, bestowing protection from both evil and ignorance to those who follow the righteousness of dharma (spiritual law).
- Removes fear and creates a sense of security.
- Produces benevolence. We feel power and peace within ourselves.
- Increases awareness and altruism.
- Strengthens internal resolution.
- Calms the mind.
- Settles all the emotions caused by fear, such as irritability, anxiety, anger, etc.
- Soothes the nervous system, which helps relax the body.
- After performing this mudra, the sensation of spiritual inner strength begins to rise. This gives us the power to commit to the Heart.
- It is like a silent, loving way of saying “stop” to fears and phobias.
In early times, people use this gesture to greet strangers, thus demonstrating that the hand is unarmed. It indicates friendship and peace.
There is a famous story in the Buddhist tradition, where Buddha used this hand gesture when a furious elephant attacked him. This elephant was sent by Devadatta, a cousin of the Buddha, who wanted to kill Buddha. When the enraged elephant saw the radiance of that gesture, he became calm and peaceful. In a similar way, you can apply it when confronted with aggressive dogs, for example.
Especially when there is fear, center the attention in the Heart and perform this mudra until peace appears. It can be practiced daily, by itself or even in meditation, for at least 10-15 minutes a day in one stretch. You can do it 2-3 times per day, each time for 10 minutes or as long as you can.
Practice: What Are Your Motivating Values?
Times like now, being by ourselves (or together with our family, our dear ones), can bring clarity and objectification to our motivating values.
- At the end of the day, for 10 minutes evoke the entire day and see not just what activities you did, but also what intentions were behind them, your How many of your activities are still prone to old habits, which means mental inertia, numbness: watching TV or Facebook videos a lot, overeating, obsession with the body, sexual addiction? Or, is there simply a longing to be more with yourself… as Stillness, Self-awareness, love for others, compassion (Nourishing, actualizing, and simultaneously being inspired by such Being Values)?
- Ask yourself in what ways this day has brought you closer to true insights. Was it controlled by habits that serve to empower the critical, over-rational mind? How did you nourish your soul today?
- Bring the awareness of the Fire of the Heart as the power to commit to higher values. They are pointing to the Stillness and Trust of the Heart.
- Drop everything and remain in the nakedness of Being.
The Practice of Gratitude
Gratitude and Peace come when:
- We direct our mind and heart not on what we want and imagine that we need, but on what we have. (“There are no needs only desires.” –Nisargadatta Maharaj)
- We shift the awareness from what we have, to what we are.
- When we are aware of what we already have, a wave of gratitude embraces us.
- The Zen story of the monk who was robbed—“If I could give him the Moon…”
- This can be done in solitude or even when there are many around us. A reminder that solitude is a state of consciousness, not a physical condition. It is possible to be solitary in one’s heart (honoring the stillness there) while living in a crowd, and it is possible for somebody who is solitary to actually live in the crowds of their own thoughts, obsessions, fears.
Examples of Gratitude for What We Have:
- The quiet awareness of the flow of breath… can fill us with brimming joy.
- The chords of a charming melody… can give birth to quiet satisfaction, a delight to our heart, a sense of fulfillment.
- The touch of a loved one, or if you are by yourself, the touch of sunlight… can bring a sense of perfection, of completeness.
These can be seen as Practices of Welcoming the Discrete… momentary visits of Grace and Presence that we can have every day.
- You stop and take a deep breath of Awareness, and then you take a gentle breath of Love… And realize that these gifts of Grace and Presence are there. We miss them just because we are not attentive, we do not hear their silent, loving call (…).
- These expressions are echoing our Being Values.
- Pure Consciousness—absolute Grace manifest through the funnel of our soul.
- This is about honoring the core values Maslow was speaking about. They are pointing to the wordless presence, Being…
The confession of a Hridaya practitioner:
“I consider myself lucky to live in this moment, and I consider it a privilege to feel so deeply, to love so deeply, to suffer so deeply, even if it is not easy. It’s not about being optimistic or letting go and being positive. You can cry a lot, out of compassion, of love, but sometimes also out of exhaustion. But, when I know who I am, once and forever, what is there to be worried about?”
Self-Awareness—How Does It Feel?
Thus, we shift from an experience to Being.
“When the superficial wearies (tires) me, it wearies me so much that I need an abyss in order to rest.”
–Antonio Porchia, Voices
This infinite abyss embraces all limitations and is regenerating.
You may ask… What does this mean? How does it feel? Of course, Self-awareness is not just a feeling, but the source of all feelings.
- It is like being completely stripped of everything. In the bottom of yourself, you dwell lovingly as Divine Presence, still, free, empty and full at the same time.
- Self-awareness is like a trial by fire. It is a paradox because it is absolute freedom and at the same time it feels like we are compelled by the very core values, by the light of inner Truth, by the abyss.
- The fascination of a tremendous mystery, or a mystery in front of which we tremble—The very definition of God, according to Rudolf Otto, “Mysterium tremendum et fascinans.”
- In this Stillness, the Heart tremors and sings endlessly the Love for itself, for all that is—Stillness is the ground of everything, this Moment… It is not at all abstract! It is experiential …
- There is a furnace of transformation where we inquire into who we are and, thus, start doubting and finally discard all the preconceptions and conventions that we have accepted up to now with a kind of dogmatic religiosity. Connection with the Heart is incompatible with shallow contentment and blind acceptance of prejudiced opinions. Incompatibility with bourgeois life.
- Continuous Self-awareness is the expression of total trust in ourselves.
- It is a loving look at the Real. Self-awareness is simply the Heart’s Stillness, unbroken by any thought.
- Self-Inquiry is not a sedative. In this fire, everything is burned—even old ideas and beliefs about what spirituality would be, moral clichés, essentially any mental rationalization, a burning of idols and altars for the mind. This is the Dark Night of the Spirit that St. John of the Cross was speaking about.