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A Fundamental Attitude

Along with Patience, the quality of perseverance provides the grounding and support that the Hridaya Attitudes encourage us to cultivate. By developing this attribute, the practitioner creates a solid foundation on which to build all the other important factors.

Talking about perseverance in our spiritual life isn’t so complicated; we must look at it in the same way as in any aspect of our lives. If we want to succeed at something we really need to stick with it, having the diligence and discipline to continue even through difficult times.

 

The Challenges of Practice

Big life changes can lead us away from spiritual practice or make us lose our faith in the path we are on. Small factors can recur and lead us away from the true essence of the teachings by frustrating and upsetting us.

For me, I sometimes found that something as banal as not quite getting the right cushions in the yoga hall could leave me distracted during meditation and unable to reach deep states due to being uncomfortable. I would reach a point where I would decide this was never going to work and resign myself to an unproductive meditation. Then I read this story about Milarepa.

 

Milarepa’s Bottom

One day, Milarepa warned Gampopa that the time had come for him to depart.

He told Gampopa, “You have received the entire transmission. I have given you all the teachings, as if pouring water from one vase into another. Only 1 pith instruction remains that I haven’t taught you. It’s very secret.”

He then accompanied Gampopa to a river, where they were to part. Gampopa made prostrations to take his leave and started across. But Milarepa called him back: “You are a really good disciple. Anyway I will give you this last teaching.”

Overjoyed, Gampopa prostrated 9 times, then waited for the instructions. Milarepa proceeded to turn around, pull up his robe, showing Gampopa his bottom. “Do you see?”

And Gampopa said, “Uh…yes…”

“Do you really see?”

Gampopa was not sure what he was supposed to see. Milarepa had calluses on his buttocks; they looked as though they were half flesh and half stone.

“You see, this is how I reached enlightenment: sitting and meditating. If you want to reach it in this life, make the same effort. This is my final teaching. I have nothing more to add.” 

His buttocks have been an inspiration against my own self-cherishing ego ever since.

 

The Joy of Practice

There are as many things that knock us off our path as there are people. We all have our own little distractions that can take us out of the present moment and into a story of shoulds; of something more important than the practice at hand.

Perseverance implies regular practice, to try our best in spite of challenges that arise. If we can joyfully stay with our practice and not become distracted by outside factors, then being aware of our commitment to perseverance will lead to strengthening our aspiration.

I’d love to hear in the comments about what challenges yogis reading this blog and any remedies that you have been able to apply to increase the levels of perseverance!

 

Perseverance and Patience

 

“Never give up.

No matter what is going on, never give up.

Develop the heart.

Too much energy in your country
is spent developing the mind instead of the heart.

Be compassionate.

Not just to your friends, but to everyone.

Be compassionate.

Work for peace;
 in your heart and in the world.

Work for peace, and I say again, never give up.

No matter what is going on around you…

NEVER give up.”

-His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

 

New Dimensions of the Practice. Notes and Observations:

  1. Liking the practice:
  • This daily repeated exercise increased my “liking” of the practice to the point that I wish it could last longer.
  • I feel that the number of minutes I reached are not enough for me anymore. I “crave” the practice every morning and I look forward to see the sun rising the next day.

 

  1. Eyes activation in the daily life:
  • My Eyes activation lasts for a long time during the entire day following the practice.
  • Sometimes, during normal daily activities, I feel my eyes just suddenly becoming energised and vibrating, the energy field in the entire area around my eyes becomes expanded and my gaze becomes somehow shifted from the physical world.
  • It becomes temporary difficult to read anything in those moments, and the physical objects look blurred. I have to keep a de-focalised gaze and let my vision field expand.
  • Ajna Chakra is spontaneously activated and vibrating in the same time.

 

  1. Hrid Mudra:
  • I had a spontaneous urge to bring my hands in Hrid Mudra. It felt like inner guidance or some message from the divine consciousness about something I have “next to do”.
  • The practice in this new way felt very good and powerful.
  • The pranic circuit from my hands to the heart area becomes immediately obvious, perceivable and very comforting. I will continue this way for the next weeks.
  • It certainly helps releasing an affective trauma in emotional crisis. Generalised feeling of well-being. Strong activation of Anahata Chakra.
  • The feeling of well-being becomes so strong that it makes me wish to come back to the practice the next day. I long for it during the day.

 

  1. Anjali Mudra:
  • Moving on to Anjali Mudra makes a fine transition from the feeling of well-being and inner emotional comfort to a more meditative state.
  • Keeping centeredness is easy, I completely withdraw from the external world.
  • I find my way “inward” and I continue my gazing practice witnessing the perceptions, both visionary and emotional, from my heart center.
  • I continue the practice alternating Hrid Mudra and Anjali Mudra.

 

  1. Prarthanasana (Prayer Pose):
  • In the last few days of the 3rd month of my Tapas I experiment with the practice standing in Prarthanasana.
  • It is a familiar and confortable pose for me, so I can keep it for a long time while continuing my sun gazing practice with calmness and aspiration, without tension and in complete surrender.
  • I find profound relaxation in that pose, the breath pattern settles in naturally. I try to keep some rhythmic breathing flowing naturally.
  • I keep the awareness of the Heart Center and I continue blowing upon the amber of the heart during the practice.
  • I settle in the Natural State with reverence and devotion.
  • I have the feeling that I am seeking for something precious that is above and beyond ourselves as limited individuals and it will be revealed to me when I am mostly prepared to see.
  • I am certainly seeking for answers and guidance in my path to follow.

I am seeking for directions and a new way in my spiritual quest for bringing the Absolute Truth to the world and liberation to all beings.

  • I am open to welcome anything that may be revealed to me – any inspiration, insights, visions and revelations from the divine consciousness about the physical world and all subtle dimensions.
  • I am maintaining a state of fearlessness to anything I may perceive, non-judgement, non-discrimination, non-prejudice, while gazing and praying in open attention, humbleness and witness attitude.

I find the “gift of grace”.  State of amazing grace in stillness and naturalness.

 

  1. Post-practice:
  • I continue with Phosphene work and inner Trataka, followed by Ajna-focused meditation after the sun gazing practice.

Note: I aim to increase the length of the practice in both the Sun Gazing and Prarthanasana combined in the several months to follow.