Conference held by Jaya Yogācārya on May 31st, 2019 during meditation class
In our long-term spiritual work, periods of progress can regularly be followed by periods of doubt and catching up.
Our battlefield is, among others, that of the mind, and its traps are numerous and often reactivated.
Spiritual work needs to be persistent, constant and meticulous because the mental machinery of antaḥkaraṇa अंतःकरण is complex.
In the theory of the 3 śarīra शरीर, the 5 kośa कोष and the 25 Upadī उपदी, the antaḥkaraṇa is composed of citta चित्त, the unconscious, Manas मनस्, the conscious mind, Buddhi बुद्धि, the intellect and Ahaṃkāra अहंकार, the ego. See "The 3 bodies"
The work of purification of the unconscious, citta Śuddhi चित्त शुद्धि, which aims at decreasing suffering and ignorance in us, includes neutralizing Saṃskāra संस्कार.
Saṃskāra are latent impressions which come up to the surface–sometimes unexpectedly–and may cause suffering. It is important to believe from the beginning that we can neutralize what seems impossible to be neutralized.
Following a spiritual path while thinking that what was painful in your life still is and will be forever is the same as doubting the efficiency of this path.
We often bring back to our consciousness a situation that is old yet still vivid in our unconscious, and consider it as a current reality.
Let’s go back to your childhood, for example.
You may remember impressions, bodily tension, fears, anxieties, visions associated with criticisms, a cold or terrible anger of your father or mother.
Your whole being has been affected and is still not neutral today when facing these impressions.
From your mother’s anger toward you, you can still hear the words, still see the gestures which are engraved deep down inside yourself and have created nervous, endocrine, circulatory, emotional disorders which affected you at that time.
The unbearable anger of your mother toward the child or teenager that you were, the terrible look on her face, her words, have remained deep down in your citta.
What did your mind back then and what is it still doing?
It convinced you that you defined this event as unbearable once and for all. It still convinces you today that you are OK to suffer when living this event again, and above all, that you will never admit that it may be neutral one day inside you.
Convinced that suffering will always be suffering, even meaningless things reminding you this event affect and stress you. By unconsciously allowing yourself to let this suffering express itself, you feel a bit relieved in the end. But this process never ends and is like bailing water out of a leaky rowboat.
You can do it endlessly, even until you die.
If you are a young child and watch a horror scene in a movie for the first time, you won’t be able to stand it. If you watch it again for ten years, this scene may still create emotions, but you will end up watching it without emotion when you become an adult.
The scene has become neutral.
Last time, we talked about double vigilance and the work consisting in going back from Two to One. Here again, we are at the heart of the very same issue.
The inner adjustment needed here is to accept not to suffer anymore and not to be attached to what once defined you.
When you see this unbearable vision of your closed up or angry mother again coming back from your unconscious, learn how to see this scene in a neutral way.
Many old reasons and justifications have led this being, your own mother, to express herself this way on that day.
Either you stay a victim for the rest of your life and each time this Saṃskāra reactivates, you suffer a little bit, because you are attached to it, which makes you feel relieved but feeds this Saṃskāra;
Or you live it with the neutral point of view of the wise man.
If this memory becomes neutral, you will feel neutral about it from now on.
Understanding and compassion arise when emotions decrease.
You have become adult, fully adult, in the noble acceptation of that word.
And then, it is possible for you to understand that your mother may have not been able to become an adult as she was stuck in her world of judgments, fears, and compensation for her fears.
This inner adjustment will enable you to truly change your suffering.
You grow spiritually with this compassionate viewpoint.
Acquiring it remains tricky, though, and does not erase violence.
Of course, the intensity and perseverance required to deactivate certain sufferings will depend on the intensity of the Saṃskāra and the depth of their roots.
The greater the suffering, the more the understanding of this mechanism and the true determination will need to be intense.
Sometimes, some memories or impressions coming up to the surface seem to be tragic and may not match with childhood memories (phobia, unbearable fears, tendencies...). They can arise to consciousness through intellectual, emotional or physical aspects.
Wise men will tell you they come from another lifetime.
It is important to recognize they are present, and they are not neutral to you, without worrying about how they got there.
These Saṃskāra belong to the past and they often prevent us from living in the present moment by maintaining us in Manas, the mind and Ahaṃkāra, the ego.
So, masters indicate two great principles to us.
Making the past neutral and seeing the present in a neutral way.
When a situation arises which you recognize as threatening and which reminds your whole being of past suffering, unconsciously, you can’t stand the idea that suffering may not be there.
Swami Prajnânpad said to Arnaud Desjardins that if one has been able to neutralize one’s past suffering as a child, there is no reason why one couldn’t neutralize unacceptable suffering at adulthood.
I often see this in the Kriyā yoga beginner workshop क्रिया, or even in the more advanced levels, when I ask aspirants to make some efforts to learn, appropriate knowledge for themselves and memorize.
Starting on the first classes or much later, some have some trouble positioning themselves due to school trauma, failure, fears of the teacher or of any other authority figure.
You are free to live your life through your ego and your mind, your opinions, but they feed your suffering.
You have to understand how you continuously project all your past fears onto the present and the future.
You have to observe and recognize that past suffering is still present in your life.
How do you feel such-and-such emotion?
Which barrier do you put up between the surface and the depth of your being?
If you observe and neutralize your memories and impressions, everything circulates more freely between the surface and the depth.
The neutrality of the way you look at things reunifies the unconscious and the conscious.
They have become only one.
You have gone back from Two to ONE.
The painful emotion of a Saṃskāra may be experienced a few more times with its physical reactions, but if the difficult memory is faced once, twice, ten times, because you have decided to confront it, then what was once painful will become neutral.
You have learned to see it serenely, without emotion, with understanding.
What was once painful for you as a child is what this child qualified as such.
You can then look again at this scene that you have rejected for so long and that you have replayed so many times despite yourself, and consider it as neutral from now on.
You have become ONE with suffering and suffering has become bearable.
In the middle of a tragic deed, the absolute consciousness is neutral.
For you, there is the event and a certain level of subjective consciousness.
For the absolute, everything is neutral.
So, try not to qualify the events that everyone spontaneously qualifies with the personal and subjective "I".
Be in the absolute consciousness.
If you have reexperienced and neutralized the very idea of suffering, suffering will not make you suffer anymore.
If you have reexperienced and neutralized a physical pain or even death, you will not be scared of the very idea of sickness or death anymore.
This, among other things, is what Adrien talks about in the forum related to my last conference.
Link see "The inner adjustment"
Years go by quickly, you practice regularly, assiduously, but did you change inside?
Probably yes, but not enough yet!
Suffering still has control over you.
Listening to me during conferences, doing nice poses, concentrating intensely certainly develops your vigilance, your abilities and elevates you.
Yoga practice can unimaginably support and accelerate human development.
But do you know where you stand with your fears?
Fear of death, fear of love! Fear of God!
Do you know where you stand with your desires, your uncontrolled emotions, your violent reactions, your mental strategies?
Do you still fall in the ego’s traps, justifications and identifications?
In the chrysalis process, the caterpillar doesn’t become a butterfly ersatz. It must become a beautiful butterfly, able to fly and become free. This is a whole process requiring a complete transformation of its being and a total commitment.
Neutralizing your suffering requires the same total commitment.
So be brave and operate.
Hari Om Tat Sat
"Propos sur la liberté" ("Four Chapters on Freedom") by Swāmi Satyānanda Sarasvatī, Satyanandanashram Editions
"La voie du cœur" by Arnaud Desjardins, La Table ronde Editions
Adaptation and comment by Jaya Yogācārya
Transalted by Stephanie BOSCO
©Centre Jaya de Yoga Vedanta, Réunion Island