Conference held by Jaya Yogācārya on March 27th, 2020 during video conference meditation class (in confinement)
Here we are all together again, without being truly together, connected by digital interfaces. Some of us must keep on working from home and after ten days of confinement, they already suffer from screen overload and from too many Internet connections.
These digital spaces are time- and energy-consuming.
Despite everything, seeing our smiling faces on our split screens is heart-warming for everybody.
I also think about those who are in physical interaction with people, particularly the medical staff, with all the danger that this involves.
I also think about those who are torn apart from their loved ones, their families, their sick relatives, their isolated or insecure old parents.
We are living in difficult, unprecedented, and very paradoxical times.
On the first day of confinement, beyond the catastrophic economic consequences this will have for the Jaya Center and for many of you, as I was alone at the center observing what was going on in the neighborhood, I cried out to the sky:
"Oh, at last, the world gets quiet! This silence is so enjoyable! "
Then, I said to myself: "People are going to hate me if I say this too loud!".
I will be honest with you and share this first impression.
No more loud car tuning, no more fights, human vociferation, useless words, bursts of laughter in the street...
This is also an aspect of life...
This requires a lot of Pratyāhāra प्रत्याहार work (withdrawal of the senses) from me.
Those are not my favorite sounds!
For a lot of people, silence is disturbing, frightening, abnormal, because life seems to have disappeared.
For a lot of people, staying at home in uncomfortable settings without garden nor space, having to go inside a bit more (provided that they are able to do so with omnipresent media), are difficult things to do, detrimental to their freedom.
For us, practitioners, confinement is a source of richness, recovery, rejuvenating withdrawal. It is an opportunity for silence, physical and mental fasting, sobriety in words and exchanges. It opens up a creative space and allows deep and quiet thought.
Don’t some contemplatives, some hermits practice in a cell!
Silence has more or less settled in the neighborhood. It is not perfect, far from being made of peace.
There are always some very thoughtless people who do not respect guidelines and brave this invisible viral enemy.
Some of them, rum-addicts, still gather, just to ensure the walls do not collapse without them. Pot smokers discreetly gather, and dealers are not on partial unemployment.
As for couples taking a walk with their children, some of them probably think they just count as one! etc., etc., etc.
At the vegetable store nearby, there is a lot activity going on, the people in line are laughing, chatting, without keeping the distance. We are not far from a pas de deux.
We hear them say: "It was nice, a few days ago, on election evening... Do you know which town official greeted me? I was so lucky... But I have been feeling a bit tired since then, I may have partied too much... That’s probably Sunday night’s fever..."
Who is who in this world? Who does what in this world?
Who gives orders and who is ordered around?
Who promises and who does not keep promises?
Who eats what and who contaminates?
Who helps and who hides?
Who makes profits and who loses everything?
Who puts in danger and who saves?
Right now, the big cats are in cages... Watch out though when we will reopen them!
At last, it’s silent outside, noise is confined in apartments resonating like loudspeakers.
Some of the big cats are not in the plains anymore, but in our USB sticks.
Nature sends us an ultimatum.
We have treated it outrageously.
Some say that nature benefits from this human confinement and from the suspension of toxic human activity.
Let’s not delude ourselves! This is just a moment of rest, a breath of fresh air thanks to our own asphyxia.
Nature breathes when we cannot breathe anymore.
What a paradox: as yogis, we know that breath is closely linked to Prāṇa प्राण, to the subtle energy of the universe and its consciousness.
In this crisis, nature reflects back to us our own misery and contradictions.
The virus is the punishment. But the virus is not the main problem despite the health emergencies of the moment, because there have always been viruses and pandemics as well.
This infinitely small and invisible enemy, which could possibly be eradicated but could also come back again, of which no one knows the true nature or origin... is it natural or has it other causes?
Far from conspiracy theories, we should not, however, reject certain possibilities, in this world where money and power are everything.
In the midst of this virus, the main problem is that the virus exposes our fragility in a context of great human arrogance.
This is the slap in the face we receive today.
Beyond the health aspect, the globalization flag is at half-mast.
Scientists are not ready, they contradict each other, they fight a media war by means of references and university degrees, and they depend on financial systems.
Politicians position themselves in front of or behind them, the media cover this and are working at their maximum, thieves of all kinds position themselves in potential niches to deceit people, fake news are all around, every man for himself, and God for us all, etc., etc., etc.
We contemporary men, so proud of our evolution, our knowledge, our eco-political, technological, scientific choices, of our overproduction and overconsumption, are facing our limits.
Despite appearances, it has been a long time since we have lost our individual freedom.
Have we lost it because of dishonesty, ours, the dishonesty of our leaders, of the decision-makers from the various industrial, technological, scientific sectors?
In everyday life, most people, when they walk past shops in town, seeing the bakery, the bookstore, terraces of restaurants, or when they hike in the forest, watch everything that meets their eyes without the look of the observer.
Today, they pay more attention! They are on the lookout for the virus!
But this attention is made of tension and fear. This is the kind of attention we have when we are in danger.
Besides crises like this one, men look at the things of the outside world without the value of words, without measuring reality.
They look with an often busy mind, and an unenlightened spirit.
They don’t look at the world with the eye of the observer, watchful, full of love and awareness.
They look at the world for what it can bring to them.
Looking with love is not the same as looking with thought.
Spiritual seekers have such a loving look, aware and attentive. They watch with vigilant eyes.
If your spirit is not aligned with your heart and your soul in your perception of the world, you will often be led to isolation, conflict, pain.
And this is what happens for most people.
Man says one thing but thinks and does another.
The politician makes promises and we know exactly what they are worth. He promises paradise on earth and we know for sure he will create hell and put the blame on uncontrollable factors.
How is it that human nature is so fundamentally dishonest?
How many times are we dishonest ourselves by saying what we don’t think, maybe to reassure someone temporarily or because we are nervous or shy or because we were ashamed to reveal something that, in fact, is.
When a man is looking for success, he is dishonest because he enters the other’s game, tricks, cheats, to achieve his ends. If man is in a position of authority, he has a situation he wants to defend. Thus, all this resistance and defense in the quest or maintenance of power are forms of dishonesty.
That’s a lot of people wanting to lead!
Being honest means having no illusions about oneself.
Being honest is being suspicious of the seeds of our aspirations, our quests, our desires.
In desire, there is always the better, the bigger, the more.
In desire, there is a notion of measurement, comparison.
The good is not the better and all our life is spent pursuing the better, whether it be the better house, the better job, the better love, the better guide.
Discontent always brings about change and this constant enhancement breeds dishonesty.
Admitting that we are all liars is being honest.
To know you have lied and make no excuse for it but to see the actual fact of it, is honesty, and this is a great spiritual strength.
It is acknowledging a mistake as a mistake. But to find excuses, justifications, is dishonesty.
To find excuses for oneself is self-pity.
To be attentive means to look at things, in the state of aware observer.
In this world crisis, we must be honest.
Our leaders must become honest.
When you listen carefully to their speeches on transparency, doublespeak is not very far.
Why do I insist on this aspect of human nature tonight?
We have to zoom out and consider man not on an individual scale but on a world scale.
What is the consciousness of the human group today?
Does the planet lie to itself with its Achilles heel?
I know you are seekers who have been working for a long time to purify your personality from its mental "boxes". I know that your personal work reflects on your family.
Unfortunately, this is not the case for all people!
Beyond the individual example, given the first observations made in the current situation of health and economical world crisis, most people operate with these mental boxes, from the lowest to the highest social class.
Many are or have been dishonest.
We are paying for the consequences.
We can see this at many different levels: some take some liberties in the application of confinement guidelines which are there for our protection on an individual and on a group level.
Many people, who are forced to work without enough protective gear and to whom bonuses are promised, are put in danger...
Because of past political and economic choices, there is an urgent lack of protective gear by lack of anticipation today.
In this context, there are also optimists, who think this crisis will lead the world to a spiritual shift of consciousness and lead people to make dramatic decisions to change.
It is not the world that is going to change men, but men who need to change their world.
Let’s not fool ourselves! This will not happen soon.
Men are facing the evil they have created.
Over the centuries and more rapidly in the last decades, men have managed to create an interconnected world where each party depends on others.
This has many positive aspects, such as talking to the ones we love or exchanging information in real time.
But that would be forgetting the numerous negative aspects and the excesses of human nature. Let’s mention the "darknet", as one example among many.
In the context of globalization and economic exchanges, today cargo ships pass each other on our oceans from the east to the west and from the west to the east carrying the same goods, only because this is how economics work.
What a paradox! One more!
The human group is likely to lose itself because there is no room for individual will due to the group’s choices.
It is an organism in itself, made of about 8 billion cells, and with its own survival laws. Each one of us is one of its cells.
What do you think: are we all working in harmony to facilitate the homeostasis of this big sick body that is humankind and to ensure its survival?
Do you think its sickness can be healed?
No, the answer is No, because men are mad and unaware that it is the survival of the human race that is at stake.
They have already exterminated many animals and have engaged in the last extinction process–theirs.
Men are entangled in their ego in order to satisfy their personal enrichment and their immediate consumption, at the cost of the misery of the poorest, at the cost of an uncontrolled exploitation of nature which cannot take it anymore.
We confine a majority of people and ask them to eat fresh products, good vegetables and sulphated fruit to maintain agricultural production.
But which production? The production of large groups!
Large-scale spreading is there to maintain production and food distribution, but not the small farmer. This spreading contributes to maintaining the toxicity of air particles.
Today, it has been suggested that in industrial and agricultural overproduction areas, the accelerated diffusion of Covid-19 may be caused by the toxicity of air particles.
Northern Italy is the best example thereof.
One more paradox!
We are in a morbid loop!
So yes, this crisis will maybe change men by reminding them the need to respect the natural laws that govern us.
Yes, we have to rehabilitate Mother Nature as the highest power before it sweeps us away definitively.
We have to rehabilitate nature in the way we manage it, starting with our agricultural and food system.
Our energetic needs have never been so high, whereas fossil energy resources are starting to go down. Solar and wind energies are not ready to take up the challenge of meeting the short-term needs of the world.
Yes, many international leaders are immature and corrupt.
Just listen to some newly arrived leaders in Latin America and it will give you the shivers.
Not to mention other areas of the world.
Where are the wise men in the world’s governments and what would be their real means to act and put things right?
Who is wise enough to appoint wise people?
Today, why don’t we have a high world authority, which would also count in its ranks, next to political elites, scientists, religious representatives, representatives of the spiritual world from all traditions, creatives, enlightened and free spirits, "witness" and "observer" spirits?
There isn’t going to be a spontaneous shift of consciousness in the majority of people just because everyone is confined to their homes.
I don’t believe it.
Most of them don’t have the tools, practices, knowledge, thinking capacity to operate a salutary change for their own immediate reality, such as a better health, an enlightened diet, clear and objective reasoning about the situation, mastery of mind, managing their emotions, managing their relationship to others.
This confinement of the world will lead to the emergence of depressive disorders, domestic violence, delinquency and settling of scores in some poor countries, when the big cats, impoverished and hungry, will be released, etc.
At the end of the confinement, nature at rest thanks to reduced pollution will become asphyxiated again as there will be an aggressive human activity to recover economically.
I don’t think people will sit down and say: "No, that’s enough! I don’t want to go in this direction anymore! "
Most people won’t be able to do so. Their children will be hungry, and they will have to pay the rent, the postponed taxes.
It’s going to be even worse in poor countries. People will have to survive again.
People will have to work twice as hard to get back up and bring back the illusory economic balance that prevailed before the crisis.
Only revolutionary, pacifist and enlightened spirits could initiate change.
The world needs to base itself on a spiritual paradigm.
Why won’t most people be able to quickly have a spiritual shift of consciousness?
Because spiritual values, spiritual practices to be able to face
the collapse of the being will not have been acquired or been taught yet.
The challenge of today’s man will be to save his skin and then, if he saves it, to draw some lessons.
To change and face the future, he will have to act with tools dormant for thousands of years and to which many don’t have access by indifference for the millenary heritage of the ancients. Starting with common sense.
Wisdom is common sense.
When I talk about the necessary tools, I don’t talk about trendy and distorted, mainstream spiritual knowledge whose only purpose is superficial and folkloric relaxation.
I am talking about extremely powerful advanced practices, profound and efficient, that could raise today’s panting human being to higher levels of personal development.
We practice them here at the Jaya Center. Other Masters and Centers practice them.
Man needs to reconsider himself, to rethink its right value and right place in the universe.
For the yogi, the mystic, the awakened man, the human tragedy inserts itself in an implacable logic it won’t escape, as long as men won’t have found the awakening of consciousness, the union with the Universe, the consciousness of the divine and its subtle planes.
In relation to cosmos, we are so small, yet
it created us. But man has not understood yet how reality works by lack of love for nature’s subtlety.
If we do not seize the opportunity of this essential self-questioning, we will disappear leaving eternal dust behind us.
Nature opened its arms to us like a mother to her child.
What have we done with it?
We have made it fall into our illusory and temporal reality.
But nature, of infinite nature, has the nobility of the creative process and it is generous.
Beyond our tiny planet, it dances with its cycles, "energetically" and eternally free because it is conscious.
Because man is made of nature, born from nature, he has to develop his own nobility of soul to honor his mother.
He has to learn how to not identify anymore with his poor reflection in the mirror of his sad reality, but to change this self-image inside.
So, the image in the mirror will change in front of him.
This is how he will be able to start changing his reality.
But for that, he will first have to Stop, Sit down, be Silent, See and finally Understand.
Hari Om Tat Sat
Translated by Stéphanie Bosco
©Centre Jaya de Yoga Vedanta, Réunion Island