We recently talked much about karma. I will just summarise: Everything is divine, intelligent energy. So are we and our actions. Energy constantly vibrates, moves, changes – nothing is ever the same for even an instant. Every movement/action we do or take has a reaction a consequence in unlimited dimensions, creating a holographic universe where everything is connected; every existence being that pulsing, divine, energy… which has many names. In Kashmir Shaivism that pulsing energy is called Spanda; and every form that exists comes forth from the Spanda and thus every form is an expression of the Lord.
So within that our individual life too, is a result of such movement, such vibration; furthermore we create, simply by living, the next movement which effects ourselves directly or which has effects so vast and unlimited that it effects generations and generations afterwards. From this perspective if we want “to bring joy into our lives”, we have to know two things: a) what is joy and b)how to act with so little disturbing consequences, that we can “reap the fruit in this life” ; i.e. our actions have to have simple results , creating small “waves only in the ocean of energy”.
Once we understand the first point, the second one follows easily. Let’s go back a few articles ago (last Christmas) where we talked about joy. True joy is some subtle energy which has no trigger in the outside world, but rises in its purest sense from our most inner being, realising who we really are. Hence it is always available within us; it’s what the scriptures refer to when the divine is described in the three modes of sat (existence) chit (consciousness) ananda (bliss/joy). Many sages including Patanjali write about the roots of this joy/ this ananda - as the source of our own being. Swami Rama says: “happiness (inner happiness/joy) is an attitude of mind coming out of an internal state of tranquillity!” Joy then is a sense of tranquillity and being which bubbles in us as a life-spring, which Swami Rama and others call love.
Now the question comes: how can we cultivate a life/ actions where this joy bubbles up in ourselves and expresses through our actions in daily life. This means really and simply, how can we live love, how can we spread love! (Oh not the sticky kind of love…no; but love that comes from the awareness that we are all One divine, intelligent, energy). It means being at one with this world - because everything is divine; everything is Spanda, Shiva, Brahman, Christ, Love…whatever word suits you best!
The great Mystics, whether at the beginning of time or those of today (wherever Truth was/is lived and has not yet made way to rationality (what we call the age of reason)) – all talk about that ‘Love’. It is a love that embraces all; in it we are one. Nothing can be excluded from that love; we might have to act “tough”- but then act “tough out of love”, not out of self-interest or anger. Become a lover of the world; bring love to the world – this is the way “to create karma that brings joy into your life”. Act from the point of love, not of rationality, not of logic or reason, not of self-interest or gain…but out of love! Difficult ! WHY? because all-inclusive love includes all the above too! So what to do?
We need to develop awareness of our own inner states of being, we need to know how we react, how we act and why. Our inner Self - the seat of that joy is always pure, always perfect but our conditioning darkens that joy. Get to know what darkens your joy…it’s not the world that stops the joy...the world just is as it is, a divine play! You have a very small role in his play, play it well! Play it from your core, your centre, your SELF and there is only joy in your life!
What is “playing it well?” We have much guidance from all corners of wisdom from throughout the world. There are the Yoga Sutras with their Yamas and Niyamas; there are the Silas of Buddhism, the laws of Moses and Christendom etc.….there is throughout all traditions, the Golden Rule: ‘Treat others as you would like to be treated yourself’. But all these fall short of love! Because all these still separate you from the “other”. Love embraces the other as yourself! As Tulsidas the great Indian poet-saint and reformer says: “Show love to all creatures and you will be happy; for when you love all things you love the Lord, for He is all in all.” Live from that point of love in everyday matters, towards your spouse, your children, your colleagues, your boss, your neighbour, the man on the street – yes, your adversaries, the incompetent and the competitor etc. And yes, for being able to do so we need to realize: “All these beings are indeed born from bliss; being born they live by bliss and after death they enter into bliss” (Taittiriya Upanishad) . And moreover, don’t forget the plants, the animals, the earth and all of existence! Share your love with all, embrace all – that strengthens the fountain of joy within you! Abu Sa’ID Ibn Abi-L-Tkayr writes: “The true saint goes in and out amongst the people and eats and sleeps with them and buys and sells in the market place and marries and takes part in social intercourse and never forgets God for a single moment!” Impossible you say!….Well it is practicing nothing less than “SELF-awareness”; always being linked to the core of yourself! Always being linked to the awareness that inside in your centre you and everything else is Ananda, Joy, Bliss , Peace! It’s not something you have to do… you are That. It says in the Taittiriya Upanishad: “Who could live, who could breathe, if that blissful Self dwelt not within the lotus of the heart? It is that which gives joy. “ Discover That - within yourself, then there is only “living a joyful life”, because everything you experience, everything you touch, everything you do is then infused with that joy which is bubbling up from inside you as ‘Love’. The energy that is created by that can only be “energy of love” , positive vibes of karma!
In the middle ages, there was a lay order called the Beguines, made up of women who had renounced both, “cloisters and hearth”- the warmth and shelter of a home and the protection of the Church. They lived in groups spending their lives in two major activities : daily prayer and meditation – the journey within – and the journey through the world by offering selfless service to poor and sick. Without the outer manifestation the inner journey could be barren and contrived; and without the inner journey the outer actions in the world are fraught with that “which darkens”.
Once we grasp that our body is simply the vehicle by which God moves in this dimension (the manifest world) - we know that to live fully and completely and joyfully- is to live in service to the Self within ! And if we do, it expresses naturally in four principal behaviours (recommendations given in the Yoga Sutras/Brahmaviharas) which keep our mind simple and clean and keep our action transparent. With such tranquil and transparent mind - life is naturally filled with joy; with natural ease our behaviour becomes : friendship towards contemporaries, compassion towards the unfortunate, reverence to the elderly, and indifference to undesirables.
Or as it is practiced in in Buddhism: 1) loving-kindness or benevolence, 2) compassion, 3) sympathetic joy, and, 4) equanimity.
These four normaly are seen as guides of how to behave in order to progress; but we can also look at it from the opposite angle: They are the result of practicing meditation, they are the result of living from the realization of our core divinity. It’s the result of having found our centre. In that Centre is “divine truth”, pure Ananda, In the centre of a circle…there is merely a dot, a bindu..in that dot the whole circle is held, is enclosed; all is One; as soon as one moves out of the centre the circle enlarges and there are different places, different points, there is duality. Once we extend from our centre into different behaviours, even extremes we have different forms, meaning conflict; we have dis-harmony, we are out of balance.
In the Taoist perception the harmony of opposites is stressed; it is the centre, is inclusive, is the Truth, is Love. I remember well when I was training to be a ceramicist; my Japanese teachers would always stress these two points. Every object has to come from the centre, and not just from the centre of the potter’s wheel, or the clay, but the centre within you. Secondly the finished object should never be “perfect” (in the western Sense); but it’s different irregularities, have to show the “harmony of opposites”(dark and light, rough and smooth etc.) Without this balance there is no wholeness!
All great teachings stress in one way or other the journey to the centre, which is the journey into that where opposites disappear. In the centre there is balance from there we can live in harmony with all there is. In the centre of our Being, that is beyond the conditioned ego-self is the divine SELF, is Sat-Chit-Ananda. How can we get in touch with it on a daily basis/
Well our tradition offers several practices: There is Atma-Tattva-Valookanam. Practicing the awareness of the Divinity within you, when you wake up! In other words sharpen your awareness of the transition from the core of the centre to the periphery; from the core of your being, where you rest in deep sleep – to the external world! And just dwell in that awareness, close to the core for a moment before you get up. Secondly, make it part of your morning ritual to offer from a pure heart, all your action, all your thoughts, all your speech, all your emotions of that day to the Divine, Guru or God. Once you offered it – it is no more “mine”; what is not yours cannot create “your karma; your waves”. Thirdly throughout the day, practice the 2 Minutes Meditation/Silence to remind you constantly of your centre and that your actions on whatever level should flow only from ‘Love’!
We are not talking about huge out of the ordinary experiences ; I am not talking about a philosophy about “things to understand or do” to bring more joy into your life. I am talking about experiencing yourself, how you change into a being of joy and love. The more and more that you become aware of that core, that centre of divine joy within you, the more your outer life will mirror that and it will express in loving-kindness , compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity. Energy moves always, karma is the momentary result of such movement, if you move to those qualities, your karma moves to those qualities. You are joy, remove that which darkens that joy, move into your centre, identify with not with the conditioned ego-self but find the divine core which you are.
“Your heart is the hub of the universe, go there and roam” (Baba Nityananda of Ganeshpuri)
The Astavakra Gita tells it simply as it is: “Supreme joy and awareness is what you are, so be happy.”