in the CHAPTER TEN Autosuggestion can work for all types of complexes, conflicts and phobias. All that is required is the need to remove the problem. Now how can a person find out the deeper problems that adversely influence his life, that cause him unhappiness and tension, the ones that he doesn’t even know about? The practitioner will find that his or her problems, phobias, fears, etc., slowly show themselves as more awareness is developed through yoga and meditation. A particularly good method of exposing these deep-rooted emotional and mental tensions is to regularly perform the meditational technique antar mouna, and to make a mental or written record of what is revealed during practice periods.
The next thing to be practised in the attempt to remove mental and emotional problems is to prevent outside occurrences and crises from having adverse repercussions on the mind. In other words, the mind must be made stronger so that it is not greatly influenced by external events. The method is to slowly develop detachment (vairagya) to everything and every person. This does not mean that you should become a vegetable or not involve yourself with the ups and downs of life and with personal relationships. It means that though you react to external activities in the form of love, hate, argument, etc., these should not influence you in a deeper sense. On a human level they must influence you, but in a deeper way they
should have no effect.
It is a matter of identification; if you see yourself as the body or the mind, then painful or undesirable physical and mental manifestations will greatly influence your life. In a similar way, on the other hand, if you don’t identify yourself with the body-mind, but with the centre of consciousness, then the physical and mental sorrows of life will have little effect on you. We can compare external stimuli to ripples on a pond. Ripples disturb the surface of the pond, but they have relatively little influence on the bottom of the pond. The same should apply to the spiritual seeker; negative mental vibrations and physical ailments ideally should not disturb his being. This is easier said than done, but with continuous practice of self-awareness one can attain the state where one is calm and tranquil among the tumultuous events of the outside world.
Another important usage of autosuggestion is in the cure and prevention of disease and bodily upsets. By consciously willing the body to become whole, strong and balanced, even the most serious terminal diseases such as cancer or leukaemia can and have been remedied by aspirants with strong willpower. The best times to make the autosuggestions are after meditational practices, or when just waking up in the morning and just before going to sleep at night. At these times the mind is particularly receptive to suggestion. Repeat the autosuggestion with intensity and feeling for a few minutes. Believe wholeheartedly that the autosuggestions will bring about the desired change. If this is done then the suggestion can only be successful. Half-hearted suggestions will surely
This is intended to show the reader that a process of re-identification is necessary with regard to ourselves and to our surroundings. Much unhappiness in life arises because we identify ourselves with our body, our mind, our job or any other role in life. We identify ourselves with transitory facets of existence, instead of with that in us which is permanent and unchangeable, namely, the very core of our existence. If and when we can dissociate ourselves from our role in life, our body and our mind, and accept these as merely manifestations of our inner being, the self, then meditation will almost be a constant and spontaneous process. Even a limited degree of detachment from our manifested aspects: mind and body, etc., will greatly help us to attain meditational experience because we will be released from the meditational impediments of bodily disturbances, mental disturbances and emotional disturbances. When all the physical, mental and emotional aspects of our being are calmed, then meditation will become a natural, simple and automatic process.
It is strange that if someone is asked what they are they will reply, “I am a doctor” or “I am a plumber” or “I am a housewife” or “I am a footballer”. They will answer in various ways, depending on what they consider their main role in life. They might give various answers; a woman might say that she is a mother, a wife and also a typist during the daytime. Yet really these things are not what they are, but what they do.
Let’s take an extreme example of how this kind of identification can lead to much unhappiness. Consider an actor. He sees himself as an actor, an actor with a fine physique, a handsome face and a manly voice. He takes great care to keep himself in good physical shape. Yet as the years pass he will progressively and very critically notice that he is becoming older. His handsome features start to fade, his body loses its strength and his voice loses its depth. He might even spend many hours every day despondently looking at himself in a mirror. He becomes depressed and unhappy because his conception of himself is disappearing. His self-identification with a transitory phenomenon is taking its toll. In many cases, especially with actors, this crisis has often led to an emotional breakdown or even suicide.
The situation exists with a mother; eventually her children will leave her. Again much unhappiness can result because of her self-identification as a mother. It is the same with a doctor, a plumber, a housewife, a typist. They are not permanent realities. Over-identification with them by the individual will surely lead to much strife and emotional upset. Identification with our body, mind and emotions is so common and widespread that we automatically assume its truth. For example, someone says, “I am thirsty.” This statement is said with no thought of its significance. It is not realized that the ‘I’ signifies our self-identification, and the ‘I’ refers to a temporary phenomenon, the physical body. A more realistic statement should be, “My body is thirsty”. In this way it will be implied that the body is merely a temporary
manifestation of the permanent self, the inner core of existence.
The same applies to our emotions and thoughts. We say “I am angry” or “I am depressed” and so on. Yet it is really the emotional system of the mind that feels these things. These are temporary emotional states which disappear as quickly as they arise; one moment there is friendship and then later there is a feeling of enmity. They are not permanent, even though we habitually identify ourselves with these states. We say “I think this” or “I think the sky is blue” or “I think that one plus one equals two”. Yet it is not really ‘I’ that thinks, it is the mind, and the mind is changing from day to day. It also is not permanent, so how can it be the permanent reality that is ‘I’? One day our mind can think one thing and the next day it can think something else. It is in a state of flux. How can we really identify ourselves with it? What we should say is “my mind thinks” or “my mind feels”, for the mind is not the real ‘I’.
We have the ability to watch the activities of the mind and the body. How can something that we watch possibly be our true identity? There must be something that is watching. The body and the mind are only instruments of action, of perception, of thought. Nothing else. Our real identity, the real ‘I’ is the centre of our consciousness. It is that which illuminates and witnesses everything that we do in life, the self. Though this is our core of existence, the essence of our being, very few of us operate from or identify ourselves with it. As we have already explained, most people identify with its manifestations and instruments, the mind and body. If we operated from the
self, if we knew the self to be our true identity, then we would be able to use our body and mind to their fullest capacity. Our mind and body would be able to work at peak efficiency. We would be healthy, for we would not impede the operation of our mind-body by our complexes and prejudices. From this viewpoint of identification, meditation would be a spontaneous activity.
How does one start to operate from the centre of consciousness, the real ‘I’? This is the whole aim of the spiritual path. It is a long and arduous path, yet the following is a great help in itself. Also, as already explained, even partial identification with the self and dissociation with the body-mind and roles in daily life are great assets in attaining meditational experiences. And meditation is itself a powerful tool in eventually reaching the centre of one’s being.
The first point you must realize is that the actions in life are only roles which you are fulfilling. They in no way represent your being or your true identity. They are merely a manifestation. This does not mean that you will cease to perform your roles; you will still do them, but you will now see yourself in the position of an actor. You will be able to witness yourself performing and acting your roles. You will see your true self as being in the audience, and the body-mind acting out its role.
The next point you have to realize that you are not the body and its sensations, you are not your emotions, you are not your intellect, you are not your mind in any way whatsoever. At first this will have to be done intellectually,
but after some practice you will cease to identify with all these manifested aspects of yourself, and you will know yourself as your true inner being, a part of the whole, the manifest and unmanifest existences which we know as God.
The experience of dhyana
During meditation one experiences a feeling of no anxiety. One’s normal self-interest seems to disappear and one feels the same, if not more, for other people as for oneself. Life no longer seems fragmented by opposing ideas and opinions. Everything merges into one composite whole. External events enter the mind, are absorbed, yet without causing the usual disturbances or reverberations. All things take their normal course of action, without any unnecessary hustle or bustle. Fear, the biggest troublemaker in life, no longer exists. Even fear of death disappears, and the idea of death seems almost superficial, non-existent and unimportant. The usual ups and downs of life are replaced by a continual and elevating feeling of the joyfulness of life. Everything seems to fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. Even normally opposing religious, philosophical and cultural ideas seem to be in unison with one another. Everything fits. The past and future seem to be unimportant. They lack meaning. What is important is the eternal now. Living and experiencing the totality of the present seems to be the only important thing to do.
The present is so absorbing that the mind automatically fixes itself on the work or action being done. Efficiency and perfection become the natural course of life’s events. The normal impediments to efficiency, such as worry or anger, no longer block the total absorption of the mind. Under these conditions work becomes play and play becomes work. There is no differentiation. Life becomes so joyful so that it needs no ambition, no justification, no reason; it is sufficient just to be. Remember that it is through frustration, dissatisfaction and unhappiness that we try to find a reason for life, or follow modes of life that are unnatural or contrary to our very being.