Audio Podcast: Money, Sex, Fame, Health, Self and Yoga
- Dear Friends,
Recently we have started "podcasting," which has been
called "internet radio." There is an audio podcast available for the
current newsletter (see below). From time to time there will be
others, and these may be announced through the newsletter.
If you ARE familiar with podcasts, you can subscribe through iTunes,
Podcast.net, Yahoo.com, and Odeo.com.
If you are NOT familiar with podcasts, you can look at the info at
the SwamiJ.com podcast page. That may seem a bit confusing. If it is,
just click on the "listen" button on that page for the podcast you
want to hear. I'll always include a link to that page when sending
out newsletters announcing podcasts. There is also a direct link
below to the current podcast. It should automatically open your media
player to play the audio recording.
SWAMIJ.COM PODCAST PAGE:
DIRECT AUDIO LINK TO THE CURRENT PODCAST:
(Podcast on Money, Sex, Fame, Health, Self and Yoga)
I hope that you enjoy this and the other podcasts, and that you find
this medium of communication useful to your practices.
In loving service,
MONEY, SEX, FAME, HEALTH, SELF AND YOGA
Everybody wants happiness. However, we usually seek it in ways that
are dependent on external stimulus, as if an outer cause leads to an
inner effect of happiness. Surely this process of stimulus-response
works to some degree; we have all experienced this in different ways,
where getting what we want seems to make us feel good, and not
getting what we want seems to make us feel bad. However, what if we
knew how to be happy without any stimulus whatsoever? What if you
could just rest in the deepest feeling of joy, regardless of the
There seems to be two polarities. Either we think we don't have
enough money, or we are striving to have more so as to feel secure
and affluent, pursuing what has come to be sold as prosperity or
abundance consciousness. Either we don't have a good relationship, or
we seek to find the ideal partner so that we will feel whole,
complete and needed. Either we feel lonely and unknown, or we strive
to be famous in some way, to receive accolades in our personal or
professional lives from our family, friends, peers, or community, so
as to feel exuberant with pride. Either we have questionable health
or active disease, doing little for our body with diet or exercise,
or we ardently pursue physical fitness and battle disease so as to
feel the satisfaction of conquering the body.
It often appears that there only these two polarities and that we
have no other choice but these two. Either we stay stuck where we
are, or we seek these seemingly higher goals. It is extremely common
for people to use "spiritual" methods such as meditation,
contemplation, prayer and mantra to attain these goals. There are
many lectures, seminars, books, video and audio programs on how to do
this. We are repeatedly told that we can have anything we want, that
all we have to do is visualize it, and the universe or God will
provide it for us. It is very easy to not see the ego drive behind
this approach to spiritual life. It means we are measuring spiritual
success by our bank account, sex life, popularity and physical
situation. It doesn't take a great deal of reflection to see that
these are reframes of attachment, hedonism or greed, which have
generally been seen as obstacles to attenuate, rather than goals to
However, there is a third choice, which is far beyond this
oversimplified perspective of having or not having the objects or
circumstances of our desire world. There is a way of being, a higher
goal, that has nothing to do with whether our desires are, or are not
fulfilled. In fact, it completely transcends the issue of desire.
This is not to suggest that one should starve in poverty, grieve with
loneliness, mourn in desolation, or suffer in physical pain.
Imagine for a moment that you were in such a state of mind that you
always felt complete, regardless of whether or not you have any money
at all. Imagine for a moment that you truly felt whole, with or
without any other partner being in your life. Imagine for a moment
that you felt at complete peace, even if no person had ever heard of
your name or accomplishments. Imagine for a moment that you were in
constant contact with that level of your being that was never born,
is not and cannot be diseased, and can never die, and is not subject
to any other of the impermanent vagaries of the physical body. To
know the Self, the Atman or Purusha, the center of consciousness is
to rest in the awareness of, to realize that which is beyond all of
these surface level sufferings. It is to seek the awareness of the
pre-existing wholeness or union that is sometimes called Yoga.
This can sound like a campaign promoting poverty, loneliness,
isolation and decay. Those promoting the worldly solutions will often
sell their wares in this way, by saying that words such as these are
designed to leave people where they are, or to be miserable in life,
as if these words are suggesting some future afterlife will be more
fulfilling. This is very far from the message of pursuing Self-
Realization. One who seeks to know the eternal, pure, ever-joyous
center of consciousness can easily live in the world, and enjoy the
objects of the world at the same time. Such a person can and will
naturally have all that is needed, will have close relationships,
will have active and enriching engagement with the community, and
will naturally move toward physical health and well being. However,
those are not the goals, but are the natural byproducts of sincerely,
passionately seeking that single higher goal.
Mind is very tricky. It will try to reason that, "Okay, so to get
money, sex, fame and health I need to pursue enlightenment. Good, let
me do that, so that I get what I want." That is a game of the mind.
The primary goal of seeking the direct experience of that eternally
joyous center of consciousness is being skipped over once again, in
the name of the lesser goals. However, one who repeatedly seeks that
single, higher goal, by whatever name you choose to call it, will
find that those secondary goals come easily. They become pleasant
experiences of life, but can have no effect whatsoever on whether "I"
am feeling "good" or "I" am feeling "bad." One who knows the Self,
the Atman can live in the world, but yet be above the world. Even for
one who has not attained permanent awareness of this Self, which is
the Self of all, but who is consciously, persistently, though gently
pursuing it, will find that the other pleasures will come, resting on
the foundation of the higher.
This is so elegantly simple and profoundly practical, bringing such
grand results, that it can be repeatedly overlooked. By being ever
mindful that the highest joy is already there, in the inner chamber
of our being, in fact, being who we really are, life becomes very
straightforward and happy. Moving towards this one goal brings many
fruits along the way. Life becomes poetry and song, filled with joy.
And one day, when least expected, when, in a moment, there is no
expectation at all, the Self, Truth, or God is revealed, and that
leaves all of the other pleasant experiences pale by comparison to
this which is incomparable and inexplicable.