A user’s guide to living – part 6
DAAJI continues his series on everyday living, introducing the fifth universal principle of the User’s Guide, which is about truthfulness and acceptance of whatever hardships come our way. As a starting point, this fifth principle helps us to live a contented, peaceful life, with acceptance and compassion. Then, as we progress, it guides us towards the ultimate nature of Truth and Reality.
TRUTH & AUTHENTICITY
Always be truthful,
accept miseries as coming from God
for your own good and be thankful.
The nature of truth
This is a vast topic, so we will start at the level of day-to-day behavior and then progress toward the ultimate Truth of existence.
Some of you may know the famous statement of Polonius in Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, “This above all: to thine own self be true. And it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.” It is a universal principle that is valued in all cultures – to be genuine, original and authentic; to say what you mean and mean what you say; no hidden agendas, no masks; no hiding faults and no camouflage. Instead, only childlike innocence, purity and simplicity. Truthfulness means integrity, where thoughts are aligned with words, and words are aligned with actions. Where we walk the talk.
When we don’t walk the talk there is a disconnect and a sense of hypocrisy. The result is the pollution and corruption of our conscious and subconscious mind. We feel uncomfortable in our own skin, and that lowers our vibration – because we are not listening to the authentic voice of the heart.
Truth or satya is one of the very first principles in Ashtanga Yoga. In other words, it is fundamental and basic. And yet, the fact that Babuji has to remind us to always be truthful can only mean that falseness is hidden somewhere within us, otherwise we would not need to be reminded. Does a small child need to be told to be truthful? No, because they have no awareness of anything else, so we would instill the wrong seeds in the child if we did. We don’t need to interfere with the purity and innocence of truth when it does exist.
But authenticity is not so simple to achieve. Our multiple personas are driven by our subconscious minds, hardwired into our neural pathways as a result of years of habitual behavior, and they are often not within our awareness or control. That is the dilemma we face as human beings – we know the importance of transparency and truthfulness, but we do not know how to manifest them in our lives. Our lens on reality is hampered by our past complexities, subconscious patterns and tendencies.
And it is cumulative – the more layers of complexity we add, the more difficult it becomes to listen to the voice of the heart and follow it, so the more easily we follow wrong guidance. When we suffer from an untruthful heart and the coercions that result from it, it leads to an even greater lack of authenticity, so our inner environment is messed up and wrong habits are perpetuated.
Truthfulness is dependent on purifying
the full spectrum of consciousness
– subconscious, conscious and superconscious
– and to do that we require a method that
reprograms more than just the conscious mind.
And when we do try to be truthful without purity of consciousness, we often end up hurting others in the process, because our intentions are not always pure. So, while it is good to be truthful, until we arrive at inner purity we may not be able to express that truth without hurting others. When we do hurt others, even unintentionally, guilt often develops, and guilt is difficult to remove. It can only be done through genuine prayerful repentance and letting go at bedtime. And this brings us to another important aspect of being truthful – to accept our own failings with humility and genuinely offer them in a prayerful state. It purifies our system of guilty feelings, which are the hardest impressions to remove.
Related to this is another challenge we face: Can we cultivate truthfulness mindfully? Not really. The result will be superficial, because truthfulness is dependent on purifying the full spectrum of consciousness – subconscious, conscious and superconscious – and to do that we require a method that reprograms more than just the conscious mind. Some people try to do it through hypnosis, but hypnosis is a very primitive and laborious approach compared to the Heartfulness Cleaning. Unless and until we have removed all the layers of complexity from the subconscious mind, it is not possible.
Truthfulness emerges from within, once we remove all the overlaying complexities. Truthfulness is our inherent nature. In fact, once we try to correct it mindfully, it means we have lost the connection somewhere. Practicing truthfulness mindfully is like practicing compassion, or practicing selfacceptance; it is good that we are aware of the principles, but we need to adopt the right approach. In this case, the right approach is to expose ourselves to the inner Reality, become one with it, and dissolve in that inner state. When we are in osmosis with that inner state, truth expresses naturally, without the need for any artificial efforts. That is what this principle 5 is all about.
When we are in osmosis with that inner state,
truth expresses naturally,
without the need for any artificial efforts.
To spread truthfulness, we don’t need effort or external force, just as to love someone we don’t need effort. To hate someone is a different matter – we have to think over it. To do rightful things we don’t need effort; to do wrongful things we need effort. To fabricate lies we consume a lot of energy, and to continue on the path of lies requires even more. It never ends.
I’ll share with you a humorous story about a thief who stole money from a rich man’s house. Later on he went to a shopping center, started spending the money, and got caught because he was using counterfeit notes.
So he was summoned to the court, and he argued with the judge, “My Lord, if I had known that these were counterfeit notes, do you think I would have stolen them?” Nice logic, no?
The judge said, “I agree with you. You would not have stolen them if you had known.”
“So how can you charge me for stealing counterfeit money?”
The judge replied, “Okay, I will not charge you for stealing counterfeit money, but I will charge you for stealing.”
Two days later, the thief was summoned before the judge for sentencing, and he argued again, “No, my lord, you cannot sentence me, because the notes were counterfeit. How can you charge me for stealing currency that has no value?”
See his state of mind! Lies logically perpetuate a crooked mind.
This is a very crude worldly example, but it does demonstrate how we get caught up in the web of complex thinking to justify ourselves. Compare this with truth, which is so simple, effortless, and creates no heaviness in the system. There is only innocence. Babuji, the author of these ten principles, writes in his commentary on principle 5, “Truthfulness really implies the sense of presenting one’s own self in its true colors. This is the state at which one exclaims spontaneously, ‘It is as it is.’”
An unwavering commitment to truth is demonstrated by correct thinking and right understanding, and both require clarity of mind and discernment – known as Viveka in Yoga. It also requires all the values of the heart, including courage, in order to act upon that thinking and understanding.
An unwavering commitment to truth
is demonstrated by correct thinking and right understanding,
and both require clarity of mind and discernment
– known as Viveka in Yoga.
The science of Reality
Today, most people accept science as being the source of true knowledge, because science uses reasoning and experimentation – it is measurable. And most people think of science and spirituality as being poles apart. Yet, is it really so? Babuji defines spirituality as “the science of Reality,” the science of truth.
During his lifetime, Babuji explored, researched, described and compiled a detailed map of Reality, and created a method of evolving consciousness through all the various stages, in a series of steps. He described this stepwise process as the evolutionary journey through the chakras of the human system, in his book, Towards Infinity. His research meets all the criteria for scientific discovery – it is observable, precise, measurable, and consistently repeatable from person to person.
Babuji explored truth by starting with the cause of our existence – the causal body or soul. It is from this base that consciousness, then all forms of energy, and eventually matter are created. In addition to the five senses used for observation by most scientists, spiritual scientists are also able to utilize direct perception. In fact, the Sanskrit root of the word “rishi” means “to perceive.” A rishi is someone whose perception is pure, because the field of their consciousness is pure and unbiased. A rishi can perceive truth directly, without the coloring or interference of the mind.
A spiritual scientist will tell you that there are as many universes as there are minds to perceive; what we perceive is a projection of the mind. And it is only when our consciousness is pure that the other functions of the mind (e.g. contemplation, thinking, feeling, intelligence, decision-making, ego and willpower) are unbiased. Only then is real Truth perceived. For most people, consciousness is colored and filtered because of the complexities and impurities they have accumulated. Their lens of perception is not clear, and information is interpreted according to the concepts of their belief system. What is perceived is their individual reality rather than the universal Reality.
It is only when our consciousness is pure
that the other functions of the mind
(e.g. contemplation, thinking, feeling,
intelligence, decision-making, ego and
willpower) are unbiased.
Only then is real Truth perceived.
How do we arrive at truthfulness?
If Reality is that undefinable state described as “it is as it is,” how do we get there? It can happen only by freeing ourselves from every concept, by removing all the complexities and impurities in our field of consciousness. And that requires a set of meditative practices, correct thinking and right understanding, proper action and right behavior. Only then do we arrive at the consciousness of Reality, and when that consciousness too ends will we arrive at the next state, akin to Truth.
Let’s explore truthfulness in a very practical sense. As mentioned earlier, satya is one of the fundamental principles of Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga, and it is there in every tradition, for example, Jesus expressed it by saying that he was the Truth. At this deeper level, satya means a willingness to explore and be committed to that which is unchanging, the absolute Reality.
We try to be truthful in everything that we do so that our actions and dealings are in consonance with that final state. In practical terms, it means that at any point of time we are committed to the highest truth we can perceive. It is not a fleeting thing, like an opinion or a judgment. To be truthful in any situation is to consider the most stable point of view.
The truth behind miseries
The second part of this fifth principle tells us to accept miseries as coming from God for our own good and be thankful. What has this to do with being truthful?
On the surface, this seems so controversial and paradoxical, even ludicrous. Imagine that you are suffering because your young child is critically ill, and someone tells you to be thankful to God! How will you feel? It would be inhuman to be unaffected, and yet some level of poise and acceptance must come if you are to provide the best support for your child. You will have to transcend that feeling of misery, somehow, so that you can be effective in helping anyone. Now, imagine another type of situation, where you are going through difficulties that you know are for your evolution, or for love – will you perceive them as miseries? Not at all. Like Majnu with Layla. Even during the hardship, you will not be cognizant of the pain, you will not be aware that a fire is being lit underneath you. You will simply move on in complete acceptance.
It can happen only by freeing
ourselves from every concept,
by removing all the complexities and impurities
in our field of consciousness.
You see, when you have to keep reminding yourself, “Take this misery as a gift, enjoy it as a gift from God,” then it’s no longer a gift. Once you are aware of the pain, and try to convert it, by hook or by crook, into a gift, it becomes a challenge for an ordinary human mind. And we are all ordinary people.
We generally seek what is pleasurable and run away from what is painful. As the intellect processes all the information received by our senses, it classifies them into two categories – likes and dislikes. In Yoga these are called raga (attraction, attachment) and dvesha (aversion). When we don’t get what we want, we feel miserable. And when we get what we don’t want we also feel miserable. Therefore there is a constant process of push and pull that is the root cause of all the sufferings that we experience.
The truth is, nature brings us exactly what we need for our growth and evolution. It is only when we label them as likes and dislikes, good and bad, that they become attraction and aversion. Our brain is often hardwired to resist, and when we resist what happens? We resist Reality and we feel miserable. When we perceive the truth behind miseries – that they are given to us to remove all the complexities that obstruct Reality – they become gifts from God. Then we go through the experience, feel what we must, and move on.
This is skill in action, and it is a skill that comes from doing a daily meditative practice. It involves being able to rest in a state of neutrality and stillness in the moment, so that we may have complete acceptance of Reality. When this state is achieved, no matter what happens we will be more effective in dealing with the situation at hand. We also see the truth behind the miseries, and develop a very natural acceptance in the face of suffering.
It is a state where we are so immersed in the divine love that it does not really matter what happens in our life. There is no need for analysis, there is no need to think that it is a blessing or a heavenly gift from above, because where love is there, where is the need for introspection?
But most of us are not at that level yet. When we are not able to sail through unaffected, what can we do when the situation is unfavorable? We are already affected, so there are only two possibilities: either we accept or we resist. Let us say we resist, will the misery disappear? No. Simply by desiring it to go, it doesn’t disappear! Whereas, once we accept it, something new emerges from inside.
Therefore there is a constant process of
push and pull that is the root cause
of all the sufferings that we experience.
The first thing that emerges is that we start preparing ourselves to surmount it. We become stronger in the process. Second, we proceed along the path of continuous improvement: “I am going through this misery because …” and, “I should have done that instead.” We become wiser, better, and we learn how to get out of the situation. This is possible once we accept things. If we don’t accept things, we will still suffer, but we won’t learn anything, we won’t become wiser, and things won’t change.
Here is how Babuji describes a person who has learnt to accept miseries: “After sufficient practice, it becomes his second nature and its consciousness too drops off. The glamour too passes away. When this is attained, there remains nothing but swimming in the sphere of Reality, and further on the idea of swimming too becomes extinct. The power generated by the habit of forbearance helps him a good deal in his pursuit, and he enters the sphere described above.”
This stage is often achieved by Heartfulness practitioners. Acceptance brings such a liberating attitude that helps us to continue onward toward Reality, where we experience calmness of mind. We realize that all apparent miseries and sufferings are invaluable gifts. The feeling of joy naturally leads to gratitude.
It is a state where we are so immersed
in the divine love that it does not really matter
what happens in our life.
There is no need for analysis,
there is no need to think that it is a blessing
or a heavenly gift from above,
because where love is there,
where is the need for introspection?
Reflections on the principle of truthfulness
Let’s now explore how we can apply this principle in everything that we do. We may not yet have reached the stage of ultimate Truth, but are we at least authentic?
At the deepest level, truthfulness is a commitment to that which is Real and unchanging. In daily life, it translates to integrity and alignment between thoughts, words and deeds. Other ways to describe that state are authenticity, sincerity and genuineness.
Let’s for a moment think about the opposite of true, which is false. When something is not presented “as it is,” we say it is false. And if we examine our lives, we will see the presence of falseness all around us and within us too. When we pretend to be what we are not, it falls into the false category. As discussed earlier, we know that it is generally not intentional, that most of our personas are unconscious, we are not aware of them. That is why the practice of self-study, known as swadhyaya, is so important in Yoga – so we become conscious of our patterns and make changes. And even more important to the awakening of truth is the Heartfulness Cleaning, a practice developed by Babuji to remove the root cause of our subconscious patterns and tendencies – our samskaras.
What happens when we identify our ego, our sense of self, with anything other than Reality or Truth? The ego then becomes a false identity. It is no longer original, but a self-modified version of the original. It has been programmed and conditioned by our experiences from childhood, and is shaped by our interactions with our immediate environment. It is a coping mechanism, a series of masks we wear, personas, identities that we assume, to get through day-to-day existence, that become hardwired into our neural circuitry. Yet we think it is who we are. At an unconscious level, we believe the ego is who we are because it defines our identity, and it has been colored by all the various layers of human experience from our past.
When we look outside, the truth is colored by these masks. Generally, it is easier to observe this in others than in ourselves. Then, to make it worse, there are companies that try to convince us to buy their stuff. There are politicians who pretend to be representing us. And the media serves us a steady stream of fake news, and the social media pull us in multiple directions.
In the midst of all this how do we live truthfully? By aligning our thoughts, words and action with the highest truth that we can perceive in our heart. The quality of discernment of the heart helps us to separate truth from falsehood, especially when we meditate and cultivate that discernment.
In our life also, all these troubles are
at a physical level, mental level,
ego level, and subtle body level.
What happens when we go
to the center of ourselves,
by going to the innermost
depth of our heart?
I have learnt something from tornadoes and hurricanes. The safest place in a tornado is the center, the eye of the storm. At the periphery there is havoc, but at the center it is extremely still. In our life also, all these troubles are at a physical level, mental level, ego level, and subtle body level. What happens when we go to the center of ourselves, by going to the innermost depth of our heart? I wish that we all may learn to do that. It is possible with a little practice; a little interest will take us there.
This is where our Heartfulness practices help. As we travel inward on this journey, we experience and become one with successive levels of consciousness at each stage. This results in ever-increasing levels of awareness and discernment, helping us to perceive reality from higher perspectives at every stage. In other words, as we evolve to higher and higher stages, our thoughts, words and deeds resonate more and more authentically with our center through the heart.
When we are truthful, we are light, authentic and genuine. Our confidence increases. We become morally stronger.
When we perceive Reality with the eyes of truth, we realize that pleasure and pain are two sides of the same coin. One cannot exist without the other. We cannot choose one and avoid the other. When we accept this with complete understanding, we are filled with gratitude. We accept everything as a gift from the universe.
The twin principles of simplicity (principle 4) and truthfulness (principle 5) are intertwined like two strands of a rope, and together they lead us to the highest state of being. While simplicity enables the shattering of our individual network, truthfulness enables us to see through our illusions and perceive Reality as it is. Both lead to the final state of purity that we arrive at before the final destination.
Some months back, when I was remembering Babuji, the following words bubbled up to describe him: “Simple in every sense, pure in every sense, selfless in every gesture, caring in every act, ever smiling and blissful, yet my beloved, my all in all, my everything, suffered all the time.” Such a wonderful paradox of blessings and sufferings!
When we live in the heart, we are always connecting Reality with day-to-day life, and the result is an integrated state of being, rich and whole. This we will continue to explore in the next three principles, which are also about human behavior.
Article by KAMLESH PATEL (Daaji)
Illustrations by JASMEE RATHOD
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