1) Begin each day with gratitude. Regardless of what’s happening in the world. For most, there are many things to be grateful for – shelter, clothing and food – everything else is a bonus. Just being alive is a great gift.
Gratitude Practice: Take five minutes and write. Begin with, I am grateful for… and finish the sentence. Repeat until you have established a foundation of gratitude.
2) Karma Yoga – Nothing settles the emotions better than a daily practice of Karma Yoga, which is the attitude with which action is taken.
When the light of consciousness shines upon you, action is inevitable, so why not take the best and highest action, which by the law of karma, leads to the best and highest result – a peaceful and clear mind.
Get Your Karma Yoga Groove On
A. Cultivate Gratitude. Everything you have, that really matters, has been given to you by creation. Did you make your body? Did you create this new day? How about your children, friends, and pets, did you make them? The sun, moon and stars? Not so much 🙂
B. Dedicate your actions to the field. Since everything you have, has been given to you, why not give back to the field of creation? Make a contribution to life – it feels great! “The heart that gives, is the heart that gathers.”
Some people need to protest, while others meditate. Some, by their nature, create conflict, others resolve it. The prime directive being, follow your personal dharma, while considering the needs of the total.
Warning: following another’s dharma is fraught with danger.
More on the dharmic field: every thing is created from and dependent upon consciousness, and by their nature, objects are created, maintained for a time and then destroyed. In other words, change is the constant.
C. When taking action, release control of outcome. This is a big one. The ego do-er doesn’t like this at all but once you release the arrow from the bow (take an action), it’s out of your hands. There’s more to it but essentially, if you had control, you’d already have everything you ever wanted and… you don’t! The sooner you get over the illusion of control, the better.
What do you control? The way you respond to the each unfolding moment.
D. With regards to the results of your actions, enjoy the good and learn from the bad. In this way, nothing is wasted. It’s all good! We only receive “bad” results because we took previous action that wasn’t appropriate or timely. So don’t beat yourself up, learn from your knocks and take more dharmic action in the future.
Why Karma Yoga? Most emotional upset comes from not getting what you want when you want it. With Karma Yoga, you take the best action you can in each moment and accept whatever comes as a gift (prasad). Overtime this neutralizes doership and settles the emotions.
3) Discrimination: between you (consciousness) and everything that arises within you, the objects and experiences of the apparent reality. This is a more advanced practice called jnana (knowledge) yoga.
It’s a matter of identification. You can choose to either identify with your thoughts and feelings, which are objects that constantly change or you can identify with the witness that knows and illuminates all objects and experience.
Inquiry: how can objects, both subtle and gross, be you, if you, the subject, are the knower of them?
Realize that your essential nature, limitless conscious existence, is never affected by that which appears within you. A cloud never leaves a trace in the sky! Weren’t you there before the present thought or experience? Aren’t you there during it? How about after it goes? And did this experience leave a lasting impression in you, consciousness? Nope. You are limitless my friend, never modified by that which appears within you. This knowledge is freedom!
Bonus: consider a news fast. The drama will always be there, whether you are paying attention to it or not. It’s a function of the field, which seeks balance and always has the right proportion of light and dark. You might as well take care of yourself, so you can then make the best decisions for you and your family.
Don’t let these jokers steel your bliss!
Double Bonus: You are… “that which is never seen, but which witnesses everything; that which is never heard, but is the essence of the hearer; that which is never thought, but thinks the thinker; that which is never known, but is the knower of the known and the unknown. There is no other witness, no other hearer, no other thinker, no other knower. This inner ruler is your own immortal self. Everything else is merely mortal.” Brihadaranyaka Upanishads
Join me, Wednesday nights 7pm for Meditation, Mantra and Vedanta w/ Q&A. And 1st & 3rd Thursday’s, noon, for Dharma Talk, A Vedanta Study Group. At True Nature, Carbondale, by donation. We’ll be live streaming Dharma Talk for those who wish to participate from afar. Questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
In loving gratitude, Eaden Shantay