When I first heard about meditation, I liked the idea of it. “Feel at peace through all of your experiences” was the promise echoed on almost every flier in every yoga center. The problem was that when I actually practiced and sat still it scared me. I noticed a thought emerge… maybe enlightenment was synonymous with going crazy or perhaps amongst all of the serious meditation practitioners maybe only about 5% of them made it to enlightenment, while the rest landed in the strange zone. Hmmm… it seemed a dangerous road to pass. Rich with rewards if you completed the journey, but what would happen if you didn’t?
Learning about aspects of the mind
The first thing Guru ji, Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati, taught me in relation to meditation was to become aware of various aspects of the mind. He explained how most people lived unconsciously with the belief that their thoughts were reality. He showed me how going beyond the mind would give me access to higher layers of consciousness, which translated into a greater sense of freedom and happiness. The mind, he said, had different aspects to it. Look at it like a great tool for analyzing data, organizing, arranging and managing many things, but do not mistake You for the mind. “You are not the mind,” he’d say emphatically with conviction. You are the supreme Self, the living light of consciousness. Though I didn’t know exactly what he meant in those days about supreme anything, I did know how I felt in his presence: at ease, joyful, truly happy, a sense of peace, open. I followed the breadcrumbs he left… I’m not the mind although I have a mind. The mind is effective for certain things, but I must not identify my self as mind… the more I followed his lead, the more my understanding of the cosmic solidified.
avirodhitayā karma nā vidyām vinivartayet
vidyāvidyām nihantyeva tejas timirasanghavat
Action can’t destroy ignorance, as it is not in conflict with it.
Knowledge of the Self only destroys ignorance, just as light
removes profound darkness.
~ Translation by Manorama
Click on the play button below to listen to Manorama chanting Verse 3 from the Atmabodha:
The next task was to learn what the mind actually was and how to experience what he called ‘beyond the mind.’ Day in and day out I’d head over to his center for training. It was an incredible time in my life. In his presence, I honed the skills of sitting, observing, practicing. My anxiety of being with Self abated a bit and when it did, I noticed a firm ground rise internally. I felt glimpses of something those fliers had promised, ‘a genuine sense of ease through all experiences.’
“What is the mind?” Guru ji, Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati, asked one afternoon. Before I could answer, he responded emphatically, “It’s pure energy!” Energy… he lingered there a moment pausing to making sure I heard him well. Energy underlies all of your thoughts and all language. I listened intently. Though he never expressly said it. I realized that to be a yogini I’d need to study what energy was and the first place to start would be to take a look at my own energy. Study Sanskrit, he’d say, and you will understand more.
Knocking On the Door of Nothingness
The more I mustered the courage to be with what arose in the meditation, the more that limitless unknown that Guru ji spoke about started to open up. I’d find my self inside a buzzing universe, a world of high energy waiting to be felt. When I stayed with it, that endless vibration translated into stillness. I mean still. Not a pebble moving, not a breath, nada. Like mauna, silencio. Nothing. I was knocking on the door of nothingness and in my ability to stay present with that silence the place beyond the mind, I literally went out of my mind, soaring into the realm of the rishis, the space that underlies the mind where yogic knowledge and understanding wait to be discovered.
Luminous Soul ‘Going out of your mind’ Exercise:
- Listen to Manorama chant the Atmabodha Verse #3
- For one month, practice chanting the Atmabodha Verse 3 x’s each week.
Read the translation.
- Sit in Luminous Soul Meditation 12 min practice 2 x’s each week
- Write your insights from your practice in your Luminous Soul Spiritual Journal
Did you learn something in this article? If so, please share it with your friends. Use the hashtag #Manorama #LuminousSoulMeditation
- Enlightenment seemed a dangerous road to pass. Rich with rewards if you completed the journey, but what would happen if you didn’t? #Manorama
- “What is the mind?” #ShriBrahmanandaSarasvati responded, “It’s pure energy!” … he lingered there a moment making sure I heard him well. #Manorama
- Listen to #Manorama chanting the #Atmabodha Mantra #3 http://sanskritstudies.org/going-out-of-my-mind
© 2015 Sanskrit Studies, Luminous Soul & Manorama