Acceptance is the key, meaning if we’re put in a certain situation by destiny or reasons unknown – rather than disturbing our inner peace we should accept and try to make good use of that situation, while praying to God/Guru for his grace and guidance.
Story continues past Part 1…
I stayed home and decided to change my lifestyle. I shut off social media, quit whatsapp groups, stopped socializing, uninstalled various apps from my phone, trimmed down my phone contact list (had 400+ contacts, reduced it to about 20. I asked myself – if my body dies today to whom will it matter the most.. this question helped me delete extra contacts). In short, I blocked all possible distractions for the mind.
My daily routine was very simple – Wake up in the morning, do my daily yoga practice, cook my own food, go to work, sit for a mid-day 15 minute meditation at work, come home do yoga practice, listen to discourses or mantra chants, visit a nearby park or stroll on the rooftop, go to bed and repeat. One day while I was walking on the rooftop of my apartment building my mind went blank (thoughtless). This was a new experience for me, after I came out of that trance I called my friend to tell him what just happened. He said – Go have a beer you’ll be alright. I replied – Umm.. what? I realized, there is no point discussing with people who do not understand all this.
November 2018, one day when I was all set to start my yoga practice a strange thing happened – my body refused to move, no matter how much I tried the body won’t move to take the asana posture. I was like – okay, as you wish and I sat down for meditation that day. This continued for three consecutive days, it was clear to me that yoga has left me, thereafter I continued with meditation only. The 1.5 years of yoga and pranayama practice brought about many changes, I will state one of the major change – Deep breathing, that is breathing from the stomach rather than the chest. (Note that breath and mind are interdependent – if we control one the other is controlled. Did you ever notice – when we are angry our breathing rhythm breaks and is shallow/short).
Many a times I would cry profusely pleading for help, praying to God and all the enlightened beings, requesting: Why it is so difficult for me, why can’t you help me with this, Please help me out, Please show me the path and so forth. Quick note, you should try this – When you’re alone, at times, it is healthier to cry, plead and complain. It weakens our ego (ahankara), thereafter divine power takes on the charge to help us out. Alas, my prayers were heard, by the end of November 2018, I came across Sri Ramana Maharshi’s teachings of Self-inquiry (aka Path of Knowledge). On the sides, I chanced upon Sandeep Maheshwari‘s life story and his enlightenment experience and decided to go for a 10-day Vipassana course, during the course I felt deep sensation in the crown and between my eyebrows. I also tried his Sound of Silence technique, I still hear humming bee sound at all times even if I am in the middle of a noisy street (However, later on I learned that our focus should be on the One who hears the sound and not on the sound itself, thanks to Ramana Maharshi).
In early 2019, it was clear to me that from now on Ramana Maharshi will help me steer through the rest of my journey. With consistent Self-inquiry practice, I realized that the thought current started to subside. Sri Ramana Maharshi says – “Mind is nothing but a bundle of thoughts and as you start questioning the mind (via Self-inquiry) it will disappear in thin air, because mind is not a real thing”. I trusted my Guru’s words without a shadow of doubt, whatever he says is the Absolute Truth. By the end of 2019, thoughts reduced by 80% (it became easier for me to catch hold and accept or reject the intruding thoughts), the urge to go out and meet people vanished, and the desire to look for temporary solutions to quieten the mind diminished. All the while I continued reading scriptures and books from Ramana Maharshi’s Ashram and his enlightened disciples (there are tons of free pdfs available online). Earlier in 2018, when I was regular at yoga, I felt that sensations were predominant from Muladhara Chakra to the Heart. In late 2018, the sensations shifted from the Heart to Crown Chakra and between the eyebrows. From 2019 onwards, the sensations revolved around the Heart. Of course there were times of turbulence but because of consistent guidance and help I landed back on the route safely. I realized that while treading the spiritual path when someone is deeply connected with his/her Guru (or God) the help and guidance will certainly come to that person.
March 2020, one fine morning, I reached my workplace but didn’t feel like staying there for long, packed my bag and drove back home after an hour. I realized my body was feeling cold, I never ever had fever since 2017 so I assume it was Covid. The next day fever and uneasiness increased – I watched all this by separating myself from the body and mind. I said to myself – “okay, let us see what happens now. If this body has to die let it be so”. In next two days the symptoms went away. I didn’t bother to go for a test (or visit a doctor) and continued with my daily tasks as if nothing happened. The Path of knowledge says that we are not this body or the mind, we are something beyond this body-mind complex, we are the pure consciousness itself.
In mid 2020, I was able to pull off two solitary retreats at home (thanks to Coronavirus). I did a 21-day and then a 40-day stay at home (aka lockdown) retreat by myself – I didn’t step out of the apartment, worked from home, cooked, ate, carried on with Self-inquiry, read scriptures and slept in my tiny 600 sqft. apartment. This was a wonderful experience – calmness and ability to control my mind increased further. By the way, I must admit that it felt awkward when I stepped out of the apartment after 40 days. It took about 2-3 days for my eyes to adjust, to be able to view lengthy roads, big houses, huge buildings, spread out parks and the nearby golf course. On the positive side, I noticed that latent tendencies died – anger, greed, hatred, jealousy (and all such related words were off of my dictionary). Thanks to Maharshi’s teachings of non-duality, he says – “ALL is ONE, we appear separate at the body and mind level but the Atman (Reality) is ONE”. This statement drilled down through my head and immersed into my heart forever. I was able to clearly identify the gap between two thoughts – goal being to establish oneself in this gap. This revelation further slowed down the thought current, bringing it down to 99% (for this technique, credit goes to Tripura Rahasya). During this time all my leftover questions were answered in one way or the other and since then I have no more to ask.
December 2020, I was reading HWL Poonjaji’s book ‘Nothing Ever Happened’ (HWL Poonja (aka Papaji) is Ramana Maharshi’s disciple, he got enlightened in Maharshi’s presence). While reading the book, a statement struck me and I realized – ‘I am THAT itself’. A strong suction force, as if someone turned on a vacuum cleaner from within and it is swallowing my whole being, was felt around my chest area. A few months later, I learned from Ramana Maharshi that after the first glimpse of the Self (Jnana/knowledge/truth) it takes time to stabilize and one should keep up with the practice in some form until he/she is permanently established in the Self. Thereafter, the urge to read scriptures or religious books left me and I stay put in Sahaja Samadhi state (that is meditating on the Self 24×7 – doesn’t matter if the eyes are open or closed, doesn’t matter if the body and mind are active or not). In fact Sahaja Samadhi is our natural state, the veil of ignorance (aka mind) won’t let us experience it.
Since early 2021, I have stopped maintaining my diary notes. The restrictions that I put on myself in 2018 are dropping off one by one. Calmness prevails at all times, it is more like awake but asleep condition. Nothing worries or bothers me. It is a piece of cake to control and direct the mind in whichever direction I would like it to focus in (or in other words there is no impure mind left to be controlled). I do whatever comes in front of me without judging if it is good or bad (there is no one left to judge, they say that ‘pure mind’ is Atman itself). When we are established in the Self (aka Atman/Brahman/Reality) then only good will happen through us.
Now it is evident that there is nothing ‘new’ to be achieved. One should abide in the Self at all times, which is already here and now.
Self is like a Sun hidden behind the dark clouds, as soon as the clouds drift away the Sun shines forth. Effort is required only to remove the ignorance and not to get enlightened, because we are already THAT!
As requested, please find the links below. Hope it helps, Best of luck!
- Who am I, Spiritual Instruction, Maharshi’s Gospel pdf – Download link
- Talks with Ramana Maharshi pdf – Download link
- Day by Day with Ramana Maharshi pdf – Download link
- Who am I & Talks with Ramana Maharshi (Hindi playlist) – Youtube link
- Ashtavakra Gita (Hindi Part 1, 2) – Youtube link
- Discussion on Self-inquiry by David Godman (English playlist) – Youtube link
PS: #2 and #3 are Satsang recordings (between Maharshi and the devotees), scroll to any page and read short conversations. #4, #5 and #6 are audio links (in case you don’t feel like reading). Cheers!