Establishing Inner Guidance (30)

Let’s try to go today to a real spiritual practice, thanks to which it will be possible to easily establish contact with the so-called Inner Voice. Our inner self, the voice of the heart, or if you prefer, the voice of silence, can begin to speak clearly and distinctly within us. Despondency and depression are great opponents of contact with the Spirit Guide within one’s heart. Yogis call Ishvara the source of this voice and spiritual guidance, maintaining that it is the Voice of God within us. Let us try to summarize in a few points the entire basic process of spiritual practice, which is based on recommendations for prayer and contemplation known in all religious and spiritual traditions. It is enough if the entire set of exercises takes you several minutes, or a maximum of one hour.

1. Get up in the early morning hours, between 3:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. local time (add an hour during summer time). This is the season called Brahmamuhurta when the divine energy is most intense. Just staying awake during this time allows you to overcome all life’s weaknesses. Brush your teeth and rinse your mouth twice. People who are very emotional by nature should take a short but thorough bath to wash away dream and astral impressions.

2. Sit down for spiritual exercises in the yogic posture called padmasana (lotus flower) or sukhasana (cross-legged position). The first method brings miraculous powers, the second – easier – gives all success and prosperity. Keep your back straight and place your hands on your knees in a gesture called Jnana Mudra or Chin Mudra. Relax your entire body, taking care to maintain a straight torso posture. Relax your knees and hands. The fingers of the hand are arranged so that the index finger touches the crook of the thumb, and the other three fingers are straight. When the palm of the hand is turned towards the sky, it is Chin Mudra. When the palm of the hand faces downwards, this is the Jnana Mudra called the posture of awakening inner wisdom.

3. Light a candle or a small oil lamp in front of you (you can also use a vessel with sacrificial fire). Incense is also recommended, preferably rose aroma for spiritual purposes. You can also use rose oils. They help develop the spiritual properties of the heart and soul. Leave only this light on in front of you, turning off other light sources. It is a good idea to keep the light in front of you at eye level, or at least heart level. Pay attention to the flow of thoughts and feelings of your mind, observe them for a moment, as if trying to touch your inner depths. Focus more and more on the source of light in front of you until you experience the glow and brilliance within. This is the exercise of Jyotishmati, which is also called clarification of the mind. Concentrating on a burning source of light is a basic practice of Hatha and Raja Yoga adepts, as well as Sufis and Rishis. Gaze into the brightness, observing the stream of your mind and listening to the sounds of the morning silence.

4. Focus your attention on the sensation of your breathing. Listen to the sound of your own breathing. Inhale freely and deeply, mentally repeating the syllable SOU (Sau, Sow), which seems to be the sound of inhalation. Exhale loosely with the thought forming into the syllable HAM, which appears to resound in mind as the sound of the exhaling. The breathing is relaxed, deep and easy. The basic phrase (mantra) of kriya and hatha yoga for building mental balance and harmony seems to float in the mind as the only thought remaining in the mind. Neurotic people should perform this practice for a maximum of 24 breaths. Mental balance and spiritual stability are necessary on the spiritual path. Usually it is enough to practice in sets of four breaths. You can do two or three series with pauses to freely observe the light.

5. The practice of vibrating the primeval sound called Prañava is the next point of practice. Prañava is the sound that permeates the entire universe, the vibrating soul of the cosmos. Celebrate solemnly your cosmic birth from Spirit, your birth as a being whose consciousness spreads throughout the universe. We usually vibrate the Prañava sound 21 times to synchronize with the Universal Soul, with the Holy Spirit who is the soul of all souls (selves). Parampurusha flows into our hearts and helps us achieve the Kingdom of the Spirit of God. Repeat the Prañava loudly or whisperping, depending on your home circumstances. Three sounds: A, U and M make up the vibration of the Prañava sound. A and U merge into the sound „O”, which rises and becomes a sound similar to „M”. Together it comes out something similar to “Ooomm”. The practice of repeating Prañava is called Omkara in Yoga and is the basic spiritual exercise of all Jnana, Raja and Mantra yoga adepts. Sages called Rishis or Sufis often practice Prañava because it awakens the source of inner wisdom and self-knowledge flowing from the depths of the Spirit of God. After finishing Omkara, remain silent for some time, listening to the sound of silence.

6. You can now begin the practice of reciting the name of your Ishtadevata, which is a personal phrase (mantra) given by the Acharya (Spiritual Teacher) or, more commonly, the holy name of God or the Master of your religion. If Ishtadevata has a form or shape, hold it in your mind’s eye or gaze at a suitable image. (When repeating the name 'Buddha’ keep the image of this figure in your mind; when repeating the name 'Jesus’ keep the image of your holiness in your mind.) If your religion does not attribute any properties or images to the Divine Name, then try to grasp with your heart and soul the all-pervading and omnipresent Divinity. Basically, a devata means an angel, a divine messenger or an embodiment of the Divine. Repeat the holy name (mantram, wasifa) preferably 108 times using a rosary (mala, vardya). It is really important that the mind thinks about what the mouth is repeating. Name and Shape should work together. When you have finished repeating (reciting) the name, then keep the image of your Ishtadevata in your mind. Focus on the Shape of the figure with great love and zeal. Continue like this for at least five minutes. Remember that the Shape of the figure is for contemplation, and the feet are for worship (adoration). One’s Guru (Spiritual Guide) can also be an Ishtadevata serving this practice.

7. Try to continue contemplating divine thoughts confirming your spiritual qualities with the help of the phrase I Am, the original of Aham Asmi. We usually call this practice Brahmachintana. This is a continuation of the contemplation of Ishtadevata in one’s heart. You state (confirm) every thought as if from the point of view of this Divine Perfection.

“I Am Divinity”
“I Am the embodiment of God’s Perfection”
“I Am one with God (Absolute, Father and Mother)”
“I Am the perfect Jewel of Life”
“I Am the Light of the World”
“I Am the embodiment of God’s Love”
“I Am the Divine Power, the Creative Power of the Absolute.”
“I Am Existence, Consciousness and Bliss”
„I Am Bliss, all-satisfaction and delight”
“I Am the Almighty – everything is possible for me”
“I Am the All-Knowing – everything is known to me”
„I Am Omnipresent – I permeate the entire universe”
“I Am Ishvara (God), Om Ishvaroham!”

The practitioner can gradually expand confirmations with those that are necessary for him, such as the features of truth, sympathy, peace, kindness, mercy, etc. We practice Brahmachintana by repeating confirmations out loud or mentally as many times as we feel we need it. You can choose just a few or even just one thought to repeat each day. This exercise allows you to break the bonds of limitation that bind human existence.

8. Listening to the Inner Voice is the last essential spiritual practice in this morning cycle. Focus on your Ishwara (Divinity and Perfection of the Soul, True Self) or on the Ishtadevata in your heart (Sufis and Rishis also use the symbol of the Triangle or the Five-pointed Star here). It may also be a Guardian Angel (Guardian Deva). Blending into the silence, listen to the sounds of silence resounding in the morning. If you have a problem or an issue to solve, put it in the form of a question and ask your own interior, your God or Angel (Devata, Deity). Then listen in silence. When a strong thought and feeling arises in which all other thoughts disappear and the silence deepens, then we can be sure that this is the answer to our question. This requires some practice and trust. The “voice” usually appears when the tension of waiting for an answer disappears. Sometimes the voice doesn’t want to come out or we’re still not sure. It just takes a little prayer and patience and the right answer will come. Sometimes the answer comes through a significant passage in a book or through a man who appears with answers to our questions. (Persons with mental disorders should skip this point of practice and rely only on direct, verbal instructions and advice from the Spiritual Teacher. Disturbances of consciousness caused by drugs [including alcohol] are also mental illnesses. In these cases, the mind is too disturbed to be able to recognize the Voice of God). Also remember that the Inner Voice will never want to hurt or maim you, nor will it ever give you suicidal thoughts or command you to kill others. Following the Voice of Conscience requires practicing Spiritual Devotion (Ishvarapranidhana), it requires complete trust and self-surrender to God. The Good Will of God is what guides every living being.

9. The last point of the morning practice program may be a set of asanas, mudras and bandhas suitable for hatha yoga adepts, depending on their level of advancement in the exercises. A set of exercises called „Sun Salutation” is recommended. Also, a puja or short service for devotees and religiously committed people may be placed at this point as a celebration of the beginning of the day of creative work.

HELPFUL ADVICES ON THE PATH

I) Make sure to practice every morning. The light of the waking day is the greatest medicine. Contemplation of the light of dawn cures diseases of the soul and heart. Sleep between 9 p.m. and midnight. You will help yourself maintain good health and youth. Morning weakness is usually a sign of low blood pressure or spleen dysfunction. Overcome it at all costs. Sages (Rishis, Sufis) practice before sunrise. This is a time of connection with the forces of Light.

II) Pay attention to your speech organs, restrain your language so that it is gentle and kind. Forget about mindless gossiping. When the mouth is silent, wisdom increases. Language ignites the karmic circle of cause and effect much more powerfully than thought. We become what we express with our voice. Talking about poverty makes you poor. By speaking negatively about others, you become such a bad person. Be sincere in your speech, avoid falsehood. Direct the power of the Word towards good.

III) Try to serve society with your work. Karma yoga is truly the foundation of the path of spiritual development. Whoever doesn’t want to work doesn’t want to develop. The energies of miraculous action are awakened through work, not through laziness. Spiritual practice serves life and work, not the other way around. Work (karma yoga) is the basis of kriya yoga. The path to enlightenment leads through action.

IV) Introduce elements of common prayer and silent recollection among your loved ones and in your family. A community that practices together stays together. Common spiritual practice unites the family or circle of friends. Separation in the spiritual life entails separation on the material plane. If you cannot do otherwise, practice for family or friends at least once a week, maintaining the vision that you are doing it together. You can also inspire others to listen to spiritual music together or to visit holy places. Never introduce spirituality maliciously or in anger. Don’t force someone by using your own authority or seniority. Rather, use prayer and your inner voice to recognize subtle methods of operation. Suggest and wait.

V) Try to attend multi-day programs devoted to the path of spiritual development and meditation at least once a quarter. Whenever possible, try to attend weekly meetings devoted to spiritual teachings, chants and contemplations. If you think that your spiritual education is over and you do not need any teachings or courses, then know that you have not even started searching for a spiritual path yet. Everything is yet to come. Remember that all Gurus and Saints constitute one Spiritual Brotherhood. Don’t elevate or demean any character. Everyone is just doing their job. If you think that your Guru or Master is more important or more developed, you are already making a mistake and falling off the path into the depths of hellish fanaticism that pits religions and spiritual paths against each other for the well-known, equally devilish purpose of creating sparks of mutual hatred. Love every one of your neighbours. Follow the golden rule of kindness. Hum!

Many Blessings on your Path to Awakening and Realization!

Om Namaśśivaya! Hum!

Acharyacharya Swami Lalita-Mohan G.K.

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