Sunday, December 11, 2016

The 'nights of spiritual work' ~ Atman Nityananda

The 'nights of spiritual work'

In the spiritual path (and especially during the first years) there are the so-called 'nights of spiritual work '. We are in a ´night´ when we haven´t enthusiasm, motivation and appetite to practice, when we don´t do our daily Sadhana and we find various excuses to justify ourselves for not practicing; when there are doubts about to continue or not our spiritual journey, when there is laziness, resistance, when there is no light, clarity, enthusiasm and lucid or positive experiences.

We can overcome this spiritual ‘night’ by various means. I will you give you here some important ideas that can help you a lot.

Firstly we must accept spiritual ‘night’ as part of our journey. As day and night are parts of the nature, similarly the ‘days’ and ‘nights’ of inner work are part of the spiritual journey. As long as in our mind exist the tamas and rajas gunas and our lower ego is strong, we cannot avoid the ‘days’ and ‘nights’ of our sadhana. Those ‘nights’ of the inner work will occur periodically and their intensity and their duration depend on several factors. However as we reduce by regular sincere practice the rajas and tamas gunas from our mind and increases the sattva these ‘nights we will occur more rarely, will not be so intense and will last less time. Moreover, as we become more skillful and intelligent we can overcome more easily these ‘nights’ of inner work.

However these ‘nights’ are also an opportunity to see our ego more clearly, to strength our willpower, the courage, the endurance and other capacities and to seek more intensively the communion with God.

One important way to overcome the resistance of ego is to do a Restart and begin the spiritual journey and practice as if it were for the first time. In the early years of our spiritual journey perhaps it would be necessary to do this restart several times in order to overcome the resistance of the ego that wants to make us to abandon the spiritual path. The ego can appear as voice in our head telling us that our spiritual effort it is a waste of time, that we cannot succeed in this endeavor, that we cannot achieve a great or spectacular change - according to the fantasies of the ego. Together with the voice the ego manifests in us as emotions of despair, disappointment, dislike, discontent and other similar negative emotions.  If we identify with the voice in the head and the negative emotions it is very possible to abandon the inner work and return back to the unconscious life full of miseries and suffering. Most of people have abandoned the spiritual path during a ‘night’ of inner work.

The Restart is a great antidote ego’s effort to convince us that we cannot succeed, because when we start from the beginning the journey we don’t allow or don’t give enough space to the ego to tell us that we have not made much progress. Since we have started just now our sadhana, there is no question of progress or no progress!

Another important mean is to seek refuge in the company of enlightened teachers or advanced aspirants. Be as frequent as possible in the company of people that have dedicated their life to sadhana and the realization of truth.

You must do sadhana for as much as possible time in ashrams (spiritual centers) of great teachers or advanced aspirants and if this is not possible for two or three days as often as possible. If you cannot find an ashram then find a spiritual center near to your place and participate in their works.

You can listen every day spiritual music and especially mantras. The vibrations of the sacred music will fill your mind and energy field with sattvic vibrations.

If you cannot practice, then study daily for a long period of time (two, three, four hours  every day) sacred texts and spiritual books trying to be self-conscious. That is, trying to be self-conscious, aware of the inner silent space. The spiritual ideas will infuse in your mind sattva and will counteract the negative thoughts of tge egoic self. Read also the biographies of great saints and sages, you will get inspiration and courage.

If you cannot practice morning and evening then try to be vigilant, alert and present as much as possible every moment during the day. You can increase you capacity to remain self-aware, to disidentify from the mechanical thinking and the compulsive emotions and investigate them during all day in every worldly action, whatever it may be. When you brush your teeth, when you sweep the floor, when you eat breakfast, when you walk etc ...

You can increase the sattva in your mind (which the most  important factor in spirituality) by eating sattvic food and taking in by the five senses sattvic impressions. Avoid tamasic and rajasic: food, impressions, actions and relations as much as possible. Especially the tamasic ones which make the mind clouded, dense, dull, dark, lazy and perverted. If sattva increases then naturally we seek spirituality and the union with the divine.

You can also set two times daily (morning and evening or at any time is convenient for you) a session of practice just for a few minutes. For example, a type of meditation, or Japa nama (repetition of mantra), Pranayama (breathing exercises), asanas of Hatha yoga for only fifteen minutes totally. Do not increase the practice time until you are very accustomed to what you do, that is, until the practice become part of your daily routine, such as your breakfast and dinner are. Don't worry about results and do not look for spectacular results. With this little practice you cannot have a very great progress but at the same time you have already a great progress, since you have overcome the resistance of ego (to abandon daily practice) and you have developed the will power, the determination and the self-confidence. In addition, you will have a greater understanding of what you practice and of the obstacles and difficulties related to the practice.

When these two sessions of fifteen minutes of daily practice have become a habit (positive in this case), part of your daily routine, then you can increase the time adding a few minutes. For example, you can add five minutes more, a total twenty minutes for each session. When you will be established in the twenty minutes then you can increase the practice time five minutes more for a few months.

ATTENTION! Don’t be in a hurry to increase the time of practice. Your ego will tell you (for sure) to increase the practice a lot, beyond your capacity and this will result in the same game of ego, which wants to disappoint you and make you abandon the practice.
If some days you feel to practice more do it, this is beneficial, but don’t change the time that you have set as a limit of the daily practice until this become part of your daily life.

You have to use and develop your intelligence and your discernment to find ways to overcome all the tricks that the ego which it will try time and again to deceive you and make you leave the divine life for the ephemeral sensual pleasures full of suffering and disease.

All the saints and the enlightened had difficulties and adversities, but they managed to overcome them by patience, perseverance, determination, self-confidence, courage, tenacity, resistance and willpower.

Never despair, though thoughts and emotions of despair can appear in you. Take courage again and again, pray, ask your inner Being and the Divine Mother and you will receive what you need.

Keep going practicing even if there are difficulties and adversities; it is certain that you will succeed to get rid of all tricks and delusions of the ego and live fully the freedom, peace and joy eternal and infinite. This is your birthright and your final destination.

Be a spiritual hero like Theseus, Hercules, Pythagoras Plotinus, Jesus Christ, Francis of Assisi, Buddha, Aivanhov, Sri Aurobindo, Sri Nisargadatta, Swami Sivananda, Amma and many others who have achieved self-realization or enlightenment.

May God bless you be free in this very life!

Om Tat Sat