Wednesday, September 8, 2010

III: 34

Chapter 3, Verse 34

"The attraction and aversion
Which are felt for different objects
Are natural.
Do not fall under their power.
They are obstacles."

Eckhart Tolle:

"What is a negative emotion? It is an emotion that is toxic to the body and interferes with its balance and harmonious functioning. Fear, anxiety, anger, bearing a grudge, sadness, hatred or intense dislike, jealousy, envy...all these disrupt the energy flow through the body, affect the heart, the immune system, digestion, production of hormones, and so on. Even mainstream medicine, although it knows very little about how the ego operates, is beginning to recognize the connection between negative emotional states and disease. An emotion that does harm to the body also infects the people you come into contact with and indirectly, through a chain reaction, countless others you have never met. The generic term for all negative emotion is unhappiness.

Do positive emotions have the opposite effect on the physical body? Do they strengthen the immune system, invigorate and heal the body? They do indeed, but we need to differentiate between positive emotions that are ego-generated and the deeper emotions that emanate from your natural state of connectedness with Being.

Positive emotions generated by the ego contain within themselves their opposites which can manifest at any moment. For example, what the ego calls love is possessiveness and addictive clinging that can turn into hate in a second. Or, anticipation about an upcoming event, which is the ego's overvaluation of the future, easily turns into its opposite...letdown or disappointment...when the event is over or doesn't fulfill the ego's expectations.

Praise and recognition make you feel alive and happy one day, while being criticized or ignored make you dejected and unhappy the next. The pleasure of a wild party turns into the bleakness of a hangover the next morning. There is never good without bad, no highs without the lows, because ego-generated emotions derive from the mind's identification with external goings-on which are unstable and liable to change at any moment.

The deeper emotions are not really emotions at all but states of Being. Emotions exist within the realm of opposites. States of Being can be obscured, but they have no opposites. They emanate from deep within as the love, joy, and peace that are inherent in your true nature."

Sri Krishna Prem:

"Deeply embedded in the cosmos is the power of attraction and aversion by which all things move and change. From the sub-atomic wavicles with their positive and negative charges to humans with their likes and dislikes...all, that is, save those who have internally detached from the tentacles of unskillful desires and who act solely in response to the law of their inner unfolding. As long as people do certain acts because they like them and abstain from certain others because they dislike them, so long must they whirl helplessly upon the wheel of life and death. But the Atman, the one Self, is forever free in its own Being. Its apparent bondage appears only with the self-identification with its lower vehicles, the windows through which its light is filtered. The higher we climb the ladder of the soul, the more the inherent freedom of the Atman will shine forth, allowing us increasingly to witness nature's unfolding, while continuing to be immersed in it, instead of blindly suffering it."

[May we suffer consciously instead of blindly. Conscious suffering is the essence of compassion.]

Sri Aurobindo:

"We may say that there are two paths open to us: the life of the desire-soul engrossed in the workings of its active nature, identified with its psychological and physical instruments, limited by them, bound by the personality, subject to nature; and there is also the life of the spirit, unlimited, immanent, and transcendent. Freedom is possible. To win this freedom we have to live inwardly and be able to hold back the natural running of the senses after external objects. The mastery of the senses, the ability to be content without all that they hanker after, is a necessary condition of the true soul life. Only so can we begin to feel that there is a place inside which is not subject to the mutations of the mind in its reception of the touches of outward things, a soul which in its depths is linked to something immutable, tranquil, serene and august, master of itself and unaffected by the eager movements of our external nature.

But this path cannot be trod so long as we are subject to the capriciousness of unskillful desires, the force behind our superficial lives. When this capriciousness is mastered, the tumultuous consequences which are its emotional results will fall into quietude. The joy and grief of possession and loss, success and failure, pleasant and unpleasant touches...all of these will be left behind. A calm equality, fueled by love for the Lord, will then be gained."

Paramahansa Yogananda:

"Those who engage in regular Sadhana, but not deeply, will encounter both satisfactory and unsatisfactory results. According to their experiences of the moment, they will alternate between zealous attraction and discouraging aversion to meditation. Spasmodic effort becomes the trend...towards deep meditation after satisfying results, and towards the relaxation of attention when favorable results are not forthcoming. An earnest student does not indulge in these peaks and valleys. Ardent consistency is fostered, regardless of results."

A friend:

"How do I put this principle into practice? Maybe I can go beyond attraction and aversion by doing nothing? But of course I can't do nothing. I have to do something. Well then, what do I do? How to embody this verse in my actions? Because whatever I choose is going to be based on my likes and dislikes. It seems I have to go outside myself."

[For me, "outside myself" means outside the precinct of my lower my heart of awareness. The key is the Buddhi or discerning faculty turned inwards, which will quicken choiceless spontaneity beyond the attraction and aversion for "objects."]

Srila Prabhupada:

"Those who are not in Krishna consciousness are to follow the rules of revealed scripture. Thus one does not become entangled in sense objects. It is important to remember that sense attachment has been current a very long time owing to material association. In spite of regulated sense enjoyment, there is always the possibility of a fall. But acting in loving service to Krishna detaches one from all kinds of sensory attachment."

Another friend:

"It is our intention
That counts.
Just trust.
Just love.
God loves us
And trusts us.
Why not us Him?"

[Yes, it's not about the pursuit of some abstract perfection.
It's about a loving heart.]

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