When the mind has left thought and is restrained from moving towards another thought, it comes to rest in the middle. Then, through that middle state of being, one’s true nature blossoms brilliantly.Verse 62
How to do this technique
We normally think of time as consisting of past, present, and future. In yoga, the present is not considered to be part of the time. The present moment is the gateway to the eternal. The past and the future are part of the time. And they are considered to be illusions. The past and the future do not exist. Only the present moment exists. Whatever event ever took place, only took place in the present, never in the past or the future. When we think, the mind always takes us away from the present into the past or the future. It leads us into the illusion. When we are not thinking, then we are in a state of awareness.
We are living in the present. That is what awareness means – to live in the present, to be aware of the present moment. That is all the verse is teaching us. Stop thinking. Stop going into the past or the future. Remain aware, and live in the present moment. This is one of the central teachings of yoga. To live in awareness, to maintain a state of awareness throughout the day. When one practices a sitting meditation, one is attentive, one is in the present by following a meditation technique. Yet it is important to remain aware throughout the day, and not just for 30 minutes a day while practicing sitting meditation.
This verse asks us to remain aware throughout the day. If a thought arises, leave it. Come back to the present. Then, through that middle state of being, one’s true nature blossoms brilliantly. The middle state of being is awareness. By being aware, by living in the present, one is liberated. It is one of the ironies of life that we find God in the present, in the Now. Usually, we always look to the future for our salvation. This is true even in our everyday life. We believe we will only be happy in the future after some event has occurred. After we have made some money, or after our children are settled, or after we go on holiday, or after we buy that house, and so on. The future is an illusion. It is a trap. There is no salvation there. Even after we make enough money, or buy that house, our lives do not change substantially. New problems arise, new challenges present themselves. It is only in the present that we find an abundance of joy. Buddha used to emphasize living in the now, being attentive to the Here and Now. It was one of his central teachings. Whichever path you choose, awareness in one form or another will always be required to reach God. To practice this meditation, move deeper into the present. Turn everything you are doing into a meditation.
Meditation simply means to be aware. If you are walking, be aware that you are walking. If you are having a bath, feel the water flowing into your body. If you are talking, observe yourself talking. Be fully attentive to the present moment, and watch everything it brings you. When you do this, you will immediately feel peaceful. Immediately. All tensions, all worries instantly leave you. You have no thought of tomorrow, what might happen or might not happen. When you live in the present, you are relaxed. You are not endlessly planning your day, thinking of the chores you have to complete, and how once you complete them, you can put your feet up and relax. Instead, you feel relaxed just by living in the present moment. By not worrying about the future, but simply enjoying fully the present moment, you feel a big burden has been lifted. A huge sense of relief is felt. All you have to do is just live in the present, from moment to moment. A wonderful sense of peace and bliss is felt by living in the present. The mind is no longer active. You will then realize that the true cause of your suffering is the uncontrolled mind. Just by stopping the mind for a brief period, one feels so peaceful. If you find thoughts arising again, leave them and come back to the present. Living in the present is a wonderful experience.
Once you practice this, you will never want to give it up. You will automatically find yourself living more and more in the present moment. The question now arises, what should one do when one is facing problems. By living in the present, are we not avoiding the problems we are facing in our lives? Should we also not plan for the problems we might face in the future? A mind is a tool. It is meant to help us navigate the ups and downs of life. Should we not use the mind to solve our problems? Yes, the mind is a tool and can be used to solve problems. However, yoga teaches that a better way to solve problems is to go within. If you had a choice between the mind solving a problem, and God solving a problem, which would you choose? The mind is like a light bulb. It can shed some light on your problems. God is like the sun, giving infinitely more light than a light bulb. When you ask God for an answer, you get a perfect solution to your problems. So ask God for an answer, and then go within. You will be blessed with insight you never knew you had. You will receive the answer in a flash, in an instant. Sometimes you may receive the answer from external sources. In the next newspaper article you read, the next television program you watch, or the next conversation you have. All great discoveries have come through insight, in a flash. Even Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. They do not come through lengthy reasoning of the mind. It is also not necessary to think of problems that might arise in the future. The future is best left to itself. Sometimes when we face a problem, we dwell on future problems that may arise. For example, if a person loses their job, they may start thinking that they will go bankrupt, lose their house, or even face starvation. Usually, various mental images occur along with these thoughts. These negative thoughts should be stopped immediately. There is no point in thinking about a problem that has not yet occurred. When a problem arises, it should be dealt with at that time. Our thoughts create our future reality. By dwelling on negative thoughts, one only increases the likelihood of a negative outcome. Even if one is facing an immediate problem, one should live in the present.
See what you can do now to solve the problem. Instead of thinking of other problems that may arise, see what can be done now to find a solution to your existing problem. Worrying is a useless mental activity, that solves nothing and finds no solutions. It only damages your health. When you live in the present, you still have the mind. It is only when the mind is quiet that you can find solutions to your problems. It is only when the mind is still, that we receive insight. Insight into our problems, and insight that solves our problems. Therefore, in the face of any calamity, live in the present. Problems are always a blessing in disguise. Always. A blessing that may not be appreciated till even years later. Problems are like a guide. They help us evolve and reach God. Buddha used to liken sorrow to a flash of insight. When there is a flash of lightning, we can suddenly see objects that were hidden in the dark. In the same way, sorrow is like a flash of insight into higher reality. It shows us the way home. Therefore, accept and trust whatever shows up in your life, knowing that each circumstance is perfect for you, and leads you to God. When we live in awareness, we know intuitively that God will take care of us. That it is not necessary to worry and endlessly plan for the future. That whatever we need will be provided. This text and many others state that the higher one’s level of awareness, the faster one desires are materialized. When we understand this, we immediately stop thinking so much about our lives. We can relax and live in the present moment. Therefore, trust God, have faith in God knowing that God always provides us with all that we need. There is a beautiful passage in the Bible (St. Matthew 6:25-34), that explains this: “Therefore I bid you put away anxious thoughts about food and drink to keep you alive, and clothes to cover your body. Surely life is more than food, the body more than clothes. Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow and reap and store in barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. You are worth more than the birds! Which one of you, by being anxious, can add one thing to your life? And why be anxious about clothes? Consider how the lilies grow in the fields; they do not toil nor do they spin. Yet, I tell you, even Solomon in all his splendor was not attired like one of these. But if that is how God clothes the grass in the fields, which is there today, and tomorrow is thrown on the stove, will he not all the more clothe you? How little faith you have! No, do not ask anxiously, ‘What are we to eat? What are we to drink? What shall we wear?’ Therefore, seek ye first the kingdom of heaven, and all else will be added unto you. So do not be anxious about tomorrow; tomorrow will look after itself.”