On Guidance

by Judith Wermuth-Atkinson

Practical Gains from Esoteric Practices II. “Practical Gains from Esoteric Practices I” can be read at this link: http://www.ahymsin.org/docs2/News/1505May/07.html

Often I have asked myself if I have been guided through my life. Many people have said that we all are. According to their particular religious and cultural background and, most generally, according to their own views, different people believe themselves to be guided in various different ways. Some—directly by God; some— by their ancestors or by a guardian angel; and others think that they can channel the answers to their problems or meditate on their dilemmas. No one can be sure about the way another person is guided. Sometimes, we might even imagine that we have been given answers to our questions by a higher power, while in reality we have created those answers in our own desperate minds. And yet, it is undeniable that sometimes we are guided. I myself have felt this way, on and off, throughout my entire life.

Recently, I started thinking more carefully about the question how I have been guided. I was prompted to ask myself this question because I was in panic. My spiritual teacher, Swami Veda, had left his physical body.  I had been able to ask him for guidance, and I had been blessed to receive it only for a short time – a few years. But now I could no longer ask anyone to advise me, to help me, to teach me. “Was that really true,” I asked myself. I played back the instances in my life when I was desperate or even in danger. How did I deal with things? When I was young I believed that I was guided by the teachings of a great Master, Beinsa Douno, who had left our world a few years before I was born. Later, after my father passed away, I thought that he kept watching over me. Often, I have simply prayed, and I was sure that my prayers were answered. But now, at this point of my life, after I had finally found the one living person who could answer my questions definitively, with the authority of wisdom itself, I had lost him. Or have I?

Being sad and missing my teacher made me practice meditation in an even more disciplined way. It was the only thing that could bring me back into the world he gave me. Then I noticed that I was getting advice, answers, suggestions, or comfort in various other ways too. I would get an e-mail and it would contain a very precise answer to a certain question I had been struggling with; I would receive a message from another follower of my teacher and her message would get into a dialogue with my thoughts about something that was making my brain and my stomach burn. Sometimes, I would read a portion of some text—in a book or a newspaper— and that text would call my attention to an alternative solution to a problem I had, and so on. I felt as if the whole world was in a dialogue with me and this was making me stronger and more confident.

The simplistic interpretation of all that might have been a conclusion that my teacher was helping me in my earthly life. In fact, I am absolutely certain that he is helping me. However, I believe that there is a lot more to it. Sitting in meditation and practicing a one-pointed mind more frequently makes us more focused and more perceptive in general. Our capacity to observe, to analyze, and to draw conclusions, increases. In other words, we become more alert. The awareness we practice when meditating becomes partly our state of mind outside the time of meditation too. We become more sensitive to everything, including to the voices of wisdom coming to us from all around. In the calm of a meditative state, in which we try to eliminate the random noises of our daily lives, we train our mind to attune to a more universal awareness, applicable on every possible mental level. Thus, we begin to see wisdom in daily life itself, or… we see guidance.

That is not to say that our guidance comes from our own minds alone. Nor does it come from a guardian angel or an ancestor, or from a spiritual teacher alone. Guidance seems to come to us from everywhere, in many different ways, and it is mediated through different means. Apparently it is the way the universe operates. There is guidance in every single vibration. But it is only the well trained, focused, one pointed mind that can be aware of the guidance we receive in life—not sporadically, not by chance, but most of the time. If we have a question or a problem and we sit to meditate on it, there is a high risk our own mind might produce an illusory answer, something like the kind of a dream that Freud called “a fulfillment of a wish.” If, however, we shut down the loudspeakers of the incoming noise—our thoughts, wishes, memories, feelings, desires, etc.—then, through our meditation practice, we can become aware of the wisdom of the universe which might speak to us through a teacher or another beloved person from beyond, through a higher being, or through a headline in a cheap tabloid; then we could be more certain that we have awareness of reality and we will not have to rely on the figments of our wishful thinking.



The Himalayan Tradition of Yoga Meditation

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