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Transforming Thought Patterns

by Swami Rama

Book cover: Path of Fire and Light Vol. 2[This passage has been taken from the book Path of Fire and Light Volume 2, pp 41 - 75, by Swami Rama (Rama, S., 1988. Path of Fire and Light Volume 2. Himalayan Institute Press.)].

The sages say that the only difference between you and them lies in the nature of your thoughts and your mind. If someone tells you that you are bad or have done something wrong you accept it, and you become bad. If you even think it, then you feel bad. You cannot forget that thought. You want to forgive yourself, but you have a habit of retaining such negative thoughts.  Some people retain good and helpful thoughts, and others retain negative and passive thoughts. That is why the view of yoga is that those thoughts that are helpful should be encouraged, and those thoughts that are not helpful should not be encouraged. On the path of meditation you learn this process.

Suppose a thought comes into the mind that you should slap someone. The faculty of discrimination can tell you that it is not a good thing to do, and then the thought will diminish. An ordinary man retains the negative thought, while a sage allows it to pass away.

There is one issue that is very practical and concrete, and you should remember if you really want to practice meditation. Often a thought comes into your mind and you become absorbed by that thought because of your habits and lack of training. Then, after a few minutes or hours, you suddenly wake up; you wonder what has happened and why this thought has controlled you. You need to practice to be free from the strong grip of those thoughts that do that to you. If one thought comes and then another thought comes, and if this continues indefinitely, then what becomes of your mind?

Then your mind is a catalog of thoughts, which include desires, wishes, and wants, and you can put these into various categories, such as inclinations or sensations. You can certainly create a hell that way! Every individual makes hell for himself. You create hell wherever you go, because wherever you go, your mind goes with you. As we said earlier, the world created by you is the mind. When you use the word “mine” and emphasize your individual identity, you strengthen your sense of “I”. That is a mental habit: you strengthen that vibration by repeating and repeating “I”. But this sense of “I” is ignorance; it is what keeps you from expanding your sense of self. By taking off this shackle and barrier for yourself, you are beginning to understand your essential nature. You create this barrier of the ego out of insecurity.

But human beings have a tendency to blame others for their difficulties; first of all they blame nature, and then finally, God. They do not want to take the responsibility themselves. They do not think, “If I am ignorant, why should God be responsible for my ignorance?” Most human beings do not think that. If you are suffering, why should others be responsible for your suffering? In reality, you are the sufferer; you created suffering for yourself. When you take this sort of responsibility – the moment you understand that – you gain a new courage, and it is a courage and strength that you need.

At the lowest level of the human mind you have ignorance; then at the next stage you have control plus knowledge; and finally you have the perfection to be with the Eternal. Then that absolute Reality or eternity assigns you jobs. Do not think that you are presently assigned to a job: you are presently assigned to suffer, because you have assigned it to yourself. But at the highest level of human development, the sages see that human beings are not utilizing the eternal wisdom. They come to this plane and teach and suffer. The great people, like Christ, Krishna, Moses, and Buddha – all those people who led the masses and whom still today the masses love, respect, and follow – have come from the Source, from eternal infinity.



The Himalayan Tradition of Yoga Meditation

Purification of Thoughts     Dhyana    Mindfulness
Japa     Dharana     Shavasana
Breath Awareness     Qualified Preceptor
Guru Disciple Relationship     Unbroken Lineage
Yoga Nidra     Silence Retreats     Full Moon Meditation

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