Awaken to this spiritual realization, friend! We must each seek to know the value of time as much as we must seek to know the value of eternity. And more so, we must each discover the relationship between the two.
This blog offers both spiritual insight as well as spiritual practice!
Each day, we age, which means, our life-force is being used up. It is bit like a currency, an energy currency as Carolyn Myss once pointed out. How are we using it? Is the quality of our consciousness becoming more enriched? Do we experience more peace, joy and love?
And each day, there are times we must wait: In line at the grocery store, as our computer boots up or reboots, as we hold the phone in queue, as we sit in traffic that hardly moves. We can be quite impatient in such circumstances.
What if we were to use these periods of waiting to do something spiritual? What if we can take our life-force and use it to create spiritual vibrations for ourselves and our environments instead of becoming upset?
To see a World in a Grain of Sand And a Heaven in a Wild Flower, Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand And Eternity in an hour. — William Blake
Asha and I would cross the street looking at this bus stop with a beautiful circle of art between the benches. The sacred OM is superimposed on it for the sake of this blog, as if to say, what if we could use our waiting time to become more conscious of the eternal?
The Isha Upanishad says this: Leaving that which is transient, seek joy in the eternal. In this way, you can seek to live for a hundred years, for nothing will bind your soul. In other words, to live in the eternal is to transform time for the eternal flows into it.
Where does waiting fit into it? Waiting often triggers the structures of our ego. And these structures, when activated for the wrong reasons, at an improper time, and for an unwanted duration, can waste our life-force, squander it.
Whenever we wait, ego becomes aware of attachments. And we become aware of all that we don’t like! We don’t like to wait. “A waste of time”, we say. And that’s precisely when we can put that time to the best possible use: to find joy in the eternal.
Sue Monk Kidd, I believe, once wrote that when we learn to wait, our soul grows. I’m paraphrasing here, because, she said “grow up”, meaning, we mature, we sage. This is why chanting mantras can help. The vibrations are different from regular thoughts.
A mantra changes the vibrations in our mind and in our aura. There is a definite effect. The degree to which this change takes place, the depth of its influence, the amount of time the effect lasts, depends on how we learn to use mantras.
For the sake of this blog, I will offer you a mantra that I myself use. More importantly, I will share some valuable tips on mantra practice. And just so you know, I practice what I’m sharing with you. If I don’t chant mantras when I wait, my mind will think of inconsequential things. And I will become impatient.
Mantras anchor me in the present moment while at the same time helping me sense something other than ordinary awareness. This is very important. If we simply say a mantra but don’t sense something more than our ordinary awareness, then the mantra falls short of its power. And we fall short of spiritual realization.
PRACTICE SAYING THE MANTRA
om namaḥ śivāya, śi-vā-ya namaha
Noting all of the important suggestions!
In this simple formula, you are saying the same words forwards and backwards. The words mean exactly the same thing both ways, and grammatically correct, too. Shiva is a name for Divine Mystery. It means that which favors us. It does not mean “destroyer”.
- Focus on the literal meaning. Notice how the word feels when you say it in your mind or quietly aloud. Make a connection to what is signifies. You know that it points to higher consciousness. Do you sense this higher consciousness as you say the mantra?
- The mantra is a tool that protects as well as liberates. It frees us from the limitations of the thinking mind. So if you say the mantra and are still thinking too much, you miss the point. Notice if you are thinking too much.
- You don’t have to say the mantra too many times if, with each utterance, you sense that which it signifies. What’s the use of a hundred and eight recitations if all you can sense throughout is the sound of your voice saying the mantra? Are you sensing something more than just your normal self-awareness?
- If the sound of your voice pleases you more than the presence of Divinity, then that is your reward for saying the mantra. However, if using the mantra is to call upon the presence of divinity, then pay attention to how much you can sense that divine presence. What more do you sense, other than your self-awareness?
- Be truthful in your practice. Be real about it. Don’t presume you know what mantra is about or what divine presence truly is. And don’t second guess true presence when it arrives. Be open. Be respectful. Be authentic.
In One Heart,