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The Psychology of Enlightenment: Muladhara - The Seat of Security

Published: 14.02.2014
Updated: 18.02.2014

The world is divided into three kinds of people. First and most common are those whose life-energy is spent killing time. For them, life has no meaning other than eating and drinking and grasping for enjoyment, which always eludes them. They are like human machines, seeing and suspecting nothing beyond the limited scope of their own machine. Killing time, they kill their own energy and drain the energy of those around them. Time merely passes for them.

The second kinds are of those who want to do something with their time and energy, but don’t know what to do. They are confused in their pursuit of various techniques and books and in their choice of paths. Lacking direction, they do not grow. Thorough they may read a great deal, their reading does not bring inner nourishment. These people lack the sense of discrimination. So their search leads nowhere.

The third kinds are those individuals who turn to their own inner experience for counsel. They have embarked on a real journey to the inner self, wherein lie all life’s answers. They know that if the answer is not found within, it surely cannot be found anywhere outside.

When we consider the example of those dynamic individuals like Einstein, for instance, who have brought some gift of themselves to mankind and changed the face of the world, we must realize that we, too, possess a hidden treasure within: the gift of infinite potential. We have the same capacity for unfolding our latent talents and energy as they do. What is possible for one human being is possible for each of us.

So what can we do to manifest our infinite potential? We begin by believing that this capacity exists in us. Now we believe in God, in a guru, in religion, in someone or something other than ourselves. It is easy to believe in others because there is no work involved. It is very easy to put our faith in an outside God because He is invisible. He does not interfere with our plans and desires. We can participate with Him in our imagination and mold our idea of Him according to our need. It is far more difficult to love another person, or even ourselves, because there is a tangible relationship. So, the first step is to stop relying on something outside ourselves. We must believe, instead, in our own infinite reservoirs of strength and vitality.

What kind of person do we want to be? The decision is up to us. Shall we simply pass the time allotted to us in a meaningless round of temporary pleasures? Shall we scatter our precious life-energy in a dozen directions that lead nowhere? Or shall we choose, instead, to go in the direction of growth. To gain wisdom and insight from our experience of life. And to discover and unfold our unique qualities?

To reach single-minded in our effort, although the mind will do doubt tempt us to go in a hundred different directions. My teacher once asked us. “If you were looking for water, would you drill fifty holes of one-foot depth or one hole that was fifty feet deep?” In either case, the effort is the same, but the results are different. We can choose to dissipate our energy in a variety of fruitless. Incomplete attempts to find water, or we can concentrate our attention, time, and muscle-power on digging in the direction of water until we tap it. The choice is ours.

To move in the direction of growth requires the persistent study of one’s own Self. How do you study the Self? Begin simply by asking, “What is man? Who am I?” Stop identifying with those things, which are given to you by society, like you name and title, or other concepts, such as success or failure, beauty or ugliness. These are, after all, only relative values. For instance, what appears attractive in one culture may be considered ugly in another. You know there are people in parts of Africa who wear ornaments, which stretch their earlobes or pierce their noses. If these people were to come to the West, they would look strange; but for them, long ears or a pierced nose are signs of beauty.

Concepts are not absolutes; they are all your own projections. They keep you revolving around the periphery of life and prevent you from coming in touch with the core of your being. Go beyond them and ask, “Who am I really? Who is moving? Who is eating? Who is meeting? Who is doing all these things?” The fundamental question is this: “Who am I?”

At first we may not get an immediate answer to “Who am I?” because we are in the habit of imitating others. We dress according to the fashion out of fear of not being accepted. We laugh when other people laugh. Most of us don’t feel secure unless we conform to the people around us, so we seldom act according to our true nature. We act, instead, as someone else might act. The result is conflict. Subconsciously, we recognize this; but consciously, we forget it. We forget because we have so many distractions, so many appointments and activities, so many fantasyland execrations.

When we seriously ask, “Who am I?” we become aware of the conflict between what we have been taught to think we ought to be and what we really are. It begins to dawn on us that we have not been living correctly. That is when we turn inward to discover the exact nature of our body, our mind, and finally, the inside dweller which is our true Self.

The seven levels of consciousness or energy centers on which we will meditate are nothing but points of awareness from which we can begin to discern our true nature. In our journey to the seventh and highest point, we must beware of haste and spiritual greed. Our eagerness may tempt us to grab impatiently for our goal, but our success depends instead upon gradually letting go. What is it, after all that we imagine we are grabbing for? It can only be our fantasy - some preconceived idea. What do we hope to gain by our hurry? Overnight enlightenment is a false promise, which leads inevitably to disappointment and feelings of worthlessness. The momentary height, which is reached in haste, has no substance; it will burst like a bubble. Only that growth which is a gradual unfolding can endure.

This mind of ours is impatient. It demands instant answers and immediate results. There is a story of a rich man who wanted to send his son to the university. But he wanted him to graduate in just two years so that he could go into the family business. The old man offered to pay double if his son could be graduated early. The dean said to the father, “Well, I can graduate your son early, but first tell me one thing; you must know what you are settling for. You must decide if you want parsley or an oak tree which takes years of careful nurturing and growth before it matures. Tell me, is it a little sprig of parsley you want or a mighty oak?”  

If we are searching for the mighty oak, for the wellspring of our creative potential, for the real answer to “Who am I?” we must give up the idea of instant enlightenment and be willing to work consistently and sincerely.

The first step is to consider the body. It is composed of four essential elements which ancient traditions called earth, water, fire, and air. You will not find any organism in which these four elements are missing. Now, each of these elements has its corresponding element in the universe. The earth element within the body, for instance, corresponds or vibrates with the earth element throughout the universe.

What composes the body or microcosm also constitutes the universe or macrocosm. There is a deep innate relationship between the microcosm and macrocosm, and we are capable of building a deep harmony between the two. Those who know how to build harmony are going to remain in balance, and those who are in balance enjoy health of mind and body. Sickness is nothing but imbalance, so where there is harmony, there is health.

Ancient cultures understood this relationship between mankind and the universal elements. They recognized the universal earth element as the soil, the ground, and the foundation, on which we sit and walk and grow. When they searched for man´s own corresponding foundation, they found a point at the bottom vertebrae where we sit. This point is referred to in Sanskrit as muladhara. Mula means “root,” and adhara means “support.” It is the root by which the structure is supported. In other words, the whole structure is balancing itself on that support which is the lowest point of our spinal column.

This is the first point of awareness from which we can transform our feelings of insecurity into a solid foundation of self-reliance. Here we come into contact with the earth element and the earthly desire to acquire, to hoard. In the old days it was common for people to bury gold coins for safekeeping. Times haven’t changed! Recently, a gentleman casually mentioned to me, “I trust gold so much that whenever I save some money, I buy guineas and hide them away somewhere!”

What is this desire to hide, to buy, to hold onto things? What makes a person think that way? Insecurity. Man is insecure even when he has abundance. People fear that someday they may lose their possessions. They do not realize that eventually possessions must go because it is their nature to go. No matter how carefully you collect and preserve your wealth, it will one day leave you. If t does not first leave you, you know that you yourself will inevitably depart. One of the two things will happen.

In effect, we are investing our energy in the fear of future. Our habit of comparing what we have now with what others possess produces this sense of insecurity. Which denies us the capacity to enjoy what we have already. It is a kind of addiction, which brings anxiety and drives us to amass more than we need. With this mental addiction to achieving a sense of security through possession of more and more things, man no longer remembers what he originally meant by “more.” The word “more” is all rights, but how much more? He does not know. Wealth and security are always relative terms, and they seem always just out of reach.

When we judge ourselves by other people’s standards, we foster feelings of insecurity. Somehow. We haven’t learned that we will never find peace as long as we worry about what others may think of us. Why bother about them? Can we not let go and give them liberty to think what they will of us? If they become happy thinking ill of us let them be happy.

When you learn the art of living, you will know that as long as you do not think negatively of yourself, negativity is not going to affect you. The law is this: negative hurts only those who think negatively of themselves. We are hurt only by our own low opinion of ourselves. The whole problem of insecurity and feelings of inadequacy actually comes from within, and the only way to heal this inner wound is not to think ill of ourselves even for a moment. No guilt. This is the secret found in ancient teachings, which state, “You are nothing but God within. You are covering this divinity with your human form. You are Brahman. You are Paramatma, the supreme Soul.” Your positivity can become a castle around you which will protect you from the arrow of negativity.

If you accept that there is divinity in you, your divine nature will gradually become apparent. It is not a question of bragging to people that you are God. Bragging is egotistical, but experiencing the truth is altogether different. When you accept that inner divinity, you understand that the immortal Soul is living in this body temporarily. Your divinity is incognito. It may be difficult to accept this idea at first because we have been hampered by guilt for such a long time. We have been taught to think of ourselves as worthless sinners. However, if we now acknowledge the possibility of this beautiful dweller residing in all of us, our whole approach to the world will change. We will be able to say, “Let the world say what it will. I know what I am and who I am. If the world wants to agree with me. Let it. If it does not want to agree with me let it. I know myself. I do not live by the words and opinions of others. I know who I am. I am God incognito.” Eventually, people will sense that you know your true nature. When you acknowledge and respect your real self, the world, in turn will acknowledge and respect you.

Therefore, friends, our first step is to give up this insecurity which spoils our ability to enjoy what we have right now. We must remember that insecurity is not our inborn nature. It is a mental creation and an addiction born of our cultural programming. We can retrain our minds by focusing our attention on the seven energy centers. As we do, we will find life becoming so smooth that we will enjoy whatever life brings. Each moment of life will turn into joy. This is important because the years, which we have, will not come back. These are the beautiful years, so why should we waste these precious moments worrying about the future and upset about what other people may be thinking of us? We can choose, instead, to start now unfolding the infinite potential within. For this we need self-confidence and emotional independence. We can begin to develop these qualities by meditating on the point of awareness at the base of the spine, the earth center, our foundation.

Take time for your daily meditation either first thing in the morning or at evening after your day’s work. In the morning, you are fresh; your body is rested and full of energy, and your mind is not yet engaged in the activities of the day. In the evening, you can put aside the day’s problems and plans for the future and focus on the present moment. As you experiment with your meditation, you will discover which is the best time of day for you.

Now relax and say to yourself, “I shall come in touch with this earth element. I know this whole universe belongs to me as I am a part of the universe. Acquiring things will not bring me real security. I know that I am always secure when I feel my oneness with the universe. I am God incognito. What does it matter if the people I meet don’t recognize the divinity in me? It is better that I am able to move incognito in the world.”

Sit with a straight spine in a chair or on the floor, whichever is more comfortable for you. When the spine is erect, you can easily take your awareness to the base of the spinal column. Closing your eyes, visualize yourself sitting on a lovely square seat in the center of a beautiful yellow lotus blossom. The symbol of the square is important because its four corners link us to the cosmos in four directions: north, south, east, and west.

An alternative symbol for this center is a cross within a wheel or circle. (The Sanskrit word for this wheel is chakra. The energy centers are often referred to as the seven chakras.) Like the corners of the square, the four lines of the cross also connect us to the four directions.

If we focus our attention on this cross, we will see that one line is horizontal; the other, vertical. The horizontal line by itself resembles to the minus sign in mathematics. Adding the vertical to the horizontal transforms the minus too plus. We, too, can turn the minus aspects of our lives to plus. We can move from feelings of emptiness (the minus to feelings of worthiness and meaning the plus). We may see the world as horizontal in relation to the divine, which is symbolically vertical. The earthly things we have accumulated on the horizontal plane cannot accompany us at death. In that respect, they are insignificant in the face of the vertical divine. Meditation lifts our energy along this vertical line.

The color yellow is significant because it symbolically conceits us to that Higher Self which is genuine and lasting in us. Yellow is the color of gold, which, as we all know, is a precious metal, mined from the earth. Gold can withstand even the test of fire, for when the dross has burned away, only the genuine element remains. In the same way, those who meditate on the earth center are no longer driven by cravings for outer security because they are in touch with something within themselves which is real and immortal. They live without fear because they know that this inner self cannot be destroyed under any circumstances.

So, imagine yourself connected in all directions with the macrocosm, resting peacefully in the heart of the lotus. Now silently recite the mantra Shivam Shanti, which means “benediction and peace.” Just be. Be one with benediction and peace. Here there is no fear or anxiety or insecurity. Just be and let go. Allow all the labels and projections to disappear. Watch any pectoris or memories that pass before your mental eye. Ask yourself why you allow negative feelings and unpleasant situations to intrude on your inner peace. What are your mental addictions? What is your emotional programming? It is your programming, which makes you feel secure or insecure, not the objects you seek or the events you play out. After all, those who have a different set built-in emotional response do not share your reactions to these same objects and circumstances. These mental and emotional addictions will gradually fall away from you under your scrutiny, and you will enjoy a new sense of calm.

As your meditation continues, feel yourself to be nothing but flowing energy. Feel only energy. Know that you are communicating with the earth element at this center of security at the bottom of this spine. This beautiful lotus gives you a sense of peace and a pleasant fragrance within a frame of beauty. Be aware that your body, too, is a frame of beauty in the center of which lives the inside dweller which is Pure Consciousness.

If you are truly in tune with this meditation, you will eventually notice that your sense of smell has become very keen and pleasant, and that you can smell things even from a distance. Each of your five senses has its corresponding energy center within the body. As you meditate on each center, your sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell all become very sharp.

Perhaps you now rely on pills and medicines to maintain your health but, as your mood becomes balanced through meditation, you will become healthy naturally. What you have been getting in a gross form through medication, you will get in a subtle form from the universal energy. This is a whole new concept: you can draw energy directly from the universe when you are in tune with yourself because you and the universe are one.

Meditating on the first center of awareness will help us to be relaxed, calm and in tune with the macrocosm. Our communications with the world will become very smooth and gentle and free from friction. This is the whole art of living. Start now. Bring the energy of benediction and peace into your daily life and open yourself to the experience of profound wellbeing.

Title: The Psychology of Enlightenment Publisher: Jain Pub Co Edition: 1994 HN4U Edition: 2014

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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Body
  2. Brahman
  3. Chakra
  4. Chakras
  5. Consciousness
  6. Einstein
  7. Fear
  8. Greed
  9. Guru
  10. Mantra
  11. Meditation
  12. Muladhara
  13. Paramatma
  14. Sanskrit
  15. Shivam
  16. Soul
  17. Tap
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