CHANGING OF PERSONALITY?
We are nothing else but a bundle of all the experiences that we have gained over all those millions of years, perhaps, and that constitutes our personality. Through meditational practices, changes come to the personality. For example, from certain experiences in life, one becomes hard, or one becomes obnoxious, or one becomes a heckler or troublemaker or whatever. If that person is sincere enough, that will cease in him because he will start viewing everything within the framework of love. Take the example of a heckler or a troublemaker. Why does he do that? What is the discrepancy in his personality that would make him do that? Of course, the teacher would always look upon such a person with love and compassion because he understands there is something wrong.
What is the mechanism that is making the person tick? The most common thing one would find is that there is such a blockage in him that he cannot express the love inherent in him. Therefore, because he cannot express love, his awareness is limited. By his awareness being limited, he had a lesser understanding and many times even the answer to a question might not be understood.
When we look at these things, study the personality, we do not feel pity, but we feel greater love and greater compassion. In like manner, meditation does change the personality. It takes away the hardness that is there and brings that mellowness that love inspires. It teaches a person how to love, it teaches a person the meaning of love and not only that, it teaches a person to become love. That is the fundamental change required in today’s man.
Because of the vast experiences one had in various lifetimes, there are conflicting thoughts, conflicting impressions in one’s mind and these conflicting impressions have to be resolved. If one goes through all the various experiences and tries to resolve them one by one, it will take millions of years. That is the process of psychoanalysis, for example. They try to find the cause of things, and by finding the cause of things, the cause can be altered. But if the personality is defective in itself, how can the cause be altered? That is the scientific way. The mystical way is this; that you do not analyse the causes. You go to the light. In other words, you do not analyse darkness, you switch on the light, and darkness disappears. That is the shortest path, the shortest route towards finding that inner joy and that inner peace about which we all think.
The personality chosen by the soul is not a choice. There is no difference between the soul and the personality. Where does the soul reside? Does it reside in your leg or your head, or your arm? No, you are the soul. Therefore, the soul is the personality, and this life that one has taken is definitely to learn lessons.
RESOLVING CONFLICTS IN THE MIND
After leaving this body behind in the subtle spheres of existence, one goes through a process of evaluation. We evaluate all things we have done in all our lifetimes, and we choose the circumstances in which we are born. The body perishes, and yet the body is not destructible. All matter remains eternal. It will not remain immortal in the same form. It will disintegrate and go back into its original elements – dust to dust. In that way, the atoms that compose the human body are not destroyed, but they will be attracted to its like. Birds of a feather flock together – it is a true saying.
The body changes from time to time. But the subtle body in man, which is the carrier and conveyor of all experiences that one has had, has to resolve the conflicts created. For example, the conflict between love and hate and the conflicts experienced between pleasure and pain. All these conflicts have to be resolved, and to resolve conflicts one by one is a process that would take millions of years, but this process is not necessary. You do not need to analyse the mechanics of darkness. Switch on the light, and that we do through meditation. We reach the deepest layers to the source of light and bring forth the light to banish all the darkness in our lives.
As one meditates and one gains experiences, one is modifying oneself; modification of the mind is a modification of the soul. Every experience gained, good or bad, has its particular value. No experience is for nothing – it must leave some impression.
As humans on this planet, we are just a tiny speck in this vast continuum that we call eternity. Within the range of evolution, one can digress by one’s actions, not to a lower kingdom but in the strata of the human kingdom. One can be born again for example as a worse type of person than one is in this life, because of our actions, because of our thoughts; for thought too is an action, a subtle action. When the physical body acts, it is just a translation of that subtle action which started in the mind. So, thought and action, thought and deed, as we normally talk about it, modify the soul.
THE SOUL IS SUBJECTED TO CHANGE; THE SPIRIT IS CHANGELESS
Here one thing must be understood, and there have been many misconceptions about this. The soul is equated with the spirit. The soul is not the spirit. The spirit in man is forever pure. The soul is the personality with its origin or its impetus from that neutral power called the spirit. It is the soul that evolves and modifies because evolution necessarily implies change all the time. The spirit is changeless. The soul is like the waves on the ocean, forever rising, falling and rising and falling and yet at the depths of the ocean, the calm unchangeability is there all the time.
We are trying to do meditation to modify the personality and modify the soul so that the realisation dawns in man that there is no difference between the soul and the spirit. That is the realisation to which we must arrive.
At present, we function as a soul, as an individual. Still, when I and my Father become one, the individuality merges into universality, and the wave is not seen as apart from the ocean for the wave is the ocean. In Sanskrit, they would say Atman and Brahman is one. In Christianity “I and my Father are one, and in Taoism, Buddhism etc., the same principle is expounded.
The whole process of evolution is to modify that soul so that it gains its primal purity and merges back into its purity that we know as the spirit.
CONSCIOUS EFFORT IS A NECESSITY
How do we change the less attractive aspects of our personality? One has to have discipline, but discipline does not always work on its own. In the beginning, it is such an effort. True discipline only comes when it is spontaneous discipline. A child starts learning to play the piano. He spends hours and hours pressing the keys and says, why does mummy not chase the piano teacher away? What a job this is – it is arduous – it is a job – it is work. But as the child learns the piano, he will later play Bach and Mozart etc. Automatically he will flow away with it. He could even hold a conversation with you and still be so perfect in his playing.
In the beginning, the work has to be put in. It is work. But when it becomes spontaneous, the irk goes out of work, and what is left is the ‘W’, which stands for Wonderful and Wonderment.
So, to change the personality, one has to make a conscious effort. But generally speaking, man today has weaknesses because of his mind being so fragmented. We do realise that sometimes we think one thing, say another thing and do a third thing. We are pulled apart from various sides. We are fragmented.
WE NEED STRENGTH
Because of this fragmentation of the human personality, how can he exercise discipline? He needs strength. This strength is gained by meditation, for meditation integrates the personality; makes the mind, body and spirit flow in harmony; brings about a togetherness. When this togetherness is brought about, discipline, self-help, and self-effort, changing the unattractive aspects of our personalities become easier – for here we have the strength.
I want to knock a six-inch nail into this floor; a goldsmith’s hammer will not help much. We will be sitting here until next year. We need a large hammer, a heavy one. We need strength gained by meditation, which helps us to discipline ourselves and very consciously; first with effort, and then the effort becomes effortless. We change the unattractive aspects of our personality, and that is how the soul undergoes modification. That is how the soul evolves, because when we work towards the betterment of ourselves, then we are automatically flowing with nature. As we flow with nature, we will find that swimming would become easier in the river.
You are not swimming against the current but with the current. You are exercising your strength in swimming, and the current is also pushing you in the direction you want to go. Look at the mercy and the grace of Divinity, forever ready to help the person who wants to better himself. That is where the old saying comes from, that God only helps those who help themselves.
THE OLD SAYINGS HAVE SUCH DEEP MEANING
These old sayings have such deep meaning. One could write whole philosophies on these very simple sayings but they are not understood. They remain just mental concepts. They churn and churn and churn in the mind without coming to any realisation, without assimilating the truth behind these concepts. It is not the concept that is so important, it is the essence of the concept that is important because concepts are forever changing. Today you have one concept, tomorrow that concept will change into something else. Then the next day, another concept will be born from the previous one, but when the essence is maintained, then the essence of the first concept is expanded, and that is the impetus given in the formulation of a higher concept, until we reach the stage of assimilation.
When we eat food, we throw out most of it. What we draw into our bodies is the essence of the food, the nutrients, the nutritional value of the food. That gives us energy and keeps the body.
EVERYTHING HAS LIFE
Human beings have the ability to change the unattractive parts of their personality, but a plant needs help. We can help plants so much. It is also living matter; it has life. A scientist, J C Bowes, proved to the world that there is a heartbeat in a cabbage. Recently an experiment was made in America where so many plants were wired up to electronic devices, and when one plant was burned with a cigarette end, the other plants felt the pain registered on the meter. Do you see the enormity of life, and in all the various forms, life can exist? Even in a stone, life exists. There is no death. Everything is vibrating with life.
If you study a stone, there are millions of atoms and molecules swirling around. Where does that force come from to make an electron swirl around a nucleus? You observe that cohesiveness. From Where does it come? That is the life force. That is the divine force. We all say that God is omnipresent, but little do we realise what omnipresence means. We say the stone is dead. If He was omnipresent and He is the life force, is there no life in the stone? And this can be seen – leave the stone lying outside for a while, and the stone changes. It changes not only because of the weather but also because it has the life force within itself to make itself change and subject itself to the environment. Man is like that too; he has within himself the ability to be subjected to the environment. In this modification process, everything depends on us. We blame the environment. No. When we gain inner strength through our spiritual practices, then any environment does not affect us.
THE PURPOSE OF MEDITATION IS TO FIND THE INNER STRENGTH
Before dedicating myself entirely to the kind of work I am doing now, on a 24-hour basis, I did a lot of social work. For a certain amount of time per day, I was always dedicated to doing something worthwhile. The social work involved trying to rehabilitate prisoners and various other kinds of things. I met one prisoner that spent a few years in jail. The prisoner in jail met people of a like-kind. When he came out from the punishment, he came out a far worse person than before. Then I met another prisoner, who through certain circumstances, which he perhaps drew unto himself – I am sure if he did. He spent two years in jail. But the two years in prison for him transformed his entire life. He became introspective – he analysed himself so thoroughly. He did not know of meditation so much at that time. He started meditating after I met him. He is a wonderful man today, holding a very high position, but just through simple, sincere prayer.
I have made quite several tapes on prayer that you might like to listen to. The mechanics of prayer and what is prayer. Prayer is not bargaining with God. “You do this for me, Oh Lord, and I will give so much to charity,” that is business and not prayer. Being landed in the same circumstances as the other one, this person, because of his sincerity, transformed his life and became so much closer to God.
When man has the inner strength within himself, then any circumstances in life cannot affect him. He becomes like the lotus; though deeply rooted there in the mud, he remains pure and strong.
That is the purpose of meditation, to find that inner strength. For, in the modifications that the soul has to go through, one needs strength to bear the consequences of the changes, and it is not always very pleasant. A change has to be there sooner or later, and if one has the inner strength through meditation then the changes that occur are more easily borne. One has to bear the cross, but it has its rewards. This is a great truth!
WE CHOOSE OUR CIRCUMSTANCES, AND WE CHOOSE OUR LIFE
Modifications are necessary. We have come to this Earth. We have chosen our circumstances. Our parents never chose us. We have chosen our parents. While in that subtle state of existence, we have found our weakest areas while going through the evaluation. To overcome those weaknesses in our psyche or subtle body, we take birth in the environment or circumstances that we are born in because Divinity is so just. Why should one person be born in happy circumstances and another in unhappy circumstances. Why is one innocent little child born lame while another born in health and strength? Why? Divinity is not unfair. It is because of our actions. It is because of what we have to learn, for life is but a school and nothing else. Sometimes the headmaster would be hard, but he must be hard to enable the required discipline.
We choose our circumstances, we choose our life, and the circumstances in which we are born. From that very moment, modifications start, to the soul, and you are the soul. But to make things easier, to repeat over and over, one requires strength, and that strength can only be gained by becoming integrated.
… Gururaj Ananda Yogi: Satsang UK 1979-31