It has been said that walking the spiritual path can be likened to walking along a razors edge and that those on the path need to be very attentive and very careful.
Beloved Paramahamsa Hariharananda, an Indian realised Kriya Yoga master, used to say “THE MIND ALWAYS WANTS PROMOTION”.
If we look closely at our minds we may see that often dissatisfication arises, because we don´t have what we think we should have, or we want much more of something we don´t really need. It is our mistaken IMAGINATION (Vikalpa) that those things will bring us happiness that make us chase them. Hariharananda gave us clear instuctions to be happy with our daily bread as there will always be people who will have more than us and others who have less.
The sense of I, or the one who identifies with the mind (Ahaṁkāra) can be seduced and excited by ideas of status, recognition, greed and worldly power. Yet how much peace and joy will these things give us? Why is it so many rich, famous and supposedly successful people are so miserable, lost and dis-satisfied?
Even though Paramahamsa Hariharananda had achieved the highest Yogic state of Nirvikalpa Samadhi (the pulseless state) he would say he was the “dirt under the carpet”, “everybody´s servant” and Swami´s that we know who lived with him told us how humble he truly was. Indeed, he would sign letters to us “Humble Hariharananda”.
Amma, the hugging Indian Saint puts it this way “However powerful a cyclone is, it cannot harm a blade of grass, whereas the huge trees standing with their heads high will be uprooted.”
And my Viniyoga teacher Paul Harvey says we must be careful not “to MISTAKE the light of POWER, for the power of THE LIGHT”.
Let us remember this advice and walk the razors edge with awareness, cultivating inner contentment (saṃtoṣa) and using yoga´s tools with patience to overcome negative and unhelpfiul tendencies of our mind.
What tools are they and what source should we look to? The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (the most authoratitve text on Yoga and apparently over 1700 years old) suggests many ways in which we can.
Two methods he suggests to discipline the five types of mental activity (one of them being our imagination) are Abhyāsa (practice) and Vairāgya (dispassion).