Author Topic: Depression, despair and hopelessness in sadhana  (Read 29346 times)

Alma Gentil

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Re: Depression, despair and hopelessness in sadhana
« Reply #15 on: August 31, 2013, 11:29:35 PM »
Dear Sri Graham,

Namaste
Thank you so much for clarifying in such a simple manner this profound teaching.
I bow to You Who realized the Inner Guru as tought by Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi, and now, through You, my understanding and practice have evolved drastically.
I do not force myself as before to maintain attention in the right-side of the chest; that was also causing body pains. Now, I just concentrate on doing Vichara, recognise the diminishing current of thoughts, until I begin to feel a very delicate stillness. The Heart-Centre That Is ā€˜Iā€™, as You mention in Your reply.

"Heart is Thy Name, Oh Lord"
I also had been told, but I had not yet realized!

Om Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi Om ā€“ Arunachala Shiva

Graham

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Re: Depression, despair and hopelessness in sadhana
« Reply #16 on: September 02, 2013, 09:10:35 PM »
Dear Alma,

Bhagavan was very clear on all these points, but sometimes the point is missed - I missed it for years during my early efforts, expecting something complex instead of simple. I have merely repeated what he said.

You might also want to read this page on the main site which offers more clarification on this subject.

http://www.arunachala-ramana.org/articles/article_self_enquiry.htm

Graham


Alma Gentil

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Re: Depression, despair and hopelessness in sadhana
« Reply #17 on: September 07, 2013, 08:22:46 PM »
Dear Sri Graham,

Thank You for showing me the page "Self Inquiry".
I feel I'm being helped.
I am Grateful.


Om Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi Om ā€“ Arunachala Shiva

Anand

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Re: Depression, despair and hopelessness in sadhana
« Reply #18 on: September 08, 2013, 10:34:16 PM »
Graham Sir,
In your article on self enquiry, you have started with concentrating on the awareness.Can you eloborate on that - i.e some practical ways to get hold of that awareness -so that we know we are going about it the right way.THis is critical for us who are in our  forties since we do not have too much time to learn or unlearn and we need your help in this.
In the same context, please also share with us your way of how you resorted to  concurrent self enquiry .I had a measure of success in terms of looking for the source of the mantra and saying "I" , "I" but the success seems to be short lived and in fact some reason , I have become depressed, since the experience of peace could not be repeated.That is why, I am also looking for other means of self enquiry .
Secondly can you share with us some other practical  things that we could try to ward of depression in the course of our sadhana and which is also caused by the play of the gunas.
Finally economically we are going through trying times.In our workplace, things could be pretty torturous since everyone seems to be a victim of circumstances .There seem to be analysis , reviews ,questioning and the pain seems to percolate much beyond working hours into the core of our being . The pain is real though perhaps fallling in the realm of maya.Can you share with us some insight as to how to retain the peace , spirituality and also how to hold onto the awareness .
Thanks ,Anand Sundaram.
Sundaram Anand

Graham

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Re: Depression, despair and hopelessness in sadhana
« Reply #19 on: September 09, 2013, 07:02:02 AM »
Dear Anand,

For the first few years of practice I made no progress (according to my perspective) and put it down to my inability to concentrate long enough to make any headway.

I read somewhere that just three minutes of absolute concentration is sufficient to perform self-enquiry successfully, so set about disciplining the mind.

To do this I dismantled a wall clock with a continuous smooth-running second hand and mounted the motor behind a 24 inch square of pure white laminate, I made a second hand from the same material, glued it on to the second hand spindle and put a black dot at the end of it.

I would then spend one hour per day focussing on the dot to the exclusion of all else, including the idea of focussing, until such time as I could concentrate for two minutes without any thought arising.

This took several months, but once progress was made past the 20 second period it accelerated.

The practice I then used for self-enquiry was to touch my forehead for a moment then concentrate on that spot, become aware of who was watching, then gently turn my attention to myself without thought of any kind and want to know who I am - this is the difficult part to understand, but can best be described like this:

If you look into the distance at some object that is not too clear and want to know what it is, you generally do not look at the object and keep repeating 'what is it', 'what is it' (though that might arise), what you do is to focus your attention on it in order to see it, accompanied by the silent desire to know. That is how you should perform self-enquiry.

As Bhagavan says, the moment you concentrate on the 'I' it disappears, but there is a witness to its disappearance and that it the one you concentrate on again (gently), and so on until seer and seen are one indivisible whole - there is no object/witness only Being.

I found that intense and sincere prayer (like that of a small child) was a great help in times of depression and despair. It is the mind which is the problem, it doesn't like being disciplined and doesn't want to surrender. It wants to become self-realized and all powerful, but it can never be that because it is the obstacle.

Don't worry, the mind rebelling is a sign of progress.

Graham
« Last Edit: September 09, 2013, 07:27:11 AM by Graham »

Ravi.N

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Re: Depression, despair and hopelessness in sadhana
« Reply #20 on: September 09, 2013, 09:24:00 AM »
Graham,
Wonderful post-simplicity,earnestness and diligence in practice.Thanks very much.

Namaskar

Anand

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Re: Depression, despair and hopelessness in sadhana
« Reply #21 on: September 09, 2013, 10:53:59 AM »
Thanks Graham Sir.
I would also like you to share how you practiced concurrent self enquiry .
Thanks,Anand .
Sundaram Anand

Graham

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Re: Depression, despair and hopelessness in sadhana
« Reply #22 on: September 09, 2013, 02:38:15 PM »
Dear All,

I gave up all practices except intense prayer during that period, because any failure would bring about a lack of confidence and undermine the purpose of the exercise.

The unchained mind is the enemy and also the only tool that you have for success. One step at a time is best.

Graham

Ravi.N

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Re: Depression, despair and hopelessness in sadhana
« Reply #23 on: September 09, 2013, 04:40:15 PM »
Anand Sundaram/Friends,

An excerpt from Brother Lawrence 'Practice of the Presence of God':
"Men invent means and methods of coming at God's love, they learn rules and set up devices to remind them of that love, and it seems like a world of trouble to bring oneself into the consciousness of God's presence. Yet it might be so simple. Is it not quicker and easier just to do our common business wholly for the love of him?"

For Brother Lawrence, "common business," no matter how mundane or routine, could be a medium of God's love. The sacredness or worldly status of a task mattered less than motivation behind it. "Nor is it needful that we should have great things to do. . . We can do little things for God; I turn the cake that is frying on the pan for love of him, and that done, if there is nothing else to call me, I prostrate myself in worship before him, who has given me grace to work; afterwards I rise happier than a king. It is enough for me to pick up but a straw from the ground for the love of God."

Brother Lawrence felt having a proper heart about tasks made every detail of his life possess surpassing value. "I began to live as if there were no one save God and me in the world." Brother Lawrence felt that he cooked meals, ran errands, scrubbed pots, and endured the scorn of the world alongside God. One of his most famous sayings refers to his kitchen:

"The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer; and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great tranquility as if I were upon my knees at the blessed sacrament."

What our Brother is telling us is what we in india call 'smarana'-Practising the Presence of God.Prayer is the most direct and potent way to get connected.Once connected,smarana or continual dwelling on this presence is to be guarded.

Quote
"Live in the world but, in order to realize God, hold fast to His Lotus Feet with one hand and with the other do your duties. When you get a respite from your duties, cling to God's Lotus Feet with both hands-live in solitude and meditate on Him and serve Him ceaselessly."
The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna

If the need for this is deeply felt and understood,that itself will show the way.The 'How' of the mind is a poor substitute for this and will not work.
Prayer is a very potent channel for tapping deep into the Presence of God. 

Namaskar.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2013, 04:44:11 PM by Ravi.N »

Ravi.N

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Re: Depression, despair and hopelessness in sadhana
« Reply #24 on: September 09, 2013, 04:53:41 PM »
Friends,
An excerpt from The gospel of Sri Ramakrishna on Prayer:

Yearning for God
"One must be restless for God. If a son clamours persistently for his share of the property, his parents consult with each other and give it to him even though he is a minor. God will certainly listen to your prayers if you feel restless for Him. Since He has begotten us, surely we can claim our inheritance from Him. He is our own Father, our own Mother. We can force our demand on Him.
Sri Ramakrishna taught the devotees how to call on the Divine Mother.

Master's prayer to the Divine Mother
MASTER: "I used to pray to Her in this way: 'O Mother! O Blissful One! Reveal Thyself to me. Thou must!' Again, I would say to Her: 'O Lord of the lowly! O Lord of the universe! Surely I am not outside Thy universe. I am bereft of knowledge. I am without discipline. I have no devotion. I know nothing. Thou must be gracious and reveal Thyself to me.' "
Thus the Master taught the devotees how to pray. They were deeply touched. Tears filled Mahimacharan's eyes.

This sort of  prayer,simple and direct from the depth of one's heart is very potent and will put us in touch with the presence of god-Peace and Love.We may then receive all the guidance and understanding as necessary.
Namaskar.


Nagaraj

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Re: Depression, despair and hopelessness in sadhana
« Reply #25 on: September 09, 2013, 05:10:42 PM »
Master's prayer to the Divine Mother
MASTER: "I used to pray to Her in this way: 'O Mother! O Blissful One! Reveal Thyself to me. Thou must!' Again, I would say to Her: 'O Lord of the lowly! O Lord of the universe! Surely I am not outside Thy universe. I am bereft of knowledge. I am without discipline. I have no devotion. I know nothing. Thou must be gracious and reveal Thyself to me.' "

Just random thoughts...

Sri Ravi,  what do we do in self enquiry is to keep enquiring about the source of every 'i' thought that originates, now, here, in such a prayer, aren't we directly ignoring the very 'i' itself and looking at the source of it and praying to Her in utter helplessness? by ignoring the 'i' thought, the attention is dirrected to that Source in the form of The Mother, Lord of the Universe(i thought)....

so, in my little experience, it is the very same, instead of allowing the 'i' to persist, and again looking to the source of that 'i' the process is directed upon the very source itself.

why not sing a song and continue the enquiry? and at the same time, those who engage in just the prayer, are also practicing the very same enquiry.

i meant to observe that, even logically, there isn't a another method at all. there is just one way, just one way! people call it differently.

Definitely two people see the same elephant differently, but yet it is the same elephant, and it is the same seeing!

--
॥ शांतमात्मनि तिष्ट ॥
Remain quietly in the Self.
~ Vasishta

Nagaraj

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Re: Depression, despair and hopelessness in sadhana
« Reply #26 on: September 09, 2013, 05:18:44 PM »
Again to quote from one of your past -

அறிந்து அடங்குதல் ஞானம் .அடங்கி அறிதல் பக்தி -

aRindhu adangudhal jnaanam;adangi aRidhal bhakti-i.e

to know and subside(in Self or God)is jnana ;
to subside and know is Bhakti.
॥ शांतमात्मनि तिष्ट ॥
Remain quietly in the Self.
~ Vasishta

silentgreen

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Re: Depression, despair and hopelessness in sadhana
« Reply #27 on: September 09, 2013, 05:27:13 PM »
There are few things in the prayer of Ramakrishna: the words themselves, helplessness and simplicity and intensity.

While similar words can be got from elsewhere, the intensity and simplicity behind it can only be captured to some extent by contemplating on Sri Ramakrishna praying before the Divine Mother.

A solitude coupled with such intensity and simplicity is a most potent way of spiritual progress.
Homage to the Universal Being...Om Shanti ... Om Shanti ... Om Shanti ...

Nagaraj

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Re: Depression, despair and hopelessness in sadhana
« Reply #28 on: September 09, 2013, 05:51:05 PM »
Dear Silentgreen,

that lamentations of utter helplessness simply makes the reltionship between the ego 'i' and the Supreme 'I' beautiful, ins't it? A good King is one, who is able to forgive his opponent when it is captured, by not killing him.

I remember a shloka here:

अनायासेन मरणं विनादैन्येन जीवनं
देहि मे क्रिपय शम्भो त्वयि भक्तिं अचन्चलं


anAyAsena maraNaM vinAdainyena jIvanaM
dehi me kripaya shambho tvayi bhaktiM achanchalaM

We in our tradition, have the word सायुज्यम् instead of the word मरणं as some felt maranam is not auspicious to use in prayer, and they replaced it with sAyujyam, however both mean the same in deeper sense.

अनायासेन सायुज्यम् विनादैन्येन जीवनं
देहि मे क्रिपय शम्भो त्वयि भक्तिं अचन्चलं


anAyAsena - AyAsa means trouble, stress, fatigue etc. anAyAsa is
the opposite of that. anAyAsena means without trouble, or pain

maraNaM - death
sAyujyam - communion/merging
vinA dainyena - dainya is poverty. vinA means without. vinAdainyena
is without poverty

jIvanaM - life

dehi me - grant to me

kripaya  - out of compassion

shambho/Vishno - addressing shambhU/Vishno - shiva - one who is the source of
happiness

tyayi - in you

bhaktiM - devotion

achanchalaM - Unwavering.

What a beautiful prayer indeed. anAyAsena sAyujyam/maraNaM - Give us a trouble free, stress free, painless communion, merging.

Even Ego has to be destroyed, but here lays the beauty of Sanatana Dharma, it prays for a painless, merging.

--
॥ शांतमात्मनि तिष्ट ॥
Remain quietly in the Self.
~ Vasishta

silentgreen

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Re: Depression, despair and hopelessness in sadhana
« Reply #29 on: September 09, 2013, 06:31:46 PM »
Dear Nagaraj,

Yes, correct.
The person doing the sadhana has a faint glimmer of the Supreme I deep within. He wants to merge with it.

That is why Sri Ramakrishna prayed:
Oh Mother Divine! I want no honour from men, I want no pleasures of flesh, only let my soul flow into Thee as the permanent confluence of the Ganges and the Jamuna.

The sadhaka cannot control the merging which is controlled by the Grace of God. The sadhaka can only pray with longing for the grace to dawn.  Self-Enquiry in essence is itself a prayer with longing, fine-grained in essence and directed inwards.
Homage to the Universal Being...Om Shanti ... Om Shanti ... Om Shanti ...