Param Para: Answers to Questions on the Spiritual Path
How can we overcome feelings of restlessness when trying to sit quiet and still in meditation?
THE MAIN MISTAKE is that you want to employ ego to cure restlessness. The ego should not desire anything in meditation, even to sit quietly. It should merge. When you mentally fight restlessness, it grows more. Just relax. That is the best way to meditate. If you go into the causes of restlessness or self-analysis, you will not be able to still your mind. You have to surrender simply. Then restlessness ceases.
When something is agitated, you have to leave it alone for some time and then it will settle down. That is the way with your mind. Ultimately it is ego’s own sweet will of surrender that helps the best. Be still and know. And when you achieve that stillness, all practices and philosophies are over. Relaxation in combination with love and devotion produces dedication, which calms the mind.
How do we trap ourselves in negativities, and how do we come out of it?
RIGHT ACTION, RIGHT THINKING, and right speech are needed for searching higher consciousness. But if you apply wrong thinking, wrong actions and wrong words, your seeking will falter. That is how negativities are born. You did wrongly, therefore to save yourself you bring in negativities as a shield. Though negativities are not a real shield, for the time being they seem so. Because you went the wrong way, or you thought wrongly, or acted wrongly, therefore you missed the way, the goal. Whether you get frustrated, disappointed, or otherwise, you throw that negative energy consciously or unconsciously on others. This is why you suffer.
Right thinking, right speech, and right action are the tools for seeking. You may ask: how to know right thinking, speech and actions? Your Master or conscience will tell you what is right for you according to the stage you are at. Then after days or months or years, he or she may tell you to do something different. When your evolution changes, the prescription changes.
Negativities are negation of the right. You must have seen in life that you do not benefit when you are negative to someone else. You actually lose more. If you are frustrated because you thought wrongly, spoke wrongly or acted wrongly, what would be the right recourse? To repent for your wrongdoing, not to be negative toward others. Do you see how that wrong propagates further wrongs? But even if at that point you sincerely repent and apologize, the negativities are mitigated. If you miss that, if you do not take responsibility for your thoughts, words and actions, you will go on degrading and losing more.
Negativities are the outcome of going the wrong way. What could be the ray of hope even in this? God has kept Light everywhere, even among negative, resistant ones. Without exception negativities bring suffering. There is no other way. If you are angry or hostile or mean, you will invariably suffer. But within that suffering there will come a time when you touch your soul. You will begin to awaken. This is God’s Light. Suffering at that point will help you become sober and open to change.
What is the best method or process to see the seed of the anger?
EACH SITUATION MAY DEMAND a different process so I will enumerate a few. Whenever your anger subsides, sit quietly somewhere and try to relax. Let your mind calm down. When you do this, the cause of your anger will spring up all of a sudden and reveal what made you angry—if you are honest. That is very important. You cannot know the cause of your anger unless you are honest to see it. Whether it is anger or jealousy or any other negative reaction, be honest to see it, then you will find the cause. And you will be able to apply this knowledge the next time you become angry or negative.
If you fail in this, the second way is through sharing. Go to your co-disciples or friends and talk these things over. In this sharing with other seekers, sometimes the cause comes out. Between the first and second way is your Master. Go to him and ask him the cause of your anger. The first method is the highest because you are dealing with yourself directly. Pray to God, “Help me to see the seed or reason for my anger.” You might ask why I do not put prayer first. The simple reason is this basic truth: when you have been angry with someone, when you have hurt another person, God cannot forgive you unless that person forgives you. There are many stories about this. One devotee reached heaven, saw God and asked for forgiveness. But God sent him back to earth to ask forgiveness from those whom he had hurt. The reason prayer is the third way is that God will give you the sensibility to apologize to that person. When you become humbled and apologize for your anger, you are bound to get rid of it slowly.
You could apply all three ways together, or two together or one, but honesty should be the basis. God will send you back to where you have hurt others. This is the infallible law of karma. God never forgives us if we keep other ones offended. Be sure about it. Anger is called a double-pointed sword: it burns you and the other person too. Anger or any evil always hurts both ways. God does not forgive unless that person forgives you, or you are paid back in the same coin. If you do not ask for forgiveness genuinely and honestly, you will be hurt back. God cannot forgive you and make the other person suffer. It will be injustice.
Does Grace come as a result of karmas or as a result of mercy, or can it come both ways?
IF THE GRACE was the result of karmas, it would not be grace. It would be karma. Grace is given on its own sweet will. But one thing is necessary to receive grace: if God or Guru is pleased with you. That is not the result of your karmas or actions. You may be a troubled person, but if your heart is relatively clean you will receive grace. This is because of what you are, not what you do. Grace is not the direct result of the actions. Therefore, great sinners have been forgiven when seemingly better persons have not. Mercy is given once you have become genuinely humble and pure. That is not action or karma.
Grace is mysterious. If I were to say that only the egoless get grace, it is not true because those who are egoless do not need grace. Grace is given when you have ego still but your motivation inside is humble. A person who has done many charitable things may not receive grace because their motive may not be pure. Once your motive is clear, even if you have done wrongs, you will be forgiven. When a sinner has repented in such a way that their conscience is clear, they will receive grace. See that you are sincere and your heart is clear, then you will receive grace