Param Para: Answers to Questions on the Spiritual Path  
by Swami Amar Jyoti

Swamiji, sometimes in deep meditation my body seems to tense up. What is that tenseness?
That is a reaction of your subconscious mind, something that wants to be cleared out. Impurities inside are coming up, so try to be a witness of that. In course of time this will subside. Do not fight back with tenseness. Let go. It may take one day, ten days, a year or more, but these impurities want to fight for their existence. This is a mere habit. So do not react, do not retaliate, just witness and allow it to subside.

You have asked us often to remember why we took this birth. Do all souls take birth with the determination of achieving the highest or do some take birth with lesser goals?
All souls, without exception, take birth because they did not finish the journey in the last birth. According to karma theory, you are reborn automatically if you have not finished the game. Whether you determine it or not, it is not in your hands. So all take birth to finish karmas, but very few are conscious of the Goal before taking birth. The majority of souls are born through the force of their karmas, and they live unconsciously with limited, temporary goals. Once you are conscious of your Goal of Enlightenment, it is not necessary for you to look back. Once you have a Master, you do not have to remember previous births. He will take care of that.

Is it possible to go within while in the world? When I’m taking care of my child, can I also go within?
In principle you can do it. Caring for your child and other responsibilities is not what makes you outgoing. It is your attachment, your sense of possession or belonging to that makes you feel resistance, not things outside you. Your identifications pull you out and this tussle makes it harder to go within. To go within does not mean to neglect your child. If you had no attachments it would be easier to go within, no doubt. But who is blocking you from going within? The answer is you. Your karma is your responsibility, but it is not necessarily a burden. We make it a burden by our possessiveness, clinging, greed and attachment. There are many people who have no children and do not enter the Kingdom of God. So detach yourself from possessiveness and take care of your child or loved one. There is no block except your own attachment.

As long we have thoughts cropping up when we sit to meditate, does that mean we are not really meditating, even if they are inspiring or uplifting? When I am sitting, certain things come to mind that if I don’t write down, they keep bothering me and won’t go away.
You cannot meditate right away so you do this in the meantime. Meditation is when your concentration is for some time upon one object or Goal. Your temperament or tendencies are pushing you to write down your thoughts. This is called karma. Meditation is when these things do not bother you, or if they do, you reflect upon them and give them up. There have been billions of beautiful thoughts written down. Ask yourself, “Is my Lord lesser than my journalism?” If you ever successfully meditate, you will not be able to give these things importance. But you feel great in moods, and because of that you are trapped. When you become lord of your creation, you will achieve great creativity and spontaneity. Whatever you write will be supreme. We still read what sages wrote of their revelations thousands of years back and practice those things. I am not cancelling your inspiration; I am simply saying that it is temporary. So do not rely too much upon it. Tomorrow it will not be there. Therefore whenever you get that inspiration, channel it toward the Goal. If God commands you to write, thousands will benefit. God told Moses, “Go and liberate the Hebrews from Egypt.” Moses said, “Lord, what do I know? I can’t even speak a few words.” God said, “I will be on your tongue.” And miracles happened. You have to get out of the trap of self-gratification, however you may philosophize it. As Jesus said, “Seek ye the Divine first, then everything else shall be added unto you.”

What was before ego?
When you say: “I know… I understand… I don’t understand… I am here… I am going there… I am sleeping… I am eating… I am going to play,” et cetera, throughout there is a sense of “I.” That is ego. So your question is: “What was before I?” God was before I. When you bring in “I,” God is forgotten. When you take refuge in God, only God remains. Let us say you take a pitcher and fill it with ocean water. The water in the ocean and the water in the pitcher are the same, but the ocean is vast whereas the water in the pitcher is small. What is the barrier or dividing point? The pitcher. Now imagine that God is the ocean and the pitcher water is I. God and I are the same water. Before the pitcher, what was there? The ocean. That outline of the pitcher is what is called ego. If you remove the pitcher, the water inside and out become one. Then ego is over. Ego in between is the only barrier.

You were talking about the dark night of the soul and I was wondering what are the characteristics of that experience?
The real dark night of the soul is where your longing and pathos are intense, but inside there is great joy. So if you are experiencing agony and miseries, it is not the dark night of the soul. Many people mistakenly feel that when their desires are not being fulfilled, or someone does not pay attention or care for them, “I’m going through a dark night.” That is the dark night of the mind. The dark night of the soul comes only when you have given up all desires, attachments, greed and other mental habits, still you are longing for God or Light but you are not getting it. When this truly happens, you get kind of desperate, like suffocating, a kind of agony: “God, I have given up everything. Nothing attracts me. Even then, I cannot see You.” According to yogic science, as the kundalini energy rises from the base of the spine, before it comes to the crown chakra, the “thousand-petal lotus,” there is a kind of bottleneck. At that juncture there is a Z-shaped passage between the sixth and the seventh chakras. Before that, from the first to the sixth chakras, the kundalini rises in a straight line. That final passage from the third eye to the crown chakra functions as a kind of shock absorber. If God would not have kept that Z-shape passage, the kundalini could rise directly to the crown chakra. It would be too powerful and your body/mind would not be able to stand it. This shock absorber arrests and channels kundalini energy which, upon reaching the crown chakra, flowers into Light.

© 2017 by Truth Consciousness. Excerpted from the Satsangs: Light and Illumination (R-15), How to Let Go of Attachments (B-5),
Dark Night of the Soul (C-20). For further information on the audio Satsangs of Swami Amar Jyoti,
and click on Publications.