Purpose of Assignment 3

Purpose: To partake of the world and engage in action with a quiet mind.


“The moment the mind becomes stable, one becomes God.” (Baba Muktananda quoting Bhagawan Nityananda)

Day in and day out the mind is always running away to imaginary worlds. It thinks and thinks for no reason. The world of fantasies is endless. It is called vikalpa samsara, the imaginary world that has no end. First one thought arises, then immediately a second thought arises which puts the first thought to an end, and on and on.

But if you become the witness of the mind, then all the thoughts, all the fantasies are destroyed, and your mind becomes still and quiet. In this world, the bound soul endures a lot of trouble and pain. The reason for this is the mind. When the mind is no longer the mind, then you become God.

God is the witness of the mind. Therefore, we should always try to turn within and know that witness. If a person can understand even the first two states of waking and dreaming, he will be able to experience God. And by knowing and experiencing God, his life is transformed.

— Baba Muktananda, Bhagawan Nityananda of Ganeshpuri, 121

Open-Eyed Meditation

This morning I decided to spend some time meditating on the photo for the day (Siddha Yoga website). I prepared myself by putting my attention on my breath, and clicked on the link. I was impressed with the golden tree and its its leaf cape that lay on the ground. I had decided to imbibe the image for ten minutes, and I wondered, “What will I DO for ten minutes?” I began to look at various details in the image. I took my magnifying glass to discern more details. Then I found myself attracted to the patch of sunlight on a tree and shrubbery in the left background. I allowed myself to meditate on that because it made me feel relaxed and peaceful. Then I felt as if I were entering the photograph with all of my senses. I “walked” in the leaves and heard the rustling sound my feet made. I smelled the leaves in the air. I ran my hand across the green grass and touched the bark of the tree. I returned to the sunny spot and felt the warm sun on my body, and it felt so good. I found that my breath had become even. I had entered a state of open-eyed meditation. The timer went off, so I set it again and then closed my eyes. I felt the golden warmth of that sunny spot in every cell of my being as I continued to watch my breathing. I am learning how to meditate on nature, to employ the senses to reach a state of unified awareness!




Sacred Place for Incubation

You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don’t know what was in the newspapers that morning, you don’t know who your friends are, you don’t know what you owe anybody, you don’t know what anybody owes to you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be. This is the place of creative incubation. At first you may find that nothing happens there. But if you have a sacred place and use it, something eventually will happen.
–Joseph Campbell

Dill and Entering the Void with the Eyes Open


Positive qualities:
Ability to experience and absorb a wide variety of sensory experiences, heightened awareness of taste, touch, hearing, sight, smell, etc.
Patterns of imbalance:
Overwhelm due to excess stimulation, hypersensitivity to environment or to outer activity, sensory congestion.

Dill is useful for those who desire strength of the mind and of the will. It provides a link between the two and promotes good energy which is useful in accomplishing one’s desires.

The cacophony of modern living conditions can stun, and even stifle the sensory capacities of most persons. With the advent of the technological age, the soul is literally bombarded with countless sense impressions-what one sees, hears, tastes, smells, and touches in the course of a day can be quite staggering.

Soul hygiene requires that these sensorial impressions be assimilated; otherwise psychic indigestion and nervous overwhelm result. In prior times, those who wished to develop spiritually sought remote environments and ascetic living conditions which diminished sensorial stimulation and freed the soul for higher spiritual work.

Dill flower essence helps to harmonize the psychic life within the context of daily work and modern living. Through Dill flower, the soul learns not only to discriminate and regulate sense experience, but even more importantly to allow the sense life itself to become a vehicle for enlightenment. Rather than being dulled and subdued, the senses can be refined and clarified, becoming ever more luminous and transparent.

By consciously encountering sensory experience, a new kind of clairvoyance and clairsentience arises in the modern soul. Dill flower essence assists the soul in transforming sensory overwhelm into an ability to perceive the sense world as a manifestation of spiritual archetypes.

– from the ‘Flower Essence Repertory‘, by Patricia Kaminsky and Richard Katz. The most comprehensive and user-friendly flower essence book we’ve found. Highly recommended for any practitioner.

Remember this for Assignment 3

What you encounter, recognize or discover depends to a large degree on the quality of your approach. An encounter of depth and spirit was preceded by careful preparation.
When we approach with reverence, great things decide to approach us. Our real life comes to the surface and its light awakens the concealed beauty in things. When we walk on the earth with reverence, beauty will decide to trust us. The rushed heart and arrogant mind lack the gentleness and patience to enter that embrace.
~ John O’Donohue

Thanksgiving Prayer

Iroquois Prayer Returning Thanks To Mother Earth

We return thanks to our mother, the Earth,
which sustains us.
We return thanks to the rivers and streams,

which supply us with water.
We return thanks to all herbs,
which furnish medicines for the cure of our diseases.
We return thanks to the moon and stars,
which have given to us their light when the sun was gone.
We return thanks to the sun,
that has looked upon the earth with a beneficent eye.
Lastly, we return thanks to the Great Spirit,
in Whom is embodied all goodness,
and Who directs all things for the good of Her children.

“Steady as a Log”


Emotional turmoil begins with an initial perception—a sight, sound, thought—which gives rise to a feeling of comfort or discomfort. This is the subtlest level of shenpa, the subtlest stage of getting hooked. Energetically there is a perceptible pull; it’s like wanting to scratch an itch. We don’t have to be advanced meditators to catch this.

This initial tug of “for” or “agains

t” is the first place we can remain as steady as a log. Just experience the tug and relax into the restlessness of the energy, without fanning this ember with thoughts. If we stay present with the rawness of our direct experience, emotional energy can move through us without getting stuck. Of course, this isn’t easy and takes practice.

Excerpted from “No Time to Lose: A Timely Guide to the Way of the Bodhisattva”, page 130.
Heart Advice weekly quotes from Pema Chodron, courtesy of Shambhala Publications.

Mindfulness and Assignment 3

My next assignment will contribute toward establishing me continuously in mindfulness. Through a daily progression of nature meditation themes, I have come to the understanding that my goal is to begin each activity with a series of steps that invokes presence, with the added statement: This moment is palpably unique. In this way I ensoul each moment and the place where I am standing.

Then– Move with awareness.       — Gurumayi Chidvilasananda

Most of my life I have had a “chop and change” pattern of activity. This has worked against mindfulness. When I set myself to do an activity, invoke presence, invoke intention, and then check back (like a scientist) on the results, I am establishing myself in a mindful life. This has been my wish for a very long time. It has taken many, many years to get to this threshold.

The carrot for the art assignment is that I have loved for years the “significant moment” approach practiced by Cartier-Bresson. I now realize that this will be my approach, not to imitate him, but to make it the foundation of my assignment.

When you are able to accept divine will, you are also able to give yourself completely to every tiny action in your life. Each one becomes a fragrant blossom. It becomes worthy of respect. And God adores you.

— Gurumayi Chivilasananda