Let’s start with super consciousness. What are some of the definitions that we know of the term super consciousness? A state of bliss, of intense awareness, of intuitive perceptions, of freedom, of unity. When you have definitions like these, I want that but then then I look at some of these definitions and I try to really compare to where I stand sometimes in relation to them.
I think of bliss and I think I’m still grappling with conditional happiness here, still trying to make sense completely of that. You think of intuition and I wonder how many times my own desires have disguised themselves as intuitions. You think of unity and I wonder if I can’t even unite with the person that I love the most, and how often would I work to separate myself from her, I might have a little way further to go with unity. And when I think of freedom, how often we think of I want to be free from that stuff that which I don’t like but nobody’s touching this thing, I don’t want to be free from this, and so on and so forth. Sometimes you realize that when a definition is a little higher than our own experience, there is a tendency to start pretending.
We start pretending because we’ve read how the saints live their lives and sometimes we think I spent two minutes reading that definition so now I’m an expert on it and so when I tell somebody, I read somewhere and suddenly we think like the very words coming out of my mouth make them my words and then a little pretension sets in.
Then we start to think if this is how bliss should look like, so we have to live a certain way, look a certain way. If somebody asks us how we’re feeling we have to kind of use the words that show that we’re in tune with this state of super consciousness that we’re trying to become but the worst thing a spiritual aspirant can do is pretend because if you pretend to be where you’re not then you’re not going anywhere from there.
I have found that sometimes rather than trying to see what the definition is of that highest state, it helps to see what the definition is of the opposite state. I don’t know if you see when going through the Gita there’s something Krishna does very often, he’ll not only say what it should look like he’ll say what it should not look like as well. He won’t just say what satwik qualities are he’ll also tell you what the tamasic and rajasic qualities are because what happens is when you hear the satwik qualities you start thinking, I think I have those, I’m not easily perturbed, I’m fairly even-minded and we naturally feel that we want to live in that state and so we think we have a lot of those qualities but when we hear the tamasic and rajasic qualities it is like I have a lot of those too and it puts the right perspective for us.
Sometimes a definition that is perhaps closer to our own state of awareness of where we not ought to go helps us define where it is that we’re going in the first place. So the definition that is opposite to super consciousness is that of the subconsciousness and Yogananda defines the subconsciousness as thus – that convenient mechanism for minimizing the use of will in any undertaking.
I mean it can’t just get cleaner than that, there’s no bliss, there’s no freedom, there’s nothing confusing here that we’ve not experienced ourselves. that convenient mechanism for minimizing the use of will in any undertaking – should I speak the truth and make myself to look out as a fool or should I just distort the truth a little bit and nobody’s going to know anyway. Should I just stay at home and just be lazy or should I go out to the ashram and be part of what’s going on over there.
Should I stay in this mood and just be upset because circumstances aren’t quite working out the way I want them to or should I be joyful and uplifted in spite of them. So the definition for super consciousness if we were to base it on the subconsciousness would become “that inconvenient mechanism for maximizing the will in any undertaking” and then suddenly I have a definition I can totally work with. It’s not a definition I’m always going to succeed at but it’s very clear I know exactly what it’s doing.
The problem with super consciousness and our relationship to it – especially when we tune into the lives of the saints is being in super consciousness and getting to super consciousness. We want to be in super consciousness and we don’t know how to get to super consciousness. If the goal is going to Pune, I can’t just be in Pune I’m here in Mumbai. I can’t pretend that I’m in Pune but I can get to Pune. It’s going to take some work, I have to figure out how to get to Pune but I can get there and that’s the difference that we need to tune into and be very honest with ourselves.
If I can’t be there, but I can get there – then with this definition, I have a mechanism, (inconvenient for the ego) and I can maximize the will in any undertaking. Suddenly everything potentially holds the key to super consciousness – my work holds the key to super consciousness, my relationships hold the key to super consciousness, then it’s not like this is spiritual and this is not; and if only I could sit and meditate all the time then I’m in the super conscious state.
Everything offers to me the potential for super consciousness because yeah it could be inconvenient in many situations and I can maximize my will, but not always or only when I choose to. It’s the same thing in the Gita, where Arjuna says to Krishna in the beginning, “I just want peace.” It’s like us where we say I just want to live in bliss. Krishna is not buying it. Because Arjuna just wants to be in super consciousness, he doesn’t want to get to super consciousness and Krishna says you have to fight you can’t just be peace.
Peace is not the absence of war, peace is a dynamic state of deep relaxation, of expanded awareness, of come whatever may nothing’s going to touch me, that’s peace. Not if I can just slink away from this war there will be peace. Isn’t it amazing that all our scriptures everywhere are always about wars – Mahabharata, Ramayana, Asuras, Devas they’re always at wars.
Wouldn’t it have been nice if we read a Ramayan where Ram just gets to be king and gets to chant aum all day sitting in his palace, but no, he has to follow the inconvenient way of going into the forest, getting into all that trouble, having his wife stolen, working hard to achieve super consciousness, not just slinking and sliding into it as we would very much like to.
I’ve been rereading a book on Joan of Arc. She is one of my favorite saints and is so unconventional. It’s not like the regular saints that I could still pretend a little bit,”oh he left the world and he just lived in bliss somewhere”, and then I could think that I could do that if only I had the circumstances to do that. I can’t pretend with Joan of Arc.
She was a 17 year old girl at the time when England and France were at war in what’s called the hundred year war. For 100 years they had been at war. England had completely taken over France. There were just little pockets of France left. The king of France or the crown prince of France is just wiling away. He didn’t have an army anymore, because everybody was destroyed and discouraged.
This 17 year old girl living in a little village, a cow-herdess, received this intuition from God. What she called “the voices” that tell her to “go to the king and ask him to make you the general of all his armies and you will defeat the British and you will throw them out of this land and re-establish France and then you will crown the prince as king”. Sounds very exciting isn’t it, a little girl – and what does she do? she does it all. All of it. She gets to go to the king, I mean how do you first get to the king, how do you get somebody to even believe anything?!
He doesn’t have an army – she raises an army. Everybody is so inspired by her that peasants and workers and whoever, the blind, the lame, all want to fight for her, all want to lay their lives down for her. This 17 year old girl had generals bowing at her feet, that was the power that she held.
When you read some story like that and you wonder what am I doing? The beauty isn’t that she did it all that in one year she pushed the British out and she re-established France. The beauty is, she did it with such grace, with such dignity. Not once did she waver, not an iota of doubt ever assailed her. You read that and it’s one of those things that you can only hope you can live to someday. That’s what it means to be to get to super consciousness.
The amount of work it takes, the amount of energy it takes, we titled this “Super consciousnesses is not for wimps”. We could have easily titled it “super consciousness is for warriors” but the same thing would happen. I would just assume, “Oh yes! that’s true, I’m a warrior”. We’re doing the same thing here. Let’s understand what the opposite of a warrior is – and then we’ll know whether we are warriors or not.
Who are wimps? First and foremost, let me visualize the quality of that vibration of wimpiness would be. You’ve got a bent spine, the first thing that comes to you is just like a guy a little nasally voice, one who complains a lot, one who blames others and circumstances for their misfortunes because it’s always someone else’s fault. One who lives in a fantasy world of their own creation, and from their world they judge everybody else. These are qualities of somebody who is wimpy.
We don’t have to be in high school, being bullied by somebody to be wimpy, we’re all wimpy. One who lives in constant fear. Not fear of some major cataclysm but fear of losing their money, fear of what people think of them, fear of whether they’re good enough, fear of their health, so on and so forth. So when I think about it that way, I think I have to re-characterize myself more on the wimpy side than on the warrior side because I’m not Joan of Arc.
Unfortunately, we don’t have any intuitive perception that says go to your prime minister and go to your President and go to your Chancellor – depending on which country you’re from – and tell them to give you charge of their armies and their military. Fortunately we don’t have to do that, do we, but we do have to go to our king and we do have to become the general of our forces because that’s the war, isn’t it? Subconsciousness or super consciousness, the Kauravas or the Pandavas, the asuras or the devas, Ravana or Ram?
Every story is just repeating that same analogy over and over and over again and yet we don’t seem to be getting it, yet we think we’ll just float into bliss one day by mistake, yet we’re not willing to do what it takes to get there. Maximizing our will in every undertaking and choosing inconvenience over convenience. That’s hard because we’re so hardwired for convenience and that’s what the super conscious state is and that’s what brings bliss and that’s what brings freedom, that’s what brings unity. We won’t just suddenly unite our consciousness with everybody.
This beautiful affirmation of love – that love cannot be found until it’s centered in its source in infinity – and I don’t even know what that means. I can’t even be kind all the time let alone love from the source of infinity. That’s what’s important here, that’s what we have to look at, that’s the way of the warrior. He’s not worried about winning the war he’s worried about fighting the war.
Yesterday at dinner, we were talking about saints and the troubles they go through, so how they just decide they are going to take all that on themselves, and we just came to the conclusion that by the very intensity of the tests that we have in our lives and the nature of our response to those tests, it clearly shows us that we’re just not saint material yet, but that’s a wonderful place to be because then, I don’t have to pretend anymore. Then I don’t have to disguise my desires as intuitions, I don’t have to say I love everyone all the time but I can say at every moment if I can choose the inconvenient mechanism to maximize my will, I’m going to be in super consciousness very soon. So I hope that definition can be now a guiding post for all of us.