Great Expectations

What you expect is what you get.

Relevant verse:
“Creation having been brought forth by sacrifice, by sacrifice you will evolve and prosper. Sacrifice is the milch cow of your desires.” — Verse 10  

You and the Field are everywhere. You are ‘in’ everything. Nothing exists that you are not ‘in’. Everything that exists, including you and everyone else, is ‘in’ this Field that has no bounds, no limitations—so neither do you.

In This Series:

  1. The Golden Womb
  2. The Field
  3. Great Expectations
  4. Accessing the Abundance of the Field

Characteristics of The Field 

The Field is Truth Itself.
The Field is perfectly harmless in all ways at all times.
The Field is without limitation.
The Field is everywhere.
The Field can provide all you need or want.
The Field is accessible to everyone equally.
The Field is plentiful and never runs out of anything.
The Field will supply us as long as we avail ourselves of its bounty.

Foundations for Success

I am of the belief that there are certain things that act as foundations, and like a house, anything you build without a foundation will come tumbling down. The following ideas on accessing the bounty of the Field will supply some of these practical foundations for this purpose.

The Dharma of Doing

The setting of this dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna that makes up the Bhagavad Gita, is a geographical area known by two names: Kurukshetra and Dharmakshetra.

Why not just call this Field by one name? We could do this, but we would miss an important hint that is being given to us with the use of these two names: Kurukshetra, ‘the field of doing’ and Dharmakshetra, ‘the field of dharma’. Both represent this same Field.

Dharma — Right, good, true, the way things Really are.
Doing — Performing action.

A field can be a place or the scope or context of something. The two names of our Field indicate a twofold context: dharma and doing. Sacrifice, the key to accessing the bounties of the Field, happens in this Field. In other words, sacrifice happens in the context of righteousness (dharma) and the performance of action (kuru).

Sacrifice has been explained to us as spontaneous action devoid of attachment to the doing of it, and to the results of it. True sacrifice can only happen where this kind of action is being performed where the action is consistent with dharma*.

* Dharma - The first principle of dharma is harmlessness, hence the characteristic of the Field that says, "The Field is perfectly harmless in all ways at all times."

Sacrifice on the Field of Dharma and Doing

Spontaneous action performed (‘doing’) devoid of attachment to the action and the results of it (‘sacrifice’), that causes no harm (dharma).

This kind of dharmic action is consistent with the Field and with You. When, as human beings, we act in sync with sanatana dharama, the way of eternal Truth, we are acting in sync with our true Selves, and what we want and need will come to us with greater ease. It is also the key to attaining and maintaining success in any undertaking. So what’s stopping us?

SUBCONSCIOUS EXPECTATIONS

Conscious Thoughts and SubConscious Data

Your conscious thoughts reflect your subconscious. Your thoughts and the data stored in your subconscious are not the same thing, but your thoughts are influenced by subconscious data*. In fact, I think it is fair to say that your thoughts are what they are because of the data stored in your subconscious.

*Subconscious data - memories stored within your body and mind of which you are unaware.

Logically, by consciously noticing your thoughts, you should be able to uncover your subconscious. This is particularly important if you want to un-do what I take to be the most powerful obstacle to accessing the bounty of the Field.

Subconscious Expectations

Some of the contents in the subconscious are expectations of things to come. These expectations are most likely unpleasant and unwanted, otherwise, they would have no reason to hide. But fortunately, because our conscious thoughts reflect them, it is possible to discover what they are. This is important because…

When subconscious expectations are inconsistent with the characteristics of the Field, they diminish our capacity to access it. We will call these kinds of subconscious expectations, ‘negative’. We must bring these unwanted, negative expectations out of hiding. To do this, we first need to pay attention to our thoughts, because…

Our thoughts reflect our
subconscious expectations.

In a forthcoming post, I will give you a four-step process for dealing with negative subconscious expectations so you can bring them out into the light of day and either change them altogether, or tweak them into something useful and far more pleasant.

Will or Surrender?

Now, obviously, we are talking about ‘will’ here, because we are talking about doing something with a desirable outcome in mind, so those of you who practice Surrender Meditation will have to forego this in the meditation room (though revelations may present themselves there), but outside of the meditation room, it is not inappropriate for you to utilize the Field. By all means, do. 

In this country, if you should someday want to take surrender sadhana all the way, you will need to have all your ducks in a row. You can take it from me—I didn’t have this advantage—this is a really good idea, and it will save you from some serious struggles when that time comes. And it will also put you in a better position for reaching the stage of not-giving-a-hoot sooner by having accessed in your meditation, even greater wonders than what your desiring mind can ever imagine.

Namaste (I bow to the Divine One that You really are),
Durga Ma
durgama.com

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The Field

We exist within an unlimited field of potential and possibilities.
In this field, anything is possible. 

Relevant verse:
“Creation having been brought forth by sacrifice, by sacrifice you will evolve and prosper. Sacrifice is the milch cow of your desires.” — Verse 10  

In This Series:

  1. The Golden Womb
  2. The Field
  3. Great Expectations
  4. Accessing the Abundance of the Field

The Field Is Closer Than You Think

“By sacrifice you will evolve and prosper. Sacrifice is the milch cow of your desire.” — Verse 10

In the verse, sacrifice is likened to a Wish Fulfilling Cow named Kamadhenu, that fulfills desires on call. She is our access to this field where everything exists and anything is possible. She is sacrifice.

In this life, we exist within an unlimited field of potential and possibilities. You can’t get any closer than that.

Chitta

The Sanskrit term, chitta, refers to the Field as the ‘stuff’ of the individual mind. Your mind. Chitta is is often translated simply as ‘mind’, but it is mind in the sense of being the mind’s own personal, private Field.

Think of chitta as a microcosmic version of the Field. You rely on this Field for memory and thinking (manas) and making determinations about things (buddhi), so it is very close to home. It is not ‘out there’ somewhere where you can’t get at it. It is unlimited, everywhere, always—and even though it is everywhere, it also serves as the stuff of your own individual mind.

The core of this complex (your mind) is your sense of being the doer of actions (ahamkara, ‘I do’), which has its roots in your sense-of-self (asmita, ‘I am’), which has as its roots in You (atman, ‘I’). This entire complex we call our minds is made of chitta, mind-stuff, the Field.

Chitta
Mind-stuff
A microcosm of the Field that is
the stuff your own mind is made of.

The Source

Why not just call this Field by one name that encompasses the full meaning? We could call this field the Field of Right Action, and though this expresses the truth of it, it is incomplete because we would be missing an important hint that is being given to with the use of two names.

Consciousness takes two—the one being conscious (you), and the thing one is being conscious of (other-than-you). Chitta is the very subtle energy of consciousness generated by the relationship between You and That.

Chitta
Mind-stuff

The energy of consciousness generated by the relationship between the Divine You and the Divine Other-than-you.

Subconscious Expectations

There is only one thing in the way of our utilizing this Field: subconscious expectations that are inconsistent with the Field. 

Many of your expectations are sub-conscious (you are unaware of them) and match neither the Field nor You. These expectations are very strong, for they have been reinforced your entire lifetime by parents, teachers, religion, and society in general. Limiting ideas about yourself that were learned from birth and stored in your subconscious, have caused you to have certainties about yourself that are not true, when in fact, you and the Field have a lot in common:

You are everywhere. You are ‘in’ everything. Nothing exists that you are not already ‘in’. The same is true for everyone else. Everything that exists, including you and everyone else, is ‘in’ this Field that has no bounds, no limitations—so neither do you.

I have said in other posts that a desire is an affirmation of lack, and that this is why you are asked to give up desires, not because you shouldn’t have your desires fulfilled, but so that you can. That you have a desire can only mean that, in your estimation, you do not have the thing you seek. And you do not expect to have it. If you expected it, you would already have it and the desire would not exist, because…

The Field responds to your expectations.

What you expect is what you get, so
“Expect a Miracle”

Sacrifice

In these verses we are being given a formula for accessing the unlimited possibilities of the Field so that we have what we want and need. The key is sacrifice. Sacrifice happens in the Field. If you have forgotten what this is, the last post will remind you.

In forthcoming posts I will share my thoughts with you regarding how to access the Field, should you wish to enable or improve your ability to gain access to it.

Namaste (I bow to the Divine One that You really are),
Durga Ma
durgama.com

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III:10 The Golden Womb

Creation having been brought forth by sacrifice, by sacrifice you will evolve and prosper. Sacrifice is the milch cow of your desires. 

My own orientation, Surrender Meditation, is strongly reflected in my commentary on these verses (10 -15), but it is certainly not the only valid perspective. So if your orientation is other otherwise, please draw your own conclusions accordingly with my blessings.

Prajapati, originally Hiranyagarbha (‘golden womb’), having created the world and heaven, and who is the sustainer and protector of all born beings, tells us in these next few verses, how sacrifice is not only what creates, sustains and protects, but how it functions for our good.

The Golden Womb, verse 1 of 3

10
Creation having been brought forth by sacrifice, Prajapati anciently said, “By sacrifice you will evolve and prosper. Sacrifice is the milch cow of your desire.

Well, that’s a relief! But what is all this about Creation being brought about by sacrifice? And who is Prajapati? And a milch cow…?

“Creation having been brought forth by sacrifice”

First we have to consider the characteristics of sacrifice as it was described in verse nine: Sacrifice is an action for which we have no attachment either to getting the credit for doing it, or to getting the results of it.

If we apply this idea to Creation, it looks like nothing and no one made Creation happen. It may have happened because of something or someone, but not by anything. In other words, Creation was/is a spontaneous event brought about because of something but not by it. Let us call this something, “God”.

Prajāpati
‘Lord of born beings’
God as Creator (earlier Hiranyagarbha, later Brahmā)

Prajapati, having created the world and heaven, is the sustainer and protector of all born beings. Originally, this role was attributed to the feminine, Hiranyagarbha, and later devolved to the masculine as the yugas (ages) made their way downward from the Golden Age (satya yuga) through ages of increasing strife. The naturally occurring phenomena of Creation is rooted in sacrifice as it is described in these few verses (10-14).

Hiranyagarbha — hiranya (‘golden’), garbha (‘womb’, ‘to conceive’)

Sacrifice is therefore understood to be a spontaneous action. Spontaneous action is void of attachment to action and to the effects of action. In verse nine, we learned that this is the essence of Karma Yoga (Action Yoga).

“By sacrifice you will evolve and prosper.”

Alternate translation:
“By sacrifice you will evolve or prosper.”

Why the “or”?

Two paths are suggested: one will get you prosperity and posterity (pravritti marga), and the other will bring about your evolution (nirvritti marga).

We may be tempted to think of evolution as ‘spiritual growth’, but this often does not include the physical, and Yoga always includes the physical, though not as evidenced by popular trend. Also, evolution is different from growth in that growth is something getting bigger or better or both, whereas evolution is transformation into an improved version of an original. So while evolution may include bigger and better, more importantly, it suggests transformation. Evolution is going on all the time, so to suggest it here means something more. It implies the completion of a stage of human existence: a higher life form.

“Sacrifice is the milch cow of your desire”

Sacrifice as ‘the milch cow of desire’ is Kamadhenu, the ‘wish fulfilling cow’. She is the miraculous cow of plenty who fulfills all desires.

If you are looking for further understanding of ‘sacrifice’, consider the cow. She continues to give her milk for as long as needed. She does not make this happen, it happens because of her—it comes naturally, it is not self-motivated, and there is no consideration of having done anything to make it happen. The cow is an excellent symbol for what is meant by the word ‘sacrifice’.

Sacrifice
Yajña
Karma Yoga (Action Yoga)
Surrender Meditation

A cow produces milk for as long as it is taken. When the calf stops nursing, her milk dries up, and so it is with Kamadhenu. Hence is sacrifice is not only a privilege, but a duty, for sacrifice as described here is the very thing that causes Kamadhenu’s milk to continue to flow and fulfill all our wants and needs.

Checking Your Understanding

I realize that each of you will understand these ideas concerning sacrifice in your own way. This is as it should be. It is the beauty of Sanskrit scriptural teachings that it supplies answers for any of the many paths to Truth. To determine for yourself if your understanding is correct, there are two guidelines:

(1) See that your understanding is consistent with ahimsa (harmlessness—physically, and in thought and speech) because this is consistent with your natural state as a divine individual.

(2) See that it works in context with the foregoing and forthcoming verses, and the text as a whole.

More next week on ‘sacrifice’ and ‘the milch cow of your desire’.

Namaste (I bow to the Divine One that You really are),
Durga Ma
durgama.com

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Enlightenment & Non-Attachment

Lord Krishna has been bringing up non-attachment since chapter two. Now we are hearing about how to get unattached, but the solution is almost as enigmatic as the problem.

“In this world, one is bound by action, except for actions for the purpose of sacrifice. Free of attachment, act for this purpose, Arjuna.”  — Verse 9

Attachment
Attachment – bond, fetter

What is attached to what?

The above verse appears to suggest that you are attached to things and that you shouldn’t be. It reads like that. It feels like that. But it is not you that is attached.

What gets attached to things is one or more of your senses. That is what needs to become “free of attachment”. You cannot become free of attachments until the senses themselves become separated from the things they attach to, their ‘objects’. This happens automatically when the sense organs become separated from the sense faculties* in meditation (pratyahara).

You appear to be attached to things
due to identification with the
body and senses.

* Sense faculties - your powers of perception; your ability to see, hear, etc.

Non-Attachment
Freedom, liberation

Non-attachment comes in stages and over time through the consistent practice of meditation. At first, it shows up as you finding your meditation practice more desirable than other things, i.e., objects of sense (everything ‘out there’ qualifies for this label). Then one day in your meditation, you have your first direct experience and become completely enamored of your practice—you had a taste of true non-attachment when your sense faculties became separated from their physical organs, and you had a profound experience. Now you are hooked, and you want more.

In later stages of Yoga, other kinds of ‘attachments’ reveal themselves, but no worries, they will be dealt with in due course in the same way. One example is khechari mudra, where the tongue begins to try to rise up into the pharynx and can’t because it is ‘attached’. The point is, it is not you that is attached. It never has been.

You will remember that I said earlier that my own perspective is surrender, which is not well-known. It is traditional in that it has a lineage of masters a mile long, but the practice itself will not be known or understood by someone outside of it. So the solution is going to be different than would be the case with a more widely known form of yoga sadhana. Not being of such a path, I do not feel qualified to speak on this subject from that perspective, but can give you an idea of the solution to non-attachment according to my own path.

The Solution

Enlightenment

Enlightenment is said by some to have been reached when there is no ego, no ‘me’. But as long as there is a form, there is some degree of ego*, and as long as there is a mind, there is an ego, for it is the very core of the mind. I tend to think of the ‘me’ as a simple misidentification, and that the way to undo this is through realization of non-doership, which separates you from nature (that stuff ‘out there’) and is true non-attachment, and the highest enlightenment.

The realization of non-doership happens when you realize that you don’t do anything and never have. This is not limited to realizing that it’s the Real You that does nothing, but that even the you that you think you are does nothing. It just looks like it does. All action is just nature doing her thing. When you get this you’re done with karma. You are not compelled to come back here to this world again. This is why non-attachment is necessary for achieving moksha, liberation.

* Ego - Sanskrit, ahamkara - 'I do'.

Surrender

Surrender is not the same thing as the innocence of childhood but it looks a lot like it, and by thinking about it this way, you’ll get an idea of what I mean by ‘surrender’. The only real difference between innocence and surrender is that you are conscious of surrendering in meditation because you have chosen it, you have something specific to surrender, and you have surrendered it to something specific: God, or whatever your word is for that. Whereas a child is just doing what comes naturally. What they both have in common is this natural spontaneity.

Lest you be like a little child you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Because what we really are is currently occupied with being imperfect humans, this surrender is limited to the meditation room. If we could master all five of the yamas and all five of the niyamas here in this world, we could let this restriction go, but I do not recommend that you assume yourself to have reached this exalted state. However, if you have, I bow at your holy feet.

Direct perception is a direct experience, but direct experience is not necessarily direct perception.

Namaste (I bow to the Divine One that You really are),
Durga Ma
durgama.com

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III:9 How to Cancel Your Karma

What we do creates karma, yet we cannot stop action, so how can we ever be free of our karma? This verse gives us the answer—the one kind of action that will not create karma, and will ultimately eradicate it entirely.

NOTE: My own orientation, Surrender Meditation, is strongly reflected in my commentary on these verses (9 -15), but it is certainly not the only valid perspective. So if your orientation is other than this, you can draw your own conclusions accordingly, with my blessings.

9
In this world, one is bound by action, except for actions for the purpose of sacrifice. Free of attachment, act for this purpose, Son of Kunti (Arjuna). 

We learned previously that ‘action’ and ‘karma‘ are synonymous, that it is what we do that creates our karma, but that we can’t stop action. This undoubtedly left us wondering how we could ever be free of our karma. This verse provides the answer. In it we find that there is one kind of action that does not create karma: sacrifice.

Now, we really don’t want to hear this, do we? The idea of sacrifice is repugnant to us. But do we understand what sacrifice really is, beyond our usual ‘no pain no gain’ thinking?

Sacrifice
Yajña

We in the West are used to thinking of sacrifice as bearing some horrible burden, giving until it hurts, martyring ourselves for the sake of some cause, or giving up our own lives for someone else’s. Then there is human sacrifice on a bloody altar, and on we go with utter distaste. But this is not what is meant by the Sanskrit word for sacrifice, yajña, as we are about to learn.

‘Sacrifice’ from an English Dictionary

The act of slaughtering an animal or person or surrendering a possession as an offering to God or to a divine or supernatural figure. An act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy.

To come to an understanding of what is meant by the word for ‘sacrifice’ in these verses, taking the Sanskrit apart tells us something interesting. Remember the word ana which we learned means ‘knowledge’ or ‘wisdom’? In the word for ‘sacrifice’ we find the same base: jña. The prefix, ya, points to something more specific. 

yajñ– ‘sacrificing, worshipping’ = sacrifice as a form of worship (i.e., rites, rituals, ceremonies, spiritual practices)
ya (this)a  (understanding of a knowable) = something specific to know and understand

The Sacrificial Offering

Common sacrificial offerings are food, flowers, fragrances, etc., things associated with the senses, and somehow, in some cases, the idea of human sacrifice even sneaks in. You are, after all, human, so sacrifice is human. Tweak this just a tiny bit and it is easy to arrive at ‘human sacrifice’.

Sacrifice is one of the most misunderstood subjects to be found in mystical texts. Human sacrifice as the sacrifice of one human being by another, is a misinterpretation, perhaps by chance, perhaps because of simple ignorance, or perhaps by a ‘priesthood’ with an agenda of its own. We mostly think of sacrificial rites of this kind as a thing of the past, but they are not, though these rituals are not commonly known for obvious reasons.

In this verse, it is said that if your actions are for the purpose of sacrifice you will not be bound by them. This is very appealing, as such freedom yields great power. When the logic of the mind comes up with ‘the more you sacrifice the more power you gain’, the mind can can also come up with human sacrifice for a bigger offering. Those who would argue that they know from experience that this really works are unaware that, sooner or later, they will pay, for such willful and harmful actions create profoundly negative karma that will come back to haunt them. Fortunately, most take sacrifice to mean doing service for others in need, and though this still creates karma, it is good karma.

All of these ideas about sacrifice miss the point. Krishna is not talking about ‘things’ or ‘people’, he is talking about actions. And he has made the stipulation that the action be without attachment, which is not the case with these misinterpretations. At best, some will produce ‘good’ karma, but it is still karma, and any karma at all—good, bad or in-between—is binding.

Karma (Action) Yoga
Action free of attachment to the action and its outcome. Karma Yoga is the sacrifice. 

Paints a different picture, doesn’t it? So now we get the idea that there is something more going on with ‘sacrifice’ than the usual understanding. The next few verses will tell us even more.

Surrender Meditation
The ‘human sacrifice’ of offering oneself to God in meditation and accepting ensuing actions as the work of shakti, the activating force, and not one’s own.

By giving up ownership and control of action in meditation, you remove yourself as the doer of action, so you don’t own or control the results of it either. You don’t own any of it, so you don’t owe anything for it.
Ergo, no karma.

Namaste (I bow to the Divine One that You really are),
Durga Ma
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