Hello everyone! I'm new to this site, nice to meet you all, my names is Myrtia. I thought it would be helpfull to share the practices that one uses for the purification of the vehicles.

So here is what I do: I'm vegan for about a year, before that I was vegetarian. I do not drink alcohol. I do yoga sometimes a week, but I'm not using the bandhas or breathing technics, because I found in many books that they are not recommended for the man of this time. In meditation currently I do visualitation mostly. I'm not reading so much these days, but when I do I mostly read Torkom Saraydarian and Bhagavad Gita. Also, I smoke, so I would like to ask if you know a meditation that can help me quit smoking.

I don't know, perhaps this is a simple question and I know there are many ways of doing thinks, but I would like to know about other people's practices as well (if it isn't a too personal question of course)

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Talk to Jon Fergus about the vegan lifestyle.  He is very active in it.  Smoking will not help your body but it does not hurt your mind, so yeah, give your body a break eventually.  The diseases that result from smoking are very painful.  Many of my theosophists friends in Santa Barbara were smokers (as was HPB) and at the end of these people's lives the last few years were spent gasping for air and wearing respirators.  Not a pretty circumstance.

We are a community of fellow students but some of what you ask, at least for me, is too personal and I would prefer to keep to myself.  I hope that is alright with you.

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Thanks for your answer Jerry. Sure, no problem we must share information that we are comfortable with. :)

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As a person who has quit smoking several times, cold turkey and consistent meditation and focus is the key to kicking the habit. Vigilance my friend. :D

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Hello Myrtia,

Thank you for bringing up the subject of making the teachings relevant in our lives. 

I was a smoker for over two decades.  I stopped because I wanted to be a role model for the children.  It would not be very effective if I advised them not to smoke while I was puffing a cigarette on the side.   Looking at our motivations for any action is a good place to start.  It took me about a month to stop.   Every time when the urge of lighting up a cigarette came, Iwatched the thought - it came and it left.  I had the choice of following the thought or not paid any attention.   There were many times I did want to succumb to the temptation but, instead, I chewed gum or a toothpick.   Although the desire / thought still came months after, but it has lost its intensity and I was getting used to ignoring it.  I think it is good idea to find something for substitution, like chewing gum, till the body gets adjusted to the change.  Essentially, this is a practice of not identifying with the physical and standing above the desire mind.

In terms of purification of the vehicles, I think the best place to start is to watch our thoughts since "Energy follows thoughts." or we are what we think.  When we expunge impure thoughts and indulge in good thinking,  we inevitably purify not just our lower vehicles but the world all around us.   

Lastly, my practice changes depending on the different periods in my life.   One of my favorite meditation was based on something HPB said, which is, every day hold your mind to the highest point and nail it there.  I used to sit and tried to tune into the vibration of that highest point and carried it throughout the day.  When we stretch to the max and hold ourselves to the highest point, the next rung of the ladder unfolds. 

 

 

 

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Hello Barbaram, I think your answer is beautifull and to the point!

I also am trying to find the right motivation for quiting and also the reason why I persist in such a destructive habbit. But I think that you can change some things and some habbits without understanding them fully (I refer to the subconscious).

Good thinking, such a simple and difficult task! I will try to make that a more conscious habbit.

I must say, I don't fully understand HPB words, but I somehow conect it to the feel of an Ascented Master being by your side. But in that way, it becomes personified (is that the right word?) which I don't know if it's always good, because we must also find a way to connect with the abstract.

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Hi Myrrtia,

I do not fully understand HPB's words either.  I knew Theosophy for a long time before becoming a serious student.  It just shows that when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.   We have many teachers in our lives and each gives us something that we need.

 

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Hi Myrtia. Always nice to meet a fellow vegan. :)

Thanks for sharing, and for this question. I think it's a very common question many of us wonder about: just what kind of things are other theosophists doing!?

I'll share some of my thoughts on practice here.

There's a wonderful statement that I've heard among theosophists, which is that our spiritual evolution (whether individually or collectively) is dependent upon "self-devised and self-induced efforts". I've always loved this saying, as it seems very meaningful and important. So when we approach something like meditation or yoga, for instance, there is the idea that each individual is drawn to "devise" and "induce" (or make active) their own methods and techniques. And I think this has great value. It's the way I've approached these kinds of practices in my own life.

Since Theosophy itself doesn't really provide a set of techniques, as a teaching, we're all left in the "driver's seat" of our own lives (instead of following the techniques of others, which we may or may not understand). We're all at unique stages in our journeys and are all unique individuals, so there cannot really be a one-sized-fits-all technique (though of course there can be many general methods we might share in common with one another). And I'm always a very careful not to take on a technique or practice if I don't have a basic inner understanding of what such a technique is doing.

My favorite approach to meditation is to look at the prevalent thought/mood/focus of each complete day. So my "meditation" is the way in which I carry myself mentally through the day, my prevalent "state", if you will. If we try to be conscious and mindful of our "day's meditation", on what we were thinking about, where our focus is, etc., throughout the day, then we may begin to better guide ourselves through every moment (as opposed to only during a set time of "meditation" in each day). So then we begin to make our entire life, day in and day out, an uninterrupted "life's meditation". But this isn't really a technique, just an idea to experiment with: ultimately it's about becoming more conscious, more aware, more mindful. I imagine there are thousands of little techniques that might help us do this.

Study can also be a kind of meditation. If we really take up a key theosophical idea and contemplate it over a period of time (we can even keep the idea in the back of our minds for a day, or a week, etc., in "restful contemplation"), that idea may kind of become the "focus of our meditation" and we may begin to "see" and understand the idea in a deeper way.

Some of the other things you touch on really go to the heart of our daily living. And to me the key feature in any lifestyle choices we make must be found in the motive. So, take veganism for instance: we might become vegan because we want to be personally healthier, or we might do it so we can look a certain way, maybe to try to become sexier, etc., or we might do it for ethical reasons, out of a desire to live more compassionately, or to exemplify our ideals of non-violence. Same would go for smoking and drinking, I suppose. Same could probably be said for every lifestyle choice we make: the motive can be somewhat personal or somewhat impersonal.

I tend to think that if we work on the moral aspect, making that our motive (i.e. try to do what is right for the sake of itself, in each moment), then the lower vehicles (and as barbara says, all the world around us) will begin to "purify" rather automatically—that is to say: without a specific effort with the goal of purifying. Like Krishna says: make action itself our purpose, instead of the result. I tend to imagine that if our goal is the purification of our vehicles, we might be kind of sabotaging our own efforts by attaching ourselves to the result: i.e. by wanting purer vehicles.

Veganism is a good example of this idea. If we go vegan, our physical vehicle is going to clean itself to some degree, whether we're attached to that outcome or not, so there's no need to make the purification the motive. We can just go vegan if/when it feels right for us to do so. I'd say the same would probably go for smoking and alcohol: we all know that the physical body generally/typically functions better without these two habits, and likely "mental body" too, but there's not necessarily a need to make that our motive. We can quite smoking and drinking if/when it feels right, for the sake of it feeling right. And the benefits that come with it will come naturally and in their own good time. :)

My two cents, anyway (or was is $2.00??) ;)

As for me: I'm also vegan, don't smoke or drink, don't have specific yoga techniques or routines/rituals, and have my own ongoing experimental "meditations". :)

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Hello John, nice to meet you too :) Thank you for sharing your thoughts I find them very helpfull.

"There's a wonderful statement that I've heard among theosophists, which is that our spiritual evolution (whether individually or collectively) is dependent upon "self-devised and self-induced efforts"." Yes, I like that too. Because there is a process involved. Firstly, understanding your responsibilities as a soul and then commit to change and develop yourself (and others perhaps). Then it's possible to begin to understand man's endless possibilities and you dare to look and visualise higher and higher peaks for humanity. I connect it also to our times, beacuse I believe humanity is starting to develop spiritual maturity and a true connection with the Divine Will.

I have to say that I'm not disconnected with the "fruits of action", but I understand the idea behind it. I believe that it is a higher state, that I wish we all achieve someday. Isn't it like being a tool in the Hands of God? Being connected with the Divine your actions are God's actions so there is nothing to desire or hate. Altough this seems far , we can practise this disconnection in our everyday life and with good results! In truth, I think your comment hit the spot because I was trully expecting results and not with so much patience!

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Isn't it like being a tool in the Hands of God? Being connected with the Divine your actions are God's actions so there is nothing to desire or hate.

I think so, yes. And we can connect this with the Vedanta idea that "Atma and Brahma are One", that your Self and the Universal Self are one. So each of our Higher Selves is, for us, the "voice of God", or the "Voice of the Silence", and if we can become more and more attuned to that voice we can align our thoughts and actions with it, thus making us (the personal selves) the "tool in the Hands of God". :)

It's amazing to contemplate what life must be like for a being who has no personal desires or attachment to results!

I know for myself, the less attached to results I become the smoother things seem to go.

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I don't know if this is of any use, but I like to start the day and end the day with short meditation periods - as long as I can maintain concentration - I like to vary meditation topics and methods - I have various themes, general and specific, that I focus on. A lot of trial and error- using what works and what seems to be a priority. Also, I like to review the day in a journal, noting successes and failures. If I have time, maybe I'll do some longer meditation sessions, although generally I tend to keep them short, gradually extending them as things develop. Overall, not much more than an hour a day - I find that it really helps keep me balanced and focused.

For studying, I like to vary between the more ethical studies of spiritual classics and the more metaphysical teachings. I like to go slowly and progressively and I find that I learn better reading slowly and then writing a short summary and possibly composing a more original study - in general going over the text at least three different times, and then revisiting the text on a regular basis. - I used to discuss texts with others with a reading group - and that was helpful as well - reviewing the text before the discussion as well as afterwards is another thing that I found helped me learn better. So for me, it's been a mixture of trial and error and developing regular, organized habits -  peace...