What Deserves Your Attention? – Br. Shankara

Sunday, June 11, 2017

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June is a month for study of Karma Yoga, a spiritual path leading to the abandonment of selfishness. As a karma yogi, you practice offering your thoughts, actions, and perceptions to the Divine Presence. Even before fully knowing this Presence, you hold firmly to the belief that the Presence is within each person or other living being that you interact with or serve. Working and abiding in this spirit, you are increasingly able to release attachment to your activities and their results. This is the freedom promised by Karma Yoga.

Please NoticeYou start each day with the best of intentions, and often – by the end of that day – you can hardly say where the time went. What happened? The short answer is you got distracted: In the moment, something else seemed more important than what you intended; or, an incident occurred that left you feeling angry, dejected, worn out. Either way, the day is gone and you’re not much closer to what you planned than you were in the morning.

Must this continue? Why are we so easily distracted, and why does what happens frustrate, confuse, even anger us? Here’s one explanation, from Swami Yogeshananda’s article, “A Closer Look Through the Looking-Glass”:

“In a lecture in which he clarifies the … doctrine of Maya, Swami Vivekananda says, ‘I may be dreaming all the time. I am dreaming that I am talking to you and that you are listening to me. No one can prove that it is not a dream. … We are walking in the midst of a dream, half-sleeping, half-waking, passing all our lives in a haze; this is the fate of every one of us… When we dream, the things we see all seem to be connected; during the dream we never think they are incongruous. It is only when we wake that we see the want of connection.

When we wake from this dream of the world and compare it with the Reality, it will be found all incongruous nonsense, a mass of incongruity passing before us, we do not know whence or whither, but we know it will end; and this is called Maya.’”

In this talk we look further into Swami Vivekananda’s definition of Maya, and discuss Sri Krishna’s explanation of how we can wake from Maya’s spell.