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Maintaining Spiritual Practice in Daily Life:
The Correct View and Understanding of, "Who am I?"

Translation of a satsangha in Kyoto, Japan.
December 20, 2003

Q: I recently began practicing Yoga. As a benefit of asana practice, I’ve experienced less mental fluctuations, however, please teach me how to correctly approach and understand meditation. How can I balance spiritual practice with the fast pace of daily life and responsibilities with jobs and families?

Master: To deepen Yoga practice is not at all unrelated to jobs or any other activity. Why are people busy. You are pressed for time, saying it is because of your job and necessities to do this or that to keep life going. You call its continuous pattern, life. Look at it objectively: What is life. Who is living. You may answer, "I am." Who then is this I. You may identify yourself with your jobs, daily activities, pleasures or hobbies, which can change and may be totally different than before. 

At the moment you may be busy with your present circumstances, but if your present circumstances disappear it doesn’t mean that you disappear. In striving not to lose what you possess, like your jobs, your mind suffers. Possessions cause worry and disturbance. This "I" is engulfed in the center of suffering. If you don’t possess any thing or any condition, you don’t gain any thing but you still exist. You may not feel pleasure, but you also don’t feel worried. Of these relative states of minds, which one is more peaceful. The correct understanding of these matters is discrimination. I use "correct" because judgment occurs in a relative world where sometimes one way is correct, and at another time another way is correct. The ways are not absolute due to the influence of time and varying conditions. However, in the depths of your mind, you seek for complete, absolute, or true tranquility.

Discrimination involves a process of learning the Truth, reflecting and meditating upon it. In so doing, you will transform your mind, not just remain within intellectual understanding. Through this, power and wisdom arise. This is one aspect of meditation.

Regarding direction, bring your focus to the center of the chest or between the eyebrows. Concentrate there on the particular theme of the meditation. Concentration upon the meditational theme involves earnest and keen consideration. Through meditation, ultimately you will know the True Self, or at least what it means to live, and you will cultivate the correct understanding about jobs and your daily life. Without feeling inundated with responsibilities, you will be able to manage your job, daily life, and practice, knowing the answer to the all-important question of what you are living for. You can do it without contradiction. If this is not the case, your spiritual practice is not practical. How you allocate your time may change but you will be able to proceed without much difficulty. Try to attend satsangha like this or raja yoga Classes; they will benefit and deepen your practice and give you a positive influence. Even for 5 or 10 minutes, you must meditate everyday. You can’t say you don’t have time for that. By doing so your obstacles will diminish.