Light in the darkness

But the seeker, or sadhaka, is a person of discrimination. This is the first qualification of a seeker according to Vedanta teachings. The second qualification is to have dispassion or detachment; the third is acquiring the six mental qualifications, and the fourth is having mumukshutva, a strong desire to know.Since those present have completed the Yoga teachers training course and many have been on the path for a very long time, I believe that you all are quite serious. So, you are a seeker. Otherwise, you would not have gone through TTC, wanting to have more discipline in your life, learning meditation and yoga in a systematic, serious manner. That’s called mumukshutva, the desire to know. You have to know, more or less, what you are seeking. Otherwise, what are you seeking? If I’m looking for my glasses, I grasp everything around, asking, “Are these my glasses?” “No.” “Oh, maybe these are my glasses?” “No.” “Oh, these are my glasses!” “No.”Why I am grasping? Because I don’t quite know. I’m putting each thing down, because I know that it’s not them. These are not my glasses. Why am I so certain that they are not my glasses? I can put the object down and reject it. Because I know, right? Because I know my glasses. And when I touch them, I have no uncertainty, no doubt. Why? Because I know them. The same in Vedanta, you are seeking something that you know.

Ask the right question

And yet, there is something in your mind that is so illusory, that causes you to look for something somewhere else and mistake something for what it is not. You have a pattern of seeking in the wrong place and you do not quite know what you are seeking. That’s a big problem. Thankfully, there are guidelinesIn Vedanta philosophy, it is said that you have to qualify yourself in order for you to see or for you to find. Normally we seek outside, then say, “Oh, this, maybe it’s in the landscape?”Or maybe, “It’s in the company?” Or maybe, “It’s in the weather?” Maybe: “Yeah, I want to be near the beach. And here it is too dry.” You are always looking for something—for happiness, in truth—but you fall back on the very bad habit of looking for it externally.

Happiness slips away

We try to change this with yoga self-discipline, to look in the right place. Eventually, you have to have the discrimination; you have to know what you’re seeking. Next, you have to be detached, be dispassionate, about things that you have mistaken to be “it”, to be what you are looking for. And still, you continue to do it again and again. You say you know that these are not your glasses, and yet, out of habit, you still go down the same road. You know that ice cream, sensual pleasure, etc.  are our habitual ways to seek happiness—in the senses, in the emotions, in sex, in name and fame and the ego—in the external world.The external world means the world of the senses. You are here, but you are looking around: “Oh, I’d like to be at the beach.” And then you have that dream in your mind: “Yeah, I’d like to be at the beach in a five-star hotel. I’d like to have my piña colada…” “Oh, that is happiness!” You have had this impression in the mind for a very long time—it’s very deep. And, perhaps you have been living with disappointment for a very long time, too. You build up some kind of desire, and then you get the desired object, but you don’t get the happiness you expected. It slips through your fingers. It’s gone.Again, you feel empty and longing—hankering after something, and yet not able to satisfy yourself and find peace of mind. Still, the mind keeps going in the same, deep groove. It takes a long time to change. That’s why you need to be qualified. In reality, the happiness you seek is right here and now. It is within you; it is always surrounding you. It is right in front of you. It is not outside. And yet, we have been mistaken all this time.

The long journey

Again, the first qualification of a seeker is discrimination. This faculty of intelligence in the mind is able to recognize that the Truth you’re looking for, the happiness you’re looking for, is not in this changing world—not in the senses, not in your habits, not in your emotions, not in this changing world. You begin looking for it in a different manner. You need to go within to find the unchanging, the permanent, the Truth, the sat—in a word, satchidananda atman—the Self that is full awareness, consciousness, and that is full of bliss. That is what you are looking for. You have sought it in many elusive forms, but this is the essence. Discrimination is the inner faculty that allows you to go beyond the illusions of the mind. 

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