No matter what the tradition, the goal of spiritual practice remains the same. It follows that every spiritual tradition draws from the same essential tools for practice. Teachers within a given lineage expand and refine its toolkit as time goes on.
Below is a list of some tools from the kit I was given by Baba. If practiced appropriately, with the right attitude, each will move us forward in our journey.
Meditation. Let go of the chatter and be still before God. If you still the vibration that comes out of the Heart, the chatter will dissolve and disappear. Do not focus on the chatter; focus on the vibrations in the Heart. Step back and you will have a greater view.
We cannot still something we are not disentangled from. We meditate to go as deep as we can within. Then we remain within and witness the meditation. When we open our eyes we then are to remain within that deepest place, so that eventually we are living sahaj samādhi: being in the Heart and looking out at the world simultaneously.
Fourchotomy. All qualities are made up of vibrations. Those vibrations then dictate how we label ourselves and all we encounter—how we interact with the world. The intellect sorts our experience of those vibrations into dichotomies. But our dichotomies are not rigid: each quality inhabits a semantic field with three other components, not just one alternative. For this reason, I refer to a set of four qualities as a fourchotomy. Here is one example:
The way to use this is to own and accept all four qualities, which will then allow us to rest in the stillness at the center of it all.
Puzzle. Writing down all that comes up, without any editing or judging, in order to create the set of puzzle pieces that make up the whole picture of a situation or relationship.
Teacher/Guru. The Guru is our lifeline. Appreciate the Guru.
Listening. When we are unconscious, what runs us is what we believe unconsciously. Real listening is hearing our honest answer of the moment, without judging, editing, or denying it.
Humor. We must stop taking our character so seriously and personally, and really see the humor of the part we are playing.
Scripture study, books, teaching stories, blogs, practice points. All these are crucial resources. It will take many readings and much reflecting to absorb and be able to use what is found here.
Seed tool. Once we realize that we repeatedly fall into certain actions or behaviors, we can trace the vibration that causes the behavior back to its source and still it.
Service. The importance of service is that we get out of seeing ourselves as the center of the world. Service is an opportunity to learn how to give.
Disentangling from vehicles. Withdrawing our energy and attention out of our various vehicles allows us to no longer identify with them.
Surrendering/Ishvara pranidhana. By letting go of all that we hold onto at any given moment and surrendering to God as completely as we can, we lose our attachment to our shrunken identity.
Mantra. We can repeat a sacred syllable, word, or phrase to override our thoughts, and eventually to hear the mantra in the Heart, repeated continuously.
Sharing and community. When we isolate ourselves, we can believe all kinds of delusions. Community and open sharing is a great reality tester. It also supports us in our practice.
Confessing/revealing. We must be willing to admit—to ourselves above all—what we’ve actually said, done, thought, and felt, without running from the truth.
The thing about tools is that they have no value unless you put them to good use. They are not just there to be pulled out in case of a crisis; they are there to be used in sustaining your practice. So use them. Be with your experience, whatever it is. Let whatever comes up from that experience come up. And function appropriately on the physical plane.
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