Awareness in Daily Life

Swami Satyananda Saraswati

It is not sufficient to develop inner awareness through meditation. It is necessary to apply it in day-to-day life, otherwise it is like making a bomb and keeping it in your room without making use of it. Through meditation, you heighten and purify your awareness, but when it comes to applying it in day-to-day living, you don’t do it. Therefore, daily life and spiritual life become two different and contradictory realities. If you want your developed awareness to help you in your spiritual life as well as your material life, you must learn the method of taking a little energy from that fundamental source of awareness and putting it in touch with your daily activities, or you will never realize your full potential. In yoga, and other sciences pertaining to yoga, there are methods by which the supreme awareness can be applied to daily life.

The visions, the psychic experience seen during meditation are not everything. They are just indications of a growing concentration. They prove that your consciousness is transcending different dimensions and different stages of your being. Many spiritual aspirants, renunciates or householders, have gone deep within during meditation. Some of them lose complete awareness of the outer body. Yet they have not been able to accomplish anything. They have not been able to understand anything in life. If you tell them something, they forget. They lack the power of memory and the faculty of understanding. They have completely dimmed the power of constant awareness.

This happens because their day-to-day life: the life of the senses and the world, and their spiritual life, become two different lives. Side by side with the practices of meditation there should be the practices of hatha yoga, bhakti yoga, jnana yoga and especially karma yoga. It is wrong to say that one has to practise karma yoga first and when one becomes expert in this, one takes to bhakti yoga or raja yoga. No, it is not like that. All these aspects of yoga should be practised together. It must also be understood how to practise them at the right time and in the right amount. The right duration, depth, intensity and emphasis has to be placed on each one.

If you are an emotional person and you do not know how to use your surplus emotions, you will take more to bhakti yoga. If you are predominantly psychic, greater emphasis will be on meditation. If you are rational by temperament, you will have to lay emphasis on jnana yoga. In this way karma yoga becomes important for all spiritual aspirants. It is not only because karma is necessary in order to earn one’s livelihood, bur karma is necessary to express the formless awareness, that pure awareness, in actual work.

I would like to convey to you that the root of power in man is awareness. If that particular awareness can be developed by gradual practice and effort, it will be possible for you to circulate, operate and correspond with the different spheres of reality: physical, mental, psychic and spiritual.

It sometimes happens that people develop a greater spiritual personality, so much so that they see divinity everywhere. They see oneness everywhere. It is a stage in spiritual life when they become aware of the oneness of everything. You may call it hallucination or a subjective idea, but it is pure consciousness. One does not find any difference between oneself and others. At that moment, the distinction between man and man fades away. One does not see the distinction between religions, races, colour, sex, groups, and so on. This is a great achievement for man and the greatest power that we can bring to this earth.

1974, Sivanandashram, Munger published in Early Teachings of Swami Satyananda Volume II