Meet Ken, a passage meditator living in Grass Valley, California. Ken shares how he uses photos to remind him of Easwaran's presence in his daily life.
Photos of Easwaran are very central to my sadhana. I have photos around the house, on bookmarks, on my computer desktop and mobile devices.
I was introduced to passage meditation by a couple friends at a time in my life when I was experiencing some serious medical problems. One friend gave me Words to Live By, which I started reading every day. These thoughts for the day resonated so deeply with me, that I made one of those vows that if I made it through this, I would try meditating. A few months later, as I began to heal, I attended a four-week introduction class and started attending the local Blue Mountain Center of Meditation meditation group.
I meditated every day and began to learn to use my mantram and the other points in the eight point program. As Easwaran says, “this is a come as you are party” and that allowed me to move closer, at my own pace. This was perfect for me because I was more than a little skeptical and had some doubts. I began to see benefits of meditation and gradually wanted to experiment more.
The meditation group displayed a photo of Easwaran at every meeting and I decided to get a photo when I attended my first retreat in Tomales. The first photo I chose for my home was one of him smiling encouragingly. I placed that where I could see it from my meditation corner, as well as from the living room. I began and ended meditation by looking at EE and saying my mantram. I could see him from all parts of the living room and would often sit and look at him and say my mantram.
I lived alone at the time, ate alone and had a habit of reading at meals. I heard EE say that eating and reading at the same time divided attention and that anything I could do through the day to lessen this division, would help my meditation. I pretty quickly experienced how meditation and the mantram helped slow down my runaway thinking and actually changed my life, so I became very motivated to improve my meditation.
I put another photo on my table and said my mantram before starting to eat and often while I ate. I developed an affection for having meals with EE and often looked at him as I ate. Having EE there also helped remind me to keep my mind quieter, bring my attention back to the meal and not just space out or automatically let my mind go off thinking. The mealtime really started feeling like quality time with my teacher.
Now, living with Stephanie, my partner in dharma and fellow passage meditator, we say our mantrams before eating and have our meals together with the same Easwaran photo. These days, I mostly work from home and have lunch alone, so several meals a week I am still lunching alone with EE.
We have several photos of Easwaran around the house; on the bookcase, under the video monitor; in our meditation space (along with Granny) in the corner of the bedroom; and a few smaller ones in various locations. I still begin and end meditation with looking at Easwaran and Granny.
The latest addition is on the kitchen/dinning room serving counter, facing the kitchen sink. We put this one there after hearing that a friend has an EE photo in his farm’s tractor shed. Easwaran continues his rounds of the workplace and kitchen, where once in awhile, a glance will be a mantram reminder or help pull our mind back from the brink.
I love having the photos around the house and catch glimpses through the day. Sometimes seeing his photo sort of jogs my memory of what is real or reminds me of my mantram. I remember hearing Easwaran say something like the purpose of his talks, books and stories was to encourage us to continue meditating. So, perhaps, this is what EE’s photos are doing for my sadhana, in all the little ways through the day, seeing him is a reminder of the real goal in life and to keep practicing passage meditation.
A few weeks ago, the eSatsang had this inspirational quote from God Makes the Rives to Flow, speaking about meditation: “As you sit, you will have in hand the supreme hammer and chisel; use it to hew away all unwanted effects of your heredity, conditioning, environment, and latencies. Bring forth the noble work of art within you! My earnest wish is that one day you shall see, in all its purity, the effulgent spiritual being you really are.” I believe that seeing Easwaran’s photo every so often through the day, cleans away just a little of those unwanted effects and fills my life just a little more with his wish for me.