Daily Readings from the Works of Swami Venkatesananda

Insights & Inspirations (Venkatesa Daily Readings Vol 2) — Creating A Hermitage Within

August 14, 2019

Creating A Hermitage Within

       There is a rather strange aspect of human nature; when we have something we want something else, and when we do not have it we miss it and long for it. Life or fate or karma throws you in the middle of a fish-Market and you have to live there. You begin to think "Oh! if only I could get away to a nice quiet place where I could meditate seriously for twenty-four hours! I am interested in attaining God-realization but there is the family, the business, this and that! If these could be taken care of and I were free, I would sit and meditate all day and night." Then you are brought into a situation where all these things suddenly come into your life. There is all the seclusion, privacy and non-distraction you wanted; and what happens? You discover the distraction is not outside. The 'distractibility' is inside. If you have this 'distractibility' you will be distracted anywhere.

     How can I have a completely impenetrable fortress where I will not be distracted - not only now, but forever? Provided you have the strong wish, through the materialization of this wish, one is able to create for oneself a 'hermitage' - which is a nice way of saying you can stay wherever you are.

     Take the example of a yoga camp where a big percentage of distraction is absent. You are here for only a short time. Why don't you enjoy it? Why don't you watch yourself and see whether you have any interest in life other than the fish-market? You were accustomed to that before you came here. Do you indulge in the same small-talk - in the same behavior pattern? Can you release yourself from the fish-market and find a new interest? This is point number one. If what you are doing here is a mere extension of what you were doing there, there is no sense in coming here. Being here also gives you the opportunity to look within and see whether you were really serious when you wished for seclusion. Can you, in this atmosphere, pull yourself completely away? Do you really want to change or are you merely bluffing yourself? Will you use this opportunity to unmask your sincerity or insincerity and look within and face yourself? In a camp situation one can, even though it seems to be painful.

   Only fools think that knowledge and action are two different things; knowledge must be followed by action.

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