There is something truly unique about being on top of a mountain, in a remote place, with the performance of sadhana as the main focus of our day. Normally in life, we have so many different obstacles and tasks imposed upon us from the outside, which we may or may not want to complete, but still we must.
Here in the Himalayas, engaged in sadhana for most of the day, we have only one thing to overcome, and that is our own selves. Truly, there is nothing else more worthwhile than to be victorious.
Sitting in the asana, reciting the mantras, there is no one to disturb us, but we ourselves. As the Bhagavad Gita states: “Only the atmana (the Reflector of the mind) is the friend of the soul; only the atmana (the Reflector of the mind) is the enemy of the soul. Who has conquered the atmana (mind, Reflector of the mind) has the peace of the Supreme Soul.” (Chapter 6, Verse 5)
It is difficult to sit in an asana and perform sadhana for eight or more hours if the mind is not united with the highest intentions of our soul, our own eternal self. Who would be capable to sit there with a restless mind jumping from one thought to another for more than half the day?
In such conducive circumstances for sadhana, if you don’t stop yourself from performing sadhana and moving deeper inside, nothing else will. There is nobody but ourselves to put the brakes on our sadhana. There is nothing else to divert us from moving deeper inside, but for the jabbering mind. Taking the mind and body as our support, we constantly create reasons or justifications for why we should make less efforts in our sadhana.
The mind will always call out in various ways “My back hurts, my knees hurt, we should move. This is too long. I need to pee. It’s hot, it’s cold. I have other things to do…” etc. It is up to us to withdraw our attention from these thoughts and move the attention back to the mantras.
Even during this trip, I have seen people come to join Swamiji and I who were sincerely interested in performing sadhana with us. They had the same conducive circumstances and environment, even the example of the Guru, yet somehow they were stopped by their own selves, and left quoting some reason or the other for their inability to stay quietly.
If we can continue in our sadhana, not accepting the suggestions of the mind, then we can focus on the meanings of the mantras and tap into the constant flow of inspiration coming through them. The mind eventually gives way and becomes focused in worship, and when that happens it is really beautiful.
What an incredible circumstance, where the only thing to do is to overcome oneself, and overcoming that, what difficulty can confront us? Everything just flows with joy and ease, “Who has conquered the atmana (the Reflector of the mind), has the peace of the Supreme Soul.”