First Steps toward Self-Transformation

This is an excerpt from Path of Fire and Light, Volume II, A Practical Companion to Volume I by Swami Rama, published by Himalayan International Institute of Yoga Science and Philosophy of the U.S.A., 1988. Pages 99 and 100.

This excerpt only includes the important steps in order, but does not give the comprehensive full detail of each point, which follows in the book.

Do not concern yourself with the rewards of meditation. There is a scientific law that every action has a reaction; it is not possible for an action to not have benefits. Even if you do not see conscious benefits, there are unconscious results. At the very least you will develop muscle relaxation, rid yourself of tension and stress, and learn to use the mind for spirituality.

The Program

First we will describe the program’s important steps in order, and then describe each point comprehensively and in full detail:

Step One: Practice sitting in meditation at the same time every day to create additional patterns, new grooves or patterns in the mind.Steps toward Self Transformation

Step Two: Learn to have an “internal dialogue” with yourself within your mind.

Step Three: Develop a still, steady, yet comfortable posture for meditation.

Step Four: Develop a pattern of serene breath.

Step Five: The next step is developing sankalpa, or determination; that is, establishing your willpower. Before you do something, you will have to determine that you will do it, that you have to do it, and that you can do it. That is determination.

Step Six: Learn to let go of any distracting thought that comes into your mind. It should not remain there. You should not brood on any particular thought, no matter how wonderful or how bad it is.

Step Seven: The seventh step is a process of inspecting your thoughts, called introspection, which means seeing which thoughts are worthwhile to cultivate. The yoga manuals talk about two types of thoughts, klista and aklista. The first is helpful and the latter is harmful and injurious. Helpful thoughts are those that inspire you or encourage your effort. Injurious thoughts involve thinking, for example, that you are good-for-nothing or inferior. These are negative thoughts. You need to inspect your thoughts to determine which help you and which should be eliminated.

Step Eight: After introspection, the next step is to learn another wonderful process, called “witnessing.” When you have learned to witness the things of this world, then you have become a seer.

One of the greatest adepts, teachers, writers, and humanitarians of the 20th century, Swami Rama (1925-1996) is the founder of the Himalayan Institute. Born in Northern India, he was raised from early childhood by the Himalayan sage, Bengali Baba. Under the guidance of his master, he traveled from monastery to monastery and studied with a variety of Himalayan saints and sages, including his grandmaster who was living in a remote region of Tibet. In addition to this intense spiritual training, Swami Rama received higher education in both India and Europe. From 1949 to 1952, he held the prestigious position of Shankaracharya of Karvirpitham in South India. Thereafter, he returned to his master to receive further training at his cave monastery, and finally in 1969, came to the United States where he founded the Himalayan Institute. His best known work, Living With the Himalayan Masters, reveals the many facets of this singular adept and demonstrates his embodiment of the living tradition of the East.


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