Thought Bite: Question and Answer #3

Occasionally, students or others send questions via email or social media and they are answered. Here is one that may be of general interest: 


Why is there so little change after so many years of practice?


Hello again Sir,

Ever since before I first started studying Yoga many decades ago, there has been a confusion of the role of the Guru. People have imagined that a Gurudeva’s job is to take away all of our problems. But that’s a misunderstanding. The Guru’s role is to point the way and give a jump-start to our spiritual engine, not to do it all for us. With that in mind, let me use a metaphor to help in understanding.

Imagine every person has a house with a basement (the rooms underground), the main level (on the ground) and the upper levels (above the ground). But most of us only spend time in the basement and on the main level and we do not realize there are upper levels to our house. One of the reasons for this is that the door to the upper levels is hidden. It’s a secret door that the builder installed, and we don’t even know it’s there.

The house represents our body/mind complex. The basement is our subconscious mind. The main floor is the conscious mind we use in our daily life. The upper floors are the higher mind and the great mystery of the Self. When a person is initiated, the secret door is unlocked and opened, so using the proper method we can find our way into it. But, once we enter the door, we often find the stairway to the upper levels is full of clutter and obstacles. So, our path seems blocked.

The obstacles in the stairway to the upper floors are our karmas left over from past lives. The Guru can unlock the door and show us the way, but it is our task to clear out the clutter and obstacles to make progress to the upper levels. The Guru gives us a priceless gift, but cannot take away all of our karma, Even the great Master, Swami Rama, had limits in what he could remove. I heard a story of him seeking to heal a person who had terminal cancer and it caused him a great deal of trouble. That isn’t his job. He’d like to do it, but it is our job. We have to do that ourselves. So if we enter the door and find our way blocked and then we can set about trying to find a way past the obstacles.

If you find you have obstacles, there are things you can do: 1) Make overcoming the problems a top priority in your life and commit to doing whatever you have to do to overcome them; 2) Sincerely and fervently pray to the Tradition for wisdom and strength to overcome the obstacles and be open to intuitions that show you the way; 3) Use all means available to overcome the problem, such as practice of yama/niyama and other mental purification practices, hatha yoga, breathing practices, special mantra practices, prayer, pilgrimage to holy places, counseling, medicine, homeopathy, ayurveda, and many other processes.

Assuming you are an initiate, you have been given a priceless gift. But the Guru is not a wish-fulfilling tree. Although it is frustrating, we must find our own way to make progress, and progress may still be slow. We can ask the Guru for help, and it may well come, but we have to make self-effort. Swami Rama said that Grace comes from self-effort—when we have made our maximum effort, then Grace may descend to carry us over the finish line.

Regarding your second question, you said, “there is also a other question. If dhyan happen no I after I comes back with all his nevrosis...what has change?” I’m thinking you are saying that you are able to meditate but when you come out of meditation the same problems are still there. Is that what you mean? If so, welcome to the club! If you can meditate that is a great achievement! When you come out of meditation, yes, those karmic problems are still there and, like I said in the answer above, the way through is by self-effort and Grace.


19 Dec 2021;
07:00PM - 08:00PM
Full Moon Meditation 2020