Sadhana at home – Sri Aurobindo

It is quite possible for you to do Sadhana at home and in the midst of your work – many do so. What is necessary in the beginning is to remember the Mother as much as possible, to concentrate on her in the heart for a time every day, if possible thinking of her as the Divine Mother, to aspire to feel her there within you, offer her your works and pray that from within she may guide and sustain you.

Sri Aurobindo
(SABCL Vol. 25 p. 161)

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The Mother is the goal — Sri Aurobindo

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Discovery of the Divine – The Mother

People are occupied with outward things. That means that the consciousness is turned towards external things – that is, all the things of life which one sees, knows, does – instead of being turned inwards in order to find the deeper truth, the divine Presence. This is the first movement. You are busy with all that you do, with the people around you, the things you use; and then with life: sleeping, eating, talking, working a little, having a little fun also; and then beginning over again: sleeping, eating, etc., etc., and then it begins again. And then what this one has said, what that one has done, what one ought to do, the lesson one ought to learn, the exercise one ought to prepare; and then again whether one is keeping well, whether one is feeling fit, etc. This is what one usually thinks about.

So the first movement – and it is not so easy – is to make all that pass to the background, and let one thing come inside and in front of the consciousness as the important thing: the discovery of the very purpose of existence and life, to learn what one is, why one lives, and what there is behind all this. This is the first step: to be interested more in the cause and goal than in the manifestation. That is, the first movement is a withdrawal of the consciousness from this total identification with outward and apparent things, and a kind of inward concentration on what one wants to discover, the Truth one wants to discover. This is the first movement.

Many people forget one thing. They want to begin by the end. They think that they are ready to express in their life what they call the supramental Force or Consciousness, and they want to infuse this in their actions, their movements, their daily life. But the trouble is that they don’t at all know what the supramental Force or Consciousness is and that first of all it is necessary to take the reverse path, the way of interiorisation and of withdrawal from life, in order to find within oneself this Truth which has to be expressed.

For as long as one has not found it, there is nothing to express. And by imagining that one is living an exceptional life, one lives only in the illusion of one’s exceptional state. Therefore, at first not only must one find one’s soul and the Divine who possesses it, but one must identify oneself with it. And then later, one may begin to come back to outward activities, and then transform them; because then one knows in what direction to turn them, into what to transform them.

One can’t jump over this stage. One must first find one’s soul, this is absolutely indispensable, and identify oneself with it. Later one can come to the transformation.

It is first of all indispensable to find the soul and unite with the psychic being, and with the Divine who is within it. This is an absolutely indispensable beginning. One can’t leap over that bridge; it is not possible. It can be done very quickly if you know how to use the help that’s given to you; but it has to be done.

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Contact your soul through imagination — Mother

Is it right to see images when one meditates, as for example, a door opening?

     Everything is right, if it has a result. Whatever the means it is all right. Why ? The images you speak of are not necessarily ridiculous; they are mental images, and if they produce a result they are quite appropriate, if they give you an experience, they are appropriate.

     Everyone has his special procedure. Some may have imageries that help them; some, on the contrary, have a more abstract spirit and see ideas only, others again, they who live more in their sensations and feelings, have rather psychological movements, movements of inner feeling and sensation; that depends on each one. Those who have an active, a “form-making” mind, are particularly those who see images, but everybody does not experience tie same thing. Generally, it is more often a sensation, a feeling than an image.

When, for example, I ask you to descend into yourself, some will concentrate on a sensation, but others will have the impression of going down into a well and these have absolutely the image’of steps descending into a dark and deep well and they descend more and more, more and more, and sometimes they do arrive at a door : they sit down before the door with the will to enter and sometimes the door opens, then they enter and see something like a hall or a room or a grotto, and from there if they continue they can arrive at another door and again stop, and with an effort this door also opens and you can go farther and if you do it with sufficient persistence and can continue the experience, there comes a moment when you find yourself before a door which has a special quality of solidity or solemnity and with a great effort of concentration the door opens and you enter into a chamber of light; then you have the experience of the contact of your soul…I do not see what is there bad in having images.

But it is only an imagination, is it not, Mother ?

Imagination ? What is an imagination ? You can imagine nothing that does not exist in the universe. It is impossible to imagine something that does not exist somewhere. The only thing is that you do not put your imagination in its place, or you give it virtues and qualities that it has not or you explain it otherwise than by a good explanation. But whatever you imagine exists somewhere, the only thing is to know where and to put it in its right place.

Naturally, if having imagined that you were before a door, you thought that it was really a physical door that is within your body, then it would be an error; but if you note that it is a mental form taken by your effort for concentration, that is quite correct.

If you take a walk in the mental world, you will find it full of forms like that, all kinds of forms which have no material reality but which exist perfectly well in the mental world.

You cannot think strongly of anything without your thought taking a form.

Imagination is a power of formation. In fact, those who have no imagination are the people who do not create forms in the mental plane, who cannot give a concrete power to their thought. Imagination is a very powerful means of action. For example, if you have a pain somewhere and if you can imagine that you are making it disappear or removing it or destroying it with the help of some images, well, you succeed perfectly well.

The story is told of a person who was losing her hair in a fantastic way and was threatened with baldness in a few weeks. Then someone told her, “Just imagine, when you do your hair, that they are growing and will grow very quickly. And the person while combing her hair was always saying, “Oh, my hair is growing, oh, it is growing very quickly !” And in fact, that is what happened. But what people generally do is to say, “Ah, all my hairs are falling and I am getting bald. It is sure, that is going to happen”. Evidently that is what does happen.

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True mastery — Mother

To master something, a movement, is simply, by your presence, without a word or explanation, to replace the wrong vibration by the right vibration. It is this which constitutes the power of mastery; not speaking or explaining. With the word and the explanation, and even with a certain emanation of force, you can have an influence over someone, but you cannot master the movement. The mastery over the movement means the capacity to set against the vibration of this movement, a vibration that is stronger and more true and that can put a stop to the other vibration.

     I will give you a very easy example. Two persons are quarrelling before you. Not only are they quarrelling but they are about to come to blows. You explain to them that it is not a thing to be done, you give them good reasons so that they may stop and they do stop. You would have had an influence upon them. But if simply you stand before them, you look at them and put forward a vibration of peace, calm, tranquillity without uttering a single word, without any explanation, the other vibration can exist no more, it falls by itself. That is mastery.

It is the same thing for the cure of ignorance. If you need words to explain something, it is not the true knowledge. If I have to utter all that I utter in order to make you understand me, it is not mastery, it is simply an influence that I am able to exercise upon your intelligence and help you to understand, awaken in you the desire to know, to discipline yourself etc. But if I am not able by simply looking at you, without saying a word, to put into you the light that will make you understand, then I would not have mastered the state of ignorance. You understand ? (The questioner makes a sign of yes). Good.

Q: The problem arises in the class.

Mother: Oh ! Oh ! You get angry with your students ?

Q: No, but how to control or discipline them, when one has not the mastery over oneself ?

Mother: One cannot !

Q: But if we are to do as you say, have the mastery, that will take the whole life.

 Mother:   It is a pity ! (laughter) But how do you propose to do otherwise ? For example, you have a student who is undisciplined, disobedient, insolent; that means a certain vibration in the atmosphere which is moreover, unfortunately, very contagious; but if you do not have, you, in yourself, the contrary vibration, the vibration of discipline, order, humility, a quietness and peace that nothing can upset, then how can you hope to have any influence? Are you going to tell him, that it should not be done? Either he will turn worse or he will make fun of you. And if by any chance you do not have yourself the control and you become angry, then it is finished, you lose for the whole of your life any possibility of having authority over your pupils.

     Teachers who do not possess a perfect calm, an unfailing endurance, an unshakable quietness, who are full of self-conceit will reach nowhere.

    One must be a saint and a hero to become a good teacher.

    One must be a great Yogi to become a good teacher.

    One must have the perfect attitude in order to be able to exact from one’s pupils a perfect attitude.

    You cannot ask of a person what you do not do yourself. It is a rule.

    You must then look within you at the difference between what is and what should be, and this difference will give you the measure of your failure in the class.

    That is all I can offer to you.

   And I add, since I have the occasion, this : We ask many students here, when they are grown up and know something, to teach others. Some, I suppose, know why; but there are also those who think that it is because to serve in some way is good and because after all there is need of teachers and you are content to have them. But I tell you—for it is a fact—I have never asked any of those—who were educated here—to give lessons unless I saw that it would be for him the best means of disciplining himself, of learning in the best way what he has to teach and to attain an inner perfection which he would never have if he were not a teacher and had not this occasion for disciplining himself, which is exceptionally hard.

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Psychic Being and Life

Mother, does an individual’s life depend on the experience his psychic being wants to have?

Very much!

I was speaking about just this with someone today, and I said this, that if one can become fully conscious of his psychic being, at the same time one understands, necessarily, the reason of his present existence and the experience this psychic being wants to have; and instead of having it somewhat half consciously and more than half unconsciously, one can shorten this experience and so help his psychic being to cover in a limited number of years the experiences it would perhaps take several lifetimes to go through. That is to say, the help is reciprocal. The psychic, when it has an influence on the outer life, brings to it light, order and quietude and the joy of the divine contact. But also the physical being, the body-consciousness, if it is identified with the psychic consciousness, and through that learns what kind of experience the psychic being wants to have, it can help it to have these experiences in a very brief time, and not only save time but save many lives for the psychic being. It is a mutual help. 


 

In brief, this is what yoga means. Yoga helps you to become fully conscious of your destiny, that is, your mission in the universe, and not only at the present moment but what it was in the past and what it will be in the future. And because of this knowledge you can gather by a concentration of the consciousness all these experiences in a very short time and gain lives, do in a few years what could take a fairly considerable number of lives to achieve. The psychic being goes progressively through all these experiences towards its full maturity and complete independence, its liberation – in the sense that it no longer needs any new life. If it wants to come back to the physical world, it returns, because it has something to do there and it chooses freely to return. But till then, till this liberation, it is compelled to return to have all the experiences it needs. Well, if it happens that once the physical being is developed and conscious enough and has enough goodwill to be able to become fully aware of the psychic being, it can then and there create all the circumstances, the outer experiences necessary for the psychic being to attain its maturity in this very life.  

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Sri Aurobindo’s Mahasamadhi — Mother

To Thee who hast been the material envelope of our Master, to Thee our infinite gratitude. Before Thee who hast done so much for us, who hast worked, struggled, suffered, hoped, endured so much, before Thee who hast willed all, attempted all, prepared, achieved all for us, before Thee we bow down and implore that we may never forget, even for a moment, all we owe to Thee.

9 December 1950

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Sri Aurobindo’s Mahasamadhi, Dec 5

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Silence more effective than speech — Mother

5 June 1957

Do you have any questions? No

 Sweet Mother, should one ask questions which don’t come spontaneously?

What do you mean by a question that doesn’t come spontaneously?

For, usually, in class, we often feel that if we don’t ask questions you won’t tell us anything, so we think and think, and we have to ask questions!

It depends on what you find! If the question is interesting…Because you make an effort to find it, it doesn’t mean that it is necessarily bad.

             Do you have a question of this kind?

No.    

Then…                                                                                                  (Long silence)

In fact, if one reads attentively what Sri Aurobindo has written, all that he has written, one would have the answer to every question. But there are certain moments and certain ways of presenting ideas which have a dynamic effect on the consciousness and help you to make a spiritual progress. The presentation, to be effective, must necessarily be the spontaneous expression of an immediate experience. If things which have already been said are repeated in the same manner, things which belong to past experiences, it becomes a sort of teaching, what could be called didactic talk, and it sets off some cells in the brain, but in fact is not very useful.

For me, for what I am trying to do, action in silence is always much more important…. The force which is at work is not limited by words, and this gives it an infinitely greater strength, and it expresses itself in each consciousness in accordance with its own particular mode, which makes it infinitely more effective. A certain vibration is given out in silence, with a special purpose, to obtain a definite result, but according to the mental receptivity of each person it is expressed in each individual consciousness exactly in the form which can be the most effective, the most active, the most immediately useful for each individual; while if it is formulated in words, this formula has to be received by each person in its fixity – the fixity of the words given to it – and it loses much of its strength and fullness of action because, first, the words are not always understood as they are said and then they are not always adapted to the understanding of each one.

      So, unless a question immediately gives rise to an experience which can be expressed as a new formula, in my opinion it is always better to keep silent. Only when the question is living can it give rise to an experience which will be the occasion of a living teaching. And for a question to be alive, it must answer an inner need for progress, a spontaneous need to progress on some plane or other – on the mental plane is the most usual way, but if by chance it answers an inner aspiration, a problem one is tackling and wants to solve, then the question becomes interesting and living and truly useful, and it can give rise to a vision, a perception on a higher plane, an experience in the consciousness which can make the formula new so that it carries a new power for realisation.

      Apart from such cases I always feel that it is much better not to say anything and that a few minutes of meditation are always more useful.

      What I read at the beginning ought to serve to canalise the thought, to direct and focus it on a particular problem or a set of ideas or a new possibility of understanding which comes from the passage read; and in fact it is almost like a subject of meditation suggested for the silence which follows the reading.

      To speak for the sake of speaking is not at all interesting – there are schools for that! Not here.

       But when you speak, Sweet Mother, it is different!  

(Silence)

(Another child) Mother, when you speak we try to understand with the mind, but when you communicate something in silence, on what part of the being should we concentrate?

It is always better, for meditation – you see, we use the word “meditation”, but it does not necessarily mean “moving ideas around in the head”, quite the contrary – it is always better to try to concentrate in a centre, the centre of aspiration, one might say, the place where the flame of aspiration burns, to gather in all the energies there, at the solar plexus centre and, if possible, to obtain an attentive silence as though one wanted to listen to something extremely subtle, something that demands a complete attention, a complete concentration and total silence. And then not to move at all. Not to think, not to stir, and make that movement of opening so as to receive all that can be received, but taking good care not to try to know what is happening while it is happening, for if one wants to understand or even to observe actively, it keeps up a sort of cerebral activity which is unfavourable to the fullness of the receptivity – to be silent, as totally silent as possible, in an attentive concentration, and then be still.

If one succeeds in this, then, when everything is over, when one comes out of meditation, some time later – usually not immediately – from within the being something new emerges in the consciousness: a new understanding, a new appreciation of  things, a new attitude in life – in short, a new way of being. This may be fugitive, but at that moment, if one observes it, one finds that something has taken one step forward on the path of understanding or transformation. It may be an illumination, an understanding truer or closer to the truth, or a power of transformation which helps you to achieve a psychological progress or a widening of the consciousness or a greater control over your movements, over the activities of the being.

And these results are never immediate. For if one tries to have them at once, one remains in a state of activity which is quite the contrary of true receptivity. One must be as neutral, as immobile, as passive as one can be, with a background of silent aspiration not formulated in words or ideas or even in feelings; something that does this (gesture like a mounting flame) in an ardent vibration, but which does not formulate, and above all, does not try to understand.

With a little practice one reaches a state which may be obtained at will, in a few seconds, that is, one doesn’t waste any of the meditation time. Naturally, in the beginning, one must slowly quieten the mind, gather up one’s consciousness, concentrate; one loses three-quarters of the time in preparing oneself. But when one has practised the thing, in two or three seconds one can get it, and then one benefits from the whole period of receptivity.

Naturally, there are still more advanced and perfected states, but that comes later. But already if one reaches that state, one profits fully by the meditation.

We are going to try.  

(Meditation)

 


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Siddhi Day, Nov 24, 2022

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Mother’s Mahasamadhi, Nov 17

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Consciousness — Mother

Identification of Consciousness

THE Prayers¹ speak always of the identification of consciousness with the Supreme. There is also the other identification of the consciousness, on the other side, namely, with things and beings, with the world outside: to that also the Prayers refer constantly. In reality, however, there is only one consciousness; it is everywhere, in all objects, in the universe and beyond. When a limit is put around it somewhere, a frame is erected, then it becomes or appears to become an individual consciousness. It is man’s ego, a spot or point cutting and shutting itself off from the global consciousness, that has thus separated itself from the Divine; it is that ego, that separative consciousness which is asked to break the limits and regain its natural unity with the one consciousness. And when it can do so it is said to have made the identification with the Supreme. Apart from this, however, when the consciousness has separated and individualised itself in different centres, even then it exists and acts in hiding in all the multiple varieties of forms, from the tiniest to the biggest. The same consciousness is alive in the atom, the stone, the plant, the animal, in the earth and the sun and the stars, in the universe as a whole. Each object big or small, living or non-living, conscious or unconscious, contains that consciousness at its centre and embodies or expresses it in various ways.

Consider, for example, your country, India. When you say “India”, what do you mean to convey? Is it the geographical boundary that goes by the name or the expanse of soil contained within that boundary or its hills and rivers, forests and fields or the beasts that range in it or its human inhabitants or all of these together? No, it is something else; it is a centre of consciousness which has as its bodily frame the particular geographical boundary: it is that which dwells in its mountains and meadows, vibrates in its vegetation, lives and moves in its animal kingdom; and it is that which is behind the mind and aspiration of its people, animating its culture and civilisation and moving it towards higher and higher illuminations and achievements. It is not India alone, but every country upon earth has its consciousness, which is the central core of its life and culture. Not only so, even the earth itself, the earth as a whole, has a consciousness at its centre and is the embodiment of that consciousness: and earth’s evolution means the growth and expression of that consciousness. Likewise the sun too has a solar consciousness, a solar being presiding over its destiny. Further, the universe too has a cosmic consciousness, one and indivisible, moving and guiding it. And still beyond there lies the transcendental consciousness, outside creation and manifestation.

Consciousness being one and the same everywhere fundamentally, through your own consciousness you can identify yourself with the consciousness that inhabits any other particular formation, any object or being or world. You can, for example, identify your consciousness with that of a tree. Stroll out one evening, find a quiet place in the countryside; choose a big tree – a mango tree, for instance – and go and take your seat at its root, with your back resting or leaning against the trunk. Still yourself, be quiet and wait, see or feel what happens in you. You will feel as if something is rising up within you, from below upward, coursing like a fluid, something that makes you feel at once happy and contented and strong. It is the sap mounting in the tree with which you have come in contact, the vital force, the secret consciousness in the tree that is comforting, restful and health-giving. Well, tired travellers sit under a banyan tree, birds rest upon its spreading branches, other animals – and even beings too (you must have heard of ghosts haunting a tree) – take shelter there. It is not merely for the cool or cosy shade, not merely for the physical convenience it gives, but the vital refuge or protection that it extends. Trees are so living, so sentient that they can be almost as friendly as an animal or even a human being. One feels at home, soothed, protected, strengthened under their overspreading foliage.

I will give you one instance. There was an old mango tree in one of our gardens – very old, leafless and dried up, decrepit and apparently dying. Everybody was for cutting it down and making the place clean and clear for flowers or vegetables. I looked at the tree. Suddenly I saw within the dry bark, at the core, a column of thin and and dim light, a light greenish in colour, mounting up, something very living. I was one with the consciousness of the tree and it told me that I should not allow it to be cut down. The tree is still living and .in fairly good health. As a young girl barely in my teens I used to go into the woods not far from Paris, Bois de Fontainebleau: there were huge oak trees centuries old perhaps. And although I knew nothing of meditation then, I used to sit quietly by myself and feel the life around, the living presence of something in each tree that brought to me invariably the sense of health and happiness.

Another instance will show another kind of identification. It is an experience to which I have often referred. I was seated, drawn in and meditating. I felt that my physical body was I dissolving or changing: it was becoming wider and wider, losing its human characters and taking gradually the shape of a globe. Arms, legs, head were no longer there: it became spherical, having exactly the form of the earth. I felt I had become the earth. I was the earth in form and substance and all terrestrial objects were in me, animals and people, living and moving in me, trees and plants and even inanimate objects as part of myself, limbs of my body: I was the earth-consciousness incarnate.”

But the point is to be this individual consciousness anywhere I or everywhere and still to maintain the higher, the universal and transcendent, the supreme consciousness, to be simultaneously conscious in both the modes to the utmost degree.

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The one thing we must be convinced of — Mother

Of one thing we must be convinced ― all that happens is exactly what must happen in order to lead us and the world as quickly as possible to the goal ― the union with the Divine and ultimately the manifestation of the Divine.

And this faith ― sincere and constant ― is at once our help and protection.  

CWM Vol 14

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Your soul makes great efforts for you to discover it — Mother

… There seems to be only one way out and that is to go in search of one’s soul and to find it. It is there, it does not make a point of hiding itself, it does not play with you just to make things difficult; on the contrary, it makes great efforts to help you find it and to make itself heard. Only, between your soul and your active consciousness there are two characters who are in the habit of making a lot of noise, the mind and the vital. And because they make a lot of noise, while the soul does not, or, rather, makes as little as possible, their noise prevents you from hearing the voice of the soul.

When you want to know what your soul knows, you have to make an inner effort, to be very attentive; and indeed, if you are attentive, behind the outer noise of the mind and the vital, you can discern something very subtle, very quiet, very peaceful, which knows and says what it knows. But the insistence of the others is so imperious, while that is so quiet, that you are very easily misled into listening to the one that makes the most noise; most often you become aware only afterwards that the other one was right. It does not impose itself, it does not compel you to listen, for it is without violence.

When you hesitate, when you wonder what to do in this or that circumstance, there come the desire, the preference both mental and vital, that press, insist, affirm and impose themselves, and, with the best reasons in the world, build up a whole case for themselves. And if you are not on the alert, if you don’t have a firm discipline, if you don’t have the habit of control, they finally convince you that they are right. And as I was saying a little while ago, they make so much noise that you do not even hear the tiny voice or the tiny, very quiet indication of the soul which says, “Don’t do it”.

This “Don’t do it” comes often, but you discard it as something which has no power and follow your impulsive destiny. But if you are truly sincere in your will to find and live the truth, then you learn to listen better and better, you learn to discriminate more and more, and even if it costs you an effort, even if it causes you pain, you learn to obey. And even if you have obeyed only once, it is a powerful help, a considerable progress on the path towards the discrimination between what is and what is not the soul. With this discrimination and the necessary sincerity you are sure to reach the goal.

But you must not be in a hurry, you must not be impatient, you must be very persevering. You do the wrong thing ten times for every time that you do the right thing. But when you do the wrong thing you must not give up everything in despair, but tell yourself that the Grace will never abandon you and that next time it will be better. So, in conclusion, we shall say that in order to know things as they are you must first unite with  your soul and to unite with your soul you must want it with persistence and perseverance.

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How to do the Yoga of Sri Aurobindo — Mother

This is an interesting conversation of Udar Pinto, an early disciple of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo with the Mother, as relates as to doing the Yoga.

One day I asked Mother, “I have been doing the yoga for many years but I am not absolutely certain how to do the yoga of Sri Aurobindo. I read all the books and try to do the yoga but 1 am not certain how far I have progressed.” I asked the Mother to help me. “You are doing it all wrong,” she said. “But what shall I do?” She replied, “I will do the yoga for you.” I was thrilled! “What do I have to do?” I said. “Give yourself over to me and I will do it for you.” I asked, “How do I surrender?” She said to me, “Do you sincerely want to?” I answered “Yes, certainly. Mother.” Then Mother asked, “When you get up in the morning what is the first thing you do?” “I brush my teeth and as a matter of course I am thinking of all kinds of things and not at all consciously,” I replied. Mother said, “Try and think of me while you are brushing your teeth. Talk to me keeping fully conscious while you wash your face and brush your teeth. When you eat that is the time you must be very conscious of me. Feel that I am eating with you and talk to me and enjoy your food. Let all the parts of your being remain conscious of me. Eat every mouthful with me and you will find that things taste so much better when you enjoy the food with me. When you go to sleep that is the time when you should be very conscious of me. Let me put you to sleep and then the whole night you will have a conscious sleep. When you awaken and begin your day you will then begin it in a more conscious way.”

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