Rod Stryker’s Four Desires (4D) Virtual Book Club
Chapter 23: Freedom & The Fire of Self-Knowledge
Stage Three of Non-Attachment
“Death is the great equalizer, a reminder that no matter what, ultimately none of us is in control.”
The last stage of vairagya is the surrender to all that is infinite and embracing “oneness with the Supreme.” At the beginning of this chapter Natasha’s story narrates the underlying fear most of us live with, the fear of death. Our culture doesn’t really touch upon death so to say we are afraid of it may not cross our minds very often. Death is a surrender of everything that defines us: our body, emotions, job, family, possessions; everything that is finite and temporary. The Yoga Sutras tell us that fear of death is the source of all fears. In this stage of vairagya we surrender from the attachment to life.
How can we surrender to life, and still live?
The best way to access this level of vairagya is through a theme weaved throughout most of Rod’s book: meditation. There can be a lot to think about with respect to meditation. We can read about it over and over and get into really great discussions about what meditation is better, how to sit in meditation, what yoga poses and pranayamas to do before we meditate, etc. Ultimately we just have to keep doing it consistently, so that we start to experience surrender. This absolute surrender, the surrender to death as well as life, is born out of the stillness and silence found in meditation.
Through the stilling of the mind we can fulfill the fourth desire, moksha “a part of you is free, always at rest. It remains the same no matter what the condition of your body, age, or your external circumstances; its nature is eternal.” This wisdom is what great sages and saints embodied as they approached death. If death is symbolic of the finite, then we can turn to what is infinite to provide support for any and all of life’s trials. Essence, Spirit, Universal Intelligence, or God¾call it what you will. This wisdom can be grasped by letting go of me; my identity, body, thoughts, emotions, or any story I tell myself that is not rooted in my fundamental and most basic existence in the infinite.
“Only the fearless are truly alive” PRT
Devotion didn’t come easy to me. The first time I traveled to India I asked myself why this culture would worship these huge, plastic and I have to admit ugly Shivas, Durgas , Hanumans and all the others deities. I could not see what drove these people to pray in front of those silly looking gods.
On my most recent trip I realized that these devotees were not praying to these material representations of the Gods, but were offering love, respect and surrender to the infinite using these material objects as an entry point. The object of their worship was not the God itself but the honoring of the higher qualities inherent within both the worshipper and Creation. Through devotion, the practitioner gains access to deeper and deeper levels of surrender that aid them in living happy lives.
My own meditation practice resembles something similar. I have great love and respect for my time spent in meditation. It is greater than me and constantly supports me. I feel complete devotion to my own practice, it has opened me to the feelings of devotion needed to embrace higher and higher levels of vairagya.
Meditation and devotion is what will guide us towards fearlessness. We have our whole lives to practice. For many of us our meditation practice is the constant reminder that there is a place of limitless rest. Meditation is stilling the search for temporary pleasure and finding the bright fire of spirit.
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Rod Stryker travels to the largest spiritual pilgrimage in history in 2013. I’ll be there. Will you?