The heart is the door to allow life to guide us.
SONG OF MEDITATION
- An Inner-view with Swami Dhyan Giten
spiritual teacher and author of The Silent Whisperings of the Heart - An Introduction to Giten's Approach to Life and Presence - Working from Within. The Psychology of Being
The inner journey
Can you say something about your own inner journey?
Life is like playing hide the key with God. God has hidden the key and now it is up to us to find the key again. It also takes us a while to realize that the key is hidden in our own heart. The heart is the door to allow life to guide us. The heart is the door to say "yes" to life. The heart is the door to surrender to life.
The most valuable insight I have got through my own inner journey is how Existence continuously has guided me towards a greater awareness that life is fundamentally one. Existence has continuously guided me with a greater lovingness and caring than I ever could imagine. Long before I was even aware of it, life has continuously guided me through periods of love and aloneness, joy and sadness, light and darkness, success and failure and negative and positive experiences. My own inner journey towards awareness and meditation has step by step developed the trust, sensitivity and subtle listening, which is necessary to surrender to life and to allow life to be my teacher.
Life is continuously communicating with us and it is a valuable experience to look back and see how life — despite my sleep, unconsciousness, lack of trust and resistance — continuously has guided me towards a greater awareness that life is one. Life has continuously lead me to the people I need to meet, to the situations I need to experience and to the places where I need to be. There has never been any real reason to worry since we are all small rivers already leading to the ocean, to the whole. Awareness is not about swimming faster or fighting with life, it is about relaxing and floating with life in a basic trust that life is already leading towards the ocean of consciousness, towards the whole.
The deepest pain in my heart is to be separated from life, to be separated from the inner song of meditation, to be separated from the Universal song. The most important thing in my life is to discover the inner song of meditation in my own heart and being. Sometimes I hear this song further away, sometimes I hear it closer to me - and sometimes I am one with it. But the most important thing is that I hear it, which shows that I am on the right track. Being and working with people in courses has also been a meditation in itself for me. It has been a valuable experience in learning to trust and listen to my intuition, to the inner source of love, truth and wisdom, to the Existential voice within. It has been a lesson in how we through our intuition, through the silent whisperings of our heart, is in continuos contact with Existence.
An early meeting with death
You began to meditate when you were 15 years old. Can you say something about your own way to meditation?
Early in this life I lost two of the people, who I loved immensely. First when my mother died when I was 15 years old and then when my father died when I was 21 years old. This early meeting with death lead to an early spiritual awakening and awoke early the fundamental existential questions in me: "Who am I?" "What is the meaning of life?" and "Where am I going?" It made me ask myself early what is really important and meaningful in life.
This early meeting with death created a fundamental inner feeling of aloneness in me, a sense of not being loved and a feeling of meaninglessness in me. It was an insight for me, when I many years later in a relationship with a woman could express that I felt alone, and the other person did not leave me or stopped loving me. This meeting with death created also early an independence and a fundamental sense of aloneness in me.
In the beginning this aloneness was only painful and every time I went deeper into love and relationships, it was like death was staring back at me. This made me painfully aware of my own fundamental inner aloneness. It also made me aware that the deeper we go into love, the more we find our own inner aloneness.
This meeting with death also early made my intuition, my inner source of love, truth and wisdom, my inner teacher and guide in life. Instead of being directed from without, of being directed by other people and outer circumstances, it early made me directed from within, from my inner source of love, truth and silence.
It was first after many years that I had short glimpses of another kind of aloneness. It was a meditative aloneness in which I could rest in myself and in my own inner aloneness as a source of love, joy and silence. It was glimpses of a pure aloneness in which I could be so happy and satisfied in myself that I did not need anybody or anything outside of myself. And I also noticed that this meditative aloneness could be an inner door to that which is larger than myself, that it could be a door to oneness with Existence.
Before I was 15 years old, I was also close to die two times through drowning. I can still remember with crystal-clear sharpness how this experience gave me an ice-cold insight that I will never die. It was an insight that there was something inside myself, which will never die and which is part of the deathless and eternal. This insight shock up my whole image about myself and about life. This early meeting with death created a kind of spiritual dissatisfaction in me. It created a thirst, a longing and a restlessness in me after something that I could only vaguely sense, but which I did not really know what it was. This spiritual dissatisfaction, this thirst and my own intuition became my beacons far out on an unknown, dark and open sea after something that I did not really know what it was. This led me to begin to meditate when I was 15 years old.
My first passion in life when I was 15 years old was to become an actor, which I also worked with until I was 23 years old. Working as an actor taught me a lot about empathetically understanding other people and about life. It was first after I had worked as an actor for a number of years, that I realized that this early passion for theater was really an unconscious search for a spiritual discipline. It was when I realized that I had been a disciple to the russian enlightened master George Gurdjieff in my former life, that I understood my early passion for theater. Gurdjieff used intensive theatertechniques in his way of working with his disciples to take them from a state of mind to a state of no-mind, to meditation. When I realized this, I began to feel a thirst to be and work with people in a more direct way in awareness and meditation.
Teaching awareness and meditation
What do you work with in seminars and courses?
I do not work with a specific technique anymore — or even a goal. I work with meditation. But not meditation as a specific technique or as a static sitting, but meditation as the capacity to be aware. To do whatever we do with awareness. That is meditation. Awareness is meditation. Awareness is acceptance. Awareness is the capacity to be aware of thoughts, feelings, sensations in the physical body and outer stimuli without evaluation or judgement.
There are basically two different ways of working with people. The first way is personality- therapy and the other way is beingtherapy. Personalitytherapy includes what conventionally is described as therapy, which focus on analyzing and solving the individuals internal conflicts and psychological problems. The focus in beingtherapy is to awaken and develop the inner being, the inner essence and authentic self, of the individual. The term beingtherapy is really a paradoxical term, since the inner being is already perfect as it is and needs no therapy. But it is also paradoxical, that at the same time as the inner being is already perfect, it also develops. This is the focus in beingtherapy.
When I began to work with courses 18 years ago, the emphasis was on a personalitylevel. The emphasis was on personalitytherapy and to solve the internal conflicts and psychological problems of the individual. But as I went deeper within myself, this level became more and more unsatisfying for me and the emphasis in the courses changed to awaken and develop the inner being, the inner essence and authentic self, the meditative quality within. The emphasis moved from solving the psychological problems of the individual to find that which is already perfect within a person. The courses did not focus anymore on fighting with psychological games, problems, darkness, drama and defenses on the personalityplane, but the courses was about becoming aware, to turn on the inner light. The courses was about realizing the deeper inner potential of the individual to live his or her life with love, joy, trust, intelligence, truth, silence, freedom, wisdom and creativity. The courses was about finding more space and freedom in the movements of the individual. The courses was about living one's own truth.
In the hands of Existence
After teaching awareness and meditation for almost 16 years, I did a course for myself with a therapist. The theme for me in this course was my role and identification with being a therapist and courseleader. This therapist said to me: "You do not need positions to be loved". This made me aware about my identification with being a therapist and how much this role was an investment in being special and being loved. This course created a process in me of letting go of my identification as a therapist and I noticed how this awoke feelings in me of not being special and of not being loved for who I am. This therapist also said to me: "When you let go of leading groups, Existence will invite you to lead groups". This awoke all my fundamental doubts about that I am OK as I am and that life really takes care of me. It was really a period of letting go of my role as a therapist and about finding a deeper trust in life and Existence.
During 6 months, I simply let go totally of courses and the therapist role and left the whole question in the hands of Existence. It was like letting go of this whole question in the trust that if it is authentic and genuine, Existence will support and upheld it - and if it is not authentic, it will change. After these 6 months, strange things began to happen by themselves. Unexpectingly, it suddenly began to come invitations and support from different directions. At this time, I no longer knew how to do a course. These invitations also resulted in the book Song of Meditation — About Meditation, Relationships & Spiritual Creativity and in the website Gitens World — Personal & Spiritual Growth, which has been visited by thousands of people. This made aware that I actually have a deep trust in my heart and being that Existence will use me as a facilitator. Not as an egogratification, but as an expansion of being, an expansion of love, joy, truth, silence, wisdom and creativity.
I still have a wish that people will understand the difference between saying "yes" and "no" to themselves. But in one of my recent courses, I felt that what I can do is to present two choices and possibilities and then it is up to each person to chose for themselves how they want to live. People are like plants on different stages in their psychological development process towards spiritual maturity and our spiritual growth basically depends on our thirst and commitment to our own growth. Some people will understand what they can of meditation and some people will understand something deeper. I no longer feel identified with if people understand this now, if they understand this in 10 years or if they understand this in the next life.
To be and work with people on a spiritual plane is also the deepest source of joy for me. To be and work with people, who have enough life experience to say "yes" to discover their own authentic inner being, means that I also continuously can go deeper within myself. This also made me aware that I had created a space and an invitation to allow things to happen by themselves through letting go of my identification and involvement with being a therapist and courseleader. This allowed me to discover a deeper trust to life and Existence. And to those moments when Existence lifts and turns you in an unexpected dance.
The difference between the personality and the inner being, the authentic self
How would you describe the difference between the personality and the inner being?
The human consciousness concists of two general layers: the personality, the psychological I, and the inner being, the authentic self. The personality is the surface of our total consciousness and the inner being is the depth of our consciousness. It is like the relationship between the waves on the surface of the sea and the depth and silence at the bottom of the sea. The personality is the created sense of "I", which concists of all our accumulated experiences of the past. The personality concists of 3 layers: thoughts, feelings and the physical body. The personality concists of all ideas, feelings, and learned concepts, which we have been taught by parents, by teachers and by society.
The personality is also a defense and a separation from life. The personality is an "no"-attitude towards life though our separate ideas, desires, ambitions and concepts. The inner being, the authentic self, is a "yes"-attitude towards life. The inner being is the door to oneness with life. In the inner being, we begin to experience the original lifesource beyond the layers of personality. The inner being is the inner place, which is beyond conflict and duality. In the inner being, we can rest in ourselves. We can rest in a presence, in a silence and emptiness, without fighting, without trying. In this presence, there is no sense of "I". Just a presence, a light, a joy and a truth in the moment. The personality gives us the feeling that we are somebody special, but in reality we are no one at all.
And to be nobody is the greatest joy there is. To be a nobody, a presence, a silence, a nothingness, is to be one with ourselves. And to be one is to be in joy.
The inner being, the authentic self
How can we develop the inner being?
Meditation is the way to awaken and develop the inner being. Meditation is about finding that which is already perfect within ourselves. The process to develop the inner being can be described as the process of step by step emptying a room from furniture until the room is completely empty and only a silence, a space and an emptiness, remains. Meditation can be described as 4 qualities: a watchful awareness, an accepting attitude, a non-judgmental attitude and relaxation.
Awareness is another word for meditation. Awareness is the single factor, which can transform our whole life. Awareness is about discovering the beautiful being we already are. In the light of awareness, everything that is authentic and real grows and expands — and everything that is false falls away by itself like dead leaves from a tree during the autumn.
Meditation also includes an accepting attitude. An accepting attitude means to learn to say "yes" to all that arises in our consciousness without evaluation and judgement. It means to include and embrace both the "yes" and the "no", both the light and the darkness and both the love and the fear, that we find within ourselves. An accepting attitude means to lovingly embrace everything we find within ourselves - like a mother embraces her child. An accepting attitude means that the moment is perfect exactly as we find the moment within ourselves. An accepting attitude means to not have a desire or wish that the moment should be different than it is. It is to embrace the moment exactly as we find it within ourselves with a love and acceptance for how the moment is. This accepting attitude teaches us to love and accept ourselves as we are in the moment. This accepting attitude develops our inner being and creates a freedom and relaxation within ourselves.
A non-judgmental attitude means to learn to love the imperfect within ourselves. Normally we judge and evaluate our behavior, rather than simply be aware of our behavior. Since early we have been taught to judge ourselves, so that it is even easier to not judge others than ourselves. A non-judgmental attitude means to learn to say "yes" to and accept even that which we say "no" to and judge in ourselves. This watchful awareness, accepting attitude and non-judgmental attitude leads to a deep sense of relaxation. It leads to a rest in ourselves together with a feeling that it is Ok to love and accept ourselves as we are.
This relaxation makes us appreciate the beautiful being we already are. We can rest in that which is already perfect within ourselves.
Yes and no to life
Can you say something more about the "yes" and "no"-attitude towards life?
Imagine life as a fast flowing river. In this flowing river we have two possibilities. We can either chose to swim upwards in opposition to the current of the river or we can simply chose to let go and allow ourselves to float with the river.
The first choice is a "no"-attitude towards life and the second choice is a "yes"-attitude towards life. The "no"-attitude means to relate to life through our ego, through our separate ideas, desires, ambitions and preconceived conceptions of how life should be. The "no"-attitude means that we separate ourselves from the continuos flow and change of life. The "no"-attitude is a defense and a separation from life.
When we did some practical exercises in a course about the "no"-attitude towards life, one of the participants exclaimed surprised: "This is exactly how I have always reacted to people and situations". She had not been aware before that this was her automatic way of reacting to life.
Our heart is the door to surrender to life. Our heart is the door to a "yes"-attitude to life. Our heart is the door to learn to say "yes" and to allow life to guide us. The "yes"-attitude means to relate to life through our inner being, through the meditative quality within, through the inner silence and emptiness, through the capacity to surrender to life. The inner being is an openness and availability to life.
The "yes"-attitude is a deep acceptance of the reality of the moment without any desire or wish that the moment should be different than it is. It is to move with life in a deep harmony without expecting life to fit with our ideas and expectations.
An awareness exercise we can use in every moment in life is to ask ourselves if we act out of a "yes-" or "no"-attitude both in relation to ourselves, in relation to other people, in relation to creativity and in relation to life itself.
Meditation, relationships and creativity
Can you say something more about the relationship between meditation, relationships and creativity?
Meditation, relationships and creativity are the three lifeareas. These life areas describes the three areas in life, which creates a rich, creative and satisfying life when all three areas are developed and functions in balance and harmony. The three life areas also describes a balance between the inner and outer world, which simultaneously relates to and enrich each other.
The first life area is meditation, which is about creating a conscious relationship to oneself. This life area is about discovering the authentic inner being, the authentic self, the meditative quality within.
The second life area is relationships, which is about creating a conscious relationship to other people. The second life area is about learning to relate to other people from the inner being, from the authentic self. This life area is about learning to relate to other people in love, joy, trust, acceptance, friendship, playfulness, sincerity, truth, silence and freedom. It is about learning that relationships are not a chain, but an invitation to follow the silent whisperings of our heart. Often we can be when we are alone, but we reduce ourselves together with others. We have forgotten the true nature of love.
Our male and femine sides express themselves in the form of outer relationships. The second lifearea also includes developing and embracing both our male and female sides. It is then that the spark of love is lit naturally within ourselves.
The third life area is creativity, which is about finding and developing our inner talents, passions and gifts. The third life area is about learning to follow the silent whisperings of our heart in creativity. It is about expressing our love, joy, intelligence, silence and passion through creativity. This life area also includes the professional area through which we love to express our creativity and which gives us a deep feeling of joy, meaning and satisfaction. The third life area also includes the theme generating and attracting money with the basic understanding that Existence is abundance.
The criteria for how our meditation is growing in our life are that it begins to enrich both our relationships and our creativity. It also means that we develop a balance and harmony between all the three lifeareas. It is to understand that meditation is not a phenomenon, which is separate from life. It is when the meditative presence and quality begins to overflow from our inner being, from our inner lifesource, that we understand that meditation and life are not two separate things. It is then that we understand that meditation and life are one.
SWAMI DHYAN GITEN, spiritual teacher and author, has more than 30 years of experience in individual counseling and in teaching awareness and meditation. He is trained in both modern psychology and in classic Eastern methods for awareness and meditation in USA, Italy, Sweden and India. He received further education in advanced spiritual psychotherapy at Institute for Spiritual counseling and Training in USA and Academy of Meditation in Italy.
Since he began to meditate when he was 15 years old, he has dedicated his life to the study and exploration of the inner journey in order to move out of his own way, to be in a flow, and to discover the authentic inner being, the meditative quality within, the inner silence and emptiness, the capacity to surrender to life.
Giten's first professional passion when he was 15 years old was to become an actor. After training as an actor, he worked as an actor until he was 23 years old. Working as actor taught him a lot about life and to emphatically understand the situation and life of other people, since acting is really a spiritual occupation. It taught him about spirituality, since working as an actor means to play a role totally, while at the same time as you know deep down that you are not the role you are playing. After working as an actor for a number of years, Giten began to understand that his early passion for theater was really an unconscious search for a spiritual discipline. When he realized this, he began to feel a thirst to work with people in a more direct way in awareness and meditation.
In 1982, when Giten was 23 years old, he was directed by the Divine presence in a trance session with the American trance chancellor Lin David Martin: "You have listened to your intuition, to your true inner voice, more than most. You have been searching for the contact with the Spirit for a long time and now it is beginning to manifest on the outer plane. You have been gifted many times in previous embodiments and now everything will come rather easy for you. I want you to put your energy into the lives of others, because you can".
He is author of the book in Swedish Meditationens Sång - Om meditation, relationer och kreativitet (Solrosens forlag, 2001, available from Internet book store Adlibris: www.adlibris.com)) and The Silent Whisperings of the Heart - An Introduction to Giten's Approach to Life (2008, available at Internet book store www.lulu.com) and Presence - Working from Within. The Psychology of Being (2011, available at Internet book store www.lulu.com). Giten's first book in Swedish describes how the three life areas, Meditation, Relationships and Creativity, create a loving, creative and satisfying life when they are developed and function in harmony. The book was selected book of the month by the book club Life Energy, one of the largest book clubs in Sweden.
Recommendations, quotes and discussions of Giten's articles and books and its content are also beginning to appear with increasing frequency in magazines and on sites ranging from USA Today, the largest daily newspaper in the US, the US news site Newsblaze, Edge Life Magazine, a leading source for psychology, education and world transformation in the US, and Sentient Times Magazine to the large Internet communities MySpace.com, a large Internet community for young people,Wasteland, the American online magazine Alternative Approaches, Motivateus.com, MSN.com, Yahoo.com, newsletters of American High tech companies to small discussion forums and blogs focused on spirituality, health, art and literature.
On September 8, 2008, The American presidential candidate Barack Obama's campaign site Obama Campaign Today: An Ein News Service - The World's Leading International News Monitoring Service - also shared Giten's article on The Silent Revolution of the Heart - The Challenge for the 21st Century.
Visit Giten's World - A School for the Heart. 350 Pages of Medicine for the Soul: www.giten.net