The Astral World (3)
by Paramahansa Yogananda
Excerpts from SRF Magazine Spring/Summer 2010
How to Materialize Your Dreams
Imagination is a portal through which you can transcend the imposed limitations of this world. All creative persons use this power. With wisdom and will, whatever you can imagine, and continue to imagine, can become real. I tell you, that things which do not exist now in this world will be created for you. Imagination can be materialized. When you develop spiritually, you can materialize your thoughts. When you sit still and let your imagination go as far as you can into the realm of your cherished dreams and goals, and if you can hold your mind to one-pointed concentration on the image of what you want to achieve, it will be shown to you in a true-to-life vision. And if you apply strong will power to realizing that vision, ultimately it will manifest—healings can be effected, successes attained, disasters in your environment lessened or avoided, seemingly impossible needs or worthy wishes fulfilled. Your mind united with your soul is such a powerful dynamo of spiritual existence! And yet you don't utilize that power. Why shouldn't you? By increasing the intensity of your concentration and calmness, you can consciously realize your connection with the unlimited realm of the astral world. In meditation, when you think you are the calmest you can be, try to be even more calm; gradually your consciousness will become attuned to that higher dimension. Get out of limiting material consciousness and you will see your mind's imaginings working to manifest all your wisdom-guided dreams through the universal underlying creative astral powers.
To develop mental imaging, I used to sit in a room and concentrate on visualizing everything in another unseen room, until my immediate surroundings disappeared and I was seeing in exact detail everything in the other room. By practice, develop proficiency in visualization (concentrating the mind's eye on what you wish to achieve) and devisualization (banishing any images that distract from what you are concentrating on). These powers of imagination—used together with the power of will, power of inner silence, power of concentration and opening of the spiritual eye—will lead you to the astral realm and increased ability to manifest your thoughts in material form. Such is the power of thought, the Lord's creative principle that brought everything in the universe into manifestation—first as causal ideas of consciousness, then as subtle light-forms in the astral world, and then by materialization of those "blueprints" in the physical world.
The Spiritual Eye: Portal to the Higher Realms
As Self-Realization students know, when your spiritual eye is open in meditation, you see the astral light of the spiritual eye as a ring of golden radiance encircling a sphere of opalescent blue, and at the center, a five-pointed silvery-white star. If you can penetrate that star, you are immediately in God's kingdom in the astral world. So learn to concentrate and meditate deeply. Though the spiritual man experiences the physical world and works through the instruments of the physical body, he does not identify himself with any sensation of the body; he is always centered in the spiritual eye. I never take my mind away from there, no matter what I am doing.
Always Look at Spiritual Eye
If you keep your mind there, the calming and spiritualizing influences flowing from the astral world will make you a different person than you are now. Don't have restless, shifty eyes. If your eyes are always distractedly looking everywhere, your mind is likewise wandering. Eyes that are constantly blinking reflect the consciousness of a nervous individual. Keep your mind calm and centered at this point between the eyebrows, not flitting restlessly in matter. Even when you are sleeping your mind should be at that spiritual center. If your body and mind are still in meditation and you keep your gaze and attention turned upward to that point, you will experience the blessings of the astral world consciously. That is why saints in ecstatic communion are depicted with up-turned gaze—looking up into heaven. By concentrating on the spiritual eye in deep meditation, one can penetrate into that higher dimension. Your astral body is there now, though your mind and physical body are here. You depend on what you can see with your two physical eyes and that keeps you continually deluded. If you look into the spiritual eye, you will know the true nature of everything and can receive the right answers in business and all other matters. You can use this power all the time; it is unlimited within you. When you live at will in that astral world you will be guided by the Supreme.
Awake from Delusion of Matter
I am not giving you this lecture to make you mystical, or to stir in you a desire for the entertainment of phenomenal experiences and powers. The point is to awaken you from the delusion that you are a limited mortal, helplessly subject to the whims of physical existence. You live, move, breathe, act, because of your innate astral self and its powers flowing from God. This true incarnate nature is what I want you to realize and utilize. Know your Self as connected with the Omnipotent Source of your being. Imagine, affirm, will, meditate to realize your true Self as the soul cloaked in a wonderful astral form of light and power. That thought alone, far from making you "otherworldly," energizes your life and accomplishments in the here and now. (…)
How to Be Calm & Happy
When I work, I concentrate on what needs to be done at that moment; I do it, then forget it until it needs my attention again. And if I can't do it, I don't let it distress me. Some people with their little home and little job are all the time worrying and nervous. Any person who is nervous is in the physical world. If you are calm and happy, you are in the astral world. Always work from the astral world; and as soon as the physical world starts to eat at your peace of mind, get away and retire into inner silence. If you develop the ability to live in interior quietness, you can remain in the calm state even in the midst of noise and discord. That ability shows the astral influence upon you. I can go to sleep at will, even if cannonballs were flying around me.
That is why it is necessary to meditate and live more in the consciousness of the astral world. In the physical world there are so many difficulties that come along. You will "go crazy" trying to cope with your problems unless you can draw strength and guidance from the astral heaven within you. Just think when you were a child and had no worries! You were in heaven. But when you had to start out on your own, what troubles you had. The way to fly away from your material troubles is to have recourse to that astral world. Money does not make happiness. Having reasonable financial resources no doubt helps, but your first necessity is to have God.
I could make myself "crazy" this minute thinking of all I have to do for this work. But there is a time for everything. My time with God comes first. "I am ready to do everything for You, Lord, working day and night; but my happiness lies in my contact with You." I remain in His astral kingdom. That is my home. I am living on the earth just as a servant lives and works in the house of his employer: I know my home is elsewhere.
Keep Your Mind at the Spiritual Eye
So must you live. Do not form attachments to this world. If you do, you are in for trouble; you are going to be sadly disappointed. This is not your home. The heavenly kingdom of God is your home. Live there now. No matter what you are doing, concentrate on your inner peace and calmness. Keep your mind at the spiritual eye, and keep your thoughts busy with God's thoughts. Meditate more, churn the ether with your prayers, until out of the silence the light of God appears. If you want to know God in this life, never go to bed at night until you have made contact with Him. If for one whole day and night you would pray and meditate, remaining in your room and not seeing anyone, intensely praying that God will come to you, He would definitely respond. But who is willing to give even that much time and effort? Such is delusion. The consciousness of outer duties and habitual restlessness takes precedence, and you remain attached and limited to the physical body and its world.
Dear ones, do not forget the message you have received today; use it. Meditate deeply and regularly, until the spiritual eye is opened and you can fly through it to the astral kingdom. Remain always in the sphere of happiness born of meditation, no matter what happens. Live in the consciousness of astral freedom. Without fail you will be able to do this by devoted practice of the techniques of the Kriya Yoga science I have given to you. (…)
This world is a terrible dream. I hope you all realize this. To the last breath of my dream existence I shall tell you how to get out of this dream as soon as you can. Do not wait. For one evil thought may lead you to the valley of death, and one good thought may lead you to the kingdom of God. So get busy with yourself. Then, at the end of the trail of life, you will find the wonderful harmony, peace, and beauty of God. He is waiting for you; He is very much worried about you because He cannot free you without your cooperation. Concentrate on that great peace within you, and you will see all shadows of world limitations melt away—and that behind this motion picture of delusion, there is a heavenly astral world eternal.
Every night in meditation, throw yourself at the feet of the Lord. From the depths of your heart, cry to Him. Cry for Him until your head and your heart seem to burst with longing for Him: "You must come. Reveal Thyself to me!" If you do not give up, the Lord will come unto you. He will awaken you from this dream world and lift you to His bosom of eternal light, immortality, and freedom.
See: The Astral World