Q&A with Br. Dayamrita Chaitanya
Minimum Daily Spiritual Practice
Swamiji, as an Amma devotee, what is the minimum daily spiritual practice that I should be doing irrespective of how busy I am during the day?
Aum Aum Aum
If you observe Amma, it is amazing to see how She utilizes and manages Her time. Amma can do many things at one time. While She is sitting - She is giving darshan to somebody, She is answering the question of a person who is standing next to Her, She notices the person who is giving Prasad making a mistake, She is also simultaneously acutely aware of the person singing in front of her missing a beat and so on. Amma has such acute perception. Of course, we don’t have that kind of awareness like Amma, but it is the goal. How She utilizes time wisely is truly amazing. Within the 24 hours given to us in a day, which is given to Amma also (Amma does not have 48 hours in Her day), you can see how much She achieves within 12 to 16 hours. And when we look at how much we achieve during our wakeful state, we wonder how Amma can achieve so many things.
First of all, what Amma is teaching us is the wise utilization of time. If I tell you that when you get up in the morning you have to chant mantras so many times, do this practice, that practice -- some days it will work and some days it will not. Sometimes you may have to rush and sometimes, when you have moments of relaxation, you can do a lot of mantra japa and other spiritual practices.
So, I cannot exactly tell you what to do and what not to do. It is up to each person to determine according to their availability and time but one thing I say is – If we do even a little bit of spiritual practice in the morning, it will allow us to gain so much more time later on during the day. If we meditate for even 10 - 15 minutes in the morning, then during the day our mind will be clear and we can make good and fast decisions that will allow us to gain more time. It also brings an awareness within us about how much time we are wasting unnecessarily.
Amma tells the story of a business man who goes to a sage and shows him a bunch of keys and says “Look, when I have so many things to take care of, how I can I do spiritual practices? I have so many responsibilities.” The saint said, “What do you do when you get up in the morning and walk to the bathroom?” The man says, “Yes, it is true, I can chant my mantra then.” The sage then asks, “What do you do when you are sitting in the bathroom and taking a shower?” The man says, “Yes, I can chant my mantra then.” So then, as he keeps chanting, he finds so much time to do spiritual practices and realized he had wasted a lot of time on unnecessary things.
It is also important to have a clear mind in order to understand that we are wasting time on things that are unimportant. Doing spiritual practices helps you to prioritize and know what is more important and what is less important. Often we waste time focusing on unimportant things and hence we don’t have much time left to focus on the important things. For example, when we get up in the morning, the first thing we do is to look at our email, update our status on Facebook, etc. You don’t have to do these things in the morning when you get up. Just take 15 minutes, meditate and use that time wisely. Keep your phone away from the bed and when you get up you don’t even have to brush your teeth; just sit there on the bed itself and meditate for 15 minutes. What happens is that, when you have a very clear mind in the morning you will be able to observe and are more aware of the most important things and can make decisions very quickly. Also, the awareness of time spent on unnecessary things comes up.
You should fill your time -- whatever time you are wasting -- by doing your spiritual practices.
Amma always says that we have to understand that death can come at any moment. We don’t have infinite time with us. Before death comes and snatches us away, we have to accomplish so many things. So that is another type of awareness – that we have a limited time and we should achieve what we came here for.
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