Yama and I left the crashing of the waves of the coastal sanctuary and made our way to the nearby mission. No one else sat amongst the pews of the chapel on this week day; thus were we safe from the tourists who buzzed about in groups listening to the one-sided historical views of tour guides and how the Native peoples were given a better life by the coming of the Spaniards. In contrast to the heat outside, the air in the chapel felt cool to my body and soul.
DISCIPLE: Yama, you have elaborated on three of the Ten Commandments. You have said that there exists different levels of understanding to all teachings and that these commandments are no different. As I said before when I take the Commandments literally I find them restrictive to the expansiveness of my soul; yet hearing your words I am beginning to find in them much wisdom. Please continue with my lesson.
YAMA: Remember that every moment and every place has lessons with many levels. Behold this place where both the blood of those enslaved by fellow human beings was spilt and the blood of the Great Master was taken that gave many a peace beyond the physical conditions. No matter what the historical views one might have they are only selective by what is deemed believable, that is why historical debates will always be pointless in the end. However, if one just sits with a still mind, existing between breaths, one will come to the Truth behind all actions.
With that said, tell me of the Fourth Commandment.
DISCIPLE: To remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy. God took a day off after creating for six days so we should as well, including our servants and animals which toil for us. Now I know there are many interpretations of what resting means and what day of the week is the Sabbath. So what is the truth?
|On the Banks of the Nile, Janaka Stagnaro|
YAMA: Just as holidays, or Holy Days, are created to remind people that there is more to life than just going about and doing things, or providing for one’s family and increasing one’s profit, so too must time be set aside for quiet reflection. Take for example those passing through these grounds today. They are busy listening to someone telling them their interpretation about the truth of this place, hearing a bunch of facts, and seeing objects wrapped in stories. It does not matter that they may be on vacation from their daily work; their minds are still working, weaving together a limited picture of their experience here. Their minds goad them on to find out more, to become educated about the history of this mission, driving them onward and keeping them from discovering this inner chapel. For here the mind is threatened. For here the mind confronts the Silence that it cannot understand.
If one is doing work that keeps the mind active and does not engage the heart then time is needed to be set aside to go to the Silence beyond the mind, where the Holiest of Holies resides, the I AM THAT I AM. This is the condition of most humans who work to survive or to better the condition of themselves and their families. And each day their Awareness of their infinite nature becomes more veiled.
However, for those who keep their mind trained to reside in the Silence, to keep it focused on God, who do work that allows for the expression of the heart and helps to uplift their fellow human beings and to make this world a better place without the concept of “I am doing this or that,” then every day and every moment is holy and thus the Sabbath is kept continually.
DISCIPLE: So setting time aside each day you would consider as keeping with this injunction, yes?
YAMA: Absolutely, the society in which you live in needs much help in setting quiet time aside from all the business. And this quiet time does not include entertainment. While entertainment is a rest of sorts and has its place for relaxation, it can still be a distraction for the mind to further engage in. It is to reside in the Silence that makes any moment holy.
DISCIPLE: What about engaging in the arts, whether listening to music or going to a museum, or doing artistic activities, as well as reading sacred works, would these constitute rest?
YAMA: On one level all said activities can lift one out of the daily toil of doing, or they may not. If the mind is spinning on any of these activities, thinking about this or that one instant and thinking about something else the next, not being focused on what is at hand, then it is more toiling. And if there is a sense of I am doing this or reading that, which maintains the ego’s view that the Self is the body and not the timeless Self that we really are, which includes but is untouched by the actions of the body, then it is nothing but more ignorance. And being of ignorance then where is Truth? And if Truth is missing then so is God.
DISCIPLE: How can one tell if one is acting without thinking?
YAMA: If you are at rest. The body at the end of the day or week may be exhausted if there has been physical labor, or the mind may be tired if mental activities have been prevalent, but none of that fatigue touches the sense of I. In a person who remembers one’s Self stress will not be present. For the Self is the power behind the activities of the mind and the body, just as the sun is untouched by all actions on the earth, although without it, life could not exist.
--The Teachings of Yama: A Conversation with Death, Addendum I