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July 2018 – An Excellent Practice

“Another excellent practice is to begin each day with some particular quality of the ideal in view. It is to be incorporated in the prayers and meditations and casual reflections of that day. A special effort is to be made to bring all deeds to conform to it” (Vol. 3, The Notebooks of Paul Brunton. Chapter 5, “Balancing the Psyche, #90). This section, subtitled “Engage the whole being,” puts great emphasis on living out our ideals in the most mundane environments. This is called Right Action (para 83).

Study, meditation and reflection can help find the particular ideal quality to apply to your daily life and finding the method which will draw out your own potentialities is a worthwhile practice. A mantra or affirmation is often helpful. Volume 4 in the Notebooks, Meditation, gives several suggestions. PB has much to say about the efficacy of repeating mantrams and affirmations. In Chapter 6, para 3, he writes, “The mantram is a statement in words or a symbol in picture which declares some truth of higher being, law, attribute, and reminds one of a moral duty to be practiced or acts as a useful self-help self-suggestion.” Para 66 recommends repeating an affirmation each day at a fixed time for five or ten minutes. An example of an affirmation that might be used in your daily life is, “In my real being I am strong, happy and serene.”

A way of finding an ideal which can translate usefully in our everyday life is through the use of astrology. In Vol 6, From Birth to Rebirth, in the section subtitled “Astrology, fate, and free will,” PB writes, “Even when the stars appear to work against us, the stars of worthy ideals will always work for us. [Philosophy} liberates us from anxieties about our horoscope because it gives us certitudes that the right causes we set going must have right effects. It gives our life’s ship sails and rudders, port and map; we need not drift” (para 427). Perhaps the most direct way of identifying a particular quality of an ideal is to use our own rationality and intuition to recognize what feels right and have the courage to go with that.

Astrology can be used to help identify the problems we brought with us into this life and recognize how to change our outlook and attitudes as we go about our daily lives. “One important use of an astrological horoscope is principally to detect the presence of new opportunity, and to warn against the presence of dangerous tests, snares, and pitfalls. It is often hard to make a decision, when an important crossroad presents itself, if one of the roads leads to disaster and the other to good fortune. At such a time a correct horoscope will be helpful in arriving at a right decision” (para 461). PB makes the point several times in this section that “predictive astrology should be taken with the greatest reserve” (para 485). The student can take solace in these words: “We may freely leave the future to our stars, if we know that we can be true to ourselves” (para 487).