In his book The Yoga of Jesus, Paramahansa Yogananda writes of knowing God through meditation practice and uses an analogy of a diamond and a coal. In this parable the author suggested that the coal contains the potential to become a diamond and reflect the light rather than absorb it. All it need do is have the right pressure placed on it. Similarly, in human form the authentic self can reflect the light of universal source energy (or “light of God”) and indeed, this potentiality is in us all. However, at times it takes the right pressure, such as a traumatic life event, in order to convert our coal (ego) into a diamond (radiant light energy).
“Even when walking in the company of two other men, I am bound to be able to learn from them. The good points of the one I copy; the bad points of the other I correct in myself.”
Based on this quote by Confucius, I decided that when I observed what appeared to be a weakness in others I would look to find it in myself. Once I started this practice, it never seemed to take long before I found it. For example, one night I felt uncomfortable around my former girlfriend’s family because of fear of being judged.
Later, upon reflecting on the evening, I could see that in no way did they act judgmentally toward my daughter or me. Indeed, it was clear to me that I was the one doing the judging, if in no other way than judging them as those who would judge.
Judgement in action
Once, as I was biking home from campus, I heard a car alarm going off. Normally I become a little annoyed at such a disturbance, but this time I simply observed it. As I approached the car I noticed three men, who appeared to be in their twenty’s, and were obviously quite annoyed by this particular event.
I heard one of them say, in a rather agitated voice, “All you have to do is put the key in the ignition and turn!”
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In this book series I have described a path to total self-awareness. For me, it all started with reading inspirational literature, contemplative walking, introspective reflecting and journaling. In the first book of the series, Peace: The Art of Mindfulness to Eliminate Stress, I wrote about mindfulness and how we can program the mind to change our default progressively from constant mind chatter, to less inner dialog, to mindful chatter, to mostly silent with intentionally directed internal dialog.