There is a story that Satchidananda tells, it relates deeply to thoughts i was having today. This is excerpted from Satchidananda’s book ‘Beyond Words,’ really amazing inspirational reading about this progress. The best teacher I’ve found so far.
Once a man wanted to perform extraordinary feats, so he went into the forest and approached a sorcerer. The sorcerer told him, “I can give you a big demon who will do everything for you, but be careful. You must always be able to give him work. If you don’t, he will devour you.” The man said, “There is a lot to do in this world. Don’t worry, I can easily find work for ten demons.”
So the sorcerer gave him the spell with which he could summon the demon. At the proper time, the demon appeared and asked, “My master, why did you call me? I have come, give me some work.” The man immediately said, “I want a huge palace with many rooms. Build one and fill it with beautiful furnishings from around the world.”
He thought that building such a big palace and furnishing it would take a while so he decided to go to sleep until the demon was finished. He was about to lie down when the demon appeared and said, “Master, your palace is ready.” And there it was, a huge palace, fully furnished.
The man thought for a second and said, “I must have a hundred servants to keep everything in order.” “Yes, Master,” said the demon, snapping his fingers, “the servants are already there, taking care of everything.” “I need some cars,” said the man. “Beautiful cars, Master, Rolls-Royces and Cadillacs, with drivers and a private filling station. All is ready.” “I am hungry,” said the man. “A gourmet meal, with servants to serve it, is waiting in the dining room,” replied the demon.
The man was a little puzzled. “What’s going on here?” he asked. “The minute I ask for something, you make it appear. It doesn’t even take a second.” “Dopn’t hesitate,” said the demon. “Give me some work. I can’t be without work. Give me something to do!”
The man didn’t quite know what to say because the demon didn’t ever give him time to think about what he wanted done next. He tried his best to give work to the demon, but everything got done immediately. Then the demon said, “Either give me work or I’ll devour you.”
The man ran back to the sorcerer but the sorcerer wasn’t there. Sitting nearby was a holy man. He fell at the holy man’s feet saying, “A demon is after me. If I don’t give him something to do, he will devour me and I’ve run out of things for him to do! Can you help me, please?”
“Yes, my son,” said the saint. He plucked one of his very curly hairs and gave it to the man, saying, “Bring this to the demon and ask him to keep it straight.” The man returned and ordered the demon to perform this new task. The demon held the bottom of the hair with one hand, slowly pulled it up straight with the other and let it go. It sprang right back and curled up. Again he tried and again it sprang back.
“Have you finished straightening it?” asked the man. “No, I’m still trying,” replied the demon. “Well,” said the man, “finish quickly because I have some other work for you to do!”
The demon’s work was now to straighten the hair. Whenever the man needed other work done, he called the demon, who would leave the hair temporarily, do the new work in a second and return to his task. From then on, the demon always had something to do and was under control.
He goes on to discuss each of our demons. Our restless minds. I’ve recently been talking with Lauren and Jay about a lot of these issues, especially about starting meditation and how we all have expectations that actually halt our progress. As Satchidananda says “You can never make the mind vacant. The mind can become vacant but you can never make it so.” He goes into much greater detail than I can copy here, but sufficed to say I’ve started to try to separate the idea of meditation into different aspects more than I had earlier. Sense impressions are always coming into the body through our sensory organs, and if we can just stop, sit, close our eyes, and watch that process, we will recognize the inner impressions we have, which can push our development forward.