Sat Nam, Yogi Amandeep. I am worried about my son. He is grown and has left home for his first year at university, and I am worried he will get into trouble. Can you advise me on how to cope with my anxiety?
First, understand that your anxiety does not serve to prevent bad things from happening to your son; nor does your anxiety serve to cause good things to happen to your son. Your son will have his own life experience. Neither he is the doer; nor are you the doer; certainly anxiety is not the doer.
It may help you to realize that all experience is empty.
When you worry, you are coloring your son’s experience with your worries. Now, you must acknowledge that even your worries are empty. When you realize the emptiness of your anxiety, you shall be free from your anxiety. In the words of Yogi Bhajan, “I have no body. I have no mind. I have no spirit…” Thus, I have no anxiety. Right?
To understand what I am advising, let’s take a few moments to contemplate the Heart Sutra, a popular Mahayana Buddhist scripture. The name in Sanskrit is Prajnaparamitahrdaya.
Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Svaha
Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Svaha
The Heart Sutra contains the heart of the Buddhist teachings. When you have heard the sound of your own heart, that is when you can hear the inner teachings of this sutra. The Sutra is a meditation on the pure emptiness of all phenomenon. The mantra is one that negates; it offers a “no” before concrete and conceptual constructs that we take for granted. No eyes. No ears. No feeling, thought or choice. In and of themselves, these things are empty. This means they are open space. This is the same space that is the Yogic Space.
This is Emptiness, Zero, Shuniya, a Vacuum.
To understand The Heart Sutra, let’s take the example of looking at a flower. The way you see the flower depends on the way the sun shines light onto the flower. From outside of you, the sun will guide and control how you see this flower. By itself, the flower has no form, no shape; the frequency of light creates it so. In its Buddha Nature, it is not flower or any conceptual thing. It is empty.
Outwardly, the way you see the flower depends on the light. But you also have inward factors that impact how you see. These include your mood, your level of hunger, the balance of elements in your body, your thought patterns, your habits, etc. According to all the circumstances, you project incorrectly. You see incorrectly.
Now let’s revisit your particular case with your college-age son. Let’s say, for instance, your son phones you and talks with joy about time he spends with his friends. You may instinctively express your concern that he must be sure to devote all his attention to his studies. But who knows? Perhaps these friends will someday become his business partners. Together they will build successful careers, and the time they spend together now is essential to growing this relationship. Well, this is all empty, too. And ultimately, to see all clearly, see it all empty. This will reveal that whatever the case may be, you can acknowledge that your perception in any one moment is limited. Your perception in any one moment is even more limited when it is colored by your anxiety; not only is it limited, but it is a deception.
So, how shall we see things in a way that
we are not deceiving ourselves?
See phenomenon as empty, and you will see more accurately. Suppose your son tells you he enjoys goofing off. So? First, remind yourself your son’s statement is empty, as is your reaction to it. Thus, you shall have created great open space. This is more useful than superimposing your perception, thought process, judgment, or agenda. Once you realize emptiness, the universe can flow through you and guide with its cosmic intelligence.
In the words of Yogi Bhajan, “In Shunia, you become zero; you reduce everything to nothing: I am nothing. Everything is nothing. There’s nothing to be nothing. The moment you become that, everything radiates from you.”
Just observe how the communication unfolds between you and your son when you internally remind yourself of the empty quality of your interaction. Let the universe enter the emptiness to carry the interaction. Guaranteed, you will eventually be more satisfied with how it all turns out. If in some moment what we see — a flower or the face of a loved one — depends on sunlight, what happens when sunlight changes? Whatever you see, your vision depends on the angle of the sunlight. However the sunlight wants to show you things, that is the way you see things. Similarly, depending upon the light of your consciousness, things can shift. Observe this.
This is the essence of the Heart Sutra. There is no form. The form is being projected to you the way the sunlight wants to show you. Form arises in accordance with consciousness.
Sometimes people get confused by the Heart Sutra because they equate emptiness with non-existence. Because something is empty does not mean it does not existence. Yet, also existence is empty. And emptiness is not empty. Feel assured, this is not a nihilistic sutra. No need to fall into despair over meaninglessness of all. It is a sutra that helps you recognize that everything you see is the way you see because of the play of outer light and frequencies and because of the play of your internal state of being and internal frequencies. It is a sutra that opens unto emptiness, an emptiness that welcomes the divine play, and that welcomes that there is no divine play. No sutra.
In the beginning, middle, and end, nothing. There is shuniya.
So, I shall repeat, when you see a flower or speak with your son, gently abandon the habit to make any associations or story. Abandon the impulse to superimpose any thought, judgement, idea, or agenda onto this moment.
Instead, tune into the rhythm of the heart beat and the Heart Sutra, the perfect wisdom that all is emptiness. Wait for the universe to fill in the emptiness with more emptiness. Let the universe dance in you; allow everything to radiate from you; that is true freedom and bliss, and no freedom and no bliss.
© Yogi Amandeep Singh
We invite you to join us in October; let’s chant the Heart Sutra together here.