The protective screen
Actually this tendency towards laya is a safety mechanism. It prevents people prematurely delving into their minds and too quickly confronting subconscious fears, apparitions, neuroses, etc. This confrontation must occur in the path of yoga, but it should be slow. The mind bas to be gradually purified and harmonized over a period of time. If there is sudden perception of a mighty flood of subconscious fears, then one will be overwhelmed by the negative contents of one’s own mind. The laya is a protective screen. Only when much of the negativity has been exhausted from the mind can this protective screen of laya be crossed. Then the psychic symbol should be utilized.
The parable of the crow
It was the monsoon period. There was incessant rain and tumultuous winds. A crow was asleep at the top of a big tree beside a large river. During the night the wind was so strong that the tree was uprooted. It fell into the fast flowing river and was swept away. The crow, however, remained fast asleep. After some hours the tree was swept out to sea. The wind subsided and the sun shone brightly. The crow awoke and decided to investigate its surroundings. All it could see was water. In all directions there was nothing but a vast expanse of shimmering water. It wanted to find dry land, but did not know in which direction to fly. Finally it decided to fly east. It did not encounter land so it then went west for an hour or so. Still it did not discover land, so it decided to fly south. It flew south, then north but still could not find any signs of land. Then it felt very tired, but suddenly realized that there was no place where it could rest. All it could see was water. The crow immediately thought of the tree. But where was it? Instead of looking for land, it now desperately began to search for the tree from which it had started. After some time and effort it eventually sighted the tree. The crow was an intelligent bird: it learnt from previous mistakes and experiences.
Therefore, when it again felt strong enough to continue the search for land, it carefully remembered the location of the tree. It flew south and found no land, therefore it returned to the tree and rested. Then it flew in other directions, always with full knowledge of the position of the tree. Eventually, it sighted land. With a whoop of joy, it flew to the safety of the land and forgot the tree. The tree had served its purpose and was no longer necessaiy.
This story indicates the path that every sincere and serious sadhaka or yogic practitioner must tread. The crow represents the sadhaka practising meditational techniques. The ocean is the mind. The tree is the psychic symbol. The land is meditation. At first the crow tried to find land haphazardly without maintaining awareness of the position of the tree. It nearly got lost in the expanse of the ocean. In the same way, if a person tries to explore the mind without the help of a psychic symbol, then he will only become hopelessly lost – in a state of unconsciousness.
So be like the wise crow; choose a symbol that will help you to find your bearings if you lose your way. In order to reach the dry land of your being – that which is limitless, beyond time and space – use a psychic symbol as a guide.