Then that path is reached
from which those who reach it never return
calling : “I seek refuge only
in that Primal Person
from Whom hath come forth this ancient current of the world.”
– The Bhagavad Gita
Working with a Verse
To work with a verse means to choose a short text with a meaningful inner content, and work with it meditatively. This could be a verse from a scripture, a short poem or prose text, or a spiritual verse created especially for this purpose.
Create time - perhaps five or ten minutes - each morning, afternoon and evening for quiet, word by word, thought by thought contemplation of the verse. You can work with the same verse for a period of months or even years. The purpose is not to analyze the verse nor “program” yourself with its content - but to reflect on the thoughts it contains, and that arise in relation to it.
Work with a verse strengthens the human ego. The ego in this sense is our human individuality, our eternal and most essential part. This ego is unique in each person, and is the part we refer to when we say “I.” By effort, it can develop increasingly free choice, and responsibly direct our lives. But the ego also lives amidst distractions - the desires and dislikes of our soul, fluctuations of our health, the heaviness and solidness of the physical body. It is in many ways the "child" in our human makeup, our newest and most promising part - but also our most vulnerable.
Work with a verse strengthens the ego in several ways. In the encounter with a lofty, noble content, we live in the higher potentials of our humanity. The effort and activity this entails is also strengthening, in the sense of exercising a muscle. We cultivate inner flexibility, fineness of feeling, exact, steady attention and thought. Work with a suitable verse lifts our values and ideals, and over time, how we see our world.
It also leads us towards self knowledge. As we work with a verse, we begin to notice our own feelings more closely, our own actions and the way we think. We notice more clearly the condition of our soul, our life, our relationships. Are there things we need to change ? The process asks us for honesty, but is not necessarily discouraging. The means for change are contained in the path itself, and are themselves strengthening.
In working with a verse, our inner world and observations touch a larger world of thoughts and moral impulses than we've previously experienced. As we find connections there, our view is enlarged. We come to trust this world - its wholeness, fullness and ongoing presence. We begin to feel we belong to it.
As we turn again and again to this inner work, we come to discern relationships in the inner and outer worlds, and gradually, our own part in them. With time, this inner activity can be a source of comfort and confidence in all our busy affairs of life.