Notes from spiritual lessons

Let us discuss some salient features of spirituality :

~~~~* Surrender to God With True Prayer *~~~~
According to mata Amritanandamayi (Amma) , it is important for every individual to have a good spiritual foundation. 
Amma says , " A householder should be like a bird sitting on a dry twig. It knows the twig will break any moment and so is always ready to take-off. Similarly, wordly relationships may end any time. All actions a householder is involved in are just temporary works entrusted to him by God."
In fact, a person who runs away from life is not fit to be a spiritual seeker, says Amma. That's why Krishna did not let Arjuna run away from the battlefield. Life is a battle which cannot be avoided. " Just as you cannot run away from death, you cannot run away from life, either. You can only try to transcend both by living sensibly ", she says.
Amma stresses that spiritual practice does not merely entail sitting in lotus posture and meditating. It means something more.
There is no better meditation technique than sincere prayer.
Without love for God, no amount of meditation will bear fruit. Rowing a boat against the current is difficult but if there is a sail, it becomes easy. Love for God is like a sail that helps the boat move forward. A true devotee, however, offers himself to the Lord when he prays. Prayer is a real surrender. 

~~~~* Seek Out the Real From the Unreal *~~~~
By not realizing our true Self, we remain in sorrow. But if the world that we see with our eyes is as illusory as a dream or the cinema, then why does it appear so real ? Why do we experience sorrow and happiness, boredom and excitement, love and hatred ?
All of us want to live a successful life, free from tension and worry. Enlightened saints, however, insist that dharma (religion), artha (wealth), kama (desires) and moksha (merging with the Supreme Soul) go hand-in-hand. The secret of a happy life is to be constantly aware of the Supreme Soul.
From the Ramayana we can learn that not for a second should one's concentration be distracted from the Divine Soul.
When the mind, body and intellect are calmed there is total satisfaction.
Spiritual practises purify the mind but without the love of God they do not remove ignorance and the person is frustrated as no great knowledge is revealed to him. Many delude themselves by blaming God for their misfortune, saying that it is God's will. Many assume that they have become true sannyasis but ill news from home is enough to spoil their equilibrium. Saatvic knowledge and intellect is essential to go along with devotion. It is for the mentally strong person to think right and guide his senses.
Once the soul is no longer clouded by the ignorance, then, the body, mind and spirit too are cured of all afflictions. Past karmas will bring adverse situations but they will not affect a person whose mind is focused on the Infinite Self. Through knowledge, one can realize the infinite joy that is the true Self.

~~~~* Attain Peace by Mind Control *~~~~
Noise pollution is the monster of modern times. An annoying 80-decimal intensity is very common in cities. And if it exceeds the level of 90 decibels, we could become deaf. Most of us living in cities are partially deaf to delicate sounds ; we don't know about finer sounds at all - so the love atrocious music. The result is that due to sound pollution we become exhausted, irritable and full of anger - even mad. Our normal routine work shouldn't cause exhaustion at all, because to work is our nature. But the present - day noisy world simply drains our energy away.
Yet another problem is internal noise. We have a hundred thoughts every minute, making us restless. Both external and internal noise make the mind restive, frantic, anxious and exhausted. We age before we should, why does all this happen ?
Motion needs energy. Thought too is motion. Thought - waves rise one after another in extremely rapid succession, and this needs energy. Too many thoughts mean energy loss, and so we become fatigued. 
A weak mind is a restless mind and a controlled mind is a strong mind.
The way out for us, if we wish to live in peace, is to control inner noise. The moment the inner noise is controlled, we are not affected by any external noise. External noise is the suggestion, inner noise is the reaction. It's the same logic that operates in the physical world. There are millions of bacteria everywhere. The strong are not affected, while the weak suffer. So when we are mentally strong, with our thoughts regulated and controlled, no external sound can affect us adversely. That is the way for us to lead a happy lives in this miserable world. 

~~~~* Face examinations without Fear *~~~~
In a booklet titled Letter to a student, Swami Purushottamanada discusses the critical problem of examination fear.
He says fear of exams is the biggest enemy of students. Under its stress, some even fall physically ill. The word 'examination fever' has been coined in this context. Even students who put long hours of study become nervous at the time of exams. So, the Swami says, don't lose heart, you can definitely gain control of the situation.
By being bold and brave, even an average student can do reasonably well in exams. But if a student shelters fear, it will deprive his mind and body of  strength. It is this fear that makes you write confused answers. He says, "Root out the fear complex lurking in your mind by combining self-confidence with disciplined study; have faith in your own strength and faith in your studies...... The strong conviction that you would write the exams well, with a calm mind, is the self - confidence. If you can develop this, fear vanishes and enthusiasm springs up in its place."
On different occasions Swamiji emphasized that "whatever you think, that you will be. If you think yourself weak, weak you will be; if you think yourselves strong, strong you will be". He would say : "Never say, 'I cannot', for you are infinite.
For students who cultivate fearlessness, and who face the exams boldly, success is waiting round the corner. True, sometimes, unfortunately, even the most hardworking and dedicated of students find that the results are not good.
In fact, failures make us even wiser: Constant practice makes one perfect, so no one should lose heart in the process of trying. For "tomorrow is another day " - with fresh hopes and opportunities, and you should look forward to taking up new challenges and responsibilities. 

~~~~* You cannot change nature, change your attitude *~~~~
We are unaware of the process of self-transformation. The aim of Sadhana is to transform the self. Knowledge is the first prerequisite of this transformation. The second is practice. 
Mahavira observed that knowledge combined with practice is the only path leading to deliverance from miseries. Both are inseparable elements of spiritual exertion. Moreover, practice cannot bear fruit without discernment. Only a combination works.
A changed attitude brings about a transformation in the very course of your life. Nobody can change nature. What we can do is to change our attitude towards it.
A change in our attitude towards life and death is the prerequisite of Sadhana. It means getting rid of all kinds of predispositions, predilections and preconceived notions.