In his autobiography, The New Path, Swami Kriyananda shares a fascinating dream:

I was living with many other people in a torture chamber. For generations our families had lived here, knowing no world but this one; the possibility of any other existence simply never occurred to us. One awoke, one was tortured, and, at night, one found brief respite in sleep. What else could there be to life?

The time came, however, when a handful of us began to think the unthinkable. Might there, we asked ourselves, just possibly be another, a better way of life? Moments snatched when our torturers were out of earshot, and we could share our doubts with a few friends, served to kindle our speculations. At last we determined that there simply had to be an alternative to being tortured. A small group of us decided to rebel.

We laid our plans carefully. One day, rising together from our tasks, we slipped up behind the torturers, slew them, and escaped. Sneaking cautiously out of the great room, fearing lest armies of torturers be lying in wait for us outside, we encountered no one. The torture chamber itself, it turned out, occupied only the top floor of a large, otherwise empty building. We walked unchallenged down flights of stairs, emerging from the ground floor onto a vast, empty plain. Confined as we’d been our whole lives in the torture chamber, the horizon seemed incredibly distant. Joyfully we inhaled the fresh air. Gazing about us, we all but shouted the previously never-imagined word: “Freedom!”

Before departing the building forever, we glanced up at the top floor, scene of the only life we’d ever known. There, to our astonishment, we saw the very torturers we thought we’d slain. They were going matter-of-factly about their business as though nothing had happened! Amazed, we looked to one another for an explanation.

Suddenly the answer dawned on me. “Don’t you see?” I exclaimed. “It’s ourselves we have conquered, not the torturers!”

With that realization, I awoke. I felt that this dream held an important message for me. The torture chamber, located as it was on the top floor of the building, symbolized the human mind.

What Swamiji’s dream demonstrates is that this world, in and of itself, has no reality, but is a delusion. If we base our happiness on this unsubstantial narrative, we are bound to find ourselves in a state of insecurity and mental torment. The world as it presents itself to us will never bring us the peace, stability, and happiness we are seeking.

This is especially true today, as we are bombarded by such uncertainty about the future. So many of us find ourselves in inner turmoil as we try to figure out, “How will this story end?” There is, however, a way to distance ourselves from delusion’s shifting sands, and to find firm footing on the foundations of truth.

“Master and the Twin Peaks,” by Nayaswami Jyotish.

To escape the “torture chamber,” we need each day to withdraw inwardly into the silent cave of meditation. This will keep your mind calm and detached so that you can perceive the true reality beyond delusion. Thus you will be able to resist the pull to “angst” over what might happen, and simply rest in the peace of the present moment. With mental determination and will power, stand up to the “torturers” of fear and worry! Though outer events may seem all-consuming and even terrible, they are in truth only passing scenes in delusion’s dream.

Strive to deepen your attunement to God and Guru, who are the source of soul peace and happiness. And have faith that the Divine Hand that created the world will help us to awaken from this dark dream of suffering.

So, how will the story of the pandemic, economic uncertainty, and political turmoil end? When we realize that our anxiety-torturers reside only in our mind, and use inner discipline to calm our thoughts. Only then can we step outside of the story into the realm of peace.

Swami Kriyananda wrote: “Suffering is a result of delusion, not of outward circumstance. There have been people in the darkest dungeons and people suffering the worst diseases who have known only joy. . . . Joy and suffering depend entirely on the attitudes of the mind.”

Towards inner freedom,

Nayaswami Devi

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15 Comments

  1. Thanks Devi for the blog. Yes, we are creators of heaven and hell through our mind. The “torture chamber” – the mind is the culprit. Calming the mind through the practice of meditation is probably the only way to escape from the trials and tribulations of life.
    I have just joined the Ananda meditation course that hopefully will take me to a journey of self exploration and self realization that will bring me “the peace that passes all understanding”
    Namaste
    Abraham

  2. I love it and thanks for sharing I’m at the twilight and this message is invigorating assuring to step outside the building

  3. I’m threatening from every side. I was diagnosed with cancer, I lost my job, I have no income, I’v been evicted, I’ I’m homeless now, while looking for a place to live, I’m allergic to 95% of food. It’s almost impossible for me to function, certainly to attempt meditating. I was abused as a child, my sister was killed horribly, my best friend died, there’s more. Finding peace of mind in my torture chamber is unlikely, but I appreciate the idea. Peace is for other people not me. I pray for help daily , for Guru but none are forthcoming. Every day, every breath means pain, suffering, agony and the promise of more suffering. It could actually be worse for me but that realization is cold comfort. I plod on in this realm of suffering, and still I suffer. I never want to return to this satanic realm, ever. I’m celibate, don’t drink smoke, or even eat your food. I want nothing but peace yet it does not come. Tell me if finding god amidst this agony then look me in my eye. Terror is etched into my flesh, you’ll shrink from my face as many do. Suicide is not an option so I await release in Maya’s cruel ceaseless whim. And still I wait, unable to practice asanas or meditate. Tell me again how god loves me

    1. You are God’s representative of love and peace. it is not out there but within. Feel the shower of light pour down from above and fill your body. You are healed. Bless you.

    2. Go to nature. By water if you can. Listen to birds or wind or flowing water.observe trees plants and flowers. Look for any small creatures. Ask divine mother for a rebirth. Ask daily and she will transform your despair to contentment. It may happen slowly but your despair will transform to contentment. I was in the same place you are now so I know where your coming from. Nature taught me to enjoy beauty all around.

    3. Peter. I am crying for you. I want you to feel relief. Know that others have heard you, and are praying for you, with everything they have. Please do not give up. You are so important. To me. Because I know what it is to suffer. I wish I could remove your suffering instantly. I can’t speak for God, but I love you. Thank you for posting. Thank you for being so brave. I am desperate to give you something to hold onto, but I am just a regular person. Can you pretend? Just for a minute or two at a time? Pretend that there is meaning and purpose to all you’ve had to endure. Pretend that there is more love than you could ever imagine, just for you. Please, Peter. Do this. Pretend that everything you want, and need is really on it’s way. Imagine your perfect life. Just for a few minutes, whenever you can. I will be praying for you.

  4. Thank you for this! What an amazing dream. I clearly have forgotten ever reading this. Superconscious!

  5. This story came at the right time. It re-awakened me to delusion and reality’s ability to take control and make a bad day..
    I love the days that I have a good meditation, nothing bothers me and in love with all of life and the person I love.

  6. I sure know how the mind can grip you in maya as I keep making similar dreams of being taken against my will like last night’s dream. There was no freedom. But I decided from now on to bless the dream, bless my pain and stiffness and bless life whatever happen to me. As I meditated online this afternoon, the gurus blessed me again as I made the effort to at least sit and be still and breathe. Devotion to God is so important. So I practice to open my heart to receive and to give the rose petals of my sincere love and pour out my emotions. Amen. Aum. xx Peace

  7. In deepest gratitude for a much needed personal and worldly reminder. Namaste

  8. Thank you for sharing Swamiji’s dream. Such an inspiration as we retreat into the cave of silence each day in meditation. Thank you dearest Ji for an awesomely great blog.

  9. Dear Nayaswami Devi JI,

    Thank you for this blog! Blessed Navarathri Wishes from India to you, Jyotish Ji, and to all of our Ananda family.

    This blog is very timely and helpful. Sincere gratitude to Swamiji for giving us the lesson from the dream he had.

    I enjoyed reading these lines in particular – “And have faith that the Divine Hand that created the world will help us to awaken from this dark dream of suffering.”

    Joy,
    Prem

  10. Peter…..Whatever the negative situation seems to be, quit focussing on it. Dont be dragged down by it. Try to stick with good thoughts. It is an effort so ask The Divine to come and help you. Dont be afraid to cry out in your anguish. An answer will come. You will be heard, but you can start right now taking your focus off what is wrong in your life and focus on good things. The beauty of Nature, a big flying high, a brook, grass growing, anything at all but start focussing on the positive and dont give any more magnetic force to your negativity. Things will change, if you stay with it. All my prayers and blessings.

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