To become aware of one's thoughts is to become aware of prana.
Prana is a lot like our attention span. When we study, we focus for an hour and do not let our attention waver. All those expressions: "pay attention," "focus!" etc., are ways of saying "get control of your prana." Once you get the idea it attends you naturally.
The Upanisads give two tools for mastering the prana: 1, mental, and 2, blessing one's food and bringing the energy up the spine. The first is about learning to transcend the upper three levels of consciousness, and the second is about transcending the lower three chakras.
Jnana Yoga is of supreme import to us in the West. We need to slow down our swift active pace and thus prepare ourselves to receive the Truth - that we are children of Immortal Bliss.
Rather than try to convince the ego-mind of its purity, seeing that it is the hub of imperfection, better to simply transcend it and realize what is Changeless. Glimpsing this, the ego-mind gets transcended naturally.
Mastering the three matras of AUM - waking, dream, and deep sleep - means to know what is there in each of them and then connect them. The ability to transcend them will occur naturally after that. I cannot say it any simpler than this.
Take emotion up and turn it into devotion.
As one ascends the chakras in Kundalini practice, if one has not brought along the Vedanta Dindima (Brahman alone is Real), then the poisons will surface.
When one applies sadhana to the mind, one realizes that pure mind is Brahman and has always existed. One has simply failed to live in it.
Those who keep the nondual Source in mind as they do sadhana will skirt the subtle poisons. They may forget It at times, but It will recur to them as they ascend the chakras. Those who are not mindful will open to the poisons due to such forgetfulness.
Your life has no meaning. The only meaning is in You, the Reality. Your life should prove that to you. This is the meaning behind Christ's saying, "Those who love their life shall lose it, while those who hate their life will gain it back in Eternal Life."
Luck, serendipitousness, randomness, chaos, god, devil, etc, - these are all represented in the inexorable law of karma, which lasts until one transcends cause and effect. Since practice equals "dharma drops in the bucket," then it should be recognized that with an even, gradual, slow, and steady pace, you will break through every barrier.
While working on dissolving samskaras, one is actually mastering the dream state. One's waking state is filled with the manifestation of things from the dream state that are coming forward in sleep. The dream state is also indicative of one's prior lifetimes.
Most of the work sadhana wants us to do is with karma and samskara.
Samskaras of sadhana lead to samskaras of Samadhi.
Examine your consciousness from all angles, for example: Doesn't the Anandamayakosha contain all the other koshas? Therefore, all reflections exist in the ego. You have to know what you are not, before you can know what you are.
As soon as you give the world up it will look like God to you. As long as you are attached to the world, it looks only like an object.
When you transcend Nature you realize that all of Nature is within you.