Treasures of Spiritual Living
From time immemorial, men and women of God have been coming into this world, at different times, to remind us of our divinity, our true Source. They have a few things in common: They all remind us of a Perennial Entity or Absolute which is called by different names – Father, God, Allah, Self and a few more as well.
They speak of a Kingdom of Heaven, a Nirvana or a place of bliss, which they say is our eternal home and without which we will not be happy. Finally, without exception, they set out a sort of prescription for us, so to speak, the adherence to which will ensure that we arrive at our destination. These are commandments, regulations or rules, or simply recommendations to practice on this journey to our eternal Home.
I will explore some of these sublime ideas and principles with you, in no particular order.
1. There is a Source and we all come from this Source of Love, or better still, are part of Its image and consciousness. This Source is essentially Spirit and so we are made in the image of Spirit.
2. The body is a necessary vehicle, which Spirit or God, uses in order to glorify Itself … in order for this divine Lila or game to take place. An invisible Spirit will remain birthless and deathless, but in order for manifestation to take place, it needs the form. That is the mineral, the vegetable, the animal, the cosmos and us, of course.
3. Man is essentially the soul, which is part of God and as such immortal. The soul is the divine spark that gives the body life and without it, we would simply be lumps of flesh. Dead, like what happens when the soul leaves.
“Has your soul a special mission? Yes. Your mission is in the inmost recesses of your heart, and you have to find and fulfil it there. Forgetfulness makes you feel that you are finite, weak and helpless. This is not true. You are not the body. You are not the senses. You are not the mind. These are all limited. You are the soul, which is unlimited.
Your soul is infinitely powerful. Your soul defies all time and space. Your special mission - which is the fulfilment of your divinity - is not outside you, but within. Search within. Meditate within. You will discover your mission.” –Sri Chinmoy
4. Prayer. Prayer is an effort to lay hold of God Itself. As an entreaty, it reaches out to God for different things; as an act of surrender, it simply says, ‘Take me, for I am Yours.’ Prayer is necessary to expand the Heart, the spiritual Heart, without which the divine forces cannot enter.
Hence, prayer is very reliant on Love, self-giving, gratitude … all the things that soften and enriches the being, purely to prepare it for the inclusion of a Higher Light (Grace). Grace is God’s goodness and God’s mercy. This includes the constant acts of forgiveness from the Divine for our wrong actions.
Truly speaking, we cannot help anyone, we can only serve and so service is done for us, just as much as it is done for the object of our service. God-men say that we should be grateful to those we help, as they are giving us an opportunity to make progress.
Prayer is both vocal and silent. Guruji teaches that when we speak, God listens and in silent prayer, God speaks and we listen. Remember though, that Spirit is omnipresent. Where can It go? It is always here, awaiting our receptivity or an invitation, if you like.
5. Grace – that which transforms our nature. Grace is rather like sunshine, if we keep our curtains open, then the sun can come in. Many of us as humans carry the veils of ego, greed, anger, lust and attachments and their by-products of insecurity, jealousy and fear.
Now rest assured that I do carry these things myself. It is simply a question of degree. Some carry it deeper or greater than others do and it is spiritual practices that make the difference. Still, each individual is unique before God and carries his/her own package. That is why we can only inspire, not help. As the Divine gives each according to his/her own receptivity and karma – the law of action and reaction, cause and effect.
That is why Sri Chinmoy’s aphorism below, becomes so meaningful to me:
“Be kind, be all sympathy, for each and every human being,
Is forced to fight against himself.” –Sri Chinmoy.
Grace filters our inner vessel and transforms our nature. This makes us loving, compassionate, self-giving and more willing to sacrifice. Nevertheless, it brings with this a new kind of faith, confidence and Joy. However, in order to experience this, we need to get into the water; we have to swim.
That is to say, following the way of the cross. Prayer, service, loving our brothers and sisters as well as ourselves: humanity.
6. Meditation is the highest aspect of spiritual practice. It begins with focus or concentration, but with regular and disciplined practice, it leads to a vacant, calm and serene mind … to stillness and peace. How do we meditate?
One way is to sit with the eyes open, limbs, eyes and body relaxed, back straight and to look at an object, such as the flame of a candle. This is a very common one. Concentration is the ability to focus on a particular point, to the exclusion of everything else. Once an energy is concentrated, it steadies the mind. That is why, truly speaking, unless the mind is quiet, meditation does not really begin.
Meditation is like being at the bottom of the sea, says Sri Chinmoy. On the surface, there may be a multitude of waves, but below it is all calm, tranquil, and silent. Meditation is expansive, like the sky and concentration, when harnessed, is like a bullet going towards its target. Concentration is a precursor to meditation, which enlightens the soul and becomes very instrumental in assisting it to solve its problems.
Not that the problem may be different or goes away, but seen in the Light of Meditation, the approach to it changes and so it gradually dissipates. Here is an example:
I do not meditate one morning before leaving for work. I experience a flat tire and I begin to scream ‘why me’ etc. I finally change the tyre after much stress, and then a few minutes later I run into a traffic jam. Finally, I get to work and I am late. The boss yells at me and I have a very bad day! All I can think about is 5.p.m so I can get away and go home.
The same thing happens the following day, only this time I meditated. Therefore, I am in a great space and calmly change my tire. I become caught up in traffic, but again I wait calmly and do not fret. I am late, but when the boss tells me off, I apologise. I say how sorry I am, that I will endeavour that this will not happen again. I then explain the tire and traffic situation and the boss is pleased. The result? I have a great day!
Ok. My Hub is getting a bit long. I hope that I have given you some pointers for spiritual living. We are all His and as such spiritual brothers and sisters made in the very image of God. We need the tools mentioned and more, to become receptive to the Higher Light. Consequently prayer, meditation and a life of sacrifice and self-giving are paramount for happiness. May the omnipotent One finds us worthy. Praise be!
-Manatita, The Lantern Carrier. 16th March, 2018.
Meditation and Prayer
How often do you do them and do they help?
© 2018 manatita44