The Simplicity of Spirituality
It is very natural that we want to be happy. Happiness begins with the fulfilment of our needs – food when hungry, water when thirsty, and sleep when tired. But it does not stop here. Once we get all this, we start seeking further comforts – a good bed to sleep, an air conditioner, and so on. Then to look unique we want a particular dress, shoes, designer bags, etc. Then, we further want to look special – entitled for another’s attention – to receive their respect, love, and obedience. And finally, we start wanting to dominate and control others. The more we try, the more we fail. The more we fail, the angrier we become. Then, we throw tantrums, and brood and sit alone in frustration! Then, a question arises. Who am I? Why am I here? What am I doing?
That is the beginning of a ‘human life’ – the life of a unique and the only known creation in Nature, endowed with the power to think, to reflect, and to imagine. This moment has been called ‘dvija,’ the second birth. You have come here to see the working of the mind, a machine inside you that is always telling you something – a voice in your head, constantly chatting with you saying … this is good, this is bad … do this … don’t do this… There are a few fortunate ones who realize that all that this voice says is not right. It leads us to problems, conflicts, and bad and difficult situations, and yet people end up following the ‘commands’ of this voice. And in case of a blessed few, there comes a realization that there is another voice behind this voice… telling us that all that is pleasant is not necessarily good. When you are clearly able to hear this second voice, you have taken your first step into the spiritual world.
Can I hear this ‘observer voice’ more often? Do more of what it wants me to do?
The answer is ‘Of course! Why not?’
‘What do I have to do for that?’ is the next question.
The answer is to ‘log in’. That’s it!
The idea of the Oneness of the entire creation is indeed universal. Everything exists in God and therefore God is both immanent and transcendent. But, if I live in God, and God is inside me, why am I confused, perturbed, and doing my best, yet not even at peace with myself? This is a doubt that must be put to rest not by some teaching but by experience, by getting connected to the God inside one and feeling firsthand what it means and to what wonderful effect.
Based on Vedanta insights, the seminal works of Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Jung (1875-1961), Sri Aurobindo (1872-1950), and the monk of the Ramakrishna Order, Swami Prabhavananda (1893-1976), and the writings of Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) and Eknath Easwaran (1910-1999), there is a ‘doable’ method to connect to the God inside us and draw from the eternal source of ‘our being’ – all that is needed to be good and become great.
There is nothing religious about it. Buddha taught us about transforming the mind. In the Islamic world, silent contemplation – ‘Muraqiba’ – is widely practiced and very well-defined. There has been a great tradition of Christian mystics right from the days of the Roman empire adopting Christianity.
There are just three simple steps. First, draw your attention ‘inside you’ by withdrawing it from outside. Sit alone, undisturbed, and close your eyes. You will feel terrible resistance. It is so difficult to have our eyes closed… even for a minute! Something inside tells you not to do that … get out … go back to the world! This is the hypnotic power of the world over you – the Maya. You are captivated to live like a puppet – a part of the machinery – serving your family, your company, the economy, the social and political system… and so on! This is indeed proof that you are in real trouble!
As the second step, standing up to this problem, take control of your ‘monkey mind’ that is forever jumping around. Memorize a simple passage of your liking in the language that you understand – your mother tongue, ideally, or even English. (I use St Francis’s prayer: Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace …) Remain focused on that passage with your eyes closed and you will feel less threatened… and with very little practice, you are now able to remain ‘within’ yourself for a few minutes… Now extend this time to 30 minutes. That is enough.
Just this… nothing more and your mind loses its ‘captive power’ and you are now ‘online’. Enjoy this simple feeling of ‘being with yourself’; say nothing, tell no one about it. Don’t even intellectualize it… just experience the connection!
Lastly, select one mantra – a short and simple one – whatever appeals to you. And whenever during the day you notice your mind becoming restless, trying to hijack you ‘away from here and now’ into some past memory, future worry or fantasy… engage it to this mantra. That is all. Your podding stops here. You will see the beneficial results for yourself.
Know that there are the larger systems that increasingly control the world and the lives of people. The only defence is ‘going inside’ and connecting to the Absolute Consciousness that is the ground upon which this entire creation is built. There are many methods and people have done it, but for an ordinary person, living in this world, my idea is not to abandon the world and merge with the identity-less Oneness but to be aware of what is going on. By doing so, I can have a little peace, a little confidence, that in the end, everything is going to be all right.
Using this, a great many enterprises are operational, ‘selling’ spirituality. Unlike other ‘commodities’ and ‘services’ there is no direct price, but blind following and servitude is charged as price. People have gone for them always and they continue to do so now. Names and forms have changed. Religion has been mutated into cults and sects and off late, a Technology Singularity has become active to capture your attention and control your mind using the Internet provided into your hands ‘at no cost.’
I consider this as the biggest evolutionary challenge that mankind has ever faced. There are thoughtful people talking about it already. A book, Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari (b. 1976), discusses what might happen to the world when old myths are coupled with new godlike technologies such as artificial intelligence and genetic engineering. So, getting grounded in the Absolute Consciousness, that is present right inside you, is now even more important.
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