Spiritual Opposition

I received an interesting response from a dear friend of mine, whom is a Professor and a spiritual teacher for many of us and it was about if families always accept that you are a spiritual person? Do families always embrace those that start walking on the spiritual path or move ahead in it?

I did write yesterday that your family members know about your reality, whether you are truly spiritual or not. However, it definitely isn’t always embraced. My dear friend pointed me towards a very interesting direction here. Sometimes, your family or close friends can become a hindrance to your spiritual path. There is a great amount of internal fear in being spiritual and the reason is that it allows you to be comfortable with being alone. However, family and close friends may fear that they will lose you if you fully embrace your aloneness and they use their imagination of you moving into a cave and meditating until you die. They may fear about how they will live – food, shelter, transport, their smartphone etc. They may also fear that you will not need them anymore as much as they need you. They may start to fear your independence and within them, they also crave for that independence but they don’t necessarily want someone else have it, even if it is their own beloved family and friends.

It is known in my family that my conversations will end up being spiritual in some sort of way. For me, spirituality isn’t an app that I check now and then or a piece of clothing when it feels like I have to. Spirituality for me is an everyday and every moment part of my life. In fact – it is my life. I can’t live without it. It has totally consumed my mind. This is not always embraced. I know I am left out of social events with friends because of my spiritual nature. If I am at an event, most talk has to be on a superficial level and I get bored. Even if spirituality is discussed on a superficial level, it is tiring for me.

In the past, my family have not been supportive of my spirituality and there was always worry that because I was not materialistic enough, I wouldn’t hold a good job or want to earn good money. However, I have shown my family that I have all of that spiritual seeker within me despite moving up in my career along with buying a house and even moving to another country for a better life. However, there is something in me that is always wishing the ascetic lifestyle. I would love to be a monk and what I have learned in the past few months is that I can be living in the world, in the midst of materialism, in the midst of social change and be a monk within. Untouched by the world and its drama, yet acting in it fully. It has taken me a long time to get to this place in life.

I feel that the opposition to my spirituality has not touched what others have gone through. Some are definitely called hypocrites and claim that it is all a show – a pretense to claim these beings are spiritual. Again, this is stoked by fear. If we see that someone is able to live out spiritual oneness, we attempt to discourage them with hurtful jibes. However, these people carry on in their spiritual life, no matter what their close friends and family say. They know the purpose of their life.

Many Gurus saints or bhaktas have faced opposition from their close ones too. From Guru Nanak to Kabir to Rumi to Tukaram to Mira Bai. Their passion and love for the One, for their realization was overwhelming and I assume for their family members torturous. Who would like that their family member starting loving God more than them? Or at least that is how it is perceived. Tukaram used to get a good old scolding from his wife. Rumi’s children were jealous of his relationship with Shams. Not every spiritual person, not every mystic is able to please their close friends and family.

There is a reason why I have, what can be termed as a normal life. I have a wife, eventually we will have kids, we have a home, a car, a job, a Netflix account and social media accounts. At the same time, my weekend is more or less devoted to spirituality, to my own individual practice as well as in the week. I read scriptures on a daily basis. Any free time I get and I will have my iPad out, reading on the Kindle app. I also do spend quality time with my wife, we go on date nights now and then. My spiritual life is perfectly balanced. However, some may say that one command from my Satguru (True Master) can change things? I may be asked to preach, if my Satguru truly desires so. This will not change my lifestyle but my lifestyle should become exemplary. Yes, my diary will change it’s focus but the monk within can still reside in the hustle-bustle of this world.

Not everyone has it easy and I guess this is my post to say that it is okay if you are condemned for being spiritual. Atleast, you know deep in your heart that you are doing the right thing for you. How can we care for others, if we ourselves are in turmoil? We should never dampen that spiritual zeal to further enhance our spirituality. If you feel you are being challenged in your spiritual journey, let me know. Let’s talk about it.

Love.

Being Nothing

The Truth is always revealed about us eventually and if you have a family, it is even quicker. Your family recognize any inauthenticity before you even utter the first word. Your actions, your body language, your intentions speak before anything else. That is why that if we truly want to be spiritual then the first people who will declare it is our family. For example, my wife will be the first to tell you my reality. That is the way it is.

We often seek to pretend to be something we are not in our social circles or when others are around. When we are with our own then our real nature shows. If we are truly kind and considerate then that shows. If we are mean and horrible then that will show. We cannot fool those that live with us each and every day.

We like to show the world that we are something else. We want others to have a certain image of us and we play upon that image. Yet, the spiritual path, the path of wisdom is all about destroying the image. We do not need to be labelled, or put into a box of a certain kind. We are to be free from such notions. The path of the wise is about becoming nothing and this is the biggest fear we fearfully hold. Being nothing is linked to death. With death, we know that nothing will happen to us. Inside we know it. For example, even if you believe in heaven, you are still nothing on the Earth now. This can create a sense of fear of us. The highest spiritual attainment for the mind is to become nothing, to become empty and this is the truest victory. It is only at this point that we understand that we are actually Fullness. We are Imageless. We are Formless. We are beyond even the sense of nothingness, emptiness or void.

Too much of our life is about what we are trying to portray instead of revealing what we truly are. It is the ascetics, the monks, the spiritual householders that truly look to reveal what they really are. Vedanta calls this Brahman – the Ultimate Reality. How many who claim to be spiritual, who claim to be sharing wisdom, who claim to follow religious rituals are in touch with the Ultimate Reality that is within them? Not just within, it is around one, beyond one and the Ultimate Reality is the Gyana (Knowledge) that is understood beyond the mind. Therefore, this can only be shown and known when one accepts what they are. Once one is able to silence the mind so that it can be programmed as being Brahman then they are Brahm Gyani (Realized Being). It is the Realized Being that is living the Ultimate Reality as the Ultimate Reality.

I am very fortunate that I am able to discuss this with close friends, my wife on a almost daily basis. One thing that has really helped me is seeing Brahman, or Nirankar (the Formless) in my wife. In the morning, when I bow down to touch her feet for blessings, I truly feel that the Ultimate Reality in her and in me too is Greater. This is the birth of real respect. This is the beginning of being authentic. This is the flowing river of love. It creates mystics. For if you can see love in the eyes of your beloved one, in your parents, in your friends then wisdom is at your beck and call. What is the point of wisdom, if it doesn’t create respect for others? What is the point of wisdom, if one is not open-minded towards all.

I do want to talk about spiritual intoxication and maybe will tomorrow. How do you practice spirituality in your day to day life? I would love to know.

Love.

Uncles and Life Lessons

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I look back at all the blessings that I have received from my elders and younger friends and family and I always have a gentle stream of tears roll down my cheeks – out of gratitude and joy.

Recently, me and my wife bought a home and I was at my home, feeling this immense state of gratitude for all the people in my life, who have touched my soul with their presence and love. Their pure love has given me so much strength throughout my life. My present moment is beautiful because of all these great people.

Recently, I have been spending some time with my niece and she is a great lesson in being present and joyful. Her every need is catered in the moment, she isn’t anticipating a future nor is she contemplating over the past. She simply is. I was thinking of my own Uncles, who have each taught me something different and unique. One Uncle taught me to keep reading books, to always inquire about the Truth.He taught me how to always spend my life propagating the Truth. Some important lessons were ‘It’s nice to be important but more important to be nice.’ and ‘If God is knowledge, why not have it?’  One Uncle taught me to always be joyful and have a sense of humor. One Uncle taught me to always be there and supportive especially in difficult times (when my brother was in hospital, he travelled by public transport in the snow). One Uncle taught me that silence and serving guests with love is important. Another Uncle taught me to remain in discipline. One more Uncle has shown me to live life to the max, not to worry about anything and live authentically – simply transcend your own bullshit and the bullshit of others. I am talking about my Uncles only because I am an uncle to my niece and I want to show her this way of life. She doesn’t have to live the way I live, she is unique to her own self and I just want her to know that I am always there for her.

Learning and shaping who you are is what life is all about. Imagine that you yourself are a block of marble, all the thoughts, actions and intentions represent the sculptor and they will chisel away on that block of marble. The beauty of the sculpture depends on how aware we are of each thought, action and intention. When our life is full of joy, when our life is lived in the present moment then our mind is at peace. A mind in peace is a mind alert with awareness. This is the opportunity at hand.

As I continue to grow, as I continue to try and live a life of awareness, as I continue to explore the Truth, I am going to be changing a lot until that one transformation settles itself. I do find that transformation is occurring in the background of countless changes that are perceived.

The one thing that life will always show us is how vulnerable we are to death too. Two of my Uncles mentioned have passed away yet, something of them lives in the hearts that they touched and in a way makes them eternal. Each Uncle that I mentioned is an uncle that I have spent considerable time with and are related to my mum and dad. I have so many Uncles who are friends of my parents and it would be a very long post to go into each of the lessons that they have taught too.

One thing that is most important and that is to live authentically and allow your uniqueness to be. Nobody is perfect, nobody is without flaws and we have to understand this. In our relationships with others, we have our own expectations of how they need to be but let them be as they are. They have their own journey and their own growth and if they need your help, they will ask. If not, then you be authentic and promote authenticity. We live in the shadows of others, failing to see that we have immense Light.