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.

Finding your voice

Finding your voice is extremely important to an artist and requires patience and hard work. Commitment has to be your best friend. It is not that from day one that someone finds their flow. It takes sincerity to invoke the creative energies within you to command you into a continuous expression of your creativity.

Many platforms have ensured that those that didn’t know they were creative, found their voice and was able to create something valuable to them.

However, as humans, we need to think about what we feed our minds with and what does our mind tend to follow, which direction does it go to. When we look at something, is it distracting you from reality? Is it taking you down a rabbit hole? The ego finds much joy in this.

Each day that has passed by, I have been very mindful on what mind listens to, reads and eventually what it acts upon. This is the contract that I have given myself and that is that more pure the mind can get, the better. It is important to follow whatever shows you reality as it is.

Love.

Cultivating Awareness and Pizza

We are frequently reminded of what is good for us and what is beneficial for us. Sometimes we give in to a lifestyle that is not healthy for the body or the mind. When we do this, we are basically living so much in the body, that we cannot see the bigger picture.

One of the most popular sayings that I often hear is ‘eat, drink and be merry.’ To be honest, this is the most dangerous idea. If we just ate without limits, drank without limits, the only time there will be any merriness will be at one’s funeral. Therefore, balance is always needed. I often think about the times that I do give into temptation of harming my body and mind whether through food or thoughts and it is multiple times in the day.

Cultivating awareness is extremely important if we want to awaken ourselves to a higher way of living. There is a reason why the saints and sages of the past, the mystics have always guided that we think a few times before doing anything. The thinking really is another way of saying ‘BE AWARE’ and I am writing this because right now, there is pizza right next to me and the aroma is enticing but I have had my dinner. ¬†Tonight was my first test and I think I can pass with flying colors!

Our own minds

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When we look into our own minds, we have to wonder where each thought has appeared from. We need to inquire into it’s origin? Also, has it caused limiting beliefs? Does it take away my freedom? Does it stop me from growing? Can I be in awareness with these type of thoughts for long?

If we decided to invest time and look into our mind, understand its nature and see how we can improve it, we would focus on making the most out of our mind – only when we understand that it knows its place, as a friend to my consciousness, not an enemy.

The space of ego is as large as you want it to be, and it can be the tiniest and even non-existent force in your life. It depends on how invested you are in keeping your ego. It is not that you can’t be spiritual if you have an ego. It is just that the vastness of spirituality will be smaller according to the vastness of the ego.

We all know what we need to do to grow, however the time and effort to do so, is totally something else. All I know is that observing the mind is a practice that needs to continue and continue, until it becomes clear on what the mind actually is.

The Story of a Bird in a Golden Cage

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There was once a king, who heard the sweet song of a bird. A bird that was able to fly to different branches of different trees, roam in the clear blue sky or thunderous showers. It could see the whole world with it’s wings whenever it wanted. It enjoyed its freedom. However, the King was in love with the birdsong and wanted to hear it every morning.

The King’s Assistant caught the bird and placed it in a ¬†golden cage filled with diamonds, and other precious stones. However, the bird didn’t like the cage because he couldn’t fly and this deeply upset him. He would weep and the King thought the bird was singing a beautiful song and was immensely happy. Unknown to the King, he felt the bird appreciated the golden cage and precious gems, who wouldn’t love it?

One day, the King’s Assistant was assigned to clean the cage, whilst doing so, at the most opportune moment, the bird flew out and didn’t look back. He flew to the nearest branch, he could find.

Watching all this was a parrot and the parrot was annoyed at the bird and said to him, ‘What are you thinking? You had such an amazing home, you had to just sing beautiful songs for the King and you was given a golden cage. You are an idiot for giving up those precious gems. You didn’t even take one out when you left. You have lost everything with your so-called freedom’

The bird listened and after giving some thought, he replied to the parrot, ‘You may live in the cage if you like it so much but I prefer the freedom of roaming in the sky, living day by day and being happy because I am alive.’

Before the bird was intending to finish, the parrot flew inside the cage.

The moral of this story is that we as human beings love to be caged under doctrines, repeat whatever isn’t our own experience, we bound ourselves under religion, nationality, race, gender and color. If by some chance, someone decides to be free, to tread on a path that no one is willing to walk upon, we think they are crazy. However, if we really want the Truth, if we really want enlightenment then we have to do it alone and be willing to live moment to moment, whatever it brings. Yesterday, today and tomorrow will be the same for the parrot in the gems-filled, golden cage. However, every day brings in a new possibility for the bird that found it’s freedom again.

Likewise, if we are stuck on a body level only, then we will only be subject to the laws of the physical. If we choose to let go of this cage of the mind, invest time in thinking, in inquiring about what stops us from living the truth then we can truly transcend the time and live as consciousness, a pure awareness, as the Formless.

Inspired by Osho.

Practice is Key

There will always be the Light of Truth and it is all about how you can get yourself there. Don’t look upon anyone to give you the truth, to take you to the next stage. Accept that it is solely your responsibility.

The Spiritual Master simply gives you that wisdom, which opens the ground for a practical realization of the Truth. The Spiritual Master simply guides that the Truth alone should be worshipped. In fact, worship of the Truth is the only way to worship the Master. All other means are simply your own devotion but has nothing to do with true worship.

We have such powerful minds that we can do anything if we truly desire to do so. It is best to focus our desires on a fruitful life that is lived in an enlightened realization. It is okay to have all the riches of the world but a life of enlightenment is what makes life become a spectacular journey.

Never run away from responsibilities, the Truth is given so that you can enjoy every aspect of life – whether that is your family relationships, your occupation, your hobbies etc. Enjoy it all and again, remember that the foundation has to be built on Truth.

The Truth is only understood, comprehended and an embedded part of life until you truly meditate on it. Without meditation, remembrance on the Truth, it will disappear because it is so subtle. How can we grasp the Formless through the limited form of our senses. Going beyond the senses, we are able to grasp the Limitless Formless Truth.

All we need to do is approach a Spiritual Master with the sincerity to practice until the goal is reached. Merely thinking, talking, preaching about the Truth is not enough. Practice is key!