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.

Lack of insight

It tends to happen that when we feel that we have some tremendous insight, we tend to have it based on a weak foundation. Why? The insight has been borrowed by something we have listened to, read or maybe even seen. However, insight that is gained through experience is what creates a solid foundation.

Many times, I have come across individuals that wish to sound intellectual and they write something that makes very little sense and shouts confusion. However, how does one respond to such people? It is better to simply stay silent and take 24 hours to respond if needed. If an urgent response is required, at least read the response 10 times before sending. I feel that today that more people respond for the sake of it and then not only lose the respect of others (if that matters to the individual) but most of all, they narrow their own vision.

We should never be so convinced that what we are saying is useful unless we know it is based on experience. If something is based on theory, then it is better to admit that this is just based on some borrowed knowledge and that the aim is to experience it. Again, the steps towards experiencing any truth should be taken seriously and urgently. The last thing you want to do is delay experiencing and then discovering that your place of rest is going to be in a morgue.

Respectful empowerment

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Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán on Pexels.com

The power of what other people think is extremely strong and although, we may know better but we go with what other people say or think because we feel that we want to stay part of that tribe or that group. Later on, we may regret it and regret is very strong and that is something that can consume you and make you feel upset.

I must admit when I follow what I feel is right in my heart, things tend to go well. When the opinion of others matters more and I adapt to that, I see things going down a slippery slope. What I mean by this is that I can clearly perceive that by following a specific opinion or idea of the other person will cause more harm. Sometimes, for whatever reason, we have to succumb to the situation and let things spiral into madness. In this case, how do we deal with it?

The best way is by not caring about the results. You have to take that step back and feel that the result has nothing to do with your own efforts. You did your best, you had your vision, you knew what was right but at that time, your environment wasn’t conducive to it, it was running the opposite way.

You see the worst of others, when their egos shine more than their heart. I have experienced this and even if you had little respect for that individual, you suddenly have zero. This is why as a leader or a mentor, empowering others, encouraging their vision and seeing what they want to achieve and trying to get them there is the sign of true power and respect grows automatically at a fast pace.

It’s really simple – follow your heart in everything you do. If for some reason, your environment (including people) is not ready for it, step away from the reactions of the result.

Discover like an agnostic

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I have quite a few friends who are atheists and to be fair, they are some of the best people that I know. I have never believed that people who believe in a God are somewhat better than those that do not. I have felt that those that drown themselves in dogma, end up harming society more because time has moved on, cultures have evolved and yet the practices remain the same.

I am a keen meditator and although I don’t believe in any abrahamic version of a god, I do believe that within us and around us, there is Formless, Conscious Energy. This is the creator, sustainer and destroyer all in one. It has no end and no beginning. It can never be defined and most of all, you can only experience this as you live as it is – or live in your most natural state.

We have been programmed to judge others, to be skeptical of others, to gossip about others when really why do we even care? I understand that judgment is needed, certainly some people are so entrenched in their ego, that does mean you will suspect an ulterior motive but your way of being shouldn’t change. You will not trust that person for sure, but love and respect will always be what you speak of.

The biggest challenge for me is that despite being an atheist in some ways, I would say I am happily an agnostic. I simply love the fact that I don’t know and even if I did know, I want to stay in the state of “I don’t know” because therein lies the beauty of discovery.

One thing is for sure, I go with whatever someone’s vibe is telling me. If someone tells me an experience or something that is not true, I will never say that it isn’t true. I will silently listen. This is how one should approach whether there is a god or not. Meditate and contemplate until there is nothing there. That is what I am doing. You can surely try it and let me know if you want to know how.