Planning is an essential tool to being prepared for the present but more so, live the present so the plan is executed. Nothing ever goes to plan but the effort never goes to waste. Being prepared, understanding what failed and what succeeded provides hints to what the future beholds.
Our behavior changes when we understand that we are liable for our own self. How much can we blame the outside society, our genes for who we are. If we think we can change, then you can change. It is as simple as that. If you can imagine it, then all you need to do is take one step forward to make it a reality.
Live life but make sure you are always safe – physically, mentally and financially. Eat wisely, think wisely and spend wisely. Spend time or money on what increases your intelligence more than anything else. More knowledge can mean a better planner, an imagination that reaches far and wide and being in the present brings an awareness that only a few ever encounter.
Growing up with a thirst for spiritual awakening was not easy as I had to study and build a life thereon. Studying for me was boring because it was forced upon me and inside I knew that I would probably never use half of the things I learned in high school. I was right about that but my thirst for spiritual awakening was also growing, as I became more thirsty, several mirages appeared in my life to distract me – whether it was women, intoxicants, wealth etc.
Eventually these mirages were ignored after several years of going through these experiences as if they were true. I look back at the past and think I was so sure I was doing the best thing for me and now I almost regret some of it. However, what has been done has been done. I have to move forward.
As several mirages appeared again, I knew it was right to let them be as they were but not be allured towards them. I was then clear for spiritual awakening, so I thought but such experiences never come easy even if you have the tool to instantaneously get it.
The mirage of concepts was very heavy and while I got rid of some concepts through careful analysis on their validity, I ended up created some more concepts and down again I went down the rabbit hole. From saying there is a god to know saying there isn’t a god – I was firm on both these concepts at one time and now – I don’t know even though the answer is very, very clear to me.
Two things I had never let go of: One was my love for my Spiritual Master and two was my meditation. Even though, I tried to stay clear from my Spiritual Master, I understood that something else was being played. Even though I disagreed a lot with some of the philosophy that His organization taught, it was later discovered through my own meditation that those were my philosophies and not His. This was when I realized that our perception had to be cleansed in order to truly understand a philosophy as it is and not how you interpret it.
Let’s just say that the way I see the philosophy now is very simple – the realization of the Formless Self, is the realization of your True Self. The Spiritual Master just points at that Formless Self. It is up to you whether you look at the Formless Self or take a little detour with looking at the Spiritual Master. If you do take the detour, it becomes dangerous territory because you may love the Master but your mind has not realized it’s true self so therefore, your Master will be judged by you – even if it is a positive judgement. Any judgment will not let you see something clearly.
As I mentioned, I stayed away from my Master while I was going through this major analysis, but I was very devoted to meditation and meditated a lot. I was working and would wake up as early as 4am and meditate for an hour, then read for two hours and then get ready for work. It so happened, that on a Saturday, I started meditating again around 9am and as I was focussing on empty space for a while, I saw the tiniest dot of Light appear and I was amazed at this. I floated in this empty space and went near it and I heard a sound that simply said ‘Before this, I am,’ and I just saw this dot expand and the whole of creation was presented to me. I couldn’t contain myself and took myself out of the meditative state. I didn’t know what I experienced other than there had to be something before creation.
I have never forgotten this experience but it came back to me three weeks ago. This time, the tiniest dot was not seen but empty space was taken away from me and I came to an absolute stillness and centered my whole focus on that stillness. I was so taken aback by it that it felt like I had been there for 10 minutes when in fact, it had only been around 30 seconds. It was an intense experience. I realized one major thing – it didn’t matter whether this is god or not – there is only stillness. Call it whatever you want now to personalize it. I totally understand why we name it. Yes, it certainly dilutes what It Is but people need something to relate to and the easiest thing to do is to name it.
I enjoyed this experience and I have noticed how it continuously presents itself to me without any desire from my side. It’s presence cannot be ignored by me. It only then occurred to me that my Spiritual Master had told me about this around 5 years ago. He held his right hand out, His palm facing His stomach, maybe 15 cm away from His stomach and with His left hand waving in between the right hand and the stomach said “You have to be aware of this, it is stillness. Keep focusing on this awareness.” Little did I know that after almost 3 years of His departure from His physical form would this golden nugget of wisdom make sense to me and I would understand it.
The mirage I had then was that a Spiritual Master is only the physical body, this is a massive illusion. The teachings are of an eternal nature and so is the presence of the Master. It is now that I truly appreciate everything that has been taught to me. I am still learning, discovering and in fact, I am more eager to learn than I probably was in my teens. Spirituality has no end in terms of literature but in the end it is your own experience that matters. Use the literature to inspire you, refuse to let it be a concept.
A few weeks ago, I had my second spiritual awakening, the sight towards enlightenment is also on the horizon. All gratitude goes to my Spiritual Master.
The insight to be discovered in our own mind is extremely important as it shows us where we need to grow and what we need to let go of.
Many times we hold on to limiting beliefs and they block us from moving forward, we keep making the same mistakes again and again. Or we get the same results again and again. The only way to let go of limiting beliefs is to understand who we really are.
If we see ourselves as the creator of our lives, then we will reprogram our mind to think differently, to respond differently.
Limiting beliefs is simply those beliefs that keep you at square one, no matter how much you think you are moving forward.
Therefore, see yourself as a Creator and if that is done then watch how you take every thought and intention with so much awareness that they can never escape you. Hence, meditation is so important because we get to that clear space where we are open to making changes to our beliefs.
The spirit of a spiritual aspirant is one that doesn’t give up trying and always knows that enlightenment is the end point of the beginning of a great journey into the Eternal.
The issue today that I find is that many people like talking about spirituality but how many truly desire something spiritual? How many truly want enlightenment? Do they want a life which leaves them vulnerable and sensitive? I don’t know if it is everyone’s cup of tea.
Being vulnerable to other people disappointing you and even betraying or cheating you is not an easy future to face with. Yes, there is bliss and joy but the enlightened experience is the experience of everything in stability and stillness. Therefore, I would like to say that being enlightened, the observation of the end of the journey seems to be disturbing for many.
A lot of times, especially in the age of so-called rational intellectualism, we overthink certain concepts and this takes us away from one key thing – practice. We should practice and practice whenever we find ourselves consumed with rational intellectualism. It is not bad to be rational or intellectual, this is a necessary part of the spiritual journey so we stay away from dogma, doctrine and superstition but when we overthink on whether a practice of self-discovery is right or not, we just delay the actual practice of it. I was very guilty of this and now I have let go to simply experiencing and practicing.
Practice and the determination to attain the greatest heights helps us to move forward. Instead of focusing on the material acts that are done out of a spiritual or religious spirit, but to have positive wishes of global peace and compassion is just as important. Physical acts of service towards others is just as important as the spiritual prayer for healing others. We have to appreciate that help comes in many ways and all ways should be celebrated.
The essence is to always help materially as well as spiritually in perfect balance and harmony. This is only achieved if we understand that human beings are physical and emotional beings.
To truly move forward, I recommend that practicing meditation or self-remembrance will take you leaps and bounds. First, discover your true self before you think of helping another. Helping with awareness is holistically sound.
Having mentors is incredibly important and having had my fair share of mentors, I feel my whole life has been incredibly enriched by them.
It is not always about the lesson that you have learned but more about how you grow and evolve as a person from the lesson. If you have evolved then you know the lesson has benefitted you in many ways and you can continue to grow and enhance your life.
We all want a life that is holistically enriching and we can do this with the help of getting different mentors. You can have one for finance, for health, for spirituality etc. Making sure that you can make your life the best that you can is what will always make you wake up in the morning full of gratitude.
Choosing your mentors has to be a thought out decision because you need to make sure that your mentor will always be there for you to help you grow and see unique perspectives. When someone has your best interests first, you know that they are worth keeping in your life.
I have benefitted a lot from my mentors and some are not alive today, but they have helped me grow so immensely that I cannot think of my life without them. I have learned valuable lessons and this has allowed me to have a broad-mind, filled with compassion and understanding.
Mentors show you the path and walk along with you. This is why mentors have a great positive effect. They are not like role models, where images of their greatness can be shattered. However, a mentor is someone where even their flaws have something of great value about them.
I hope you have a mentor and let me know your experiences with mentors?
Today, I was thinking about how important it is to look after our bodies. Where I go for my spiritual practice, it is said there that the body is a gift from the Formless and it can go back to the Formless at any time. It is interesting when I think about this. If everything is the Formless then this body is also the Formless. To understand this simple concept, this actually gets rid of the fear of death, if we see this body that we have as a gift. This way, we understand it is temporary and needs to be utilized to it’s best potential.
We never abuse gifts. If we receive a potted plant as a gift, we place it in the house and we provide water to it, give it ample amount of sunlight and we give nutrients now and then. We ensure it is kept in the best condition.
The question is do we do that with our body? Do we think about what we are consuming and what harm it is doing to our body? Do we exercise enough?
You see, the belief that we should just ‘eat, drink and be merry’ is no way in seeing this body as a gift. In fact, we are actively saying that we can harm it and what affect will it have as I am not the body. However, this is not the way to think, if we truly find the body to be a gift.
I have had to make radical changes in my diet, be firm on exercising enough a day so that I keep my body at its best. In fact, with a good body, it leads to a good mind and they both lead us to have a strong spiritual life.
The ability to wonder is truly what makes life worth living. I am sure there have been moments for you when you have seen the world through the eyes of wonder. You see things with a new vision, you see things in a new light and nothing ever looks repeated.
Sometimes, I feel that I lack wonder when it is such a natural state to be in. I tend to judge things or interpret things when really if I truly saw it with wonder, it could open new doors to perception.
It may be that words are never enough to express the importance of wonder but let me give you three ways that being in wonder has helped me so far:
I understand the limitations to my perception when I view things with the past or the future.
I gain new insights and can express creatively.
Love flows not only freely but endlessly too.
Being in wonder has been a spiritual goal of mine for quite some time now, it is the letting go of the ego which is so important if we want to live a life of wonder.
Being a slave to the ego only harms what wonder can bring. Like I said, that open-mind, that creative mind is what makes the world a better place.
Laughter is an important part of a relationship, it enhances it a great deal. It is truly beautiful to just laugh and look into each other’s eyes and be playful to the moment. It is something of tremendous importance that we sometimes overlook because of the seriousness of every day life.
We are constantly worried about the bills, about the next pay check, the next grocery shopping that we forget that even if we are on top of things and comfortable, without any laughter or joy, our relationships would matter very little for us.
Laughter has a quality of bringing you closer to your friends and loved ones. There is an intimacy with laughter that nobody can truly explain except that it makes relationships and their bonds stronger and more resilient to negative forces.
Laughter brings about a positivity that makes a dark room light up, a dark mind light up, a dark soul light up.
I spent some time on my walk today thinking about the difference between following and discovering. Let me tell you about my contemplation on this.
When we follow, we tend to be more spectators. We tend to just scroll through content very mindlessly and have very little interaction with it. Sometimes we even like a quote and save it but how many times do we go back to that quote? How many times do we actually remember it? Don’t we always find something unique and interesting when we scroll through information? We also follow things very unconsciously. We hardly think about what purpose it serves us.
This state of mind is exceptionally amazing. Imagine perceiving life through a new set of eyes everyday. I don’t mean new physical eyes but everyday you have a cleansed perception. Even if you read the same thing twice, it feels like you have read it the first time. If you have seen or heard something twice or more, each time it sounds more beautiful because you approach it as a discovery. A discovery gives you that feeling of an adventure. You don’t know about the ocean but you want to dive deep into it. Every time, you dive deep into the ocean of your own mind, you discover a new insight, you intuitively discover something beautiful.
I was thinking that even if we do things that we do on a regular basis with a sense of discovery, we would enjoy each moment of life a little bit more than the last moment. This is because we are not burdened by the past or the future of something. We are directly experiencing it right in front of us, right now. This allows our journey of life to be unique and special.
Being on the spiritual path is one thing. Being enlightened is totally another thing. Sometimes I feel when I hear people talking about being enlightened, it really is not enlightenment at all. It is more an appreciation or recognition of the spiritual path they are on.
The delusion that it is enlightenment causes great harm for one’s spiritual progress. The drive for growth is cut prematurely and it will be hard to invoke growth when the ego is strengthened as it establishes itself in the false delusion of enlightenment.
Sometimes we are in the company of those that also hold this belief, very strongly, that they are enlightened and this creates a false sense of attainment. It becomes a place where we simply massage egos instead of attempting to dissect the ego and remove its influence as the Master of our Life.
Even to state that a path is right is very subjective. When you abide as the Formless, all paths are right. All paths are like many rivers flowing towards the Mighty Ocean of Isness, of Fullness, of the Formless.
This is why it is important to understand that the journey is in progress and that despite knowing the destination, we have to be honest in saying we have not reached there yet. The signs are there, some distance has to be travelled for the mind to be able to integrate with the Formless, the Pure Isness of Life.
For me, you need three things to really excel in your spiritual journey.
One is to be truly honest. If you haven’t attained enlightenment, if you have not attained freedom from the mind then say so.
Two is to be humble. If you haven’t reached it, but you have an amazing spiritual path, an incredible Guru or Teacher then appreciate them but don’t belittle others. Pray that whatever path they are on, that they meet the Formless.
Three is to be passionate. If you haven’t got passion then you will not strive for enlightenment, for freedom from the mind. Passion to become the Formless needs to be your number one priority.
Recognize when a path has now become barren land for you. Before, this path was full of life, full of flowers and beautiful fragrances but now the ego has taken over and taken over the land of your mind. Keep moving forward and try and find a new path where the flowers are blooming again. When you find that path, rest as Formless Awareness, That which You are.