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.

What is Wisdom?

The biggest declaration is one that is made in your own very heart, your very being itself. It is a personal moment that whenever it is shared, it is lost and unless you are a mystic, you cannot afford to share it yet.

Bathe in the wisdom that you have discovered in your own being, meet it every day, spend quality time with it, get to know it more, unveil things that you never knew and make sure that you are convinced that this wisdom will never change and is of an eternal nature. Once you find this, then it is worth sharing. Then the more you share it, the more you realize it does not deplete.

What is wisdom? It is knowledge that becomes experience. It is eternal, changeless, transcending and in many ways it is beyond comprehension. When it is translated back to words, it loses a large part of it’s essence. Wisdom is not like strong winds that blows you away, it is that gentle breeze that swirls around you in a dance, it envelopes you and takes you to a place of meditation, a place of inner awareness, where there is stillness and you have been taken over by that wisdom.

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Mysticism of the East have named this wisdom as Nirguna Brahman (The Formless Oneness without attributes) or Tat Tvam Asi (You are That). This is where all lofty thoughts, concepts and ideas come from. However, we must always separate them to Nirguna Brahman. To get to this point of clarity, to this indivisible state requires practice in meditation, and contemplation on one’s true self with the company of the wise. Serving others in a selfless manner can also bring one to that clarity. If one serves all as if serving Nirguna Brahman, many have reported attaining that Wisdom itself from performing selfless acts. Devotional acts have made people reach Nirguna Brahman too even though one may believe they are worshipping Saguna Brahman (the Formless One with attributes).

The fastest way to Nirguna Brahman is by seeking a teacher, a Guru of Truth. With their Grace, they reveal this wisdom in an instant. They may ask the seeker to purify themselves first by reading scriptures, sitting with wise company, meditating, volunteering etc. The Teacher, when they feel the seeker is ready, unveils the Highest Wisdom – Nirguna Brahman. From there, it is seen that Saguna Brahman is the manifested in the Guru of Truth and whenever the seeker finds it difficult to connect, they lead the seeker to Nirguna Brahman.

This is my experience and I find myself very fortunate to be able to behold nothing but Nirguna Brahman for periods of time. Even though, I do find it challenging to connect to Nirguna Brahman, I find that devotion, singing the praise of my Guru of Truth, my Saguna Brahman leads me to the Formless Indivisible Self that resides within me. In fact, I am always This but I am battling my mind/ego to accept it.

Love.

Blessed with a Legacy

It’s been some time since I have written a blog and I must say I have completely been missing it. I have loved sharing my thoughts with you freely and frankly.

I have a couple of guest blogs that will be coming soon. They are amazing reads and if you haven’t read Niharika’s amazing guest blog yet, then click here.

We all have been blessed (or cursed) with an amazing legacy that we look up to, that we admire and what we understand has allowed us to enjoy life to the max. Sometimes, inheritance simply isn’t money but wisdom. If wisdom is inherited then wealth has no power over that. However, wisdom can bring in wealth.

I give a lot of gratitude and appreciation towards my elders for everything that I have today. Somehow, I have learned so much from their stories, their commitment to the Truth and their yearning for a better inner life. Their acute awareness of being awakened in the Truth is what has given me the required path towards the Truth. Not many are as lucky or as fortunate as me.

Sometimes, I can be in our (my wife and I) newly bought home and I feel immense happiness because I understand where it has come from and I don’t know how to express that it is so amazing. Although, at the moment, my work is not on the positive and it is very stressful, I am not letting that affect my happiness as much as it would like to damage. I have controlled that damage and I am sure that whatever doesn’t break you, simply makes you stronger.

Numerous Awakenings makes sense

Do we know enough to grow spiritually? It is something that I have been thinking about. For example, I know the Truth is simple, extremely simple but for the mind and body to accept such Truth, would it be easy?

I am obviously one of those individuals that goes through a series of awakening, instead of becoming an overnight enlightened one. I haven’t understood how one can be instantly enlightened, whether it is luck or fate, who knows. Even the Buddha was a pure seeker and has an incredible story but even he took 6 years and in those 6 years, he practiced and only practiced spirituality. He didn’t concentrate on anything else.

That is why sometimes I am a little skeptical when people declare they know the Truth and yes, a little peek into their lives will tell you where they really are in spirituality.

My point is that there is so much to discover. The Vedas itself is a massive spiritual text and describes many aspects that would help someone in the process of seeking enlightenment. However, without this knowledge, how can we understood true union with the Divine.

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!

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.

Think before you speak

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I am very guilty of doing this. I just speak whatever is on the mind and I tend to think afterwards that I should have waited, took a few seconds to reflect and then respond. Sometimes, we get angry when we hear something and we react straight away, maybe we should think for a couple of hours before we respond.

Sometimes what we say can truly hurt someone, we don’t know what they may deal with on a day to day basis. We just assume things but to be honest, we should always gather the facts, observe and then speak about something.

We will always get crazy remarks said to us and massive assumptions will be blurted out  but that doesn’t mean that we have to start getting into an expressive battle either. Depending on the situation, we take such action.

My observation from many years has been that silence says it all. The less you speak, the more of what you say has importance unless you always do say wise words, which automatically become important. Silence is very powerful in dealing with matters. We don’t have to show the person in front of us that we are affected by their words. A simple smile, look around you and then walk away. If someone has asked a question, then you will be the judge of whether it is worth answering.

People have a tendency to put others down or when they speak, they are just always moaning and constantly expressing their pain-story, to which majority is thought-based pain over actual body pain. Of these people, I may have to listen but again, you are silent, wish the person well and walk away and forget about it. Don’t reflect on something if it isn’t going to help you.

Silence is golden. It says so much without a single sound expressed. It is the most powerful tool you have at your advantage. Just ensure that no emotion remains inside of you for more than 24 hours. Try to express your feelings in a journal or meditate upon it so it dissolves away.

The power is within you, you choose what to do with it.

Gratitude – 5 things I am grateful for!

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Photo by Carl Attard on Pexels.com

I was listening to Humble the Poet earlier today and he spoke about how important gratitude is. So I was thinking that today, I wanted to share 5 things I am grateful for. Here goes and in no particular order:

  1. Wisdom – the reason for this is because without wisdom, I wouldn’t be able to discern between right or wrong in most cases. I like to learn and try to implement and as I always say that knowledge with action equals wisdom. In the space of social media – we get so many people say very bland stuff but it comes across as inspirational when in fact, if we didn’t just scroll through or double tap or clicked ‘like’, we could have thought about the true meaning of that quote and seen if it comes from a place of deep understanding or just something that sounds good. Wisdom is hardly a soundbite, most of the time, it is longer than that and a soundbite may only be one part of an awesome but longer piece of writing.
  2. My wife, family & friends – without their support, their presence, I know my life would be incredibly fruitless. The wisdom I have gained, the love that I have been able to share is all because of their attention to me and their kind suggestions that sometimes were in the shape of a lecture. However, in the most trying of times, it is my wife, family and friends that have stood by me and shown me that there is light at the end of the tunnel. It is not just that, they hold my hand and that makes me feel safe. I can’t thank them enough! In fact, if my parents were not so strict on me having a spiritual journey then I probably would lack meaning in my life. On top of that, my wife has been a shining bright light when my whole world turned dark when my Satguru Baba Hardev Singh ji merged into the Formless.
  3. Books – anyone that knows me, knows how much I just love reading books. I will not disclose how much I have spent on books but it is enough for you to know that it is a lot. Reading books takes me to new places of thought, I gain new insights and I use those insights to make my life better. When we read, it is said to be incredibly good for our health. A business insider article discusses it and you should give it a read here. The point of reading for me is that it keeps me feeling young and a learner, which helps to keep my ego in check.
  4. Meditation – the benefits of meditation are aplenty and there is no end to studies about this. However, for me meditation has been a life-saver in many ways. I have been able to feel calm and content on more occasions due to meditation and in fact, gratitude comes a lot easier when we meditate or are mindful. Meditating and observing a mind that projects or perceives nothing is a remarkable experience, a mind that is quiet is a blessing for one’s being. Meditation not only enhances one’s spiritual journey but it empowers one to be strong and determined when the world attempts to get tough at us.
  5. My Satguru – without the presence of my Satguru, my life wouldn’t be the same, I may have never been as spiritual as I am if it wasn’t for my Satguru. My Satguru is the one reason why I meditate, read and honor wisdom so much. I have even improved my relationships by following the wisdom of my Satguru. You see, Satguru means truth and leads you from darkness to light. Although, I am not able to say that I am completely out of the darkness but whatever progress I have made to get to the Light is because my Satguru has always given guidance that enhances my life. You could even say that my Satguru enriches every reason why I am full of gratitude. You can read more about why I need my Satguru here.

Here are my 5 reasons why I am grateful. Please tell me at least one thing you are grateful for in the comments below.

The Seeker must become the Mystic

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Wisdom has set me on fire,
There is nothing to discriminate,
There is no other,
But the One True Self.

Wisdom is one thing; the practical side is totally another ball game. In the life of a mystic, there are two journeys. One is seeking the Truth itself and the other one is action or application of the Truth.

The seeker goes out searching for the Truth. They do not know if they will achieve anything. Will they achieve liberation? Will they see God? Is there a God? All these are unanswered questions and the seeker is comfortable with these doubts. The seeker moving towards becoming a mystic is fully aware that the questions are not real. They don’t need answers because they are distractions towards the Truth. The Truth doesn’t need to answer any questions. If we do not accept the Truth then there are two reasons. One is that we have not accepted the Truth and the second, which regardless of the first reason is more important, and that is whether we have applied this Truth to our daily lives.

The Seeker goes out and with all of their life, with their every breath, with every bit of their energy they need the Truth. When they meet the One – the Master, the Guru, the seeker receives the Divine Wisdom, known as Brahm Gyan from the Guru and life is transformed if the awakening occurs. The Seeker now has the knowledge, what next? The application must be there. The Seeker must see the knowledge, the wisdom in every aspect of life. In nature, in nurture, in essence, it should see through the eyes of wisdom and then the Mystic is born. Every action carries the dust of the Truth so that whenever another seeker wants the Truth, it should follow the trail of dust that the Mystic leaves behind.

When the awakening has occurred, the Mystic, like their Guru will be someone who has patience for one and all, they go beyond their labels – their nationality, race and religion. They move beyond boundaries. They have compassion for everyone because they see the same Light within them in others. They do not discriminate, like the Sun doesn’t discriminate on what it give its Light to. The Mystic, like their Guru understands the importance of forgiveness. That means forgiveness of one’s own mistakes and the large-heartedness to forgive others. Who are we to judge on the severity of a certain mistake or mishap that someone has made directly or indirectly towards us. The Mystic is an example, and the Light that shines from them is because of the wisdom they received from their Guru.

If the Light that we shine differentiates and judges then is it the Light of God or Truth? Are we following the words of the Guru, if we are using our own mind over the Guru’s teachings? Have we truly accepted the Guru? If the seeker discriminates and judges then the question goes on whether the seeker truly feels that the Guru is someone worth following. If the Guru doesn’t judge but has compassion for all, then isn’t that the natural course of action for the seeker? The Mystic has to follow the Guru but the seeker has a choice. The seeker is at a crossroad, it can either choose to follow the Guru’s way or it can abandon the ship and carrying on searching. Therefore, the seeker can never claim to be a disciple of a Guru until they surrender their mind to the Guru and whoever surrenders understands the Guru and becomes a Mystic. This is the grace and blessing of the Spiritual Master.

This Light, this Wisdom, this God that is revealed by the Master is only for those that want to become mystics, who want to have union with the One. The One that has created everything is the manifest and the unmanifest. The One that has no end, no beginning and is self-existent. This One, which is the Truth, which is consciousness, awareness and bliss. This is the way of life for the Mystic.

The Mystic never wants to let go of the Guru’s path and everything for the Mystic is about being as the Guru so wishes. If the Guru says to love everyone, then love everyone it is. If the Guru says to be compassionate, then compassion it is. If the Guru says forgive under any circumstance, then forgiveness it is. The Guru has the final and only say in the Mystic’s life. The seeker will pick and choose whatever is said but will do whatever their mind says. The Mystic understands the Guru’s actions, whilst a seeker can misunderstand it.

The evolution of the seeker has to occur. The Mystic must be born and this is where having a Master is necessary or makes it easier. The Master will show you the way, they will be the example and they will liberate you from this earth. No longer will you be confined in the body and mind, you will become the vastness of this One. When the Mystic is born, this world becomes more beautiful. The beauty of the One can only be understood by those in the mystic tradition and the Guru has defined this tradition.

To move forward in one’s awakening, to truly feel free and liberated, the seeker must become the Mystic.